Best of the Maldives: Beach Cricket – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach cricket

The sand at Cinnamon Hakura Huraa might not polished, but still Maldives-soft making those dramatic diving catches so much easier. And inertia arresting beach makes daisy cutters particularly ineffective so you sort of have to swing for the fences.   Mind you, there actually are specific rules for Beach Cricket to help account for the distinctive playing surface.

With its Sri Lankan connection (Cinnamon resorts are headquartered in Sri Lanka and many of the staff come from there), cricket is a popular pastime on the resort. In fact, their team won are the reigning JKMR champions. I remember training on the beach for (American) football as a youngster. The extra work of the sand giving way under your feet made the work out twice as hard, but when you got onto solid ground, you felt like you had extra bonus power which might be part of the secret to their success.

Best of the Maldives: Sunken Outdoor Massage Pavilion – Makunudu

Makunudu - sunken massage pavillion

For a treatment “in” the beach rather than just “on” it, Makunudu’s Avuun spa features a double table massage area sunken into the beach sand. The space is surrounded by a natural pavilion structure including a drawable curtain if you want privacy from view but still the proximity to the soothing sounds of the water nearby.

Best of the Maldives: Eco Beach – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu - eco beach

Not the Martha and the Muffins classic, but a new perspective on beach beauty by Six Senses Laamu who are preserving vibrant marine life even if it means much bigger landscaping budget (thanks Paola):

  • It takes a lot of effort to maintain the picture perfect white beaches and powder blue turquoise lagoons at tourist resorts. Many of the resorts in the Maldives actively destroy their seagrass beds to maintain this facade. Six Senses Laamu has changed this attitude and are now actively promoting the protection of their seagrass beds as they are a haven for megafauna including green sea turtles, sting rays and baby sharks in addition to being a nursery for juvenile fish, providing oxygen, storing carbon, improving the health of adjacent coral reefs and preventing erosion of the island.”

The resort clarifies that “We have a team of gardeners at Six Senses Laamu that rakes the beach and place the dead seagrass in the jungle so that it can still contribute its nutrients to the coastal system, while also ensuring guests can use the beaches.”

For an helpful introduction to the importance of sea grass in the Maldives, check out the video below.

 

Best of the Maldives: Rum – NIYAMA

NIYAMA Surf Shack 1

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.” – Pirate diddy

Not just any rum bar (and not a “rumba”), but a Reggae Rum Bar at NIYAMA. Set up and run by rum aficionado Tony from Jamaica (via South Africa).  Perched on the beach at the reef edge, it is the ideal spot for landlubber’s to watch seadogs hang ten or watch sunsets with their favourite grog.

Of course, rum is the foundation of my favourite resort drink – the Pina Colada. The Surf Shark didn’t do a pina colada, but instead a slight variation on it called a “Llama Colada”. But its “Zombie” cocktail had one of my all-time favourite descriptions: “The King of the Surf Shak cocktails. Strictly one per person per night” (see photo at bottom). Of course, it was so intriguing, Lori had to have one. Tony’s favourite rum is the exclusive Diplomatico which took the guile of a swashbuckler to get to the Maldives.

Here are some of the rums on offer…

  • Ron Zacapa Centario
  • Havana Club
  • Pampero Aniversario
  • El Ron Prohibido
  • Ron Flor De Cana
  • Pyrat Rum XO Reserve
  • Clement Premier Canne Rhum
  • Clement Martinique
  • Diplomatico
  • Bacardi
  • Captain Morgan Jamaica Rum
  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • Captain Morgan Cannon Ball
  • Malibu
  • Caribbean Rum with Coconut Flavour
  • Plantation Rum
  • Meyers Rum Original Dark
  • Flor de Cana
  • Cachaça Agacana

Drinkin rum before 10.00am makes you a pirate, not an alcoholic” -Earl Dibbles JR

NIYAMA - Surf Shack 2

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NIYAMA - Surf Shack 3

NIYAMA - Surf Shack 4

Best of the Maldives: Beach Rugby Pitch – Cinnamon Hakura Huraa

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach rugby pitch

Six Nations might have concluded this weekend, but you can carry on your place kicks in paradise at Cinnamon Hakuraa Hura. They not only have one of the only rugby pitches, complete with regulation goal posts and boundary line, but it is also set on the beach beside Hakuraa Hura’s expansive lagoon. The Sri Lankan run resort has a number of Sri Lankan staff you play regularly if you are looking to join in a seaside scrum.

Best of the Maldives: Beach Dinner in Bed – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - beach dinner in bed

The Christmas-New Year period is the ultimate calendar week for lingering languor. Lori and I couldn’t make it to the Maldives, but we are still enjoying lounging by the seaside at our family’s place in North Carolina. Our feet are up and we are grazing on American junk food. But it still doesn’t compare with the dormant decadence of Hideaway Beach’s beach bed complete with candlelight and delicacies.

Best of the Maldives: Lifeguard Stand – Finolhu

Finolhu - life guard station

If you want to look out for pirates, Finolhu features the most exquisite lifeguard stand on its beach. A retro classic in robin’s egg blue with a apropos thatches roof. It even includes a set of binoculars to gaze out on the rest of the beach and ocean. Perfect for channelling your inner Baywatch. Or for the fashionistas, inner Babe Watch (it is one of the most popular posing platforms on the island).

Best of the Maldives: Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa – Beach Sport

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach rugby pitch

Dhigufaru might be the “beachiest” island, but Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa is definitely the beachiest activity center. Hakuraa Huraa boasts its own impressive expanse of brilliant white sand (and when the tide goes out it more than doubles in size). Here is there impressive line-up of beach activity…

  • Beach Rugby – A few resorts play some beach rugby (eg. Adaaran Hudhuranfushi, JA Manafaru), but no one has a permanent pitch with goals and line markers in the sand (see above).
  • Beach Cricket – I’ve seen cricket played in the Maldives, but not Beach Cricket. Again, a permanent bowling area in concrete has been set in the beach.
  • Beach Darts – I’ve only seen this at a few resorts.
  • Beach Volleyball – Ok, lots of resorts have this too and Hakuraa Huraa’s is a nice set up.
  • Beach Badminton – You can find this at several resort, but most resort that do offer badminton offer a hard surface court. The beach would make it harder to run, but could make for some crafty strategy (getting someone out of position is all the more valuable) as well as some heroic diving saves.
  • Beach Football – And this is common, but not to be left out here.

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - beach darts

Best of the Maldives: Beachiest – Dhigufaru

Dhigufaru - beach

The first thing that hits you about Dhigufaru is the beach. It leaps out of the promotional pictures when you are researching and planning your visit (see above). And its vast expanse of dazzling white hits you again as soon as you step off the seaplane.

Many resorts make bold claims about being the biggest or the best. Often these aspects are quite subjective. I might consider a “Best of the Maldives” piece if they have something substantive to hang their claims on, but sometimes I can get some real numbers for comparison sake especially for Geography superlatives (eg. Biggest Island, Lowest Population Density). So I took out my trusty calculator (spreadsheet) actually to estimate what portion of the Dhigufaru island was actually beach. The resort wasn’t making any claims about it, but I was.

By my calculations, the island is 42% beach by square metre which is the top of any active resort I can find (the runners up were Rihiveli, Gili Lankanfushi, Cocoa Island). If you are looking for that plot-of-sand-with-a-palm-tree aesthetic (pile of sand, a little vegetation, and all set in a vast ocean), then Dhigufaru is it.