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 fourseasons.com/maldives, and be sure to look up Qatar Airlines. They’ll be offering daily service from Chicago beginning April 10.
Photos by www.jaddavenport.com.