Upon arrival at Velana International Airport you will be greeted and transferred to your guesthouse on Hulhumale Island. Settle in after your flight before taking your first steps on the sands of this urban tropical paradise. For those arriving early there is an optional tour to the island of Vilimale with the conservation group Save the Beach. Vilimale is situated on the west side of Male, often described as the ‘quieter side of Male’. Wander the quiet streets, learn the names of local trees, and learn more about the conservation work being carried out by Save the Beach. Overnight in Hulhumale.
This morning your guide will accompany you on a tour of the capital city. Visit the fish market and local market, President’s Palace, Sultan Park and Friday Mosque before transferring by local ferry to the island of Guraidhoo, in the South Male Atoll. Upon arrival in Guraidhoo you will have time to settle in before either relaxing on the rooftop at the guesthouse or on the local public beach to watch the sunset. This evening you will dine with a local family to discover traditional Maldivian food and culture. Expect great company, but don’t expect silver service, as traditionally meals are eaten without the aid of a knife and fork! Overnight in Guraidhoo.
Following breakfast you will be taken by speedboat to nearby coral reefs for your first underwater encounter! The coral reefs of the Maldives are inhabited by an incredible diversity of marine life. Snorkel through waters teeming with colourful fish and corals. Keep your eyes open for turtles, sharks and rays! Upon return to Guraidhoo, enjoy a free afternoon to relax on your own or participate in optional watersports, diving or surfing. This evening you’ll enjoy a relaxed beach BBQ dinner. Overnight in Guraidhoo.
Enjoy breakfast with a local family, allowing you access to authentic Maldivian culture and cuisine. Enjoy the rest of the morning at your leisure. As the afternoon cools down, explore Guraidhoo accompanied by your guide for the opportunity to learn about the local way of life. Visit the local Mosque, the boatyard where you can see how the local boats are built, stop and chat with children playing in the street, and watch the ladies of the community begin their evening meal preparations. Stop by a local cafe to sample traditional ‘hedhika’ - Maldivian savoury and sweet snacks served with black tea (at your own expense). This evening enjoy a rooftop dinner under the stars. Overnight in Guraidhoo.
Start early today for breakfast and then take a 7am ferry to the local island of Maafushi, just 20 minutes away. This will be your home base for the next week as you assist the Eco Dive Club Maafushi to bring about positive changes to this island. After checking into the guesthouse, take a tour of the island with your guide to familiarize yourself and learn about the local ecosystem and what’s threatening it. Over traditional afternoon tea, meet some of the team you will be working alongside, discuss your timetable for the week and get up-to-date with projects and objectives for your stay. Oh and get the answer to this really important question – why is bird and fish poop important?! Overnight in Maafushi.
This week you will volunteer to conserve the fragile and stunning nature of the Maldives. In this area many endangered marine species such as turtles and fish suffer from a lack of protection from both locals and tourists. Without substantial action there is a good chance that some of these species may become extinct. This is where you come in. Not only will you get the chance to see many of these fascinating species on an up-close and regular basis, you’ll also be able to play a major role in their longevity. The welfare of the environment in the Maldives is an extremely important issue, but there is not a lot of action taken to protect it. Local community awareness is generally low, with little education about the dangers of climate change and waste management. Your activities throughout your week of volunteering will depend on the time of your visit and the current needs of the project. The activities are designed not only to support the community and the environment, but also to increase your own knowledge of marine life and conservation. Part of your role will be raising the awareness of the local community. This may include giving presentations and designing materials such as leaflets and posters. Other activities may involve the liaising with guesthouses and hotels on environmental matters and offering advice and guidance based on your learnings
This morning we say goodbye to Maafushi and head to Gulhi in the north of the South Male Atoll. A smaller and much quieter island than Maafushi, your final three days will be dedicated to relaxation, the main reason most tourists head to the Maldives! There will be complimentary snorkelling equipment available at your guesthouse for some extra fun in the sun. Overnight in Gulhi.
We can’t allow you to visit the Maldives and not experience the lifestyle of a luxury resort. So today after breakfast you will travel by speedboat to a nearby resort where you can choose to treat yourself to a massage treatment at the spa (not included) or just relax on the beach and holiday like a celebrity! Overnight in Gulhi.
We leave your final day free for you to enjoy as you please. Relax on the bikini beach and soak up the sun for the last time or, for those feeling energetic, participate in the various optional watersport activities on offer locally (not included). Optional diving trips can be organised for certified divers at an extra cost. Finally, you will enjoy a farewell Beach BBQ for your final sendoff in the magical Maldives. Overnight in Gulhi.
Following an early breakfast you are transferred back to Male by public ferry and on to the Male airport, arriving by 10:30 am. Additional Information: The Maldives is a Muslim country and therefore alcohol is not available on local islands. Bikinis are also not allowed to be worn on local island beaches; however all guesthouses offer either private gardens/balconies or private beach areas for guests. Please plan accordingly and bring attire appropriate for a more conservative culture. You'll be spending time among local families and as we are guests in their home, it's important to dress and behave with respect to local customs.
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