I’ve already talked about my honeymoon to Maafushivaru, but there was one aspect of the trip that made it even more memorable – our very own private island experience. Proper Robinson Crusoe vibes! (If Robinson Crusoe had a hot tub and prosecco…)
Being able to stay on your own island is the stuff of dreams for most of us, achievable only if you’re a multi-millionaire with money to burn. Yet in this little corner of paradise, it’s easily possible – the main island we stayed on, Maafushivaru, has a tiny sister island just a short boat ride away, that just has to be explored.
By day, it was open to everyone on the resort who could sail across for a morning/afternoon of snorkelling and sunbathing, but at night it could be privately booked for anything from sunset picnics to dinners on the beach and overnight stays. It was one of the things that made us choose Maafushivaru in the first place – how could we say no to our own island for the night?
And I’m so glad we went for it! It was utterly spectacular. As with many things in the Maldives, we got there via dhoni boat, and were greeted on the jetty with tropical punch and shown to our stunning villa. Tucked away in the jungle (can it be a jungle if it’s tiny? I’m going with yes), it had a hot tub on the deck, an indoor/outdoor bathroom, day beds to lounge on, and no phone/TV connection. A true castaway experience! (We were given an old-school mobile phone for emergencies and the TV had movies on a memory stick, and you could probably swim back to the main island if you really had to, but still.)
With that, we were given a torch, bug spray, water and prosecco, and were left to our own devices for the next few hours. Of course, we had to explore. A true desert island, you could walk around the entire thing in two minutes’ flat, but it had all the creature comforts of a resort, such as sun loungers, thatched parasols and swings, and a beautiful old boat for watching the sunset. And that’s exactly what we did.
Uninterrupted views of the sun setting on the horizon, the moon and stars peeking through the thick blanket of midnight-blue sky that followed, and all on our own. It doesn’t get much better. But it did! Shortly after the sun went down, the dhoni returned with our waiter and one of the chefs, who set us up a fabulous picnic on the beach before again leaving us to our own devices. I say picnic, but it was so much more than that – we had plate after plate of stunning food, sat at a beautifully decorated table, surrounded by lamplight, listening to the gentle crash of the waves on the lagoon, and shared the beach with the crabs that scuttled up onto the shoreline when the sun went down.
This bit, I have to say, was rather unnerving to begin with – our little circle of orange light was largely critter-free, but shine the torch onto the darkness of the beach beyond and you can see hundreds of crabby eyes staring back at you. The big ones weren’t exactly scared of us either. But we soon got over it and settled into our evening, which finished with prosecco in the hot tub, listening to music and the swaying of the palm trees.
The morning started in much the same way – still in awe of the fact that we were on our very own island, we quickly made our way out onto our own little slice of paradise. We paddled, explored and ate the delicious breakfast that had been set up for us on the decking area – we had to move to the beach to escape the mosquitoes, the only very minor drawback of the island, which apparently isn’t fogged as much as its big sister – and felt incredibly smug when the daytime visitors started arriving from the main island. Particularly when we were watching them from the hot tub.
It’s an experience I’ll never forget. It was such a struggle to leave, but luckily the blow was made slightly easier by the fact that we were sailing back towards a slightly bigger tropical island for the final two days of our trip. Paradise definitely found.