maldives
Maldives Travel - Tourist Information

Visas
Visas are required for most nationalities, but are free and can be obtained on arrival for a stay of max. 30 days.
Health risks: Sunburn
Time: GMT/UTC plus five hours
Electricity: 220-40V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Tourism: 300,000 visitors per year

Best time to visit
If you're looking for a few extra hours of sunshine then you should visit the Maldives between December and April, which is the dry season. This is the high season, however, and resorts can be fully booked and prices are higher than the rest of the year. The Christmas-New Year period is the busiest and most expensive part of the high season. Between May and November it's still warm, but the skies can be cloudy, humidity is higher and rain is more likely. This is the low season, and there are fewer tourists and prices are lower. The transition months of November and April are said to be associated with increased water clarity and better visibility for divers.

Activities

Scuba diving is the main attraction in the Maldives, and it's estimated that over 60% of visitors dive at least once. There are hundreds of recognised and named dive sites, many of which are accessible from resorts - the rest can be reached by boat on diving safari trips. Aside from multitudinous fish and corals, there's the thrill of diving with turtles, moray eels, manta rays, sharks and whales and exploring some of the Maldives accessible wrecks, including the Maldive Victory off Hulule Airport, believed by many enthusiasts to be one of the most exciting wreck dives in the world. Virtually every resort runs a diving school to keep its guests occupied, but you can also just don a mask and flippers and swim a couple of strokes from a beach to enjoy the delights of the Maldives' submarine world.

Surfing has become more popular in the islands since there are excellent breaks accessible from resorts close to Malé. Surfing safaris to the outer atolls can also be arranged. It's always best to book surf trips with a reputable surf travel operator, because the Maldives is definitely not the sort of place where a surfer can rock up with a few boards and head for the waves. For the avid watersport enthusiast there are plenty of opportunities to go sailing, parasailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and jetskiing. Big game fishing is an upmarket option at some resorts, but there is a 'tag and release' policy, so you can't keep your catch. If you can't get your fill in the daytime, you can also go night fishing on board a dhoni (a traditional boat). Some people can just never get enough, which must be why banana riding has become a popular pastime at resorts. This involves up to a dozen people climbing onto a giant, inflatable banana which is then dragged around a lagoon by a speedboat. Coconut volleyball is only a matter of time.

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