Do you dream of that ultimate beach holiday? Of arriving at your holiday destination and kicking off your shoes for 2 weeks, eating under the stars, swimming with turtles and all manner of sea creatures? Strolling on white, sandy beaches in a place where where the sea meets the sky in perfect shades of aquamarine? You do? Then pack your bags and head for The Maldives.
The Maldives is a double chain of 26 atolls strewn across the equator, consisting of 1,192 islets, two hundred of which are inhabited.
The temperature in the Maldives ranges between 24 °C (75 °F) and 33 °C (91 °F) throughout the year. Although the humidity is relatively high, the constant cool sea breezes keeps the air moving.
Fishing, perhaps not too surprisingly, is one of the top two main sources of income.
The other major industry in the country is of course is tourism. The first tourist resorts were opened in 1972 with Bandos island resort, where I stayed in 2010 and Kurumba Village. Since the early 1970’s the number of resort islands increased from 2 to around 98. Today in the region of 800,000 people are leaving their footprints in the pristine Maldivian sand.
All visitors arrive at Malé International Airport, located on Hulhulé Island, which is next to the capital Malé. From Gatwick to Malé the flight is scheduled to take around 10 hours 20 minutes to Malé although, last time I flew, it took under 10 hours. From Male International Airport, depending on the distance to your resort island, you would then transfer to either a speedboat or seaplane.
Best time to go? The driest months are between November and April. Now that doesn’t mean that you won’t get the odd shower, it is always hot, but sometimes wet. We generally go in February. When we first stayed at the Full Moon resort island in 1998, we had the odd shower, generally just before dinner. In 2010 (Bandos) it rained quite a lot, but only when we were sleeping. In February 2011 (Kuramathi), we had one 60 second shower in 14 days. In April 2013 (Reethi Beach), I cannot remember it raining once during the 17 days we were there.
The sometimes-wet part is generally down to two monsoons
- The Southwest monsoon – usually July to August
- The Northeast monsoon – usually November to March
November to April is the busiest time in The Maldives as it is purportedly the driest. Does that mean the beaches get crowded? Especially as the islands are quite small. I have now had the opportunity to visit 4 different resorts and where people go during the day, generally remains a mystery to me. Many people are there for diving holidays, so we can assume they are under the sea. There are many different kinds organised excursions arranged by the resorts on a daily basis for snorkelling, swimming with mantas, finding Dolphins, barbecuing on uninhabited islands etc. For example at Kuramathi, in February 2011, there were 800 guests and 600 staff, but during the day you would hardly see anybody.
So if a no news, no shoes beach holiday is your cup of tea, then you just have to go to The Maldives.