An Overview of the Maldives Islands: Sun, Sand and Serenity
Sun, beautiful beaches, and clear water where divers can see as far as fifty meters away – that’s the Maldives Islands. Yet the Maldives offer not just beaches and water activities; the islands also offer a respite from day-to-day hustle and bustle. With a number of islands and low populations on them, guests will never feel crowded or closed in.
The Republic of the Maldives, commonly called the Maldives or the Maldives Islands, consists of a group of 26 atolls located about 700 Kilometres southwest of Sri Lanka. Composing these atolls are 1,190 islands, 200 islands out of these are inhabited. The area of the Maldives covers over 90,000 square Kilometres and has approximately 330,000 people. Originally settled by fishermen from what is now India and Sri Lanka, the area became a popular stop for ships and traders.
Tourism accounts for 30% of the economy and over 60% of foreign exchange dollars, but tourism itself did not become popular until the 1970’s when people discovered the stunning scenery and clear waters. There are over 100 islands to choose from that cater to tourists, but all international flights arrive at Male’s Hulhule airport, which is on an island of its own. From there, guests travel to their island either by boat, by seaplane or by Domestic Flight.
Maldives earned its tourism reputation by being a diver’s paradise; over a thousand species of fish and other underwater life inhabit the surrounding waters, and there is high visibility throughout the water all year round. For those concerned about not being experienced divers, all resorts and safari boats are capable of basic to advanced training for would-be divers. With the guidance of certified dive instructors, even novice divers can enjoy the beauty of the Maldives’ underwater life on a drift dive.
However, diving is not the only activity on the islands that will keep you busy on your holiday here. In fact a recent survey conducted by the Maldives Ministry of Tourism reveals that snorkeling is in fact more popular than diving. Other popular and fun activities include dolphin watching, surfing, sight-seeing, Spa, whale watching, and also night fishing.
From June to September, the surfing season is in full swing. The southwest monsoons tend to bring in massive swells, causing wave sizes from three to eight feet. There are several well-known surf breaks around the North and South Male’ Atoll and the lesser-known surf breaks further away from Male’ atoll can be accessed by specialized tour operators throughout the islands.
The Maldives offer a location where people can decompress from their everyday lives; from beautiful sandy beaches to friendly locals, most people find a way to relax. Maldives resorts offer amenities on par with first-class hotels throughout the world, yet the Maldives can also be toured on a budget as well with careful research and planning.