What to know before you go
Visits to the Maldives are usually about relaxation, privacy, and luxury. The Maldives is made up of over 1900 islands, only 200 of which are inhabited. Luxury resorts can be found on a plethora of islands. The sun is almost always out, and the temperature is consistently between 80° and 85° F. This consistent weather offers you a tropical paradise with great dining, snorkeling and scuba diving, reefs to explore, islands to hop, and white sandy beaches surround.
The Maldives is easiest to get to from Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia. Coming from the US your most likely route is US to Dubai to Male’ or US to Doha to Male’, depending on the airway you travel with.
After landing on the airstrip of Male’ International Airport (or any other airport in the Maldives) you’ll need to catch either a boat or sea plane to get to your destination. To get to Male’, the capital, you can catch a ferry from the airport. Once in Male’ you have your choice of the ever popular motorbike (also one of the fastest ways of getting around) or taxi. You can also choose the easier option- to walk- no matter where you go in Male you’ll be able to get there in about 10 minutes.
- Diving & Snorkeling:
With such a consistent tropical climate, it’s no surprise that the seas surrounding the Maldives are warm and have high visibility throughout most of the year. The waters here are so clear, that you can see passing fish as far as fifty meters away! On top of that, there are over 3000 coral reefs and over 1000 species of fish and other underwater marine life. All of this creates the perfect place for snorkelling and diving. Due to the monsoon tides of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a central location for many different sea creatures feeding grounds. From microscopic plankton to sharks and whales, you’ll find many amazing creatures call this place home. The best part of all, diving in the Maldives is suitable for all levels of divers.
- Beach & Watersports:
With more sea than land, it’s no surprise that watersports are huge here. Known for the massive swells brought in by monsoons from the southwest, from June to September the Maldives is a surfing mecca for surfers all over the world. You’ll find several well-known surf breaks in North and South Male’ Atoll, as well as some lesser known, but equally amazing surf breaks further from Male’. Jump on a cruise ship and do some island hopping, you’ll find the best surf and have an amazing experience. Other watersports offered in the Maldives include swimming, parasailing, sea kayaking, kite-surfing, water-skiing, jet-skiing and windsurfing.
- Island Hopping:
Resorts will often offer organized island hopping trips. On these trips, you have the opportunity to visit a series of inhabited islands. If you’d like to take a longer trip, you always have the option of catching one of the island’s scheduled ferries. For something truly special, book a seaplane flight and have an island experience like no other.
Take a day and travel to an inhabited island, where you can experience life as a local Maldivian. You’ll find some islands to be more modern than others, with brightly painted houses and harbour areas. Visit a little fishing village and absorb the scenery. You’ll find loads of tree shade, swings, and traditional wooden holhuashi, much like an island gazebo built with hollow wooden trunks tied together to form a large, bench-like seat and often with a thatched roof. You’ll find the local way of life is one of relaxation. You can also go on a night fishing excursion or maybe take a day trip to experience the raw beauty of a desert island.
The Maldives is a popular destination for those who value luxury, privacy, and white sandy beaches. With over 200 inhabited islands, you’re bound to find a plethora of choices in accommodation. From 5 and 4-star resorts and hotels to guest room style and cruises, your dream vacation awaits. Some of the top resorts include the Lily Beach Resort & Spa, an all-inclusive 5-star resort offering a handful of types of villas including overwater villas; Cocoa Island Resort, rated the best luxury resort in the Maldives, most of their accommodations are inspired by dhoni boats adjoined by simple wooden walkways above the shallow lagoon; and Mirihi Island Resort, one of the most affordable and one of the best resorts in the Maldives- this resort offers amazing villas over gorgeous waters and one of the most breathtaking house reefs in the Maldives.
Restaurants in Male’ are usually open from early morning to as late as 1:00am. You have plenty of options as well, from Thai to Italian and Indian, as well as other international and local cuisines. You’ll find you have many different atmospheres to choose from, including air-conditioned bistros and open-air cafes. You can even get food on the go at a Sai-Hotaas (teashops), here they serve “short eats,” a variety of sweet and savory finger foods, usually deep fried and mostly fish and coconut based. Cafes are also hugely popular, so don’t fret you’ll be able to get your cuppa!
Honeymoon & Romance:
The Maldives is the perfect honeymoon destination. Here you can slow down, relax and enjoy your time together, surrounded by sandy white beaches and turquoise waters- not to mention it’s amazingly romantic. There are a plethora of resorts to choose from, as well as cruises, hotels and guest houses. Maybe stay in an overwater villa and wake up to the gentle sounds of the Indian Ocean, enjoy panoramic views and your own private access to the majestic waters below. The best part of all, you never need to wear shoes.
What to Wear:
When visiting the Maldives, remember that the temperatures are higher and the sun is almost always present. Pack lightweight materials like t-shirts, cotton clothing, skirts and shorts. Ideal footwear includes sandals and flip-flops. Your wardrobe may vary depending on what you plan on doing, and where you plan to stay. Sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent are a necessity, however, you may also purchase these in any resort and around Male.
Essential Tips and Facts Before You Go:
- Location: Indian Ocean, Southwest of Sri Lanka
- Capital: Male
- Area: 90,000 km (of which s only 10% land)
- Official Language: Dhivehi
- Second Language: English and other languages are widely used in tourism areas
- Religion: Islam (100% Sunni Muslim)
- Time difference: +5 hrs GMT
- Currency: Rufiyaa (Notes) and Laari (Coins). Most major island resorts, local and souvenir shops will accept American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Arrangements vary from island to island. There are ATM’s widely available in Male.
- Climate: Tropical
- Average Temps: 30.7 degrees Celsius (Max) & 25.9 degrees Celsius (Min)
- Average Rainfall: 1868.9 mm
- Major Tourist Attractions: National Museum, Grand Friday Mosque, Sultan Park, Mulee Aage Palace, Islamic Center, fish market and beaches & coral reefs in Maldives
- Best time to Visit: December to April
- Number of Islands: Approximately 1990 Islands, of which only 200 are inhabited. All the islands are low-lying, none more than 2 metros above sea level.