Nearly every aspiring traveler has already heard of the crystalline turquoise lagoons, the multicolored coral reefs, and ultra-luxurious over-water villas. Maldives is all that and more. Yet beyond the villas and underwater restaurants is an ancient seafaring civilization scattered across hundreds of islands in the middle of the Indian ocean. This year marks the 50th golden anniversary of Maldives tourism, yet the local island tourism industry is a mere 13 years old. Guesthouses are now one of the principal products of Maldivian tourism, alongside resorts, liveaboards, and hotels.
In 2009, the Maldivian government amended regulations to allow guesthouses to open in the local islands. Before that, tourists could not freely vacation amongst locals on an inhabited island. By staying on a local island, travelers can delve deep into the many sides of life that make Maldives so utterly unique, including five unique Maldivian experiences that go beyond mere luxury!