Maldives Islands – An Island Getaway Like No Other
When you’re looking for an exotic vacation destination where sandy beaches, tropical vegetation, and crystal blue waters abound, you probably already know that you have a few different viable options. Why choose the Maldives? The Maldive Islands have long been a popular tourist destination and even a popular wedding and honeymoon location for many UK travelers, but in America and elsewhere, the Southern Asia archipelago of 1200 islands is slightly less well known. The Maldives has 80 tourist islands, all with resorts and services that cater to visitors from all around the world. Besides the year-round sunshine, one of the things that makes the Maldives stand out is the ocean itself. From warm lagoons where you can snorkel amongst amazing tropical fish, to gentle waves that make the Maldives one of the 5 best places for whale and dolphin-watching in the world, the crystal clear waters of these coral islands are like nowhere else on earth. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?
1. Planning a Trip to the Maldives
The Maldives has one of the easiest visa policies you’ll find in a vacation destination. Free 30-day visas are granted to pretty much all foreign visitors, but you’ll still need a passport. The most important thing you should do if you’re planning to visit the Maldives is save up. It’s definitely a luxury holiday, and it will be one you remember for the rest of your life. So you can never be too prepared for the costs of food, travel, and activities, on top of the cost to stay in one of the country’s many resorts. You can save money by looking for package deals and considering some of the more obscure islands. You can even travel during the rainy season, from early summer through November. If you enjoy surfing or diving, the conditions can be even better during those cheaper months.
2. Getting Around on the Islands
The only international airport in the Maldives is located in Male, the capital. Travel around Male is easy with ferries, motorbikes, and taxis. If you’re staying on another island, the staff at your resort will typically meet you at the airport and escort you to a speedboat or a seaplane. Most tourists love taking seaplanes, because you immediately get a good view of the entire geography of the Maldives and the beauty of nature it offers. Once you’re safely checked into your resort, island-hopping day trips are accomplished with ferry rides or air taxis. Usually resorts encompass their own island, so your options for restaurants, shopping, and entertainment are limited to which one you choose unless you want to spend a lot of time traveling between islands.
3. Popular Activities
The Maldives isn’t typically for sightseeing and entertainment, it’s for relaxing on the beach and partaking in water sports. People who travel there enjoy surfing, diving, snorkeling, and other activities, and there are plenty of popular areas to see incredible underwater life among the coral. If you’re not an expert in scuba, there are options like underwater scooters which anyone can try. Boat trips to watch dolphins and whales are also really popular in the Maldives Islands. You can see Blue Whales and spinner dolphins, the latter of which flock by the thousands. Most companies that organize trips will guarantee you an 80 to 90 percent chance of seeing these amazing animals. Your resort is the number one resource when it comes to planning activities, and they will have plenty of opportunities available.
4. Local Customs
Since most of the resort islands are totally isolated, you might visit the Maldives and never interact with the locals. But if you enjoy getting a taste of Maldivian life, remember that the Maldive Islands are completely Muslim, so alcoholic beverages are limited to the resorts only, and there is no topless sunbathing allowed. Be sure to be respectful of religious customs, especially if you are traveling during Ramadan. The weekend is Friday and Saturday, and even on resort islands, lunch can end early on Fridays for prayer. Besides just the locals, you can also meet all kinds of friendly and knowledgeable workers from around the world who are there to provide diving courses, local tours, and amazing hospitality.
There are many different island getaways that can be a traveler’s dream, but the Maldives has a unique beauty and allure all its own. Visitors are often intrigued by the luxury of this exotic country, enough to splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience its resorts and beaches. Doesn’t everyone deserve to see paradise up close at least once?
Amie Gottschalk is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @amiegottschalk.