beach chairs on Maldives

Beach chairs at sunset on Maldives (Photographer's Choice)

What to do in Maldives

There's an alarming secret lurking beneath the surface of the pristine, postcard-perfect beaches of the Maldives: the beaches might not exist in a few short years. The string of islands—the nation claims about 1,200 plots of sand in all—lies just four-and-a-half feet above sea level, on average. That's a precarious position as global climate change continues to raise water levels around the world, and scientists are warning that the world's lowest-lying nation could be swallowed up by the Indian Ocean. A few years ago, in fact, the Maldivian president announced plans to look for a new piece of land for the 330,000 residents, should doomsday forecasts come true. In other words, if you're tempted to visit the Maldives' crystal-clear, aquamarine waters; white slips of soft sand; and hospitable, world-class resorts—go now, before it's too late.

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