If there were ever a paradise on earth, the Maldives would be it. Lying in the lap of nature’s exquisite beauty, this archipelago of 26 atolls and nearly 1,200 islands and islets in the Indian Ocean several hundred miles southwest of Sri Lanka and India has become one of the world's most popular travel getaways. This country is famous for its pristine waters, clean sandy beaches, luxurious resorts, exciting leisure activities, and lip-smacking cuisine. There are myriad exciting things you can do on a dream Maldives holiday, and here are ten of the best:
Scuba Dive in the Crystalline Waters
With so many paradisical atolls and reefs, it's no surprise that diving is one of the top activities in the Maldives, whether on independent dive outfitter excursions, liveaboards, or dive resorts. Cave and wreck diving are specialties here, and in addition to myriad colorful corals and some 1,100 species of fish, you can spot the likes of manta and other rays, reef and various other sharks, and giant marine turtles.
Snorkel the Reefs with Sea Turtles and More
If you're unwilling and unable to dive the deeper depths, there are plenty of lagoons and other shallows surrounding the archipelago's 2,500-some reefs - certain of which offer "extras" like manta rays and marine turtles. There are plenty of exursions offering snorkeling off boats, as well as a number of resorts with "house reefs" on which guests can snorkel at their leisure.
Surf Your Heart Out
So many islands naturally offer tons of surf breaks, and here too you can access them from resorts and guest houses or take boat excursions to others which are more out of the way. One especially popular spot is Cinnamon Dhonveli resort in the North Malé Atoll. There's something for all skill levels, and the peak surfing season is March through November (especially June through August).
Relax on the White-Sand Beaches
Soft, white powder lapped by clear turquoise waters and backed by palms and lush vegetation - this more than anything else is what brings visitors to the Maldives. And of the hundreds of options, among the standouts are on tiny Mudhhoo Island (notable expecially for its glowing bioluminescent plankton at night), castaway Fulhadhoo Island, Maafushi Island's Bikini Beach, Vabbinfaru Island (especially great for fabulous snorkeling from the beach, and Rasdhoo Island, with one of the country's largest strands.
Check Out these Beautiful Islands from the Sky
Whether via seaplane tours or parasailing/paragliding, you'll find that the Maldives are just as magical from aloft as at ground level. Perhaps even more so, taking in the many clusters of emerald green fringed by brilliant white sands and surrounded by crystalline waters in various shades of blue and green.
Cast a Fishing Line
The Maldives are packed with angling options, including shore fishing, deep-sea charters, and night fishing from traditional dhoni fishing boats. Popular species include tuna (especially yellowfin), wahoo, grouper, marlin, and the most prized of all, giant trevally, ranging up to a whopping 80 pounds.
Enjoy Exotic Sunsets and Sunrises
Most of the Maldives' expanse is ocean, and the islands are exceptionally close to the water - the lowest-lying country on earth, in fact - and so there are more water and salt molecules in the air to scatter the setting and rising sun's light, meaning exceptionally glorious reds, pinks, and oranges no matter where you are in these islands.
Relax Your Body with a Spa Treatment
These islands are packed with standalone spas as well as luxury resorts with extensive spa facilities, offering Balinese and Thai massages, Ayurveda, and various other relaxing and rejuvenating treatments. Top resorts according to Tripadvisor include Ayada Maldives, Hurawalhi Island Resort, Joali Maldives, LUX* South Ari Atoll, and Sun Siuam Iru Veli.
Relish Authentic Maldivian Cuisine
Also known as Dhivehi cuisine, the exotic local menu is characterized by mild spiciness, sometimes a light touch of sweetness, and an overall exotic flavor. There's some notable Influence from India and Sri Lanka, and foodstuffs are drawn especially from coconuts (meat and milk), fish (especially skipjack tuna) and starches such as rice, sweet potato, cassava, and taro. Then of course there are the plentiful tropical fruits and juices. Popular dishes include garudhiya (fish soup) as well as vegetable, seafood, and chicken curries.
Go Island Hopping
Various islands have different things to offer - some glitzier, others more castaway, yet others especially notable for enjoying local culture - and you should definitely visit several during your stay, via seaplane, dhoni, sailboat, or speedboat.
So what are you waiting for? Book a trip to the Maldives for the holiday of a lifetime!