Dishing all the details on where we stayed, what we did, and all that we ate during our honeymoon in the Maldives!
Planning the Trip
When it came time for Johnny and I to choose a honeymoon destination, we knew that we wanted to take advantage of the time he would be able to take off from work for the wedding/honeymoon, so we wanted to travel farther than we usually would. This brought up the idea of the Maldives, since it’s always been on our bucket list of destinations to visit together.
For a little high level background, the Maldives is an independent country that’s made of around 1,200 islands in the Indian ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka and India. Out of all of these islands, only about 200 are currently inhabited, many of which have their own resorts on them. All of the islands are very flat and just above sea level, as they’re made of coral reefs that sit on the crown of a huge submerged ancient volcano (insane, right!). The reefs that form the island make a turquoise ring-shaped body of water, which you can see from arial or far-away shots of the islands.
If Johnny has a reef to snorkel around and I have a beach to read a book on then we are two very happy people (doesn’t take much). So we were looking for a place where we could both do those things and truly relax and decompress after the crazy wedding week. The Maldives provided just that, and are just as exotic as they are luxurious.
There are dozens of incredible, world-class resorts in the islands (it’s been ranked a top honeymoon destination in the world by U.S. News), so it can be a bit overwhelming once you start to look into it. We wanted to stay in a spot that was authentic to the culture and food of the Maldives and wasn’t part of a large resort chain, but still provided the high end amenities of a five star property. Thus, we discovered just thatt (and more) in Coco Bodu Hithi…
We flew out for our honeymoon on the Monday evening after our wedding weekend, which we would highly recommend. That allowed us to take Sunday to say goodbye to our wedding guests at a farewell breakfast on Sunday morning, and then relax with our families and recap everything that afternoon and evening! Then we spent Monday morning/afternoon doing some last-minute packing and heading to the airport, so it never felt like we were rushing, which was so nice after such a jam-packed wedding week prior.
We flew from Orlando to Dubai, which was about a fifteen hour flight, and then had a seven hour layover in the Dubai airport, which we spent in a lounge thanks to Johnny’s Capital One card). Then we got on a four hour flight from Dubai to Malé, which is the capital island of the Maldives where the major airport is located. There we were picked up by the resort’s boat and took a forty five minute ride to the island of Coco Bodu Hithi, where their resort is the only property there.
I wanted to list out a few tips I think helped with our travel day, and honestly made it a breeze!
- We flew Emirates which is arguably the nicest airline in the world. We opted for Economy seats and booked an aisle and window seat, and lucked out on the way there by not having anyone sit in between us (we were not as lucky on the way back and had a stranger between us). But we honestly slept most of the flight so we didn’t feel like we missed out on not splurging for Business class. There was also a huge price difference in the Economy vs Business class seats, and we couldn’t justify spending the difference.
- I recently rounded up the items that save me for long flights and travel days, and shared them here: “Travel Essentials from Amazon and for Long Flights.” Top of mind are my adjustable memory foam head pillow, my airplane footrest hammock, and my ‘fits everything’ duffle carry-on.
- I had my honeymoon suitcase completely packed before our wedding week even started, and that was extremely helpful not to have to focus on during or right after the weekend. On Monday when we left I just packed my toiletries, makeup, and electronics and was good to go!
- On our way there we flew directly to the Maldives without staying in Dubai, but on our way back we spent two nights in Dubai. We were really happy with this decision as it allowed us to break up the journey home and not be completely depressed about leaving the Maldives after our week there, since we still had two nights of our honeymoon in Dubai to look forward to.
- To see all that I packed for the trip, take a look at my Maldives Honeymoon Packing List post!
Where We Stayed
Coco Bodo Hithi– Wow wow wow. Let me start out by making a big statement. This resort is in my top three favorite, most incredible places I’ve ever stayed in. And I do not make that list lightly. 😂 It is even better than it looks online, better than my photos and videos, and better than what we imagined it would be like.
It was wild because at one point during our stay the resort was at full capacity, but it felt maybe a quarter full? The whole island is only about a half mile long, and when Johnny and I would take the ten minute walk from our villa to the main pool area, we’d only see two or three other couples or families (at most!) the entire time. Since the accommodations are so beautiful and immersed in nature, we figured that a lot of the guests enjoyed time in and by their villas, which really made the rest of the island feel like a private oasis. 95% of the time we didn’t see anyone else on the beaches, and the main pool was never even close to crowded. We definitely felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, which was exactly what we were looking for in our honeymoon (in other words, to be unbothered, relaxed, and enjoy time just us two!).
