The Maldives - ¨HEAVEN ON EARTH¨
The Republic of Maldives is a group of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean; an Island nation located about 700 km south-west of Sri Lanka and India.
The Maldives’ features 1,192 islands, roughly 200 of which are inhabited by local communities. More than 100 of these are used as resorts. The islands stretch for about 800 km from North to South, 130km at the widest point with no geological feature higher than 4 feet above sea level.
Water Temperature – Water temperatures range from 26-30°C/80-86°F year-round.
Weather – Tropical, hot and humid with loads of sunshine and temperatures around 24-33°C/75-91°F year-round.
Resorts and Accommodation
A tourist resort in the Maldives consists of an exclusive hotel on its own island, with its population entirely based on tourists and work force, with no local people or houses.
These islands developed for tourism are approximately 800 by 200 metres in size and are composed of sand and coral to a maximum height of about 2 metres above the sea. In addition to its beach encircling the island, each island has its own "house reef" which serves as a coral garden and natural aquarium for scuba divers and snorkelers. The shallow water enclosed by the house reef also serves as a large natural swimming pool and protects swimmers from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents outside the house reef.
The buildings on a typical resort includes rooms and suites reserved for use by its guests, restaurants, coffee shops, shops, lounges, bars, discos and diving schools. A portion of the island also contains staff lodgings and support services such as catering, power generators, laundry, and a sewage plant. On-island shops offer a wide range of products, such as souvenirs and artifacts. Most resorts offer a wide variety of activities
Until recently, tourism was restricted to the Maldives resorts, built on uninhabited islands where all services are offered within the island, with no contact with the local people. Guests rarely move away from the resorts, managed mostly by foreign multinationals, whose revenues only minimally go to the local economy. Recently the legalization of tourist facilities took place on the islands inhabited by locals, to create new jobs and allow more people to enjoy the gains from tourism.
The Maldives is flat with white sandy beaches and excellent reefs with an abundance of marine life. Scuba diving is done at a leisurely drift pace as the Indian Monsoon Current sweeps along the island chains, moving nutrients and divers along. This nutrient-rich water flows up along the walls, feeding the sponges and soft corals clinging to the rock sides. Inside the atoll lagoons, rock pinnacles – thila – vault up from the bottom to scratch the water’s surface. In the channels, there are swim-throughs, caverns and overhangs festooned with colorful sponges, invertebrates and gorgonians to explore. At well-known cleaning stations, wrasse and shrimp service manta rays, and other large marine species. With a welcoming culture and some of the finest liveaboard dive boats and luxury resorts on the globe, a dive holiday in the Maldives makes for an unforgettable experience.
The diving is good all year long, but the monsoon brings significant rain between April and October, especially June to August.
There are 4 hyperbaric chambers (decompression). Two in Male atoll (Bandos Resort, Kuramathi Resort), one in Kuredu in Lhaviyani Atoll, and the other in the Seenu Atoll, in the South.(Shangri-La Resort)
Visibility – Ranges from 20 metres/70 feet to really, really good. If the visibility lowers, it usually means plankton is present, which can bring in the whale sharks.
Featured Creatures – In the open ocean near the reefs, pelagic animals – including manta rays, eagle rays, tuna and a variety of sharks (including whale sharks) – frequent the Maldives. On shallow dives, the clear, bright water hosts a massive amount of sweet lips, parrotfish, groupers, snappers as well as frequent turtles and moray eels.
Recommended Training – The Maldives are a photographer’s dream, so take the Digital Underwater Photographer course. The Drift Diver course will prepare you for the drift dives through the channels. Enriched air nitrox is also a good idea.
No prior visa is required to enter the Republic of Maldives. A 30 day entry permit will be granted to visitors on arrival at designated ports of entry, based on the immigration requirements:
A valid international travel document issued by a sovereign state’s government with a minimum of 6 months validity.
A valid return air ticket and necessary visas to final destination.
A minimum of USD 50 per person per day or confirmed hotel reservation voucher.
Maldives has FREE VISA for all the tourists for 30 days on arrival.
