Arriving on Maafushivaru after a 25 min seaplane ride from Male we were dropped off in the middle of the sea on a pontoon. A Dhoni (traditional Maldivian boat) was ready to pick us up and at the Island we were surrounded by friendly staff handing out ice-cold face towels and a color-full refreshing Welcome drink.

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Shoeless in the sand and with our snorkelling/diving equipment in our bags we were ready to celebrate Christmas.

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Our new home was an overwater villa, modern and minimalistic, lots of natural light in the room with large windows overlooking the endless stretch of turquoise water.

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A nice sundeck terrace, with stairs straight in to the water, large bathroom with a bathtub overlooking the balcony and the ocean and a shower was installed just in the entrance from the Balcony to the bathroom.

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Maafushivaru means “The Flower Island” and on this small Island you will find 48 Villas, a wine cellar, a library / cafe, a restaurant Gallery Cuisine, a spa and yoga area, the Water bar, a big freshwater pool and a small stage for the different entertainment during the week. Furthermore there is the diving center, a small boutique, a water sports center, and the restaurant 135 Degrees East.

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The Island also have a small sister-island, Lonubo, that is uninhabited and different trips can be arranged to the island.

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Maafushivaru is located on the southern tip of the Ari atoll, so this makes it one of the best places to get the chance to swim with the whale shark. And as we wanted to see the life beyond the beach, we signed up for a few aquatic adventure. The Christmas snorkeling on Lonubo Island, Manta Ray snorkeling trip & not to be missed, Diving with the Whale shark.

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We rented a Kayak and went paddling across the island’s lagoon, crossing over to the nearby Lonubo Island. It almost felt like being inside a picture perfect postcard of the Maldives.

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We did not spend a long time at the Island before that relaxing feeling you get in the Maldives came sneaking up on us so before we knew, we were sitting at the Water bar sipping cocktails with same colors as the ocean admiring the amazing view.

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The Island is surrounded by coral reef, that houses different fish, in all different color, small sharks and sea-turtles. Once you get in the water with your snorkel, there is a world beneath the surface inviting you to see thing from another perspective. We tried to get close up to the black tip sharks swimming in the lagoon, but they were too fast for us.

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Snorkeling in the Maldives is a must try thing to do even if you have not done snorkeling before.

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The underwater life is beyond amazing and what we saw during our snorkeling trips was all from Manta Ray, Sharks, Turtles, corals and fish in all kind of colors swimming around us. And not to forget the whale shark.  

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Early morning on the way to our dive site a school of dolphins decided to welcome us by swimming alongside the boat. At this time both my camera and my phone was downstairs and i had no time to get any of them to capture it on film, so I just enjoyed the view of watching them leaping up and down of the water. What i did get a photo of was the whale shark, but it was difficult to get a clear shot as we only saw it during snorkeling and not during diving. Same for the manta ray as it was difficult following them while snorkeling. You really need to swim fast to try to catch up with them.

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One of the evening we got invited for a complementary dinner at The restaurant 135 degrees East. We were served a fantastic dinner with sushi and teppanyaki. The service was great and the location just amazing.

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On reflection, the fluency of the Maldives is found not on the sun lounger but out at sea, surrounded by crystal blue water. We dived beneath the surface and the ocean and found a Maldives that is much more than just relaxing and eating and left with memories that will be cherished forever.

How to get there:

Direct flight from Singapore to Male with Singapore airlines.

As we arrived late we had to stay over at Male city so we booked one night at Somerset hotel. Hotel provided pick up service from/to Airport.

Check in for the seaplane is at the airport and transport is then provided to the seaplane terminal by bus.















Pousada Tankamana

High up in the Valley

Pousada Tankamana is located in the Cuiaba Valley in the mountain range outside the City of Rio de Janeiro. It is close to the major center of Itaipava, a region known for organic farming with products like Cheese, Jam and trout. Itaipava is a small town that could well have been a mountain town in Germany and so different from other places I have visited in Brazil. The best way to get there is by car and it is about a 2 hour drive from the international airport in Rio. It is just to follow the road to Petropolis and then turn off the main road when you see the road sign to Itaipava. Looking at the map we knew we had to pass Itaipava and then turn up in to the valley to get on the right road. We almost passed the junction where we had to turn, but managed to see the road sign at the last moment. After turning of the main road we continued on a narrow road for some kilometers, passing some horse farms, some restaurants along the road and some nice villas so this was looking promising. The road  became more narrow and got over to a gravel road so we started to think we might be on the wrong road, but again there was a sign telling us we were heading in the right direction. Continuing the road got more winding and deep in to the forest so we made a question mark to what places we had booked. It was getting late and dark outside so when we finally arrived at a big gate we were happy to find out we had arrived at the right place and could check in to our “Chalet” in the middle of the forest.


We wanted a change from the City life and the beaches and booked a stay for the weekend at this pousada. If you are not used to driving in Rio it can be an adventure in itself and getting out of Rio on a Friday afternoon is the same as being stuck in traffic. Arriving late on Friday evening due to the traffic we where meet by the friendly staff showing us to our Chalet. They had made up the fire place as it was in August and a bit chilly so what a welcome after a long drive.  It was first when we woke up the next morning we realized how beautiful this place hidden far up in the valley was.

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There was no rush to get up for breakfast as there was no timing for it. Whenever you feel like getting up to have your breakfast they will serve you. So we enjoyed our time, walking around looking at the place.

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After Breakfast we drove down to Itaipava to have a look around as it was Saturday and the market day. All the local people come to town to sell and buy things, meet up with friends, have a chat over a beer or a coffee. I love this atmosphere. We where visiting the marked and some small shops along the road. We stopped for a coffee and found a nice wine store where we ended up buying some wine for the evening.



The people where friendly and talking and even they don’t speak much English they kept talking in Portuguese and smiling. We went for lunch at a nice restaurant we where recommended in the city before heading back to the pousada.


We where back in the valley and wanted to spend the rest of our stay enjoying this fantastic place. If your not in to just relaxing there are 2 swimming pools, sauna, gym and spa so more than enough for an enjoyable weekend and being surrounded by nature you have lots of options for hiking. And they have bow and arrow if you would like to practice that. We went to explore the forest and did some hiking.

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Followed by some relaxing time in the sauna and a refreshing swim in the pool.



This pool connected with the sauna have running water from the mountain and is not heated so makes you wake up when you jump in the pool from the sauna and swim out. We enjoyed our stay to the fullest, with wine by the fireplace in our Chalet, followed by an amazing dinner at the restaurant. They serve Brazilian and International food and being in the area with fresh trout they had different options on the menu. We tried out a few during our stay and the food could not have been better. It’s a 5 star resort surrounded by forest hidden in the valley.

To get to Tankamana we rented a car in Rio and booked our stay at so if you are in Rio and want a break from the beach and the samba this is the place to go.