It took just over 5 hours to reach the small island of Keyodhoo – an island in the Southern Atoll Group in the Maldives. This was the fifth island that the ferry stopped at on it’s journey from the capital, each more idyllic looking than the last. We were glad to finally arrive, the hard wooden benches getting harder and harder under our bums. We were immediately greeted by the staff from Jupiter Sunrise, who grabbed our bags and showed us across the sandy road to our guest house.
In my last post I wrote about the pros and cons of resorts vs. Guesthouses in the Maldives, and I went over the pros and cons of the two main accommodation styles in the Maldives. Whether you chose to stay in a resort of a guesthouse will be up to your particular travel style and needs, but we decided to stay in a guest house for several reasons. And out of all the guesthouses we researched, we found Jupiter Sunrise to be the best fit for us.
A perfect blend between resort style travel, and independent travel
Jupiter Sunrise offers a unique blend of services, putting it somewhere in the middle between a hotel and a resort. Like a resort, the activities and meals are all inclusive. This means that you don’t need to worry about budgeting for trips to the restaurant of cafe as everything you need will be provided. Even my husband, who has a massive appetite, was full to the burst after each and every meal. There is no lack of food available at Jupiter Sunrise.
Also, like resorts, many of your activities are inclusive as well. There are other activities that can be added on for a small cost, but we were kept extremely busy simply with the included excursions – but I will touch more on that later.
Despite everything being all inclusive, Jupiter Sunrise is not a resort. It is located on an inhabited island, meaning you will get to have a real local experience instead of being completely isolated in a western enclave resort.
Due to Jupiter Sunrise being located on an inhabited island we got to have a myriad of travel experiences that we will treasure for a lifetime, experiences that would not be possible at a resort. Jacob got to run and play with local children, we got to see traditional Maldivian food being prepared, and Dan got to watch the Soccer World Cup games projected onto a screen at the beach with the local men.
Facilities at Jupiter Sunrise
Space is a hot commodity in the Maldives where large populations are restrained by the size of the small island they inhabit. Many reviews we read for other guesthouses all lamented the small size of the rooms. We certainly didn’t have that issue at Jupiter Sunrise. Our room came complete with double bed, single bed, large desk and chair, a large wardrobe, and quite a bit of space for Jacob to move about and litter with his toys.
The bathroom was also large with modern and new fixtures and a beautiful hot shower. And the water pressure was an absolute dream. After traveling for many months in Europe, weak water pressure has become something of a pet peeve for us.
Our room was shady and cool, with a fan and an air conditioner for climate control. The room also had two access points, with one door entering into the lobby and another door exiting straight out into the sandy internal courtyard. The courtyard gate was always kept shut, making it a safe area for our little one to run around in while Dan and I were relaxing in the room.
Activities at Jupiter Sunrise
Included in the price of the rooms at Jupiter Sunrise is a wide selection of activities; morning and night fishing, snorkeling trips, and sand bar trips. We were kept busy pretty much every single day.
There is nothing better than snorkeling in the Maldives, and Kuppe and the rest of the crew at Jupiter Sunrise made sure to take us to as many different snorkeling spots as they could. Because Jupiter Sunrise has several dhoni boats, you will be able to visit some snorkeling spots that are further away, giving you a much greater variety of experiences.
The morning and night fishing was a highlight for Dan. Dan loves fishing in Australia but never catches anything. His luck with fishing is so bad that I feared he wouldn’t catch anything in the Maldives either. However those fears were quickly dispelled. The night fishing was by far the most productive for Dan, him and the four crew caught over 40 snapper’s in just over 1 and a half hours – all on handlines! We had fresh snapper for dinner, and even thought I am not a big eater of fish, it was one of the best things I have ever tasted. Nothing goes to waste, and I’m sure that most households in the small village also enjoyed their feast of snapper.
My favourite excursion was the sand bar trip. The Maldives is comprised of nearly 1,200 islands, and many of these are small uninhabited sand islands. We visited one of these islands during one of our snorkeling trips. The water was so shallow around the island that the boat had to anchor a fair distance from the actual island, and walking through the waist deep warm water towards the island lent a sense of adventure to the experience. The shallow water around the island was perfect for relaxing in, and provided a nice safe place for our toddler to play.
