The Maldives Islands
The Maldives are the perfect place for honeymoons and couples looking for a luxury island vacation. The Maldives are not cheap but they are perfect. This country of 1000 islands has everything a person could want in a tropical island. You can even sleep in bungalows right over the water.
Size: 298 sq. km.(115 sq. mi)
Power Outlets: 230V 50 Hz
Official Languages: Divehi
Time Zone: GMT +5
Calling Code: +960
Weather: The best time to go is during November to May, when the weather is cool and dry. June through October has more rain and hotter weather because of the monsoon season.
Cost and Budgeting for the Maldives
The Maldives are not cheap destination and the country has no real budget accommodation. Aside from the capital, there are no hotels in the Maldives. A typical week in the Maldives can cost US$2,000 per couple. The cheaper resorts usually start at around US$75 per day per person in the low season. At most resorts, a double room will cost at least US$100 per day. Diving costs vary but are around US$350 per week.
Cash is not needed on the resorts as everything is charged to your room. Tipping is discouraged in the Maldives and most resorts will add a 10% service charge.
The first settlers of the Maldives were fishermen from the coasts of India and Sri Lanka. Buddhism was brought to the Maldives and became the dominant religion in the Maldives until the 12th century. Although governed as an independent Islamic state from 1153 to 1968, the Maldives were under British protection from 1887 until 1965. After independence in 1965, the sultanate continued for another three years but in 1968, the monarchy was abolished and replaced by a republic.
On December 26th 2004, the Maldives were devastated by a tsunami. Only nine islands escaped any damage, while fifty-seven islands were seriously damaged. Fourteen islands had to be evacuated and six were wiped out. A total of 108 people, including six foreigners, died in the tsunami.
The Maldivian ethnic identity is a blend that reflects the peoples who settled on the islands. Maldivian culture is derived from a number of sources. The Maldives are mostly Muslim nation and is very conservative. The official language of the Maldives is Dhivehi but English is used widely and taught in government schools.
The islands have a class system. Status is based on many factors such occupation, wealth, Islamic virtue, and family ties. Most members of the social elite are located in Male with the lower class in the outlying islands or working on the resorts.
Things to Do and See in the Maldives
Scuba Dive/Snorkel- The Maldives have some of the world’s dive sites. Around all the islands are amazing reefs where you can see a plethora of fish. For those who don’t dive or want to learn, there’s still a lot of wildlife to see from the surface.
Dive Fish Head- One of the world’s most famous dives with steep sides supporting multiple levels supporting sea fans, fish, and beautiful coral.
Dive the Banana Reef- This protected marine area has a bit of everything: cliffs, caves, brilliant
coral, big predators, and all the reef fish you could imagine. It is also a great place to snorkel.
Dive the Maldive Victory- This cargo ship sank in 1981 and now sits between 15m (49ft) and 35m (115ft). The ship’s structure is almost intact and provides a home for abundant new coral, sponges, and large schools of fish.
Beach Activities- There are a number of beach activities to do from parasailing to kayaking to jet skiing.
Pamper Yourself- These all inclusive resorts feature wonderful spas, health centers, tennis courts, and kitchens. Order some top class cuisine, pamper yourself in the spa, get a massage, or some good exercise. You are in paradise- treat yourself!
Eat with the Locals- Male has some excellent restaurants where you can try the local food for local prices. It’s a good change from the resort food and a chance to try the local cuisine.
The Maldives is the lowest country in the world, rising 2.3 m above sea level. Most islands in the Maldives have a protective coral reef around them. This acts as a natural barrier against the sea protecting the islands against storms. A layer of humus six inches forms the top layer of soil on most of the islands. Due to excessive salt in the soil near the beach, vegetation is limited to a few shrubs, flowering plants, and small hedges.