Maldives: where to go, when to go and what to see

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

The Maldives are a true paradise on earth. White beaches, clear waters and unspoiled nature are the calling card of this archipelago located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Visiting them is a bit of everyone's dream, but do you know what they found? Here is all the useful information about the climate, what to see in the Maldives and how to get there.


index

  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where they are
  3. How to get there
  4. When to go? Information about climate and best season
  5. Which island to go to?
  6. 7 things to see: beaches and attractions
  7. How much does a vacation in the Maldives cost? Prices, deals and tips
  8. Documents required
  9. How many days
  10. How to dress and what to bring
  11. What to see
  12. How to move around
  13. What to book in advance
  14. Where to stay
  15. Where to eat
  16. Quanto costs
  17. How to pay
  18. Security
  19. Rules of conduct

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 392.709
  • Capital: Malo
  • Languages: Maldivian (official), English
  • Local currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa (1.00 = 17 local currency)
  • Time zone: UTC / GMT +5
  • Climate: tropical monsoon, Min 26 ° C / Max 31 ° C
  • vaccinations: not required
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least 6 months, return air ticket, entry visa (thirty-day tourist visa is issued directly at the airport upon entry to the country). As of January 5, 2016, an electronic passport is required to enter the country. By "e-passport" we mean the booklet equipped with a microprocessor.
  • Medical / travel insurance: recommended.


    Where are the Maldives Islands?



    The Maldives archipelago is a tropical country located in the Indian Ocean and is part of the Asian continent. It is located 595 km south of India, 550 km north of the Chagos Islands and 670 km southwest of Sri Lanka.

    It consists of 26 ring atolls formed by more than 1,000 coral islands, stretching in a north-south direction for about 764 km and 128 km in an east-west direction.

    The Republic of Maldives has Male as its capital and the natural atolls are grouped into 19 administrative atolls, each independently managed by a council elected by the population.


    How to get to the Maldives


    • From the main European capitals: the Maldives can also be reached from several European capitals. From London, for example, there are flights with stopover to Malé, as from Frankfurt am Main. From Istanbul, on the other hand, there are direct flights that will get you to your destination in 10 hours. To help you consider that the main airlines covering this route are Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airwais and Emirates.
      Compare flights to Maldives from 417,34 €.

    When to go? Information on climate and best time to go

    • Climate: the Maldives has a tropical monsoon climate, characterized by year-round high temperatures and low temperature range.
    • Best time: it is best to visit the Maldives from January to mid-April, when there are more hours of sunshine and minimal rainfall.
    • Period to avoid: it is best to avoid the rainy season (May-December) and especially the months of May and November, when cyclones are frequent.
    • Ideas: for an optimal visit, remember to bring light clothing, not forgetting something a little more opaque to protect you from the wind and the possible "cool" of the night. In addition, sunscreen, sunglasses, walking shoes are essential for exploring the interior and snorkeling equipment. Also remember that in the Maldives the majority of the population follows the precepts of Islam, so there is no full tan.

  • Which island to go to? and what to see in the Maldives

    Maldives consists of 26 atolls, which include inhabited and uninhabited islands. Each island is a true paradise on earth, with white sand and fabulous sea, but if you want more information, here are some tips on which island and atoll in the Maldives to visit.



    1 - Ari Atoll

    About 64 km from Malè, Ari Atoll is one of the most popular places for diving activities, thanks to its 89 kilometers of coastline and its 50 islands. It is administratively divided into South Ari and North Ari: in the first one you can see the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark, especially in the area of Dhidhdhoo Beyru and the manta rays at the site of Manta Reef. To the north, at Fesdu Wreck there is a sunken fishing boat covered in coral, while at Fish Head there are steep walls full of coral and dotted with caves, where the gray reef shark.

    Ari Atoll: Ari Atoll is famous for being the ideal place for underwater sports. Here you will find a very fine beach and clear water to say the least.


    Links: The nearest airport is in Malé, the capital. The island can be reached by seaplane from the airport.

    Best weather: the weather is beautiful all year round, the high season is between December and March. May to December are the best months in South Ari to see whale sharks, while in North Ari between December and April it is easier to see hammerhead sharks.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 889,00 € per room


    2 - Baa Atoll

    The Baa district is about 100 km from Malé and consists of two atolls: an administrative one, South Maalhosmadulu and a smaller one, Goidhoo, which includes only three islands (Goidhoo, Fulhandhoo and Fehendhoo).


    The island of Thulhaadhoo is famous in the Maldives for its lacquered pottery and its production can be seen live here.

    Baa Atoll has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve by Unesco for its rich biological diversity. Its most beautiful corner is Hanifaru Bay, populated by manta rays and whale sharks, as well as the inevitable corals.

