The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s known for its beaches, blue lagoons, and extensive reefs. The capital, Malé, has a busy fish market, restaurants and shops on the main road, Majeedhee Magu, and 17th-century Hukuru Miskiy (also known as Friday Mosque) made of carved white coral.
GEOGRAPHY: The Republic of Maldives is made up of 1,190 coral islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The Maldives extends approximately 750 kilometers from North to South and approximately 120 kilometers from East to West (similar in the distance as Sydney to Melbourne). The Maldives is divided into areas known as Atolls, with every Atoll unique in its own way. Every island within each Atoll is also unique and differs depending on its location and physical attributes.
WEATHER: The Maldives is equatorial in a climate with the air temperature averaging 30 degrees Celsius all year and the water temperature averaging 28 degrees Celsius all year. The Maldives is regulated by two seasons or monsoons. The first is the northeast monsoon extending from January to March, which is often referred to as the dry monsoon. Weather within this monsoon is typically picture perfect with minimal rain and completely still days.
The second is the southwest monsoon extending from mid-May to September, which is often referred to as the wet monsoon. Weather within this monsoon is more variable and less predictable. There can be picture perfect days, days with some cloud, days with some wind (bringing the surf and fantastic for kite surfing or windsurfing) and days with some showers. It is not typical to have days of constant rain in the Maldives even during this southwest monsoon, as the Maldives is equatorial in climate rather than tropical.
MARINE LIFE: The Maldives is famous for its rare underwater beauty, with some of the best dive sites in the world. The incredible marine life is so abundant that you can see the psychedelic fish from your villa deck or in the shallow waters. You need not be a diver to experience the beauty of the Maldives.
The Maldives is home to incredible Manta Rays and Whale Sharks and many people visit the Maldives just for the chance to dive or snorkel with these amazing creatures. Hanifaru Bay is a Marine Protected Area famous for snorkeling with these beautiful creatures. Every year between June and October, a combination of lunar tides and monsoon currents trap high concentrations of plankton in the bay’s steep sides. This concentration of plankton draws large numbers of manta rays and whale sharks to this area and marine enthusiasts can snorkel with them while they come to the surface to feed on the plankton.
PEOPLE: Maldivian people are warm, illuminating and extremely hospitable, so much so that you immediately feel relaxed in their presence. The Republic of Maldives has a proud history and rich culture that combines a mixture of African, Indian, Sri Lankan and South East Asian influences. This is noticeable in their sumptuous food, their colorful dance and their rhythmic music, particularly the hand beating of the traditional bodu beru drums.
ENVIRONMENT: The Maldives’ highly fragile ecological system is impressively looked after. The Maldivian Government and the people of the Maldives are extremely conscious of the vulnerability of the environment and are active in implementing measures to ensure that environmental protection receives the highest priority. The resorts themselves also actively play an important role in the protection of the environment, with initiatives such as the ‘save the sea turtle’ project, whale and dolphin protection and a ‘coral rejuvenation’ project.
CAPITAL CITY: Male
LANGUAGE: Local language is Dhivehi, however, English is very commonly spoken throughout the Maldives and certainly at the resorts Extraordinary Escapes’ sells.
CURRENCY: Local currency is Rufiyaa however, US Dollars are accepted at Male International Airport and at the resorts we sell.
LOCAL TIME: GMT + 5 hours, however, note that some resorts operate on ‘island’ time which is one hour ahead of Male. They do this to extend the number of daylight hours.
POPULATION: Approximately 350,000
POWER/ELECTRICITY: 240 AC. Power plugs are the same as the UK.