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