We stayed in Coco Residence #619, which was located on the side of the island solely dedicated to the over-the-water Coco Residences. It was located on the sunset side, so we were able to catch the sun slip under the horizon each evening around 7pm. The Coco Residence is the largest villa option the resort offers, and is about 1700 square feet (larger than our apartment in NYC lol). It was super roomy with a living room, a large bedroom, an expansive bathroom with two sinks, a walk-in shower, a soaking tub, and an outdoor shower right outside. But our favorite part of all was the back deck that had the stunning infinity pool, a table and chairs (ideal for playing cards!), two lounge chaises, and a covered daybed. It also had steps down to a dock that had its own ladder, so you could slip right into the ocean whenever you wanted, and then have your own private entrance back up to the villa. It was just perfect for us to spread out and unpack our things for our seven-night stay.
There are a number of other over-the-water villa options at the resort, as well as beachside island villas that have their own private section of the beach, and are steps from the ocean. You truly cannot go wrong with staying anywhere on the island. Our residence came with a private butler, Gowtham, who made our reservations, scheduled our activities, and made sure we had whatever we needed— whether it be fresh water in our villa or having some laundry done (yes, they will do your laundry and then bring it back folded in a wicker basket… the details!!). Gowtham was just a pleasure to get to know, and was too good to us throughout our stay! We also had made sure to bring plenty of cash to give tips before we left, to everyone who worked there that we had gotten to know.
What We Did
Floating breakfast– We were spoiled right off the bat by having a floating breakfast at our villa the first morning of our stay. The day before that we filled out a menu of what we wanted to eat, and it all showed up at 9am the next morning, where someone helped us set it up in the pool. It was such a cool way to spend breakfast while being in the water. The food was unreal too— there was everything from omelets to assorted pastries and fruit. I’ve seen floating breakfasts on Instagram a bunch before, and it really lived up to the hype. How often do you get to have your coffee IN an infinity pool, while overlooking the Indian Ocean with the love of your life?! If you let your butler or the concierge know, they can set one up for you!
Massages at the spa— Additionally, on our first full day on the property we got a couple’s massage at the spa, which was built completely over the water and looked out on to endless turquoise sea. The spa contained a small open-air salon, a cold plunge pool, a hot tub, and a number of treatment rooms that all had private decks with plunge pools that faced the ocean. We were blown away by our massages, and so thankful to receive them the day after flying 20+ hours. It also kicked off our stay on such a tranquil and relaxed note.
Snorkel tour— We chose to go on a guided snorkeling tour to get a better lay of the island’s ‘home reef,’ so we went with the resort’s on-site marine biologist, Sophia. We followed her by snorkeling all up and down the reef, and she stopped and pointed out and explained things to us along the way. I cannot emphasize enough how abundant and vibrant the marine life is around the island. It was like nothing Johnny and I had ever seen underwater before (and he’s snorkeled in places like Hawaii, the Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands, St. Martin, etc.). It was literally like getting dropped into an aquarium, with crystal clear water and a white sandy bottom. Overall I spent about two hours of the trip either snorkeling or scuba diving (I’ll get to that next!), which is nothing compared to Johnny, who averaged two hours just in one morning. But even during those mere two hours that I was in the water, I saw a shark, two hawksbill sea turtles, an eel, thousands of colorful fish, and an OCTOPUS. I actually caught a glimpse of the octopus as we were snorkeling, and recognized what it was after seeing the documentary The Octopus Teacher (a bizarre yet endearing story). I motioned to Johnny and Sophia to swim over to the rock that it was laying on, and then we all watched as the octopus withdrew its tentacles and b-lined for the sanctuary of the nearby reef. We were wide-eyed underneath our goggles in amazement as the octopus turned from being burnt orange to the color of the light sand on the bottom of the sea as it swam from the rock to the reef. It was a once-in-a-lifetime sight that had us in awe!
Scuba diving tour— Since we enjoyed snorkeling so much, and Johnny has really liked scuba diving in the past, we also decided to take a scuba diving tour. We had to go through some brief training, since neither Johnny and I were certified, and then suited up in wetsuits and learned how to use our air tanks. Our instructor, Alex, was awesome at showing me how to breathe underwater, which we practiced in the shallows of the beach. It took me about 20 minutes and two minor underwater panic attacks to get down, but then I got a hang of it and Alex gradually guided us about 20 feet down to the base of the reef… and I was entranced. I can definitely see how people become so obsessed with it (ehem, my husband 😉), because it’s so therapeutic to be breathing so deeply while gliding through an aquatic oasis of thriving sea life. At the end, I was really proud of myself for going so out of my comfort zone to do it, and was lucky in that there was truly no better place to learn. Johnny ended up going on another guided scuba tour, and then decided to get certified at the dive center on the island! It was a spontaneous decision, but one that’s been on his bucket list, so it was so cool to get to see him accomplish that during our honeymoon. Meanwhile, you could catch me in the shade with a tequila pineapple 😂. If you want to learn how to dive (or already know!) at a one of the most scenic underwater reefs in the world, look no further than Coco Bodu Hithi.
Sunset cruise— We figured that seeing the island by boat would be the best way to get an overview of everything (even though the island is only a half mile long), and we were right! It was a really cool experience to sit on top of one of the resort’s traditional Maldivian boats and cruise around it all. They had very comfortable beanbag-like chairs for us to sit in on the top deck of the boat and they served us chilled champagne and light bites as the sun set around us. It was breathtaking!