There are many international airlines flying into the Maldives, offering good connections from Madrid, Paris, London, New York, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt, Sao Pablo, Dubai, Doha, Moscow, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Istambul, Sydney, Cape Town and Singapore to name a few.
Sri Lankan Airlines
South African Airways
*Due to seasonality, not all Airlines fly on a daily basis.
What is prohibited to import into the country?
The following items are strictly prohibited by law to Import into the country: pornographic materials in any form, spear gun, harpoons, alcohol (see next question), drugs (the penalty for importing of such drugs is severe, usually life imprisonment). More info under: www.customs.gov.mv
Can I bring alcohol and liquor into the Maldives?
You are not allowed to bring liquor to the Maldives. If you have bought liquor, beer and related items containing alcohol from a duty free shop while on route to the Maldives, these products must be bonded in the airport’s customs department upon arrival. These goods will be returned before departure. Note that alcohol can be bought on the Boats and Resorts for a reasonable price.
What happens if there is an accident?
If you are in a Resort everything is covered. With doctors in the house and Seaplane evacuation
If you are in a Boat you will be brought to the nearest resort as each one of them has its own doctor. Or the closest local island hospital/clinic. If the case is serious, you will be brought to the main hospital in Male.
We have the direct contact of the Seaplane company for emergencies (will apply an extra cost).
All guests are required to have travel insurance, which should cover medical emergencies and repatriation if needed
What to wear when visiting local residential islands?
Maldives is a Muslim country. To visit local residential islands and airports you should dress modestly. Your body should be covered from shoulder to knee. Women should not wear skimpy tops or short skirts/shorts. Nudity is forbidden in all areas.
Which currency should I bring?
The local currency used in Maldives is called Rufiyaa or MVR. Local shops only accept Rufiyaa and US Dollar (USD). There is a currency exchange booth just outside the Arrivals Hall(International Aiport in Male). There is also an ATM from which you can withdraw local currency.
Are mosquito's a problem?
There is no malaria in the Maldives.
For Liveaboards(boats): Being anchored offshore it is not common to have mosquito's on board. Although on very calm windless nights there can sometimes be one or two. Bring mosquito repellent just in case. If you are in a local Guest House or you visit the islands in the early morning or late afternoon/early evening you will probably encounter some mosquito's.
If you stop at a Resort, there will be very few or nothing since they usually spray every day.
What about Hazards (MarineLife)?
(sharks, stingrays, frogfish, lionfish, jellyfish...)
There are no official records of shark attacks in Maldives.
Maldivian sharks are surrounded by a lot of marine life(food). At the same time the clarity of the water avoids confusion/accidents.
Yes we recommend avoiding surfing or swimming on the surface(open ocean) before sunrise or after sunset, especially on moonless nights.
Most sharks are reef sharks (black or white tips, the most common and do not exceed one and a half meters). They are peaceful and are often far from the waves.
If you are lucky to see some curious shark nearby, just stay calm. enjoy, and do not bother them. They will go away.
Never feed or try to feed them. It is dangerous and it is forbidden in Maldives. The few local rumors, of attacks was for it..
For the rest of the fascinating poison creatures: Stingrays, Jellyfish, Lion Fish, Frog Fish, some corals, etc... basically the same. Observe and do not touch. They will not attack you unless they are threatened.
On the unfortunate occasion that you are unintentionally affected by them, the crew will assist you with first aid to calm down the pain , and if necessary you will be transferred to the nearest local hospital.
Maldives is very well connected by the latest network connectivity offered by the Dhiraagu (local and state owned) & Ooredoo (Qatari owned international company). 3G/4G connectivity is available through out the country with FREE WIFI provided by almost every hotel, resort in the Maldives. International roaming is available by the both service providers in the country. Data SIM cards are available on the arrival area in the airport. International dialling code of Maldives is +960 or 00960.
Life & People
People of Maldives are friendly & mostly educated. The entire population follows Islam & follows a same unified tradition & culture. Most of the urban population follows modern styles of living wile rural areas still follows the traditional way of life. Maldivians speak with their own language of “Dhivehi”. with English widely spoken in areas frequented by tourists.
The local culture features a lively mix of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences that is reflected in the traditional music, cuisine and art of the island.