On our vacation to the Maldives last year, we divided our time between two resorts: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. With its palm trees, white sand beaches, and water the color of a Tiffany box, the island was as exotic as I’d always imagined it would be, and surprisingly family-friendly.

The first resort we visited was the Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa. Although we couldn’t stay in the water villas (the houses on stilts in the water) with children, our accommodations were very luxurious. In fact, Miss P inquired, “How many stars does this place have? 5? Or maybe 6?!” I think that means she was pretty happy with the accommodations as well.

Miss V was much more impressed with the sweet welcome treat waiting for them, all personalized and smiling.

Inside there was more than enough room for the four of us in the spacious beach bungalow, even with the additional beds added for the girls. There was also a large walk-in closet, and a magnificent bathroom. It was one of those open plan deals, with nooks and corners instead of doors, and in addition to a large shower with a rainfall showerhead, there was an outdoor shower! The shower was completely closed in and private (remember, this is a family-friendly resort), so no worries for those of us who are a little modest or might be concerned about our little ones seeing a bit more of paradise than we intended. Also outside, was a garden and plunge pool that looked out onto a semi-private beach.

The Kuda Mas (“little fish” in Dhivehi) Kids’ Club was a big hit with the little ladies. Miss P and Miss V could hardly wait to get there each day, to look for stingrays and sharks, go on lizard walks and they were so excited to discover that several fish from “Finding Nemo”, including “Gill” (Moorish Idol), “Dory” (Powder-blue Surgeonfish) and of course, “Nemo” (Maldivian Clownfish) could be found in the waters around the resort.

Daily fish feedings on the pier would attract not only fish, but also baby sharks hoping to catch some of the chunks of meat the kids would toss into the water.  But lizards, baby sharks, stingrays, even Nemo himself could not compete with the hermit crabs the kids in the club would hunt for then pit against each other in the daily hermit crab races.

The lukewarm waters surrounding the Maldives are full of marine life, and have great visibility, making the Maldives one of the world’s top diving destinations. The girls and I only snorkeled, but with schools of colorful fish even in the very shallow water, we were able to get plenty of close up views.

We left Kuda Huraa, taking a seaplane the short distance to the other Four Seasons Resort, Landaa Giraavaru.

A cheerful staff greeted us, offering delicious tropical drinks served in a coconut.

And we were delighted to find that our accommodations were just as amazing – another beach bungalow with a patio and private beach – keeping us in the lavish style we’d become accustomed to at Kuda Huraa.

Landaa Giraavaru is home to The Marine Discovery Center (MDC) where we learned about the local marine ecosystem and the efforts of MDC to conserve it through interactive exhibitions, lectures and environmental projects.

One of the projects is the preservation of the green turtles. These threatened creatures return to the beaches of Landaa Giraavaru every 2-3 years to nest.  It was at MDC that we met Sasha, the baby turtle who’d been recently rescued by a member of the hotel staff, and April, the giant turtle who’d lost a fin and was at MDC for rehabilitation.

Another project is the reef propagation effort, ReefscapersReefscapers is one of the most successful coral propagation projects in the world and we had the opportunity to participate in the project by building a coral frame during our stay at Landaa.

Building the frame involved attaching pieces of coral fragments onto a specially designed frame, with the hopes of boosting existing reef habitats and encouraging the growth of new ones.

After we finished building the coral frame, it was time to plant it.  We carried it over to the jetty and gently tossed it into the shallow water where it stayed for a couple of days until biologists took it to deeper water.

The frame was labeled, which allows us to go to the Reefscapers website to see how it develops over time.

This was such a great opportunity to “walk the talk”, and a fun and educational way to practice what we preach about the importance of taking care of the environment.

In what ways do you try to promote taking care of the environment when you travel?

Disclosure: The coral frame used in the Reefscapers project was provided by Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.

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