Sandbank lunch— On our last day at the resort we decided to go on a little adventure and headed out to a nearby sandbank (about a fifteen minute boat ride from the island) to enjoy a private lunch there together. I say it was an adventure but it was really a luxurious little escape, because the kind resort employees took care of everything for us. They transferred us to the sandbank, and then set up a whole cabana situation, with the most comfortable beanbag-type chairs, a shaded tent, and a full blown hot/cold lunch selection, complete with grilled shrimp and a dessert smorgasbord. We went in the afternoon, from 12-4, and would probably recommend going in the morning, because there were a few other setups on the sandbank with people from other resorts (the sandbank is public property). We actually managed to have a whole section of it all to ourselves though, which was so personal and relaxing. We waded in the water (Johnny snorkeled, because duh), sat underneath the cabana to read, and enjoyed the lovely lunch. It was a really cool, unique experience.
Relaxed by the pools– Whenever we were in-between activities we lounged at either the resort’s main swimming pool, or the private one at our villa. The temperature was in the mid to high 80s our entire stay, so having these cooler water options were so refreshing (the ocean was way warmer than the pools!).
A moment for my Amazon memory foam flip flips… I’ve worn these on countless trips and they’ve proven to be my favorite pair of neutral, comfortable sandals that go with everything.
Where We Ate
Note: If you have the option, we’d recommend doing an all-inclusive package when you book. Then you won’t have to worry about paying for cocktails, which are notoriously expensive in the Maldives/resorts in countries where alcohol isn’t common. We think you’d save a lot of money overall that way!
Beach BBQ– On our first evening there we enjoyed dinner at an intimate table that was literally in the sand on one of the island’s beaches. They had an over-the-top buffet spread set up, with everything from sushi to grilled lobster, tuna, and steak. We overindulged as we watched the colors of the sky change from sherbet to dusk. Ask the concierge there if they’re doing a beach BBQ during your stay because it’s a must.
Air— This was the resort’s main restaurant which served buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And let me tell you— we didn’t miss a buffet breakfast there!! One of the best, if not the best, breakfast buffets we’ve ever experienced. Peanut butter donuts, crunchy hash browns, fresh exotic fruits, French toast with every topping imaginable, and egg chefs who could whip up whatever you wanted… what a treat it was to start out every day by indulging in all of it! We also had the same waiter there every morning who we adored— Jobe. He made sure I had an iced coffee on the way as soon as we sat down each day! His service and kindness was truly above and beyond.
Aqua— This is the resort’s fine dining spot, which specializes in fresh seafood with a local Maldivian twist. We enjoyed scallops, white fish, and coconut crème brûlée, while sitting in an intimate table right over the water. It was exactly how you’d picture spending a romantic honeymoon dinner! The food was beyond delicious too.
Tsuki— We went here twice during our stay, and enjoyed their incredible sushi and Japanese food selections. We also took a cooking class in the kitchen of the restaurant, where we actually learned how to make a spicy Indian curry, which was hands-down one of the best meals of the trip! It was nice to have so much variety in terms of types of food on the island, and their sushi really hit the spot.
Latitude— The area located right below Tsuki has this bar and lounge, which serves cocktails and casual food options. It was the ideal spot to get out of the sun for a bit and split a salad and a pizza or some fresh ceviche. It’s also right next to the island’s main pool, so you can easily grab a drink at the bar and then walk over to a lounge chair there too.
Stars— This was our favorite bar on the island, and was located in the same over-the-water area as our villa. It had plenty of shady spots to sit and hangout, so we spent most afternoons playing cards and reading here. It also was right above one of the island’s best snorkeling spots, so Johnny could hop in whenever he wanted and I could have a drink and watch him snorkel. We enjoyed lunch a lot there as well, and loved their menu. My favorite order were the udon noodles with chicken… SO GOOD. Also my go-to cocktail there was a tequila soda with a splash of pineapple juice. They also had a nice restaurant located right across the way, which had a selection of both land and sea options. Both the restaurant and bar are called Stars for a reason too— because when you look up at night you’re overwhelmed with the number of sparkly stars that pepper the sky! I’ve never seen so many stars anywhere in my life. The island really was like having an aquarium underneath us and a planetarium right above. Just spectacular to see.
Bottom line: We will absolutely be back, and recommend this as our #1 honeymoon destination and resort. It’s unspoiled natural beauty in the middle of nowhere, with a respect for the local culture and incredibly kind people who work there. Not to mention the stunning accommodations… You can have an adventure, relax and read, and eat + drink to your heart’s content, all in one day. What more could you ask for in the first week of your marriage?! 🤗
To see all that I packed for the trip, take a look at my Maldives Honeymoon Packing List post!
Much love to Coco Resorts for hosting us on this trip. All opinions are my own.