One of the best and most fascinating travel destinations in the world, The Maldives is fast emerging as a world favorite for superyacht cruising. The small chain of Islands that make up the Maldives, known as ‘The pearls of the Indian Ocean’, are a luxury treasure consisting of 26 atolls. The ancient coral islands of natural beauty provide the perfect break from the reality of the pandemic.
The Republic opened to foreign-flagged vessels on September 15, 2020 reports Mohamed Hameed of Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS). The APS team began welcoming superyachts soon after, including several superyachts. “Other yachts plan to visit soon including four superyachts and many more are inquiring”, he adds.
A visiting Captain remarked to Mr. Hameed: “For the time being it sounds like the Maldives would be one of the easiest destinations for the yacht and guests to visit! Most other countries require quarantine periods and still limit various nationalities in general“.
“We are noticing that a lot of yachts are choosing to visit Maldives quite early in the season this year, as vessels are aware Maldives regulations/restrictions are relatively easier compared to the rest of the yachting destinations. We are potentially looking at a very successful and happening season ahead 2020/2021”, Mohamed enthused.
Arriving Superyachts start their adventure at the capital island of Malé, lying north and located among the miniscule coral islets of the Maldives' nature-rich archipelago. A fascinating travel destination and a favourite of superyachts, the Maldives is one of the few top cruising destinations lifting Covid-19 restrictions.
“Most yachts still choose to be anchored near Bandos Island Resort when guests are not on board and/ or while waiting for guests. This is mainly because Bandos is closer to airport and makes it easy for crew change, ease of receiving provisions, garbage clearance etc.
A few superyachts are choosing to go to the Yacht Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives; however, there are only two slots big enough for 60 meters LOA. Crossroads is mainly used to stay on anchor when there are no guests as great place for crew entertainment”, reports Mohamed.
It usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes for arrival/departure process to complete; given that all required arrival/departure documents/formalities are completed well in advance. Hameed notes, “The process is usually smooth as we guide the Captain/Crew with constant clear communication day and night. We ensure that all formalities/documents are in place prior to these proceedings”.
There are no restrictions imposed on specific nationals; but generally, all nationals entering Maldives will need to show a Negative PCR result. The PCR test must be conducted 72hrs prior to departure to Maldives. In case for transiting/visiting yachts; each crew will be required to conduct the test 72hrs prior to departure from their last port (even though it takes several days at sea afterward to reach Maldives). As well, a Traveler Health Declaration (THD) form must be submitted by all travelers travelling to and from Maldives, within 24 hours prior to their travel. This can be submitted electronically via http://imuga.immigration.gov.mv.
A multi-generational resident with a deep knowledge of his country’s attractions, Mohamed Hameed suggests the following for an extraordinary trip on one´s own yacht or luxury charter yacht. In ending a journey, Hameed suggests experiencing the pristine natural beauty of Baa Atoll at Nibiligas & Mendhoo Islands as a perfect finale to a cruising journey.
“We have some wonderful itineraries and special anchorages for superyachts .The Maldives has an abundance of dive sites providing one thrilling dive opportunity after another. The best season for scuba diving is from January to April when there is very good visibility and excellent sea conditions.
Cruising within the waters of Maldives is quite hassle free notes Mohamed, except for going ashore to local inhabited islands, “Resort visits are based on individual permissions from respective resort managements, etc. There are plenty of exciting activities for guests to experience while in Maldives - going ashore to uninhabited islands, sandbanks, and other recreational activities on open water - such as diving, snorkelling, fishing, water sports etc.
In addition to water options, yachting guests can explore the natural beauty of the Maldives. A not to be missed experience is a visit to a breathtakingly beautiful island that is home to the luxurious Anantara Kihavah Villas, located on the Baa Atoll in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The resort welcomes visitors with an extraordinary feature, a panorama of aquatic life at the world's only underwater restaurant and wine cellar!
Muthaafushi Island at Baa Atoll
Muthaafushi Island, house reef and Muthaafushi Thila a high biodiversity and standing population of hard and soft corals and associated marine invertebrates and vertebrates. This area has a high populations of large fin fish including sharks (one of the remaining locations within the atoll that sharks can be found) and pelagic species along with nest sites for green turtles and roosting sites for the Black-Napped, Roseate and Lesser Noddy terns.
Dusit Thani Resort on Mudhdhoo Island
A beautiful sanctuary in Baa Atoll sheltered by nature amidst white sandy beaches and encircled by a turquoise lagoon, 100 top of the line guest villas are situated amongst the natural waterways. The Dusit Thani is known for frequent sightings of dolphins and sea turtles and the resort’s ‘living house reef’ is a snorkeler’s paradise. Special dinners and sand spit picnics/set-ups can be arranged as well as visits to the wonderful reef that surrounds Mudhdhoo Island (advance permission required).
The ocean lies at the heart and soul of the Maldives and dining on seafood just pulled from the ocean and cooked in front of you is always a treat. Of the thousands of islands that make up the Maldives, only approximately 200 are inhabited, making them the perfect cruising ground to discover your very own private paradise.
Nibiliga is a small but exclusive island and an add-on for those who wish to spend an extra day in the pristine natural beauty of Baa Atoll. Nibiligaa is one of the uninhabited islands of Baa Atoll and located in the Mendhoo Region are: Nibiligaa Island and reef; Mendhoo Island and reef; and Mendhoobinmathee Faru and Kaburu Faru.
Safe Travels Stamp
The Ministry of Tourism Republic of Maldives announced the Maldives was awarded the Safe Travels Stamp, granted by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). WTTC recognises the efforts of the Maldives in implementing enhanced health and safety measures in line with the WTTC global Safe Travels protocol of creating a safe, gradual plan by rebuilding confidence among travellers and ensuring a coordinated approach in restarting the country’s Tourism industry.
It is the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel & Tourism, designed to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also embraced the WTTC Safe Travels stamp, which have the safety and hygiene of travellers as their top priority. Since the launch of the stamp, major destinations around the world have signed up to the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp.
A substantial reduction in fees to enter the Maldives also benefits visiting vessels. This helps make the Maldives a superyacht favourite and provides a viable stopover for all yachts crossing the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is a convenient stop-over for yachts bound for either the Red Sea or en route via the Cape of Good Hope.