Secret Paradise Maldives

Maldives, Indian Ocean

Secret Paradise Maldives

Maldives, Indian Ocean

‘Beyond the resorts and sunloungers, there’s so much more. Get ready to see the real Maldives with the ONLY conscious, sustainable tour operator.’

Scroll down to explore Secret Paradise Maldives’ transformative experiences or click the leaf-rating tab to reveal their sustainability efforts across Culture, Community, Conservation, Education, and more…

Overview

  • Highlights

    From $55 pp for walking tours to $155 USD for snorkeling experiences.

    100% of the tour guides are Maldivian and are from the local community.

    A supporter of NGOs including ‘Save the Beach’ and MWSRP.

    All snorkeling experiences follow the Green Fins’ best practices.

    Off-the-beaten-track tours like kayaking wild mangrove lakes.

    Based in Greater Male, their eco-tours are throughout the archipelago. 

    Over 100+ beach clean ups to date with the help of over 800+ guests here.

  • Top Tip For Your Stay…

    ‘Make your trip count and learn something new by getting involved in some of the impactful marine conservation efforts in the area.’

    Disconnect To Reconnect…

    Awaken your senses in new wonderful ways by visiting a local Maldivian market, followed by a boat ride where you’ll join a local family to cook up a traditional feast.

    Scuba diving is more than a fun activity, it is like opening a door to another world. Encounter manta rays, turtles, and whale sharks, in crystal-clear waters with responsible, expert guides.

    Jump aboard a luxury catamaran, and set sail on a 7-night island hopping experience to see some of the best beaches on the planet.

  • Meet Your Host

    Meet Ruth, Co-Founder of Secret Paradise Maldives. Over 20 years ago on a diving holiday, Ruth fell head over heels in love with these islands. Relocating from the UK to the Maldives, she’s never looked back.

    Her favourite spots include Dhigurah, Fulhadhoo, Addu, and the quieter islands in the far north. 

    “I remember having talks with the local communities in the very beginning to try to educate them that tourists were interested in them, not just the resorts. They would ask, ‘Why does anybody want to come to my home? What’s interesting about sharing a meal with me?’ Transformative travel is a two-way experience. It’s not just about what the tourists get out of it, it’s also about the locals learning about different cultures. It’s a sort of widening of horizons for everyone.”

    Read the full interview here.

  • Transformative Travel Experiences

    With a maximum of 8 guests per group, the intimate nature of Secret Paradise’s tours makes them stand out. Coupled with 100% Maldivian local tour guides immensely passionate about sharing their home and culture, the travel experiences crafted are both meaningful and transformative.

    Embark on a four-hour Villimalé walking tour to experience island life through the eyes of a local. Explore inspiring conservation projects, taste local delicacies, and watch a sunset all inside one day.

    Visit the island of Utheemu, one of the most important historical places in the Maldives. The 7-night deep north experience is situated in one of the quietest and most pristine parts of these islands.

    Choose the Goidhoo Atoll experience to explore mangroves, seagrass beds, and island lakes; as well as gain a much deeper understanding of Maldivian culture. Meet the inspiring NGOs making a difference and gain insight into their community initiatives.

  • Need-to-Know

    National Geographic told the world that ‘Seafood may be gone by 2048’. If we can already predict something is running out, then it’s not sustainable. Maldivian cuisine has been moving towards REEF fish such as the emperor, snapper, and grouper which breed less. Reef fish are now experiencing huge pressures and are disappearing. With delicious plant-based Maldivian dishes like curries or dal, ask yourself: Is the fish worth more alive than dead?

    One of the biggest threats to the delicate coral reefs is traditional sunscreen. So, don’t forget to pack reef-safe friendly sunscreen. As it’s still an unregulated term, it’s better to check yourself that there is no: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Homosalate or Parabens.

    Although the Maldives is synonymous with luxury, it is still one of the world’s poorest developing countries. Most large resorts and tourists are shut off from the reality of local people’s lives, so it’s important to vote with your wallet, and ensure your money reaches the right pockets as often as possible.

  • Location

    Based in Greater Male, the capital of the Maldives, Secret Paradise Maldives offers award-winning tours as well as locally-owned guest houses and hotel accommodations. They provide a unique insight into the lesser-known inhabited local islands.

    How to get there

    For those who know the journey is as transformative as the destination… As there are no train lines in Maldives the only other choice to reach the country is by boat.

    For those who want to vote with their wallet but don’t have as much time to travel slower… The main international airport is called Velana International Airport which is where the team at Secret Paradise Maldives will greet you.

Gallery

Leaf Rating

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2-leaf status

  • Community
    Connecting guests with local grassroots NGOs, such as 'Save the beach' and the Maldives Whale Shark Research, is one of the ways in which Secret Paradise Maldives supports the local communities. Over 144 guests have engaged with Save the Beach...
    Read More >>

    through Secret Paradise's tours to date. Beyond financial support, the interactions created through the tours increases the NGOs audience reach and opens up new communication channels. By staying in local island guest houses the guests are contributing to the local economy and increasing local employment. Secret Paradise Maldives carefully handpicks properties run by local island families to help keep money within the destination, reduce tourism leakage and support local communities. Secret paradise partners or contracts local businesses, local suppliers and island families to reduce tourism leakage and its negative impacts.

