My Maldives – Fiona’s Trip Report

Aug 23, 2023 | Blog Posts, Trip Reports

“Mum, it’s insane!”  So exclaimed my 18 year old as our small boat chugs up to the jetty – turquoise waters, swaying palms and a beautiful curve of decking over white sandy beach. We’ve come to recce the other-worldly island of Makunudu in the Maldives and in truth we’ve already all fallen in love with this little slice of heaven.

This is the Maldives as it used to be.  I first came here 30 years ago and whilst in that time a huge raft of swanky resorts have sprung up, all jostling for rankings, with pools, over-water bungalows, and more restaurants than you could shake a stick at, Makunudu has simply gone on with what it does best – barefoot, Robinson Crusoe, living – making your stay all about its natural beauty not about the facilities. Don’t think, though, that you won’t be comfortable. 36 pretty thatched cottages with AC, ceiling fans and open air bathrooms all face out over the azure waters. Each has a shady sit out and beach lounger. The central bar was one of our favourite haunts, be it in the heat of the day under the high ceilinged thatched roof or during long evenings on the deck over the water, spotting nurse and reef sharks gliding by while sipping a cold beer or tropical cocktail. The food – another highlight – was an imaginative blend of Maldivian, Indian, Sri Lankan and Western Cuisine – delicious buffets and a la carte dining with ever attentive staff who take the trouble to get to know you personally.

Daily we headed out to snorkel on the house reef – rainbow coloured Parrot and Picasso fish, royal blue giant clams, translucent needle fish, shoals of Moorish Idols, brilliantly named Humbugs and striped Oriental Sweetlips, tiny darters, a Moray Eel and the crowning glory, Hawksbill Turtles which we watched bottom feeding and rising to the surface on numerous occasions.

We kayaked around the island, took a paddle board one afternoon to an outer reef to snorkel among black tipped reef sharks. Here I saw three pygmy rays swimming in perfect formation. After trying the resort dive, the boys were hooked and went on to do their PADI Diving Course. With a private instructor just for the two of them, and in the most sublime conditions, where better to take on a sport which unlocks the door to a whole new world of discovery.

Whilst I grant that this island is not for those looking for top luxury, it WAS for us. And for our boys – a first holiday for them in such a tropical location – an absolute winner. It’s quite something to impress an 18 and 20year old, not to mention my husband who has, over the years, travelled all around the globe.

We met two couples who had honeymooned at Makunudu almost 30 years ago and were thrilled to return and find it barely changed. This place is a tonic for the soul and for sure I’m not leaving it another 30 years before I come back.

When to go: We travelled off (rainy) season – in July – but in truth had 29-31C daily and precisely three minutes of rain the whole week. Global warming has made the Maldives a much more year round destination.  Though November to April should mean better weather, travel in low season and you’ll take advantage of lower rates and a more chilled vibe. Many times when snorkelling I’d be the only one on the reef.

Price guide: From £2,560 per person based on two sharing for 7 nights with flights and full board   


We had an awesome time. Maldives very chilled and friendly. Amazing. Great snorkelling and turtles. The dive centre is well run – Would definitely go back.  Mr and Mrs David Manning, Makunudu, Maldives and Oman, April 2023

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