Located in the midst of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, close to the equator, the island nation of the Maldives consists of nearly 1200 islands and atolls. It is Asia’s smallest country in terms of both population and land mass. Spread out over roughly 35,ooo square miles, the Maldives is among the world’s most geographically dispersed countries and is famous for its weather, pristine waters, overwater accommodations, and breathtaking beaches. The Maldives has an average ground elevation of around 5 feet above sea level and is the planet’s lowest country. Forecasts predict that due to its low elevation and rising sea levels, the idyllic islands of the Maldives may be inundated in the coming years. This paradise is absolutely worth visiting while you can!
Composed of nearly 1,200 islands, the Maldives gives you endless opportunities for adventure. While many travelers enjoy soaking up the sun and lounging at the pristine beaches on their resort’s private island, the Maldives offers much more than a great opportunity to soak up the sun!
Due to the monsoon tides and the pristine surrounding waters, the Maldives offers world-class diving. The warm seas surrounding the Maldives enjoy high visibility throughout the year, with waters clear enough to watch fish pass as far as 165 feet away. The surrounding waters boast more than 3,000 coral reefs, which lead to an enormous amount of biodiversity beneath the water. In fact, over one thousand species of fish and marine creatures inhabit the Maldivian waters. In these waters, you may witness everything from a tiny shrimp to majestic mantra rays and sharks at dive sites just a short boat ride from your resort. You need not be a professional diver to enjoy the treasures beneath the Maldivian waters; the Maldives offers many well-monitored diving facilities and schools.
Water sports are another popular activity in the Maldives. Swimming, water polo, and surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, fishing, and kayaking are among the Maldives’ most popular water activities. In fact, the Maldives is something of a mecca for surf enthusiasts worldwide. The southwest monsoon brings massive swells, especially from June through September, and the waves can be sizable–perfect for surfing!
Other popular activities in the Maldives include island hopping and enjoying a relaxing spa treatment. Take a day excursion, by ferry or sea plane, and explore a new atoll. If you’re in the mood to relax, enjoy a serene spa treatment with the sound of the waves crashing in the background. Each resort offers different types of spa treatments and massages, but each takes great care to incorporate the natural and pristine setting into your relaxation.
Maldives Weather & Seasons
The Maldives enjoys fantastic tropical weather year-round, boasting sunny days, breezy nights, temperate mornings, and breathtaking sunsets. The temperature rarely changes, and the average daytime high temperature reaches 86° Fahrenheit. The average daily low temperature is 82° Fahrenheit.
The Maldives experiences two distinct seasons: Dry Season & Wet Season. The Dry Season, which is associated with the winter northeastern monsoon, extends from December through early May, while the “Wet Season,” which is associated with the southwest monsoon, lasts from mid-May through November. During the Wet Season, the Maldives still experiences a large amount of sunshine, although cloudy skies, rain, and thunderstorms do occasionally occur. Despite the existence of a “wet season,” the Maldives only has an average annual rainfall of 100 inches in the north and 150 inches in the south.
Sprawled out over nearly 35,000 square miles in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, the country of The Maldives rests near the equator, and is made up of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural atolls. Each atoll in The Maldives is composed of a coral reef encircling a lagoon, with deep channels dividing the reef ring. The reefs surrounding the islands serve as protection from the wind and wave action of the vast, surrounding Indian Ocean.
Only 200 of the nation’s islands are inhabited by natives, and roughly 99% of the country is composed of sea. Approximately 90 islands are developed as tourist resorts, and the rest are either uninhabited or used for agriculture or livelihood purposes. Resort islands contain only one resort per island.
The largest island of The Maldives is Gan, which belongs to Laamu Atoll. In Addu Atoll, the westernmost islands are connected by roads over the reef, and are referred to as “Link Road.”
Getting to the Maldives/Local Travel
There are no direct flights between the United States and the Maldives. There are several direct flights to the Maldives from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, including direct flights from Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Moscow, Zurich, London, Doha, Dubai, Abu Dabi, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Peking, and Bangalore. If you are planning to travel to the Maldives from the United States, the duration of your flight may vary considerably, depending on your layover. In general, you can expect that a flight from New York to Ibrahim Nasir Male International Airport (the Maldives’ only international airport) will be at least 19 hours long.
Once in the Maldives, travel between inhabited islands is done through speedboat, seaplane (where available), or ferries. Resorts often organize island-hopping trips where you can visit a series of inhabited islands.