All of the activities listed above our inclusive, but there are other options available for a small fee. The most popular “extra” excursion at Jupiter Sunrise if the big game fishing excursions, as well as all day fishing and all night fishing. Many guests come here to try their hand at catching a massive Sail Fish, some weighing up to 80 kilos. Dan saw a sail fish jumping through the water while he was on his night fish, but it wasn’t the fish he was targeting on that trip. In fact, the fishing around Keyodhoo is so good, that Jupiter Sunrise has many guests who keep coming back several times a year just for the fishing.
If you are interested in scuba diving, their is a dive operator on the island, and Jupiter Sunrise can assist in organizing your dive trip.
The Jupiter Sunrise Staff
Most people would agree, it’s the people you meet on the journey that make for the best travel memories. The staff at Jupiter Sunrise are what really made this trip for us. The guesthouse is run by three brothers, with Kuppe acting as our main host and guide. Immediately upon arriving at the guesthouse we were made to feel like family – an experience you certainly would not get at a hotel or a resort. After we dropped off our bags and settled in, Kuppe took us on a tour of the small village.
We stopped at his families house where his family served us all sort of Maldivian delicacies and implored us to eat, eat, eat, despite it being Ramadan. We felt bad snacking on the delicious fish pastries, fruit, and breadfruit chips while the others could not eat for another hour, but they absolutely insisted. As the family prepared to break fast, we got to experience a traditional Maldivian barbeque, where coconut husks are used instead of charcoal or propane. All the while our little boy ran around with the local boys, kicking a ball back and forth.
Kubbe went above and beyond to ensure we were content, busy, and well fed during our stay at Jupiter Sunrise. He organized excursions for us every day, making sure we had eaten until we could eat no more, and keeping our little boy busy while Dan and I snorkeled or had dinner. Our little boy was so at home with Kuppe and the rest of the staff that he even fell asleep in his arms on a couple occasions. For a little boy who is normally quite shy around new people, that really says something!
Romance at Jupiter Sunrise
Our room was lovingly prepared before our arrival. We walked into the room and found both the main bed, and the child bed, decorated with leaves, flowers and petals. It was so beautiful we were a little bit sad to have to remove the flowers to go to bed.
Even though Jupiter Sunrise lodge is located on an inhabited island, Jupiter Sunrise is still able to give you the “romantic castaway” experience. On of the included excursions is an afternoon on an uninhabited sand bar island. This island, covered in soft white sand and surrounded by crystal clear blue shallow and warm waters is the perfect place to feel totally isolated and at peace. For an extra cost, you can even overnight on one of these deserted islands.
On our last evening with Jupiter Sunrise, we were met with a surprise when we were called to dinner. The lights were dimmed and candles lit the dining area. Flowers decorated the table and the dinner consisted of the fresh fish that Daniel had only caught an hour ago. Kubbe swept up our tired and grumpy little man and left us to our romantic dinner. After a leisurely and deliciously calm and child free meal, we wandered back to our room. The rest of the staff had been busy while Dan and I chatted over the fresh snapper, and our room had once again been cleaned and decorated with flowers, the sheet folded down and arranged into a heart.
A family friendly holiday destination
Jacob has never been happier in his 16 months of life. He didn’t have to wear shoes for 9 whole days, and even the streets in the village were made of sand. The local kids, even the ones a bit older than him, were more than happy to indulge him in games of kick the ball back and forth. He ran through the street utterly giddy. “Don’t worry about him if he goes out a sight for a few minutes,” Kubbe said to me as I looked around frantically for Jacob. A few minutes later Jacob came tearing around the corner, running around with local children. I have never had a happier, safer, child.
The water at the local beach on Keyodhoo, as well as the water surrounding the sand bank island was clear and shallow. Perfect for kids to run around in. Jacob chased the surf and dug holes in the sand, he giggled and screamed when he found a hermit crab.
The culture and people in the Maldives is incredibly child friendly. The staff at Jupiter Sunrise were always cooing at and playing with Jacob. They looked after him while Dan and I ate meals, and when we were snorkeling off the boat. They rocked him to sleep, and let him nap in their laps. It was a much needed break for Dan and I, and Jacob basked in the attention from his new friends.
Traveling with a little one was another one of the main reasons we decided to stay at a guesthouse instead of a resort. Many resorts do not allow children at all, so it is imperative to read the rules and FAQs before making a booking. If you are traveling with kids, then we couldn’t recommend Jupiter Sunrise and higher.
We were given a discount on our stay in exchange for promotional photos of Jupiter Sunrise Lodge. All opinions expressed in this post are completely our own.
For more information and to make a booking, please visit Jupiter Sunrise Lodge’s website.