Travel Destinations / Maldives
The Republic of the Maldives was once one of the best-kept secrets in the world. This beautiful string of low-lying coral islands in the Indian Ocean is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts and sun seekers. These islands are quickly becoming a very popular destination for those in search of a tropical island getaway.
The Maldives is situated to the North East of the African coast, in the Indian Ocean, right on the equator. All the islands (1,190 in total) together form an archipelago of 26 natural atolls (groups of neighboring coral islands). These atolls are organized into 19 administrative atolls with the capital island of Male established as an entity of its own forming the twentieth division.
The atolls and the islands form breathtaking patterns against the blue depths of the Indian Ocean. As a result of the atolls, the Maldives offer many nautical activities for visitors to enjoy, including night-fishing trips, windsurfing and scuba-diving. Many of the islands have immense lagoons, where bright blue-green water provides the ideal setting for relaxation.
There is little information available on the ancient people and their way of life, the Maldives have been populated and thriving as early as the 4th century BC, according to research. It is argued that the earliest settlers migrated from Arabia, eastern Africa and the Indian subcontinent. The Maldivian people are a combination of the various ethnic groups which inhabit the lands around the Indian Ocean’s shipping and maritime routes.
The locals love to shop, especially in the evenings when it is cooler. The main road on the island, Majeedhee Magu, has numerous shops selling goods that include just about anything imaginable, from luxury items, to traditional wares. In the shops you will find fashion, perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry, watches and electronics.
Many people prefer to experience the throngs of shoppers on the main streets in the evenings as day time temperatures can get rather hot for those not used to tropical climates, and because one can almost go so far as to say that a day not spent on the beach while in the Maldives is a slightly wasted day. All shops are open until 11.00 in the night, except for prayer times, when they are closed for 15 minutes.
Maldivian Rufiya (MVR; symbol MRf) = 100 laari
Notes: 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5
Coins: 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 laari.
Credit cards: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers arriving from infected areas. Typhoid may occur and vaccination is recommended. A cholera vaccination certificate is not necessary to entry to the Maldives. Malaria is disappearing and the risk of infection is very low.
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The weather is generally warm and humid with sunshine all year through. Temperatures around 29 to 32 degrees Celsius are normal. April is the hottest month and December the coolest. February is the driest month, with January to April being relatively dry. May and October have the highest average monthly rainfall
Best time to visit
One of the biggest factors in the Maldives’ popularity is the winter sun for Europeans, so peak season is between December and April; reason being that it’s the dry monsoon season with small amounts of rain, and lower than usual humidity.
For those in search of hot, summer’s days, February to April is the hottest period of the year, and it’s reflected in the fact that resorts are pretty much all operating at capacity during these peak summer months. Another busy period to either avoid, or embrace, depending on what you’re after, is from mid-December to early January for the traditional western festive season. These two periods, because of their popularity also drive the prices of accommodation or services up.
The best time to visit the Maldives would be from March to October, when it’s not only surfing season as the swells hit the coastline, but the prices are lower than peak season as well.