Maldives is a chain of 1190 small islands situated on the equator just southwest of Sri Lanka. Only just over 200 of these islands are inhabited and roughly 100 have a resort on them. Each resort sits on its own island. The Maldives islands are very popular with tourists looking for beautiful beaches, scuba-diving and snorkeling. Before you plan a vacation, there are a few things you should be aware of and plan accordingly.
Being right on the equator in the Indian Ocean, there are two distinct monsoon seasons every year here. The first is from the northeast and is in effect from December until April. The islands get hit with a second season, from the southwest from June through August. Unless you want to take a chance on not being rained out of any beach or water activities, you may wish to play your trip when the rains will not be so harsh.
Politics and Religion
The Maldives are an Islamic country and forbid the expression of any other religion. You need to be careful in regards to your actions and words or could end up being imprisoned. There has been some unrest and terrorism on the capital island of Male. You will spend the majority of your time on small, resort islands and only travel to the capital for a specific reason; it is not really a tourist place. Travel to non-resort islands requires permission.
The drug laws are strict and enforced. Do not take any type of illegal drug into the country; it is not worth it. Another law foreigners need to take into consideration is the fact that homosexual activity is illegal; it is punishable by a long prison term. It is important to observe and be respectful of the culture and religion of the country.
The resorts usually have a general health practitioner on staff to care for any illnesses. The only hospitals in the country are on Male and do not have trauma units. If you plan on scuba diving, be aware of the distance to a decompression chamber and take special precautions when surfacing.
It is highly advised you visit your own physician as soon as you plan your trip. You may need updated vaccinations and will need to carry yellow fever vaccination documentation. Make sure you take enough prescription drugs with you for the entire stay.
You will find almost all the staff in the resort speaks English; quite a few speak other languages as well. The official language of the country is Dhivehi. You should have no trouble talking to other people on the island you are staying. Getting in touch with someone not on vacation with you can be a bit more difficult. Not all the island resorts have mobile access and if they do, you need to make sure you take a phone charger that will fit in with the 230 volt electricity. There will be phones you can rent in the resort.
You are on vacation and it is a resort; expect the prices to be very high. You will have to pay a 10% service charge plus 6% tax on everything you purchase. Be sure to take items you know you will need with you; pack plenty of sunscreen.
Because you will be staying at a resort on a small island, be prepared to spend all your time and do all your eating at the resort. There are no other shops or restaurants. Pick the resort carefully; looking over everything they have to offer before making a final decision.
Victoria is a freelance travel writer who loves traveling and sharing useful tips such as tips for visiting the Maldives with others who love to travel.