The Maldives packs a lot of luxury into a small package. The island nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean offers pristine waters, magnificent underwater life, and world-class luxury resorts. Those are just a few of the reasons the Maldives have catapulted into the top tier of vacation destinations, with no sign of stopping.
Exploring the Maldives
If you’ve never heard of the Maldives, you’re not alone. This small island nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean was only opened as a tourist destination in the 1970s and if you ask me, it was not a moment too soon.
Flights fly into the capital city of Malé and most resorts are a boat ride away. Once you are on your island, people sort of stay put, as islands are quite far apart and transfers between them can be expensive.
But that doesn’t mean you are stranded – quite the opposite – each resort in the Maldives tops the next in terms of what it offers, from activities to restaurants to atmosphere, so there’s never a dull moment.
What to Do in the Maldives
A majority of the entertainment is provided by the Indian Ocean, with both under and above-water options. The ocean is warm and mild, making it suitable for even the littlest swimmers.
In the Maldives, each guest is provided with a life jacket and snorkel (kids’ sizes too) so you never have to resist the urge to “dive in.” The reef differs around islands. There are a minimum number of fish to see, but most swimmers are fortunate to encounter more exciting sea creatures such as sea turtles, manta rays, eels and dolphins. The waters are too warm to attract sharks and other man-eaters. (Yes, I asked).
At the dive center of every hotel, guests can try a variety of water sports from non-motorized options such as kayaks and paddle boats, to wind-surfing, jet skiing and boat excursions. There are also various dives you can sign up for, whether you are a beginner or experienced diver. The youngest divers have to be 8 years old to learn.
Another fun option is to take a guide out and snorkel at some reefs away from the hotel. If the reef is not very close, they will often take you out on a jet ski, which is double the fun!
At the Resort
There also is plenty to do on land. Since most guests remain at the resort for the whole of their stay, hotels offer live music, games and movies to fill the evenings, in addition to a host of exciting dining options. Many villas have their own private pools, which means a late-night dip is an option for families or even for parents after the kids have gone to sleep. Often you’re so satiated from the day in the sun and in the water that everyone tucks in early, in anticipation of another soul-filling day.
There are also a host of wellness opportunities such as spas (some uber family-friendly resorts will offer kids’ treatments as well), fitness centers, tennis and golf in some hotels. It’s a good time to try something new, perhaps a group Thai boxing class or a private yoga lesson.
Did I mention kids’ clubs? Every hotel has one and all day entertainment for kids 3+ on is usually included in the price of your stay (including movie night giving parents some quality time off). Now that’s value!
The only downside is that the Maldives is not cheap. It specializes in uber-lux and attracts discerning travelers from around the world. It is possible to find budget options in and around Male for die-hard water lovers but it’s worth it to skip a couple of average trips and save up for this one spectacular one. You won’t regret it.