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THE ULTIMATE MALDIVES TRAVEL GUIDE TO PLAN A DREAM TRIP

The atolls in the Maldives are part of a unique nature ecosystem, that seem taken out of paradise with fine beaches, a blue light ocean and sealife beyond belief

Maldives are for many the closest to Paradise than you can get on planet Earth. When you see the different islands with its atolls spread across the Indian Ocean you realize why – its like a small paradise island. And you have around 80 islands with resorts in the Maldives to pick from where to stay. Maldives has more than 1,200 islands spread across 26 atoll areas in a total of 90,000 square km.

Here below you can see a map of the Maldives to see how far apart are the atolls from each other with its thousands of islands. Zoom in and out to check the different atolls

WHEN TO GO TO THE MALDIVES

The best time to go to the Maldives is from November to April, as it will be the dry season when the weather will be warmer and with less rainfall. There might be a rain shower at the end of the day. of course this means that is also the busiest time of year and, so room rates at resorts will become more expensive.

Going in the low season from May to October coincides with the main vacations period in most Western countries and can be a pleasant surprise if you can find a good hotel deal. Unfortunately the waves will tend to be higher, even inside the island reef itsel and swimming becomes a little more shallow, so diving might be rougher. Anyway the monthly amount rain in the Maldives will be higher but it will rarely rain all day long except in the monsoon season that has its peak in June.

HOW TO GET TO THE MALDIVES AND GET TO YOUR MALDIVES RESORT

The best way to get to the Maldives is by air to the international airport of Malé, the capital of the Maldives. Many international flight companies do this trip such as Fly Emirates, Lufthansa and Air France/KLM. A flight from Europe can take around 12 hours in a direct flight. The local carrier Seychelles also has several international connections, their planes are good and service is also reasonable.

Once you get to Malé, usually you should spend as less time here as possible as the island is packed with houses with most of the 300,000 inhabitants of the Maldives living in the the 300km2 of the island, making it one of densest poulated cities in the World. Unfortunately this makes the city also not pleasant for beach lovers depite the azure waters as waste disposal is a big issue here.

So how to get to your resort in the Maldives usually has 2 main options: by 3 different types of boat or by plane / seaplane.

Public ferries / boats are actually scarce and not operating daily to all islands, so you should get a ferry to one of other main atolls and from there take a private boat to get you to your destination island. So it can happen that you need wait in Malé for the next ferry boat available to take you. Note that you can buy tickets usually one week before, not earlier and sailing times depending on weather conditions as you will be crossing open ocean. The public company is called Maldives Transport and Contracting Company, but their website is often not reliable so do get informations from your lodging option or a travel agency.

Charter boats would be the next value for money option, usually organized by travel agencies or if you have a large group you can get a good fare. They are called Dhoni charters and will take you only to a certain distance as they can really brave that many long sailing times. But they will get you to inhabited islands and to some of the nearby resorts close to Malé.

Speedboats are the most expensive of all transfer options, being used often by resorts in North and South Male Atoll, as well as some in North and South Ari, Vaavu and Faafu atolls. Transfer prices can be quite variable as they depend on the distance, something in between 70EUR/ USD to 450 EUR/USD. The prices can be this expensive because they will combine the trip with a plane/ seaplane connection too.

The transfer by plane to near your resort might be more expensive but it will get you much quicker to your destination, namely after a long – haul flight. There are 14 airports in the Maldives, including Malé, usually served by Air Seychelles or private charter planes. Prices again will vary depending on how far your resort is and how much they charge for it. After getting to the regional airport, you will be usually taking a speedboat or a small motorboat to the island. Basically there is no other connection then by air and sea.

As you could read, the logistics complexity to get you to your final destination in the Maldives is quite complex, so you can brave it through surely but I recommend you to organize this directly with your hotel resort or a travel agency. It will cost more but you are in the Maldives to enjoy paradise, not to be nerved by long transfer times!

WHERE TO STAY IN THE MALDIVES

The best atoll to stay in the Maldives is the Ari Atoll located in the Southern part of the Maldives for 3 main reason: best diving conditions, waters are more transparent for snorkeling and is usually well connected to Malé being 30 minutes away by seaplane or 2 hours by ferry boat, if there is one operating on that day. Then you can choose between North and South Ari Atoll, where experts say the North end tends to better for diving.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Choosing the resort island in Ari Atoll to stay depends on several factors, the good thing is that you have 20 to choose from. It all comes down to which services, meal options and type of room amenities you want to have , that can vary from 150 to several thousand euros/ dollars per night per person.

Of course a sea villa will cost more than an apartment on the beach, but one way or the other you are in Paradise and the water and beach is the same for everyone .The most important thing to know is that all of them offer diving/ snorkeling trips and watersports. And pretty much every resort has a SPA with massages, so you will be surely having the time of your lifetime.

WHERE TO EAT IN THE MALDIVES

I guess that the reply on where to eat in the Maldives is very dependent on where you are staying. All resorts have their won restaurants, depending on the stars number it can even have several options with different cuisine. So usually you need to stick to your resort but if they are part of a bigger chain you might have the chance to test other properties or eventually just visit another resort by taking a speed boat. It’s mostly recommended that you book half pension or full pension.

And when you’re in that boat, after a long journey, and start staring that contrast of deep blue, followed by a light blue and then a crystalline blue, it seemed to be surreal. Once you stepp put of the boat, I had this very long wooden pier that was surrounded by the most transparent water colors I had never seen, already past the coral reef, getting a more intense light blue every step you take towards inside the island l itself, where I could even spot the fishes from above. And that sand was just pure white powder, that made the lush green almost look pale.

It was at that moment that I realized that my quest of finding all shades of blue in one place was over

Hint: There are around 80 islands with resorts in the Maldives to pick from. They range from 3 to 5 stars or more. If you really want the best service, food selection, massages and private tours, then prepare your deep pockets. If you are into some luxury but don’t want to spend that much, then a 4 stars will be just fine – I can highly recommend the Villa Hotels & Resort Group, they have 4 properties catering for all needs. Yoz can also book all your diving tours and watersport activties directly at the hotel.

For some travel tips in the Maldives, when to go and where to stay, please check the Travel Guides section too.

theinsidetraveller View All

My name is Renato Azambujo. I live currently in Hamburg, but was born and raised in sunny capital of Portugal, Lisbon. I also lived in Switzerland for some years, before settling in Germany for the last years.

I am huge passionate about travel, photographer and a global explorer, always looking to the next destination.

I have so far visited over 70 countries across the 5 continents, because I really love knowing about new places, interact with different cultures and get to know myself better after each journey.

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