Tucked in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives consist of 1192 tropical islands, mostly uninhabited, with 100 or so converted into luxury resorts. The largest island is just 8 square km. Prices and occupancy peak during the dry season, December to March, but from the popular North Male atoll to the quieter South and further, the Maldives are a great destination year round, perfect to chill out and enjoy one of the most romantic spots on earth.
Expect white pristine sands, local colour in Male, luscious food, spas and unrivalled coral reefs and diving sites. The Indian Ocean claims over 99% of the country.
Holidays in the Maldives, Island Hopping, Coral Reef and Water Sports:
- Diving comes top, ranging from protected house reefs to more challenging channels and wrecks. Each site has its own characteristics so choose accordingly and check local facilities and monsoons. Marvel at unrivalled coral reefs and marine life.
- Join an island hopping tour and picnic on a deserted sand bank, or an overnight cruise safari on an adapted local boat, maybe looking out for dolphins and whales. Alternatively, see the atolls by seaplane, a stunning though at times bumpy ride.
- Snorkel to your heart’s content, spotting myriad weird and wonderful sea creatures on the edge of the reef. Windsurf, canoe or try the motorised water sports available in some areas, such as banana boats or waterskiing. Surf in the summer months.
Luxury Holidays and Romance in the Indian Ocean:
- Relax in your honeymoon suite in a water villa with private pool. Not cheap but worth it for a once in a lifetime treat.
- Pamper yourself and partner in any resort spa. Menus range from a 20 minute head massage to a full week of rituals by highly trained specialists. Most resorts offer a fusion of Asian and European techniques.
- Order an ultra-romantic dinner for two on a sand bank out at sea and watch the sun set over the ocean. Facilities include personal chef and transfers.
Top Things to Do in Male and the Maldive Islands:
- Visit Male, the capital, crowded and small but with plenty to do on a day trip. See the Friday mosque and impressive Islamic Centre, the blue and white Presidential Palace, the National Museum and the local market awash with spices and fruit.
- Buy Maldivian handicrafts in Male market or any island resort. Choice is limited but best items include mats woven from coconut fibre or screw pine leaf, lacquer ware and jewellery, gold, silver and mother of pearl. Stock up on duty-free at the airport.
- Feast on fresh seafood and exotic fruit. All resorts display scrumptious international buffets but there are theme nights and Male eateries to try the local cuisine, based on rice, tuna and coconut. The most exciting venue is the underwater restaurant of the Conrad Resort on Rangali island.
- Enjoy a traditional show to the rhythm of Bodu Beru, the typical Maldives music said to be of East African origins. There are drums, bells, singers and bamboo instruments and sometimes the chance to join in the local dance.