If you’ve read my previous blog post, you’ll know how Neil and I planned our much-awaited trip to the Maldives. Eriyadu Island Resort, Maldives, that we finally chose for our stay, had informed us that they would have a speed boat ready for our transfer from the airport to the island on the day of arrival. Even though that was sorted, I was wondering if we’d have to hire some kind of transport to get to the jetty with our luggage. The view right outside the airport not only answered my question but also managed to take my breath away.
The airport was located at the edge of the Male island, giving easy access to the speed boat pick-up point (and possibly making a lot of people, including me, go weak in the knees with that view!).
It didn’t take us too long to spot Eriyadu’s representative at the airport. Almost all island resorts have their own little counters near the arrival gate and it’s just a matter of looking around to find yours. Without further delay, we hopped onto our speed boat, hoping more people would travel along. But it turned out to be just the two of us, and after an hour of a nerve-wracking, back-breaking ride, we were dropped off at the jetty on Eriyadu island. I have to admit it was one bumpy ride because of the ocean waves, but I wouldn’t trade that rush of adrenaline for any other mode of transport!
Our first view of the island and the resort was stuff dreams are made of – pristine blue water kissing the soft, white sand on the shore and lush greenery to complement that colour palette.
The next 6 days we spent on the island were nothing short of a beautiful dream coming true. Here are some of the highlights of the unforgettable time we spent there.
This had to come first! The Maldivian islands are blessed with an abundance of marine life, and to be there and not experience it, is a loss of a lifetime, if I may say so. At our resort, we could hire snorkeling gear for about USD 11 for an entire day. As you can imagine, most of our time was spent in water. The impeccably maintained house reef at Eriyadu demanded it! But we wouldn’t have had such an amazing snorkeling experience, had it not been an Austrian lady, Elisabeth, who we happened to meet at the beach.
Elisabeth is a seasoned snorkeler, who visits Maldives every year and always puts up at Eriyadu. By virtue of that, she knew every nook and cranny of the house reef and could exactly point to the places housing the most amount of marine life. Not only that, she went out of her way to guide us on a snorkeling trip to the best spots, and what we saw transported us to a different world altogether.
Swarms of fish in every color imaginable, baby White Reef Sharks, Sea Turtles – you name it, and they were there.
Tip: Do not forget to carry a waterproof sunscreen with SPF as high as 60-70. You’ll need loads of it!
This is a slightly tricky subject to talk about since everyone has different opinions and tastes. But almost everyone we asked, suggested that we opt for the ‘All Inclusive’ food & stay package at Eriyadu, or whichever island resort we choose. That would mean paying an amount that would not only include our stay but also cover all food and drinks.
Now, here’s the catch. Food includes the buffet spread at the in-house restaurant, and drinks include all non-alcoholic beverages(juices, aerated drinks) and a few selected alcoholic ones (no cocktails included). After much thought, Neil and I decided against it and opted for only stay and breakfast. Our logic was that, firstly, we are not big on non-alcoholic beverages – we do not necessarily need an unlimited supply of juices flowing in all day. More importantly, even without opting for the ‘All Inclusive’ package, we could still access the lunch/dinner buffet as and when we wanted to, by paying upfront. Alternatively, we could always fall back on the a la carte menu. The idea was to keep our options open.
We decided to check out the buffet dinner the day we reached. There was a reasonably good spread of vegetarian & non-vegetarian food, but it wasn’t something we would want to keep coming back to. From the next day onward, we chose to go a la carte for all lunches and dinners. That seemed to work out much better for us since we could pick and choose what we wanted.
3. Bar and drinks
Since I’ve spoken so extensively about food, it would be unfair to leave the drinks out. Eriyadu had 2 full-service bars, serving a variety of delicious cocktails – one on the beach, and another one adjoining the pool. Average cocktail prices were USD 12-14, which seemed to be the standard rate across several resorts.
But more than the cocktails, it was the main bar at Eriyadu that I fell in love with. What a stunning little place overlooking the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, with no other land mass sight, as far as the eyes wander. If there was one spot at the resort where I could sit all day and feel completely at peace, it would have to be at this al fresco bar.
4. The room & the service
As unimportant as this may seem, a great room and warm service from the staff can actually take your experience a notch higher. Our ocean-view room not only gave us a ‘view’ of the ocean, the patio practically opened up into the beach and the sea beyond. It felt like having the best seat in the house! If that was not all, the resort manager, Prince, left no stone unturned to make us feel special. We were welcomed to a gorgeous complimentary bottle of white wine waiting for us in your room on day 1. And to top that, they surprised us with the cutest little wedding cake the next evening! Needless to say, we were floored by their warm gestures 🙂
In addition to these humbling experiences and of course the natural bounty, what’s the bonus you ask?
1. Flying time from Bangalore or Kochi is less than what it would take you to reach Delhi! It couldn’t get any closer than this! (read my previous post to know how we planned our flight routes)
2. Indians get Visa on Arrival, so no need to worry about applying for a visa in advance!
How those 5 days flew by, we still don’t know! While we were still admiring the stunning blue sea and were left awestruck by the buzz we witnessed under water, it was already time to leave. No number of pictures and videos can ever do justice to what we experienced first hand. If you’re ever looking for a beach holiday outside of India, definitely give Maldives a shot and don’t forget to share your personal experiences with us. Happy tripping! 🙂