Tour type: Private
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 12
Accommodation: S/Y Felicity safari boat or similar
Transport: A/C car & S/Y Felicity safari boat
Highlights: Maldives sailing cruise, snorkelling over the coral reefs, night fishing, uninhabited islands & sand bars, cultural shows, beach barbecues, diving options
On this tour we explore the Maldives on a sailing safari, taking in their idyllic beauty and year round sunshine. The tour is available in a range of different boat sizes from catamarans to Turkish style sailing boats, all beautifully kitted out with all the amenities required to make a week's cruising around the islands as comfortable as possible.
A typical itinerary will start in the capital, Male before cruising to Guraidhoo in Male's south atoll. Here there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy the sun or take a dip in the sea. You'll also get to explore the island, including the mosque, the school and the boatyard where you can learn how the common wooden boat known locally as a 'dhoni' is built. We also enjoy a breakfast on the island with a local family.
You'll next cruise across to Vaavu Atoll for a visit to another local island for traditional Hedika (local snacks and tea) and the opportunity to tour the island. After time relaxing or snorkelling from a deserted sandbank we spend the evening hand & line fishing with local fishermen. Next it's off to a deserted island, for a picnic lunch and more time to swim, sunbath or snorkel before enjoying a beach dinner 'Robinson Crusoe' style.
Heading back towards Male, you'll stop off on another uninhabited island to enjoy a cultural evening of special local dishes, fruit cocktails, traditional dancing and the beat of the 'bodu beru'.
Note: For your comfort, some departures may visit different islands and Atolls subject to current weather and sea conditions.
Upon arrival at Male International Airport you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to MV Felicity your safari; home for the next 7 days. You will be settled into your cabin and given a full tour of the boat before beginning your voyage of discovery!
Late afternoon cruise south to Guraidhoo in South Male Atoll, this is time for you to do as you please, relax on the sundeck, sit in the shade of the sun canopy and watch the beauty of the Maldives pass you by and maybe catch sight of dolphins. When at anchorage you can choose to do as much or as little as you please. Options include snorkeling and swimming, fishing or just relaxing.
Cabin on board the Felicity
Extra day in Hulhumale - pre-tour
Single room supplement (MASGMS)
Experience a local breakfast this morning at the home of a local family on the island of Guraidhoo. Following breakfast you have the opportunity to tour the fishing village. Accompanied by a guide, time is spent exploring the island with the opportunity to meet the local people, learn about the local way of life including a visit to the Mosque, the local school and the boatyard where you can see how the common wooden boat known locally as a 'dhoni' is built. Following lunch taken on board, cruise to Fulidhoo, Vaavu Atoll during which, time is yours to do as you please, relax on the sundeck, sit in the shade of the sun canopy and watch the beauty of the Maldives pass you by and maybe catch sight of dolphins. When at anchorage you can choose to snorkel, swim, fish, visit a sandbank or just relax on board.
Cabin on board the Felicity
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Following breakfast cruise to south through Vaavu Atoll. Whilst cruising the time remains yours to do as you please, relax on the sundeck, sit in the shade of the sun canopy and watch the beauty of the Maldives pass you by. Late afternoon transfer ashore to another local island for traditional 'hedika' - Maldivian savoury and sweet snack served with black tea and the opportunity to tour the island before returning on board for a relaxing evening.
Cabin on board the Felicity
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Breakfast this morning is taken alfresco on a sandbank and then the morning is one of relaxation on board or on the sandbank. For those feeling energetic snorkelling and swimming are available. This evening at sunset experience the art of Maldivian line fishing! The Maldives is unique in that its history depends on tuna fishing and the locals are excellent fishermen using pole and line and are happy to share their skills with you. Your catch will be freshly prepared for you to enjoy.
Cabin on board the Felicity
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast we depart to a beautiful uninhabited picnic island, with a picture perfect sand bar. Here you'll have the chance to swim, snorkel or just lie back, relax and soak up the sun. In the evening you'll enjoy a beach dinner 'Robinson Crusoe' style before making a choice to spend the night camped on beach or on deck under the stars (subject to weather conditions and atoll permissions).