    Baa Atoll: this atoll is perfect for marine animal lovers. Declared a World Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 2011, it is populated by manta rays, whale sharks and much more.



    Links: the nearest airport is in Malé, the capital. The island can be reached by seaplane from the airport or by daily flights landing at the Dharavandhoo airstrip.

    Best weather: all year round. Christmas and New Year are ideal, in fact we are in high season. From December to March the weather is exceptional and therefore prices are higher. June to October is more humid, but perfect for diving. April / May and October / November are favorable and are considered low season.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 829,00 € per room


    3 - North Malé Atoll

    The North Male Atoll is located on the eastern side of the Maldives and has at least 50 islands with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

    The atoll is famous for surfing. and some of the best breaks are Honky's, for many the most exciting, Jailbreaks, the latter on the island of Gaamaadhoo and Sultan's for high speed lovers.

    Touristically it is one of the most exploited atolls, with houses surrounded by palm trees, for example on the island of Kurumba and bungalows on stilts on the island of Furanafushi.

    In the western part of North Malé Atoll you can make unforgettable excursions to the coral reef.


    Links: the closest is Malè airport, where all international flights land. There is no need for airplanes, as ferries and boats leave from here to take you to your resort in no time.

    Best weather: December to March is the high season, May to the end of November are the wettest months but perfect for surfing. For diving from January to April.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 829,00 € per room


    4 - Maafushi Island

    The island of Maafushi is located in the southern atoll of Malé, which is composed of 37 islands, 17 of which are well known for the presence of several coral reefs rich in rare and colorful fish.

    Maafushi Island is the best known and most touristic island of the atoll: it is pleasant, economical, as there are resorts for all budgets, and also suitable for independent travelers, as there are numerous guesthouses.

    Obviously, here you can snorkel to enjoy the seabed and fish, with the possibility of spotting manta rays.


    Links: the closest is Malè airport, where all international flights land. There is no need for planes, as ferries and boats leave from here to take you to your resort in no time.

    Best weather: the weather is beautiful all year round. Between December and March is the high season, while for diving there is high visibility from January to April.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 820,00 € per room


    5 - Lhaviyani Atoll

    In the Maldives, the islands are all heavenly, but in Lhaviyani Atoll you will find the most beautiful beach, or at least one of the most charming: Kanuhura, a huge beach of fine sand.

    Not far away, you can reach the deserted island of Jehunuhura, where you can only imagine the feeling of freedom and peace that you can experience.


    Snorkeling and diving are the favorite activities, through which you can admire gray sharks, moray eels, humphead wrasse. Famous the Kuredu Island for giant turtles and Fushifaru Kandu for sharks.

    Links: it is about 120 km from Malè and can be reached by seaplane.

    Best weather: the weather is beautiful all year round. Between December and March is the high season, while April / May and October / November are low season. From June to October you may encounter some rain, but nothing special. In February and between July / August it is possible to see manta rays.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 1207,00 € per room


    6 - Shaviyani Atoll

    Shaviyani Atoll has 16 islands and is located in the northern part of the Maldives. Its particularity is that it is the most authentic atoll, where nature is untouched and turtles lay their eggs among its deserted islands. This is because there is no airport and tourism is scarce; even the capital, Milandhoo, was uninhabited until 1997.

    Several ancient remains of human civilization are found here, such as ruins of mosques and tombs from the 18th century.

    Shavivani Atoll: among the most unspoiled areas of the Maldives is this beautiful atoll, still little frequented by the ubiquitous tourism. Think that the only way to get there is by seaplane.


    Links: the local airport is Malè and can only be reached by seaplane. It will take about an hour as it is difficult to access.

    Best weather: the weather is beautiful all year round. Between December and March is the high season, while April / May and October / November are low season. From June to October you may find some rain, but nothing serious.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in a 3-4 star hotel from 1409,00 € per room


    7 - Malé Island

    Malè is the capital of the Maldives, the most populous and chaotic city. His fame is linked to mosques and colorful buildings. Museums such as the National Gallery of Art, important buildings and monuments.

    Near the port, there is a fish market that sells the catch of the day, while the fruit and vegetable market is very rich in local fruits.

    Male Island: is the city and the main island of the archipelago. With its 100,000 inhabitants, the city occupies the entire surface of the island, is equipped with everything you need: not only hotels, stores and restaurants, but also a huge beach and plenty of relaxation. In addition, Malè is very close to the island of Hulhule, where flights from abroad land.

    Home to all services, Male is the economic, political and logistical base of the Maldives. And even for lack of space, the international airport (where all international flights land) was built on a nearby island, Hulhule.

    Links: the reference airport is Malé-Ibrahim Nasir International Airport located on the island 2 km from Malè and with boats (dhoni), departing every ten minutes, you can reach the capital.

