My friends Cara and Eric went on a quintessential tropical honeymoon in the Maldives last year. While the Maldives can certainly be one of the world’s most expensive vacation destinations, Cara and Eric were smart about splitting up their trip between two differently priced resorts, and the result was perfection! Read all about their incredibly gorgeous Maldives honeymoon below:
When and where did you honeymoon?
Eric and I decided to honeymoon in the Maldives, which is a grouping of 26 atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is basically as far away from San Francisco as you can possibly get. We went for two weeks directly following our labor day weekend wedding [September 2014]. We stayed at two resorts, to break up the trip (and the second hotel allowed us to not break our bank account).
Resort #1: Anantara – Dhigu
Amazing customer service. Over water bungalow is a must. We went with the half board, which consisted of a fantastic breakfast buffet (could not get enough of the local fresh fruit) and a 3 course dinner at all restaurants on the island. Water surrounding hotel is a like a lagoon, so there are no waves and allows for a safe haven for baby sea life – including friendly reef sharks! The resort supplies you bikes you can take around the island and had they had a fantastic spa that we would highly recommend. Not as much of a water activity focus here, but there are islands you can swim or kayak to within the resort that allows for great snorkeling.
Resort #2: Kuredu Island Resort
This was more of a party resort – which we later discovered when we arrived. We did the all inclusive option, which allowed us access to 3 buffets per day and all the drinks we wanted! The water there was rougher, so we spent more time in the resort pools. The activities were plentiful, giving options for diving, snorkeling, tours and tennis. They also throw a white party every Friday, which I judged at first, but ended up closing the place down.
How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?
I had some big dreams for our honeymoon and one requirement: I wanted to stay in an over-water bungalow. Surprisingly, there are not many places in the world where these villas exist, so this limited our selection right off the bat. We created a short list of destinations and compared average hotels costs and airline costs.
Ultimately, we decided to splurge on a “once in a lifetime experience.” Our close friends did their honeymoon there the previous year and raved about the location, so we also felt comfortable staying in a resort that someone was able to vouch for – because who wants a bad honeymoon experience?
The best part about our honeymoon was…
The water. It was crystal clear, allowing us to see all of the baby sharks, fish and sting rays that swam by. At night the hotels would put lights on in the water, which would attract all types of fish and allow for viewing at dinner. The snorkeling was amazing, I have never seen so many different types of fish in one place.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
Nothing really. One thing to keep in mind is when you are booking your travel is account for travel back to the airport from your resort. We had to take a seaplane from Kuredu and the last one the resort had out was at 4pm, while our flight was at 10pm out of the Maldives airport. Spending 6 hours at an airport where alcohol is illegal and the fine dining was Burger King left more to be desired.
How much planning did you do in advance?
With the overwhelming process of wedding planning, we did not plan a lot in advance. We got our flights about 6 months before and locked down our hotels around 4 months before our trip. Beyond that, we left all of our planning to when we got to our hotels – although I would recommend booking the larger activities in advance – as they tend to book up.
Don’t forget about planning your wardrobe too! One of my best friends packed me a bunch of her summer clothes and brought it to the wedding in a cute beach bag, so I didn’t have to scramble with last minute packing. That was a lifesaver.
What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?
We were fortunate enough to been given a few AWESOME wedding gifts from our friends and family that covered all of our honeymoon “splurges,” which included a couples massage in a over-water bungalow, an all day sailing/snorkeling trip on a yacht and a dinner under the stars on the beach with our very own private chef.
So the biggest splurges that we paid for ourselves: the wine. When you are in the middle of the ocean, a nice cool glass of sauvignon blanc does not come cheap!
Where do you want to go on your next big trip?
We are going to Italy for a friend’s wedding in May, and then Greece!