Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, and I like to think that I've been to some pretty special places — from the Philippines to Croatia, and many destinations in between. I've had the incredible opportunity of experiencing new cultures and foods, and I've met wonderful people along the way. My year began with an impromptu trip to the Maldives, and now I finally understand why this country is such a dream destination for so many people. Here are some of the
best things to experience in the Maldives that really prove it should be on everyone's travel bucket list for 2019.
I did everything from feeding stingrays out of the palm of my hand, to practicing yoga overlooking a beautiful sunset on the horizon. The crystal clear waters, grand palm trees, and silky white sand make it the perfect destination for a relaxing tropical vacay. Going there was the perfect way to kick off my new year. I came back feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever this year has in store for me.
If you're planning on traveling this year, and are looking for your next spot to visit, I can't recommend the Maldives enough. While you're there, take advantage of these amazing experiences. (And say hi to the stingrays for me!)
Feed Stingrays At Taj Coral Reef
There's something really special about seeing giant stingrays in their natural habitat. While I was staying at
Taj Coral Reef, they offered an experience to feed the stingrays that swim around the resort.
When I heard about it, I assumed that we would simply toss their food into the ocean while they swam around, but I was so surprised to find out that the stingrays literally come right up to the sand and eat out of your hand. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will definitely never forget.
Snorkel With Manta Rays
Having grown up in Florida and traveled a bunch, I've done my fair share of snorkeling. I've swam with whale sharks in the Philippines, and sea turtles in the Florida Keys, but swimming with giant manta rays in the Maldives was a first for me.
I was really surprised at how close they let people get to them, and the completely clear waters gave me (and my GoPro) an unobstructed view of the rays in all their glory.
Go On A Walking Tour Of Malé
Malé, the capital of the Maldives, has so much to offer as a city. Luckily, I was able to add a 24-hour layover there into my itinerary so I could explore a bit.
I was happy to find out that
Hotel Jen, where I was staying, offered a free walking tour so I could learn more about the culture of the city. I explored their fish and fruit markets, tried native Maldivian goods (Their coconut chocolate is seriously yummy.), saw the oldest and biggest mosques in the city, and learned more about the country's history. 04
Enjoy Some Seriously Drool-Worthy Tropical Meals And Drinks
The Maldives is a tropical country, so the native produce includes some of my personal favorite fruits, like mango, pineapple, passionfruit, and more. I can say that I ate
very well while I was there. I was able to try new things that are native to their country, while also enjoying some familiar dishes that highlighted a Maldivian spin. 05
Practice Yoga At Sunset
I've seen incredible sunsets all over the world, but I truly believe that the sunsets I witnessed in the Maldives were really something special. An experience I'll never forget was having a private yoga class at sunset.
We practiced on a deck that directly faced the sun, so we could practice our sun salutation vinyasa literally watching it go down. It was slightly warm outside, so it felt like an almost-heated yoga class, and I felt like I got a great workout in while also enjoying the breathtaking view.
Indulge In A Relaxing Spa Treatment
I had the pleasure of indulging in a 90-minute full-body massage at the
Conrad Maldives' Spa Retreat, and the experience was nothing short of heavenly. The therapist utilized different techniques, including Swedish massage, shiatsu, deep tissue, and more. She also used a really relaxing blend of coconut oils from the Maldives for the massage that left my skin feeling hydrated and moisturized.
I have a terrible — but also incredible — habit of falling asleep when I get massages, but I somehow remember what the treatment felt like after I wake up. I always gauge the success of a massage by how deeply I fall asleep. This massage was so incredible, I fell asleep within five minutes of starting.
Take A Dip In The Crystal-Clear, Turquoise Ocean
I like to think that I've seen my fair share of incredibly beautiful waters around the world, but I believe that the blues of the ocean in the Maldives is unlike anything I've ever seen before. My villa at the
Conrad Maldives had steps that led directly into the water, so I could enjoy a swim whenever I wanted to. The crystal-clear waters allowed me to see the beautiful coral reefs and marine life below, and the water is warm so I always felt comfortable taking a dip. 08
Take A Seaplane To Your Resort
Taking a seaplane ride to get to a resort is pretty special. Not only is it a unique experience in the Maldives, but the view from the top is pretty unreal.
You can really appreciate the beauty of the Maldivian islands from the aerial vantage point, and you can literally see straight through the water. Plus, it's always fun to snap a glamorous #plandid shot as you're getting off the plane.