    Best weather: the climate is beautiful all year round. Between December and March is the high season. The rainiest period is from May to December, while the driest months are January, February and March.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 829,00 € per room


    8 - Nonuu Atoll

    In the northern part of the Maldives lies the Nonuu Atoll, with some super luxurious resorts and 13 uninhabited islands. This is the most expensive atoll ever! Just think, this is home to the most exclusive and expensive resort in the Maldives, the Cheval Blanc Randheli, where Vuitton and Moet stand out among the owners. The structure includes four islands, three of which are truly spectacular artificial islands with all kinds of services. Just one small flaw: it starts from €4,000 a night!

    Noonu Atoll: not for everyone, but if you have money to spend it is the ideal place. This atoll, which includes 13 islands, is in fact home to the Cheval Blanc resort, which connects 3 artificial islands and a natural one, owned by the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy group. Here, an overnight stay starts at 4,000 per night, but don't worry, you might even consider taking a trip just to visit.


    Links: The nearest airport is in Malé, the capital. You can reach the island by seaplane from Malé airport or by ferry.

    Best weather: the weather is beautiful all year round. Christmas and New Year is high season, you will find very high prices. The rainiest period is from October to December. The low season is from May to September, months therefore recommended.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 1441,00 € per room


    9 - Fafuu Atoll

    The capital of Fafuu Atoll is Nilandhoo, one of the largest and most fascinating archaeological sites in the Maldives. Here, a buried Hindu temple has been unearthed and the second oldest mosque in the Maldives is located.

    There are five deserted islands, beautiful beaches and only two resorts on the atoll. Obviously it is possible to snorkel, especially to admire the rich and splendid coral reef, watch manta rays, turtles and dolphins.


    Links: the nearest airport is Malè, 120 km away. The island can be reached by seaplane from the airport.

    Best weather: the climate is beautiful all year round. The rainiest period is from May to December, less January / March, so the best months to go to this atoll.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 1224,00 € per room


    10 - Rasdhoo Atoll

    Rasdhoo Atoll is located northeast of Ari ed and consists of three islands: the inhabited area that gives its name to the atoll, Rasdhoo, Kuramathi where there are three resorts and Veligandu, where there is only a four-star structure.

    On the island of Kuramathi tranquility reigns and you will be greeted by green palm trees and enchanting exotic flowers, framing the equally wonderful crystalline sea. Also on the island of Veligandu a small strip of sand awaits you, covered with lush vegetation and coconut trees.

    If you are passionate about diving, do not miss the Rasdhoo-Madivaru reef and the Kuramathi House reef.


    Links: the nearest airport is Malé, from here you can take the seaplane or ferry to get to Rasdhoo.

    Best weather: the weather is beautiful all year round. The rainiest period is from May to December, the minimum from January / April, so the best months to go to this atoll.

    Offers Flight + Hotel: Flights to Malè from 569,00 € + 1 week in 3-4 star hotel from 781,00 € per room


    6 things to see: beaches and attractions

    1. Hukuru Miski Mosque: located in the heart of Malé, this mosque is the oldest of all the islands. Famous for its golden dome, it is clearly visible from anywhere on the island.
    2. National Museum: in Malé you will also find a museum that traces the history of the archipelago, from fossils to the most "modern" findings.
    3. Fish Market: in Malé is a kind of "attraction" not to be missed. Here you will find tons of fish arranged in unique ways for locals to buy.
    4. Traders Hotel: one of the most evocative places in Malé and the Maldives. From its terrace you can see the entire territory of the city.
    5. Alifushi Beach: also called Dream Beach, this beach is famous for the clarity of its waters.
    6. Vadhoo Island: located in Hubadhu Atoll, this island is famous for the bioluminescence of its waters. Here the phytoplankton and in particular the dinoflagelli, small algae that are part of it, are able to emit their own light. This is due to the presence of "channels" that, once filled with protons, use the movement of the water to send electrical impulses and create light. Learn more about Vadhoo Island.

    How much does a Maldives vacation cost? Prices, deals and tips

    Visiting the Maldives can be as cheap as it is expensive. The islands that are part of the archipelago actually live off tourism, and this can make hotels and restaurants very high. In general, a 7-night stay in low season is around €800.00, but can easily exceed €1,000 in busier periods. Unless you choose guesthouses and small pensions, costs are also halved.


    • Flight and travel costs: from 1.100,00 € A / R
    • Accommodation costs: indicatively from 1.000,00 € per week
    • Minimum daily budget for meals and attractions: € 80,00

    Documents required for a trip to the Maldives Islands

    Travelers wishing to enter the country must be equipped with an electronic passport with a residual validity of six months, including a microchip-equipped booklet and a travel visa valid for thirty days, which is issued directly upon arrival at the airport.
    If you are traveling independently (without tour operators) to obtain a visa you must present a confirmed reservation at the hotel where you will be staying.

