Beach Vacations to Maldives

Beach in Kuramathi, Maldives
Kuramathi, Maldives (Priyank Chodhury/Flickr)

Maldives Beach Travel Tips

  • The Maldives have two monsoon seasons: the drier northeastern monsoon (iruvai) from December to March, and the wetter southwestern monsoon (hulhangu) from May to November, with stronger winds and seas. April is a transitional month with less wind and clearer and calmer waters.
  • The beaches are most crowded from December through April, when Europeans visit for their vacations.
  • Addu Atoll, which is below the equator in the far south of the country, is a bit drier in August, when the monsoon rains have moved north and east.

Although you may not have heard of the Maldives, this island nation covers a huge area with 1,190 coral isles, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls stretching over 500 miles north to south in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka. About 200 of the Maldives' islands are inhabited, with 87 designated exclusively as resort islands. The more than 100 resorts make the options mind-boggling, but thankfully most are similar, with all-inclusive plans, private transfers, over-the-water bungalows, tranquil settings, and five-star service with prices to prove it. (Backpacker tourism has been discouraged since an onslaught in the 1970s, in favor of small-scale, upscale tourism.) Despite the devastating tsunami in December 2004 that ruined some of the resorts, the country has rebounded even if the tourism numbers haven't.

Nearly a quarter of the country's population of 360,000 lives on the island of Malé, in the north, making for a bustling, modern atoll. Don't expect any bars here (the Maldives have been Muslim since 1153 A.D.), but the locals are a pretty easygoing bunch, with African and South Asian customs blending in languid tropical splendor.

The Maldives have long been a magnet for honeymooners and divers and surfers, with some of the best natural scenery above and below the waves. Thankfully, it's all heavily protected by the nation's tough government, which runs the show like a corporation. The southern atolls, long untouched, are where most of the new resorts are popping up, with a new international airport on the atoll of Gan now taking long-haul flights from Europe and Asia.

Published: 20 Jul 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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