“I literally had to pick my jaw up off the sand and wipe the tears of happiness streaming down my cheeks.”
Katherine Gaskin x The Asia Collective
COCONUT TREE HULHUVILLA BEACH
A few nights at Coconut Tree Hulhuvilla Beach in Hulhumale were exactly what I needed to feel rested and rejuvenated post-plane ride. On my first morning, I woke up to the watch the sunrise over the ocean since it was steps away from my room.
The outdoor shower and tub on my private patio was my favorite part of my stay at Coconut Tree. Who needs towels when you can dry off under the sun?
The full spread at breakfast was the perfect start to my day and fuelled me up for the impromptu island adventure the front desk helped me plan. I took a quick boat ride to the island of Maafushi and met a local snorkelling expert there.
I told him I wanted to nap under palm trees and swim in crystal clear water all day. We boarded his boat and after staring at the insanely vibrant turquoise water for 30 minutes, we arrived to the uninhabited island of Villivaru.
I literally had to pick my jaw up off the sand and wipe the tears of happiness streaming down my cheeks.
It was beyond anything I’d ever seen in a travel magazine or even in real life – it was TRUE paradise. I only had to share the entire island with 3 other vacationers AND I still had phone service, so I could Insta-brag about my day!
Once I was well rested and well fed after my stay at Coconut Tree, I was ready to “sea”-ze the day.
BOUTIQUE BEACH DIVING HOTEL
I arrived to Dhigurah island and was happily greeted by Romney, the owner, and all of the wonderful staff at Boutique Beach Diving Hotel. There was a fresh young coconut waiting for me and a room with my name on it — my name was actually written on the front door of my room, which made me really feel welcome.
The room itself was immaculate. It had everything a travelling photographer like me needed: luxurious bedding for a restful night’s sleep, views of giant palm trees, outlets for charging all of my equipment and a lavish open-air rain shower.
I woke up the next morning and enjoyed a delicious local-style breakfast of Roshi (like a flatbread) and Mas Huni (tuna, freshly grated coconut, chilli, lime and onion).
What happened in the next hour is something I will remember for the rest of my life: I swam with whale sharks and manta rays!
Although Dhigurah is a small, quiet local Maldivian island, there is so much to do if you like to explore.
Walk around the quiet village, see how the locals live, dine on food made by Maldivian chefs, sunbath on an endless stretch of nearly deserted beach created by Mother Nature, take naps under a forest of swaying coconut palms and encounter the most magnificent underwater sea life in the world.
The best part about Boutique Beach Diving Hotel was that they made me feel like family. They showed me their beautiful island from a local’s perspective and I am forever grateful for the unforgettable memories I created there.
“I’ll miss you Maldives, but I’ll definitely be back soon.”