Cabin on board the Felicity or camping on beach
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Following breakfast cruise north back into South Male Atoll, whilst cruising the time remains yours to do as you please, relax on the sundeck, sit in the shade of the sun canopy and watch the beauty of the Maldives pass you by.
Just before sunset transfer ashore to an uninhabited island for fruit cocktails before enjoying dinner comprising of a selection of local dishes accompanied by traditional dancing and the beat of the ‘bodu beru’ where the crew will play the 'bodu beru' - big drum and sing to a rhythmical beat until they reach a crescendo. Today we begin our cruise south back into North Male Atoll. There's no rush and so there's plenty of time to relax or take a dip en route.
Cabin on board the Felicity or camping on beach
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Following breakfast the morning is one of relaxation on board or for those feeling energetic snorkeling and swimming are available. Following lunch cruise back to Hulhumale lagoon. Late afternoon there will be the opportunity to make a visit to Male before returning to the boat for a farewell dinner.
Cabin on board the Felicity
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast you'll check out 10:00am then we'll transfer you back to Malé airport in time for your flight home. A range of extensions are available ranging from guesthouse stays on local islands, to time in one of the Maldives' famous luxury resorts.
3-night resort island extension
Extra day in Hulhumale - post-tour
Note: The Felicity boat and prices displayed as an example here are based on a group with a minimum of 8 travellers. We'll recommend other boats for smaller parties and provide a customised quote to match.
This tour is available for private charters for travel on any date, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Prices and boats used will depend on the number in your party and travel date.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
The MV Felicity is a traditionally built and hand-crafted Turkish Gulet. The broad, beamy hull gives the boat spacious decks with high headroom below.
The MV Felicity is a traditionally built and hand-crafted Turkish Gulet. The broad, beamy hull gives the boat spacious decks with high headroom below. The foredeck makes a large sun bathing area and the huge afterdeck provides a shady cushioned area for relaxing and eating all meals. The saloon is fitted with a bar, TV and HIFI for entertainment. An experienced crew is always at hand to cater to all your needs.
The MV Felicity offers you a unique Maldivian experience. A true cruise boat rigorously maintained every year and ready for the ultimate island hopping adventure.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
You can visit the Maldives all year round, and be pretty sure of getting great weather. There are rains from time to time, but it is hard to predict exactly when they will come, and you'll be unlucky to get more than a couple of rainy days in succession.
Scuba diving is good all year round. Wind can obviously impact water based activities like sea kayaking and paddle boarding, and if this is the case we will aim to move these to a day later in the tour.
The winter season (December till April) is definitively not great for surfing. Generally it is also less windy, however, there is usually wind strong enough for trying sailing and even for windsurfing.
Visiting the Maldives is the chance for you to break out the brightly coloured summer clothes that are so often out of place in colder climates. The higher temperatures and ever-present sunshine means that locals and visitors alike prefer dressing in lightweight materials. T-shirts, cotton clothing, skirts and shorts would be the best option to stay cool. The ideal footwear would be sandals and flip-flops. Whether to pack only the more casual options like shorts and khakis or the newest Gucci number depends on what you plan to do, or where you plan to stay. Casual clothing is fine on the local islands and in guesthouses, smart casual clothing is usually enough for Malé or resorts, but the more up-market resorts may require that you dress up for dinner. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and hats are all necessary for a comfortable holiday, but they are available widely for purchase in resorts and around Malé.
With a tropical climate, plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year, there is never a bad time to visit the Maldives. Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November. The rare thunderstorm in the Maldives (especially around the southwest monsoon months) can be a welcome respite from the sun. Cloudy skies and slate grey seas, and crashing thunder makes for lovely reading weather. The warm temperatures will allow you to go for a walk in the rain, a verdant, wet, thoroughly enjoyable experience. For extra exhilaration, take a swim in the rain - the sea will be extra warm.
There can be heavy rain showers pretty much any time of year, but they tend to be short and cannot be accurately predicted seasonally (in other words – don’t worry too much about them – you will quite possibly experience some rain showers, but the majority of the weather should be great, and you will be unlucky to get several consecutive days of heavy rain). Diving is good all year-round, although a basic rule is that reef life is more varied and visibility is better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and on the eastern side of any atoll from December to April.
