See the Real Maldives

Jad Davenport

Lavish resorts. Infinity pools. If there’s such a thing as a complaint in the Maldives, it’s that my visits rarely allow much exploring or a chance to meet many locals. The resorts – and the scattered nature of the region’s 1,190 islands -- make staying put easy. Too easy. On my last trip, however, I discovered the Four Seasons Explorer, a luxury dive boat that carries 22 guests on 3-, 4-, and 7-night safaris through the archipelago. The ship explores several of the Maldives’ lesser-visited islands. While divers can focus on thilas (coral heads) and whale sharks and mantas, non-divers can relax on board, book a treatment with the boat's masseuse, and take advantage of visits to local villages.

You can see them in the Jan/Feb issue of ISLANDS, on newsstands now (free copy here). See the real Maldives for yourself with, and be sure to look up Qatar Airlines. They'll be offering daily service from Chicago beginning April 10.