How To Do The Maldives Without Being A Tourist

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There can be a fine line between tourism and adventure travel. 

When you’re visiting somewhere popular for pleasure, you’re most likely a tourist by definition. But a real adventurer? 

A real adventurer gets off the beaten track. Explores the unknown. Ventures into places that most people would never think, nay dare, to go. 

Now you might have noticed the Maldives have crept onto the radar for honeymooners and hotel-lovers over the last few years. That DOESN’T mean it’s not an incredible destination for adventurers too. 

So how can you step outside the usual tourist traps and see the REAL Maldives?

There’s nothing stopping you – you just need to know how. 


How to see the REAL Maldives

The Maldives is one of the world’s most desirable destinations because of its stunning natural beauty, white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and idyllic setting. 

That’s without mentioning the luxurious resorts either.

But if you want to experience the authentic Maldives less like a tourist and more like a local, there are a few things you can do…

1. Head off the beaten track on a local island in The Maldives

How to avoid the tourist traps and usual places if you’re looking for a more authentic experience in the Maldives. 

There are more than 200 inhabited islands in the Maldives and many of them are home to small, traditional villages.

By staying on a local island, you can experience true Maldivian culture and the way of life without the luxury resort feel – and that can be so much more satisfying. It’s also a great way to meet locals, learn about their culture and try some of their delicious food.

On our “The Real Maldives” adventure, you’ll be staying on the local islands of Goidhoo and Fulhadhoo as well as the cultural paradise of Reethi Beach. 

Click HERE to check out our REAL Maldives itinerary

How To Do The Maldives Without Being A Tourist - islands
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2. Eat like a local.

Don’t get tempted by those all inclusives…

The Maldives is a foodie’s paradise, with a cuisine that’s as diverse as its islands. 

You won’t be surprised that seafood is always on the menu, but so is fish curry, fish soup, yams, and dishes that wouldn’t look out of place in Sri Lanka or India. It’s a varied cuisine and one you’ll never forget.

Dishes you should DEFINITELY try include gulha, a traditional dish made with whole roasted fish that’s been stuffed with spices and coconut. Little bit messy for the eating, but the flavours and feels are well worth the effort. 

Then you’ve got kulhi boakibaa, deep-fried fish cakes made from tuna, onions and spices – perfect for a beachside lunch. Or if you like your food really hot, make sure you try theluli mas, a fiery fried fish dish, served with a side of rice. Mmmmm.

3. Don’t just stick to one resort or even just one island…

There’s more to an authentic Maldives adventure than over-sea bungalows…

Aside from the local islands, there are also the less-visited islands in the Maldives. 

A lot of them are properly off the radar when it comes to tourism, which means you can find completely unspoiled terrain from beaches to forests and crystal-clear waters where the only thing you’ll find besides yourself is fish.

Away from the tourist areas on the busier islands, there’s plenty going on, too.

From local businesses to schools, mosques, restaurants and communities, there’s a lot going on. By heading away from the tourist-laden areas, you can find out a lot more about the culture and if you’re up for it, there are always ways to get involved in the community.

If you’re looking for an enriching experience, you could always look at volunteering at a local school to get really involved!

Our authentic Maldives adventure sees you staying in local guest houses rather than fancy hotels, to make sure you minimise your carbon footprint while you’re there and get the most authentic (and most enjoyable) experience. 

Click here to check out the next available dates on our authentic Maldives adventure

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4. Say “YES!” to every opportunity! 

If you want a truly authentic Maldivian experience…

When you visit anywhere, you want to truly experience it.

And when we say experience, that’s subjective, of course. But what we really mean is get out and see what it has to offer – and in the Maldives, there’s endless waters to explore, rainforests to head into, and hundreds of local islands to delve into. 

Whether you fancy a spot of snorkelling, learning to dive, riding the waves on a surfboard, a hike in the rainforest or a bit of island-hopping, there’s nothing stopping you.

The only issue you’ll run into in the Maldives is that you’ll probably run out of time to do everything you could do – oh well, you’ll just have to come again I suppose…

5. Take sustainability seriously in the Maldives
That place is beautiful – let’s keep it that way…

The ecosystem and environment play a huge role in making the Maldives what it is.

Made up of more than 200 islands, it’s a unique place that has a fragile ecosystem and learning about how it works can help work towards protecting it. 

There are plenty of ways you can do that, whether it’s by going on a nature walk, heading to a local environmental organisation or learning about the plants, animals and wildlife that’s native to the Maldives. 

Whatever you do, make sure you make the most of it. The Maldives is a truly beautiful and unique place and there are few other places on the planet quite like it. 

On our REAL Maldives adventure, we work closely with the local community to ensure all our activities have a positive impact on the environment and the local economy.

Click here to find out what you’ll be doing in the Maldives with the Bucket List Company – that itinerary is to die for! 


How To Do The Maldives Without Being A Tourist - island at sunset
How To Do The Maldives Without Being A Tourist - Birdseye of beach

Quick tips for travelling to The Maldives
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want more advice…

Getting away from the crowds in The Maldives allows you to enjoy the authentic experience you’re looking for and you can make your trip whatever you want it to be.

But in terms of practical tips, here are a few that might help you make it that little bit more special:

The busy season is between December – April, so if you’re looking for a trip that’s a bit less crowded, maybe consider travelling outside of these months – OR be sure to visit the local islands rather than the resorts.

Come up with an itinerary before you go. There are SO many different ways to experience the Maldives, which why it’s important to choose the things you want to do ahead of time and come up with a plan.

Be flexible! Things don’t always go to plan, so just go with the flow and chalk it all up to being an adventure.

Remember, it’s your trip and it can be as magical, authentic and unforgettable as you want it to be.

See the Real Maldives with The Bucket List Company

Now you know why, here’s HOW you can experience the authentic Maldives and enjoy a trip of a lifetime – it’s simple with the Bucket List Company. 

Thanks to our carefully thought-through itineraries (no boring stuff, promise!), likeminded travel-mad groups, manageable monthly payment instalments and everything sorted for you – all you have to do is find your passport.  

We’re always here to chat if you’ve got questions about adventure travel and seeing the world in a new light. But first, check out our Real Maldives itinerary… And don’t let life slip you by.


Click Here To View The Real Maldives Adventure!

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