The Maldives are one of the few remaining almost unspoilt wonders on the planet. Just picture white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and spectacular resorts with luxurious overwater suites
Close your eyes and make a wish…The Maldives offers everything you could ever dream of and more! A veritable tropical paradise consisting of coral reefs, 26 atolls and 1,190 islands. Enjoy white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters where you can swim among parrot fish, turtles, eagle rays, manta rays, and peaceful whale sharks. Or relax in stunning all-inclusive resorts with private beaches and watch beautiful sunsets as you recline on your sun lounger in one of their luxurious overwater suites. The Maldives is home to some of the most paradisiacal, exquisite overwater resorts in the world.
The Republic of Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, 400 kilometres southwest of India. It is both an independent republic and a Sunni Muslim confessional state. The chain of 26 atolls includes a few larger islands, such as Seenu, Addu, Maafushi and Malé, home to the capital of the same name and the international airport.
Diving or snorkelling is a must. You don’t need to dive deep to be able to marvel at the stunning underwater world of the Maldives. The sea within the reefs is calm, crystal clear, and home to a wonderfully rich variety of colourful sea life. Be sure to pack your mask, snorkel, and fins – you won’t want to take them off! And if you’re a keen photographer, don’t leave home without your underwater camera or a GoPro with filters and a dome port – you’ll have photographic mementoes for life. Above the surface, choose from kayaking, paddle surfing, windsurfing, or for something more relaxing, try yoga on the beach. Many of these activities are offered by the resorts on their private beaches.
The Maldives is a surfers’ paradise. The coral reef bottoms offer some of the best waves in the world. The water temperature and accessibility mean you can surf all day long, surrounded by dolphins and turtles. The best time to surf is from May to October, and the best breaks are in the northern atolls, with waves the likes of Sultans, Cokes, Chickens and Jailbreaks.
For most people, the capital, Malé is the first port of call when arriving in the Maldives. Although not very big, it is worth exploring places like the Hukuru Miskiiy Mosque, and the fish market and wandering around the lively streets with colourful buildings, spice shops, restaurants and cultural shows like the ancient Boduberu dance.
The local cuisine is another attraction, with tuna being the star ingredient in many dishes. Try prawn soup or local sweets and exotic tropical fruit. Because of their geographic proximity to India, they share many customs, including a penchant for plenty of spice in their food.
In the Maldives, like Thailand, you may be treated to a natural night-time spectacle that turns the ocean into a field of glowing stars. This magical effect is bioluminescence, created by plankton that causes the sea to glow electric blue. The best place to see this phenomenon is on the white sandy beach of Vaadhoo on Raa Atoll.
The official language is Divehi, also called Maldivian, although English is spoken because of the tourist trade. The official currency is the Rufiya, but the resorts accept dollars, euros, and credit cards. English is not widely spoken outside of these Western oases, so it’s best to carry local currency and, above all, to be respectful. If venturing outside the ‘bikini beaches’, you should wear a T-shirt and shorts, avoid public displays of affection, and ensure your clothing, tattoos, and accessories have no religious symbols or images.
Details of other important travel advice before going to the Maldives can be consulted on the citizen services section of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at: www.exteriores.gob.es