The Maldives is a Muslim country and care needs to be taken in relation to the dress code on local islands. Whilst it is acceptable for men to wear T Shirts and shorts or swim shorts; females should avoid causing offence by maintaining a more conservative approach to clothes by wearing T Shirts, loose shorts or sarongs. Whilst the islands we visit are more tolerant of guests wearing traditional beachwear, females should avoid wearing bikinis and swimwear unless on an un-inhabited island, picnic island, sandbank, screened off local beach (Maafushi for example), dive boat or resort island. Whilst the law restricts the wearing of bikinis on local islands, some guesthouses (eg. Reveries Guest House on Gan Island) do provide a private sunbathing area on the beach or on the terrace of the guesthouse, our local rep will advise when and where this is possible. It is common practice by both locals and visitors for females to swim from local beaches wearing a t-shirt and shorts. When visiting the home of a local family or during the island tours where we may have access to mosques and family homes, shoulders and thighs should be covered out of respect of local customs.
Local island tours:
Private vehicles are used for sightseeing tours and airport transfers. Public ferries are used for crossings between Male, Guraidhoo and Maafushi. Domestic flights are used between Male and Gan. Speedboat transfers or sea-planes are used for transfers to and from island resorts. A range of motor boats and Dhonis are used for the water based activities included in our tours. All boats carry sufficient life jackets for our travelers. Safety/emergency procedure briefings will be provided by your guide or the boat crew at the start of each journey.
Sailing safari tours:
The boats used on these tours will vary depending on the size of your group, and range from deluxe catamarans to Turkish style gulet sailing boats.
All our tours include an airport meet and greet and transfer service on the first day of your tour. Our rep. will be holding an Encounters Travel or Uncover the World signboard with your name displayed for easy identification. If you can't find our representative, our emergency contact numbers are given on your tour confirmation voucher. No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to incorrect flight details being provided or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Our local island tour itineraries will return you to Malé airport from Maafushi Island in time for flight departures after about midday. If you have an earlier flight departure, please let us know as soon as possible as you may need to book an extra speedboat transfer (at extra cost). If you have a late afternoon/evening flight departure, then we offer a range of options to help fill your day. Please see the tour dossier for details.
If your tour includes a domestic flight back to Male at the end of the tour (for example from Gan) then this flight will be timed to ensure you catch your international flight.
Most of the resort extension options that we offer are based close enough to Malé airport that the resort’s own standard boat transfer service will be able to get you to the airport in time for flights departing at any time of day. However some resorts may charge extra for very early departures, especially if sea plane transfers are required. Please contact us for details and any extra costs if you have an early flight departure before confirming your flight arrangements.
Sailing safari tours will be customised to ensure you are at the airport in plenty of time for your departure flight(s).
There is currently a departure tax in place at Malé airport. Please ensure you have US$13 p/p in cash on you to pay this tax when you leave.
If your flights arrive/depart before/after the tour starts/ends then we will be very happy to arrange additional accommodation and airport transfers for you. We will aim to book these in the same hotel as the main tour, though this will be subject to availability (upgraded hotels are also available on request). If you do not book your additional accommodation through us, then our arrival/departure service is not included and you will need to make your own airport transfer arrangements.
We are committed to working with small numbers in the Maldives as we feel it is appropriate for the country and the activities included on our tours. Our Maldives small-group departures are set to have a minimum of 2 and maximum of 14 travellers. Private tours and boat charters are also available from 1 to 14 people. If you have a larger party please contact us for more information about the best way to arrange activities for your group.
All relevant entry fees, island landing fees and permits are included in your tour price.
While an accepted part of the culture and customs in the Maldives, tipping is always optional, and any amounts paid should reflect excellent service.
It is normal and accepted for people to tip differently, and you should not feel under any pressure to tip any particular amount.
We are often asked for advice on common amounts however, and suggest that up to approx. 5% of the tour price would be a suitable budget for this tour. More information will be provided in your pre-departure information.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are: Hepatitis A and Tetanus. Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics. You are required to carry a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate if you are arriving from a destination with a Yellow Fever risk. More information is available here.