  • Climate Action
    Offsetting Is Not The Answer. Lowering Emissions Is. Equally it can be a positive step (when done right) compared to taking no steps at all. From January, 2023, Secret Paradise Maldives has been working with Path Net Zero, offsetting all day tours and multi-day tours...
    Read More >>

    The next step is to incorporate all tailor-made trips and the operations too. There are 4 types of carbon offsetting projects in Path Net Zero: Forestry protection, Renewable Energies, Community Support and Waste to Energy Projects. All carbon offset projects are Gold Standard and Verified carbon projects.

  • Conservation
    To protect the fragile marine ecosystem and reefs, all snorkel and diving tours follow the recognised 'Green Fins Best Practices'. Every guest is briefed on how to be in the water to conserve the coral and wildlife. The other way in which Secret Paradise supports conservation...
    Read More >>

    is by educating both staff, communities and guests on the importance of seagrass and mangroves, partnering with local NGOs involved with coral rehabilitation and marine life data research. The team of snorkeling guides aid the collection of data to support critical research. The biggest area of concern in the Maldives is over tourism - with too many boats and people in the water at the same time, speeding in SAMPA (South Ari Marine Protected Area), a whale shark area. That's why a tour with Secret Paradise is done in a mindful way which respects the whale sharks.

  • Culture
    Celebrating Maldivian culture and heritage features in 100% of the tours. In particular the island tours, connecting visitors with local artisans and families.
  • Animal Welfare
    There is no published animal welfare policy in place just yet... Watch this space. Secret Paradise Maldives are proud to provide only responsible snorkelling experiences. Working with Green Fins, an organisation on a mission to conserve coral reefs and better educate visitors...
    Read More >>

    When it comes to marine life interactions, there are very clear do’s and don’ts outlined. And all their tours follow the Codes of Conduct created by marine life organizations. Every tour has a briefing to share why it's important not to touch or harass marine life, or treat the underwater world like a petting zoo. Swimming with dolphins is not something Secret Paradise condones. It is however possible to encounter dolphins whilst traveling by boat.

  • Employees
    They look after their employees: good working conditions, a fair wage, ongoing training and development, performance reviews for all the employees, all of which are Maldivian except the Sales Director. They also have the...
    Read More >>

    opportunity to participate in tour leader development programs available from the international partners. In 2022, 7 EFR course renewals, 5 lifeguard renewals, 13 turtle guardians and 4 parley ocean courses were completed.

  • Communication
    From the website, blogs, social media, newsletter, and the booking process, the sustainable, responsible travel messaging is evident throughout. Offline, the teams presentations and tour activities all communicate the importance of community connection, as well as preserving and restoring nature...
    Read More >>

    Secret Paradise Maldives proactively work with government bodies to support responsible tourism here.

  • Transparency
    In 2022 Secret Paradise Maldives published their first annual impact report here - https://secretparadise.mv/our-year-in-review/
  • Bonus
    In 2022, Wanderlust ranked Secret Paradise Maldives in the Top 10 Sustainability Initiative for Tour Operators. At the World Responsible Tourism Awards they were short-listed in ‘Best for Engaging People and Culture’. More recently...
    Read More >>

    Secret Paradise embarked on the Travelife certification, an internationally recognised sustainability programme. Awarded silver at the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Responsible Tourism Awards 2023 in the category Best for Nature-Positive Tourism.

Reviews

  • Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    "What a wonderful experience"

    "I’m so happy to join such a meaningful Eco Tour to Villimale. I heard the detailed explanation from the founder of the NGO. We walked around Villimale and learned how the place changed. I also learned how they conserve the corals and educate people to protect the environment. We enjoyed some local Maldivian snacks and talk of exchanging each other’s cultures. What a wonderful experience!"

    Helen L, Tripadvisor

  • Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    "Just incredible!"

    "Ruth and her team were just incredible. From giving a good range of options for our family holiday and finding us the perfect resort. To meeting and greeting us off the plane and making sure we got to our final destination and more importantly looked after us for our return leg home. I cannot rate more highly."

    Andrew Perry, Google Reviews

  • Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    "Could not have asked for better "

    "The 7 Nights Marine Life Conservation Tour is a unique and educational experience... The Secret Paradise team is enhanced by experts from Save the Beach and The Maldives Whale Shark Research Program. We saw dolphins, turtles, sharks, zillions of colourful fish, eels, lobster and lucky us, both Manta Rays and Whale sharks not 1 but 2! Could not have asked for anything better."

    Janet Smailes, Google Reviews

  • Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    Kiwano Hotels
    "Thank you for a wonderful time"

    "I have been on two tours with Secret Paradise (Snorkeling and Huraa) and if I had stayed longer, I would have loved to go on even more tours. The guide took time to educate about the rules of snorkeling in order to respect the nature. Thank you for a wonderful time!"

    AnnikaS70, Tripadvisor

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