Updated: Jan 5
Our second and final hotel of the holiday was at Huvafen Fushi, which was described to us by our travel consultant Chinmoy Lad as one of the "OG luxury 5-star resorts of the Maldives". It's mandatory to have a negative PCR lab test result within 48 hours of arriving to the resort, so we had one done at Joali a few days before.
After taking the seaplane from Joali (Muravandhoo Island) back to Male, we were passed on from the Joali staff to the Huvafen Fushi staff, and taken directly to the dock where a speedboat was waiting for us. Huvafen Fushi doesn't require taking a seaplane as it's much closer to Male, and only takes around 30 minutes by speedboat. Once on the speedboat, we were given refreshments and as the only guests on the boat, were told we could safely take off our masks again.
My first impression of Huvafen Fushi after we arrived at the jetty was - serene and quiet. In true Maldives-resort fashion, the management staff were ready to greet us, and we met our lovely Jadugar (Yoonus), who took us to our beach bungalow. We wanted to switch things up from our previous water villa, and experience the villa on sand. Our lush greenery-surrounded bungalow had a beautiful view of the white sand beach and ocean right in front of it, and a small outdoor pool as well. The back of the bungalow also had a private sanctuary-esque pool and lounging area connected to the modern bathroom.
We spent the morning touring the serene, maze-like resort and then sat down with the dive centre guys in our last-ditch effort to seek out ocean wildlife. We signed up for night snorkelling, scuba diving, and even the whale shark expedition. Huvafen Fushi turned out to be the resort where we saw the majority of animals - over just five days versus eleven days of little to no wildlife at Joali.
UV NIGHT SNORKELLING
*The experience started with snorkelling from sunset with UV light beams and blue glasses, which gave live corals a cool neon glowing effect. Once it became pitch black, we switched over to regular goggles and flashlights to see the other marine life.
Giant hermit crabs
Bioluminescent algae (so beautiful!)
White-tipped reef shark
DISCOVER SCUBA DIVING
*We had only gone scuba diving once prior at Joali, and we loved it so much we did another "Discover"-level scuba dive experience at Huvafen Fushi. We saw a lot more cool animals on this one!
Black-tipped reef sharks
Hawksbill sea turtles
Giant moray eel
WHALE SHARK EXPEDITION
*This was the coolest (and most baller) experience we'd done at Maldives. The way out took a total of four hours to get to Ari Atoll, which is apparently where whale sharks are during this time of the year. They took us on a nice yacht with a bedroom so we could nap until we got there. Little did we know that the highlight would actually be the giant curious manta rays that come right up to you, rather than the elusive whale sharks!
We had such a lovely time here in the end, made even better by Yoonus our Jadugar and Kate, the Thai chef who specially treated us to an incredible Thai breakfast every morning after learning that Jon was half Thai.
Verdict: If you're an animal lover like us, you must check out this resort! Saw loads of families but hardly any kids (and zero problematic ones if any), so would recommend for a romantic holiday. You can even ask to do private sunset dinners by the infinity pool, which I saw all decked out for someone's proposal one night. There's tons of space between guest groups, so you feel completely safe. In fact, we hardly ever saw other guests at all except during meals.
Next part: Our return journey from hell