Sensible precautions should be taken to avoid sunburn and dehydration. On arrival and when travelling in the Maldives, we recommend that you stick to drinking bottled mineral water or to help the environment bring water purification tablets or a water filter and a re-usable bottle. Please ensure you have appropriate travel insurance, which includes health cover. If you require prescription medicines, please bring them with you, and include the appropriate documentation.
There are two hospitals on the main island, Malé. The Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital is the biggest hospital in the country providing sophisticated medical care. Some resorts have in-house doctors. A decompression chamber is within easy reach of most resorts in case of emergency.
Maldivians, being Muslims, are prohibited by law from consuming alcohol; hence there is a total restriction on alcohol being available on inhabited local islands, this includes the capital Malé. Alcohol is available at Hulhule Island Hotel which is located at the airport. Arrangements to visit can be made through our local rep. We have tried where possible to take this into account on our local island tours by providing opportunities to visit picnic islands and resorts where alcohol can be made available. However please bear in mind that is difficult to get hold of and even where alcohol is available, it is very expensive!
All tourist island resorts and safari yachts stock alcohol for guest consumption. Traditional beverages include “toddy” – aged coconut sap and plain coconut sap.
Please don’t bring alcohol through the airport as it will be confiscated.
The traditional food of the Maldivians is based around fish, (tuna to be more specific) and coconuts. White rice and “roshi” (a flour based flat-bread) are staple items. Fish is normally smoked, fired, barbequed or roasted. Pork products are strictly prohibited.
Importing goods such as alcohol, pork items, pornography (very broadly defined), religious materials offensive to Islam, idols of worship, narcotics and psychotropic substances, explosives and weapons into the Maldives is strictly forbidden. Alcohol and pork products under a special license are available in resort islands. On the way out, note that exporting sand, turtle shells, seashells and a range of marine products is also forbidden unless you have bought them from a legitimate souvenir shop and can show the receipt.
All baggage including hand baggage is screened as part of the custom’s process before you leave the airports baggage collection area.
The Maldives has a non-convertible currency – Maldivian Rufiyaa – this cannot be purchased beforehand. One Rufiyaa is 100 Laari and is available in 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Rufiyaa notes.
One US Dollar is equivalent to 15.42 Rufiyaa. Major international currencies can be changed easily at the airport on arrival. It is advised not to exchange currency in Male where bank queues are common and waiting time lengthy. The US Dollar is accepted as legal tender. All major credit cards can be used (and are preferred) at resorts, hotels, shops, etc., however, on local islands it is usually only guesthouses that accept credit cards and cash is generally preferred.
The national bank, Bank of Maldives has several branches in Male’ as well as other major population hubs such as the Male’ International Airport. Several other regional banks also operate in central city, Male’, including the State Bank of India, Bank of Ceylon, and HSBC. There are no banks on resort islands or on local islands visited in our tours.
ATMs: Most banks represented in Malé provide automatic teller machine (ATM) services and credit card services at several key points in Malé and Hulhumale. Only local currency MRF will be dispensed. Whilst there is an ATM at the Male branch of the Bank of Maldives dispensing USD$, it only dispenses to Bank of Maldives cardholders. There are no ATMs on resort islands or on the local islands visited on our tours. All major credit cards can be used at resorts, hotels and many shops in Male. Most restaurants and shops in Male will accept USD$ in payment providing change in local currency.
Bank Notes: The banks in the Maldives are very particular about the condition of bank notes and will refuse deposits of old style US Dollars; any damaged notes, badly creased or well-worn notes will also be rejected. Therefore, if presenting such a note as form of payment you may be requested to change to a note of better condition. Please do not take offence, it is purely that the note will have no worth to the individual to whom you are paying. Also, note that small bills .i.e. $1 and $5 have a lower exchange value, as the Bank of Maldives charges for small notes to be deposited.
Spending money and budgeting: It is impossible to say exactly what you will need during your local island visit as this varies depending on personal preferences, the number of extra optional activities and souvenirs you may like to purchase. While on the local islands, approximate prices are as follows:
You should expect prices on resort islands to be considerably more expensive than this.
The Maldives is a place where you don’t require much in order to be comfortable. It is tropical, sunny and very relaxed, so you only really need to bring a few essentials:
Most international airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 23kg per person of luggage to go in the hold of the plane. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure about luggage allowances on your tour. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover.
Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.