    It is not mandatory, but highly recommended, the stipulation of a health insurance before departure, considering that the only hospitals operating in these countries are located in the capital Malé, so waiting times in case of emergency could be very long.


    How many days are needed to see the Maldives?

    • Minimum travel time: at least 10 days.
    • Recommended travel time: at least 15 days.

    How to dress and what to bring in the Maldives

    In your suitcase prefer comfortable and cotton clothes, fifth t-shirts, shorts, dresses, bathing suits.
    Among the accessories for the beach there are sunglasses and hats, to protect yourself from the sun's rays, and sunscreen is very useful. Masks and snorkels may be available at the resort, so it is worth asking.
    Only a pair of closed shoes and then flip-flops and sandals are sufficient as footwear.
    A stock up on essential medicines, such as broad-spectrum antibiotics, supplements, disinfectants and burn creams will ultimately make you leave safer.


    Getting around the Maldives

    Within the capital Malè we can move to walk, or for longer trips by cab, whose fixed rate is 1.50 €.
    To reach the neighboring atolls it is possible to travel by seaplane, the fastest and most comfortable way, whose prices are high but on the other hand the view of the islands is breathtaking (from 500,00 €), the two companies that deal with this service are Maldives Air Taxi and Trans Maldives Airway, or with I local flights, considering that some islands have small airports, the two main airlines are there Maldives and Vuelame (costs start from 370,00 € and increase as the distance from the atolls increases).
    Another alternative, certainly more economical and suitable to reach the atolls about 2 hours from Malè, are the Ferries, whose ticket costs about 40,00 €, or I dhoni, very characteristic local boats, with tickets starting from 35,00 €.

    What to book in advance in the Maldives Islands

    First check if your passport is valid, because the renewal procedure can take up to 4/6 weeks.
    To take advantage of any offer or package, the flight must be booked well in advance - Compare prices from 288.00 € -
    Upon boarding and upon arrival on the island, you book accommodation where you will spend the night during your vacation, so it is advisable to book accommodation well in advance - Hotels and b & b from 65,00 € per room -.

    Between tours To book in advance we recommend walking tours in the capital Malé, packages that include snorkeling and half-day excursions on the various islands, such as Ari Atoll, near which it is possible to see hammerhead sharks and whale sharks.
    Very interesting are the excursions to the sandbanks, the strips of sand that emerge in the middle of the ocean, such as the nearby Dhiffushi.


    Where to stay in the Maldives

    On the main tourist islands it is possible to stay in various types of resorts, from the cheapest (about 400,00 € per night) to the most luxurious (one night can cost up to 3.000 € and on some islands even much more).
    Another accommodation alternative that has been gaining momentum in recent times is that of guesthouses, or private Maldivian homes that can sometimes be spartan, but in many cases are well organized. In fact, guesthouses often offer packages that include, in addition to accommodation, meals and excursions to be made throughout the stay (from 128.00 € per night). In these cases it is recommended to be very respectful of local customs, especially from a religious point of view.

    Where to eat in the Maldives

    The cuisine is based mainly on fish dishes, especially tuna, and rice, enriched with spices, especially curry and coconuts.
    The typical drink that accompanies meals is raa, which is a kind of sweet palm wine.
    In the atolls you usually eat in the restaurants of the resorts or in the tourist villages, where you can also find international cuisine, but to taste the local specialties it is advisable to go to the restaurants of the capital, the teashops, also making a stop at the cafes known as hotaa.


    How to pay in the Maldives

    The official currency of the Maldives is the Rufiyaa (Maldivian Rufia), 1.00 € = 16.85 rufiyaa.
    However, the most widely used currency is the US dollar, especially in resorts and hotels, where you can also pay by credit card (Mastercard, Visa, American Express) and, in recent years, some tourist facilities are also beginning to accept the euro.
    Itis worth arriving in the country with USdollars and exchange a certain amount in rufiyaa at the airport, especially if you plan to visit the fishermen's islands (the international airport is located on the island of Hulhule).

    Safety in the Maldives

    In recent years the country has been shaken by some political demonstrations, which are now sporadic and concentrated in the capital Malé, so the authorities advise against approaching any concentration, even peaceful.
    Otherwise, the security situation in the more touristy areas does not pose major concerns, as can be seen in the Maldives section of the Farnesina website.

    Rules of conduct in the Maldives

    1. Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public between sunrise and sunset, especially outside the resorts, especially during the Ramadan period (remember this is a Muslim country).
    2. Do not dive below thirty meters deep and do not spearfish, they are forbidden.
    3. Cover your shoulders and legs when visiting islands inhabited by locals, especially places of worship.
    4. Medical/travel insurance: recommended.


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