The Maldives have deep blue seas, turquoise reefs, white sandy beaches and palm trees. It is also a place full of character, where the people have long spent their days languishing in the very essence of idyll living. While it is the perfect place to sit on a beach and watch a sunset with a cocktail balanced on your hand, it is also a geographical marvel, knowing that there are thousands of fish swimming around the vivid corals just a few feet away from where you sit.
The Maldives lie in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. The country is made up of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls, spread over 90,000 square kilometres. These atolls structures are formed upon a sharp ridge rising from the ocean, making way for their secluded uniqueness.
Each atoll in the Maldives is made of a coral reef encircling a lagoon, with deep channels dividing the reef ring. A string of islands take their places among this atoll ring; each island has its own reef encircling the island lagoon. The reefs of the islands, alive with countless types of underwater creatures and vibrant corals, protect the islands from wind and wave action of the surrounding vast oceans. This unique structure of reefs and channels makes navigation almost impossible for the passer-by without sufficient information about these waters.
Ninety-nine percent of the Maldives is made up of sea. The people of the islands are widely dispersed across the atolls, with about 200 inhabited islands. About 90 islands are developed as tourist resorts and the rest are uninhabited or used for agriculture and other livelihood purposes.
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Irrespective of nationality, all tourists will receive a 30 day visa free of charge on arrival in the Maldives.
A tourist visa will be issued at Malé International Airport provided that the visitor satisfies all of the following conditions:
To enter the Maldives no pre-arrival visa is required.
A thirty day free visa is issued on arrival for all Nationalities, provided:
- Should possess a valid passport with Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) -(standard ICAO Annex 9, chapter 3.10.1) and should have at least 6 months validity
- Have a valid ticket to continue the journey out of Maldives
- Have enough funds to cover the expenses for duration of the stay in Maldives. (US$100 + $50 dollars per day) or a confirmation of reservation in a Tourist Resort or a Hotel
No specific vaccinations are required to enter the Maldives. However, if you are arriving from a Central African of South American country where yellow fever is endemic you will require an international certificate of inoculation against yellow fever to enter Maldives.
Please consult your doctor for any further health advice.
What health facilities are available in the Maldives?
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.
Check the latest country-specific information and advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website or from NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
UK health authorities have classified the Maldives as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website
Medical facilities are limited. There are only 2 hospitals and these are on the capital island, Malé. Neither has a trauma unit. Although most resort islands are within easy reach of a doctor, many are several hours’ travel away from the hospital facilities on Malé. Many resort islands are more than an hour away from the nearest decompression chamber.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 102 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Weather and when to go
The weather in the Maldives is usually picture perfect: sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings, and iridescent sunsets. The temperature hardly ever changes – which makes packing for your holiday an easy task. With the average temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The sun is a constant most days, shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth. Throughout the day, the sun will make itself known, ensuring that it will be remembered and missed, like an old friend, as you pack up your suitcases to leave.
The Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November.
The rare thunderstorm in the Maldives, especially around the southwest monsoon months can be a welcome respite from the sun. Cloudy skies and slate grey seas, and crashing thunder makes up for lovely reading weather. The warm temperatures will allow you to go for a walk in the rain, a verdant, wet, thoroughly enjoyable experience. For extra exhilaration, take a swim in the rain – the sea will be extra warm.
The northern atolls have the highest rainfall from May-November and the rain reaches the southern atolls from November-March.
+++ the best time to visit
++ good time to visit
+ good time with some rain expected
Month by month weather
January to April
Pleasant hot temperatures, clear blue skies, minimal rain fall, make this one of the best times to visit the Maldives. The Indian Ocean will be calm and the underwater visibility will be very good, so it is ideal for sun-seekers and snorkellers alike.
May – September
Despite wetter months, the weather is still good. You may experience few showers and increased humidity. Saying this, keep in mind that the rain will usually clear very fast. Considered as low season, the prices are lower, temperatures are high and rains are not constant, meaning it is an excellent time to visit. As most islands have an in-house reef, you will be able to snorkel there.
During the rainy season it tends to rain a bit more at night, which means that the actual daytime rain that visitors see is even more consistent than it first appears. Even during the rainy season it’s rare to have more than a few cloudy days per week, so it would be very bad luck to see much grey during an average holiday.
October – December
Mid of October is the end of the wet season in the Maldives. Hot, dry weather returns to the islands. Expect long days of sunshine and temperatures in the range of 30 degrees. This is a very popular time to travel.
The Maldives is a very popular destination therefore there are many direct and indirect flights from all over the world. Whether you live in Europe, the Americas, Asia or Australasia, flying to the Maldives is possible either in one single flight or with a simple connection.
International flights arrive at Malé’s International airport (MLE) also known as Velana International Airport, which is on an island of its own called Hulhule.
There are scheduled services with British Airways, Emirates (via Dubai), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Qatar (via Doha), Swiss Airlines (via Zurich), Oman Air (visit Muscat), Air Sri Lanka (via Columbo) and Singapore Airlines (via Singapore).
Direct scheduled service with British Airways fly from London Gatwick.
Transfers from the Malé International airport to your resort island are either by boat, seaplane or domestic flight, depending on the distance. If your resort requires a seaplane transfer, there are a few things to be aware of: the seaplanes only operate in daylight hours, so if you arrive after sunset you will have to stay in Malé overnight before being able to transfer to your resort.
Likewise if your flight home is early in the morning – you will leave your resort in the afternoon. The seaplane journey in itself is an experience, as you get stunning views of the atolls – make sure you get a window seat and that you get your camera out before boarding (your hand luggage will probably be put at the back of the plane as there is no space under or over the seats). The seaplane will usually land next to a floating platform, from which you will be picked up by boat to be taken the remaining few metres in shore to your resort.
At The Earth Trip we will design and plan your personalised itinerary according to the exact requirements of your trip. Whether you prefer to be on a mountaintop or under a waterfall; wake up in the middle of a jungle or have a picnic with locals in the tea plantations – we select the accommodation and activities in order to suit not only your preferences, but also your budget.Discover Tailor-Made