With many desirable tropical destinations around the world, the Maldives can be overlooked by oblivious travellers. Aside from staggering beauty and unparalleled tranquility, this archipelago offers some of the finest hotels and spas in the world.
The Maldives are known around the world for picturesque landscapes, but the islands are also rich in a warm and exotic culture. Inhabited mainly by Sunni Muslims, the local culture is in eclectic mix of Sinhalese, Arab and South Indian influences.
The capital city of Male’ is home to most of the nation’s cultural attractions: The National Museum, Presidential palace, Sultan Park, Male’ Fish Market and the Grand Friday mosque are all within city limits. While not as glamorous as the sparkling resort properties, this city is a hub of activity and a literally a must-see — the airport is located in Male’ — during any holiday to the Maldives.
Though English is taught in schools and widely spoken by Maldivians throughout the country, official business is usually conducted in the native language of Dhivehi.
#2: Culinary Delights
From casual dining to exclusive gourmet meals, the Maldives offers a tempting variety of international cuisines. While the resorts embrace global fare ranging from the savoury flavours of Italian food to gourmet preparations of exceptionally fresh seafood, local venues tend to offer the more authentic Maldivian experience.
Traditional eateries offer dishes largely based around fish that are usually spicy and often featuring coconut. Sampling the spicy flavours of the Maldives is an essential part of the vibrant and unique island experience.
#3: Secluded Luxury
With an economy largely based on tourism, this island paradise has embraced the global demand for ultra-luxurious accommodations and flawless experiences. Of the 200 inhabited islands of the Maldives, nearly 90 are dedicated to luxury resorts. Limiting resort density to one per island, the Maldives offer the ultimate in secluded decadence. On-site spas offer indulgent spa treatments perfect for much-needed pampering, and generally strict Muslim laws against alcohol and topless sunbathing are not enforced in the resort isles.
This island nation may not offer the most inexpensive accommodations, but the price is right for upscale, often all-inclusive accommodations nestled in one of the most exotic, breathtaking locations in the world.
#4: The Definition of Paradise
With crystalline blue waters surging gently against isolated stretches of pristine white sand, the islands of the Maldives offer a peaceful sanctuary from the harsh realities of the outside world. These beautiful islands are amazingly remote and almost impossibly pure: the breeze rusting through the palm leaves is often the only reminder that you are not trapped in a photograph or postcard.
While rain is common from November to April than during the rest of the year, the Maldives experience fabulous tropical temperatures that range from 24 to 35 degrees all year long.
#5: Life is Better Under The Sea
Of course, not all of the wonders of the Maldives can be seen at first glance. Those captivating blue waters are home to some of the most vibrant sea life in the world. Almost every resort island enjoys a personal reef convenient for snorkeling, while more remote places to snorkel and dive are easily accessible by boat.
Sites like Fish Head and Banana Reef are coveted, world-class diving destinations and the White Wale submarine offers a stunning reef tour to give all visitors a chance to see over 1000 varieties of marine life.