Maldives Travel Guide: A Guide to Vacationing in the Maldives

Maldives Travel Guide

The time has finally come for us to write a Maldives Travel Guide!

The Maldives is one of those places that has something for everyone. Whether you want to come here to explore more of its rich cultural heritage, or simply to bask in one of their many beaches. When you hear its name, you already think about beaches, beauty, and food. And your thoughts are spot on. 

 

Maldives Travel Guide

Getting to the Maldives- Maldives Travel Guide

While it feels like paradise once you arrive in the Maldives, and especially at your overwater bungalow resort, the location is quite remote for pretty much everyone. Spread over a huge area just southwest of India, it’s many thousands of kilometers from Europe, and even quite a long way from the Middle East as well.

 

According to Maldives Travel Guide, there are many flights into Malé International Airport from all over, meaning that most people will only have to change planes once along the way. The other nice thing is that since these are all long-haul flights you’ll be in a proper wide-body plane, so even those in economy class will have a good-sized seat with decent legroom.

If you are planning on staying in one of the overwater bungalows in the Maldives then it’s a reasonably priced and efficient flight from Europe. However, if you are coming from North America you might instead consider the overwater bungalow hotels in Bora Bora or elsewhere in the South Pacific since they are equally nice and much easier to reach from the Americas.

 

Getting to the Maldives from India

There are surprisingly no nonstop flights between India and Malé International Airport, which is the hub for all visitors into the Maldives.

 

Getting from Malé International Airport to your resort

Considering the distance and the time difference, it should be no surprise that every flight will be overnight, whether it’s a nonstop or changing planes in the Middle East. Fortunately, most flights seem to leave Europe in the late afternoon, so you change planes around midnight, or they leave Europe late in the evening, so you change planes around 6 am.

Once you land at the Malé International Airport you’ll be greeted by representatives from your resort. Some of the larger ones have their own private lounge, while the smaller ones just have roving employees.

The closer resorts to the airport will put you on board a private speedboat for a journey that usually lasts between 20 minutes and an hour, while the more remote resorts will do the same for a seaplane (takes off and lands on the water) for an amazing flight to the hotel, which is often one of the highlights of the entire holiday. This transportation comes at an extra cost and must be arranged in advance, and the seaplane flights, in particular, are a bit pricey, usually running about US$400 roundtrip per person.

 

A note about bringing in alcohol to the Maldives

It’s true that alcohol, and most everything else, is quite expensive at resorts in the Maldives, so it’s a shame that this Muslim country is also extremely strict about allowing alcohol brought in inside luggage or duty-free containers. If you show up with any alcohol at all it will be confiscated and kept for you until you fly out, so best not to bring it at all.

 

When to visit the Maldives- Maldives Travel Guide

With an amazingly pleasant and consistent climate throughout the year, the best time to visit the Maldives is whenever you are ready to go. There are, however, some subtle differences from one season to the next, so we’ll discuss all of that below to help you find the best time for your own Maldives holiday.

In spite of its tiny population, the Maldives is spread out over a huge section of the Indian Ocean, so the weather in the north can be different from the weather in the south on any given day. We’ll discuss the generalities for the whole region here. Most private-island resorts featuring water villa resorts in the Maldives are fairly close to the capital city of Malé, but a few are quite remote, including at least one that’s south of the equator.

 

Weather in the Maldives

Even more than most tropical islands, the weather in the Maldives barely changes from one time of the year to any other. See our main Maldives weather by month article for temperature averages and information on the mild monsoon seasons. The summary is that every day is warm and humid, and it can rain in short bursts at any time of the year, though some months are definitely wetter than others.

High season for hotels: December through April

Not only is it the “dry season” in the Maldives, but the highest demand comes from Europeans who are escaping their bitterly cold winters, so all the resorts, and especially the water villa resorts, charge the highest rates of the year during this period.

 

The peak season for hotels is obviously the weeks around Christmas and New Years, so it’s best to book well in advance if you are coming during this period, as it’s the only time of the year that pretty much every resort is full.

 

What about crowds?

According to the Maldives Travel Guide,one of the most wonderful things about visiting the Maldives is that nearly every resort is on a private island, and each island has a maximum capacity and number of rooms that ensure that the beaches will never be crowded like you’ll see at beaches and resort areas nearly everywhere else.

Obviously, you’ll get no cheapskates who pile in their car for a long drive from a cheap inland hotel to invade your resort, so once you arrive on your island resort you’ll be treated like a valued guest with very few neighbors in most cases.

 

Best scuba diving: November to May

The Maldives is famous for excellent scuba diving all year round, but most experts agree that the most reliable times also coincide with the drier season from November through May. The quick downpours can disrupt the clear water for short periods of time, and even though they can and do happen at any time of year, you are less likely to have any interruptions during the dry season.

 

Offseason: May through November

Resorts drop their rates in the Maldives from May through November, usually with the lowest rates during July and August, but it’s not because the weather is bad, it’s just that most Europeans prefer resorts closer to home during this period.

November, in particular, might be the best time to visit the Maldives, with the monsoons over and hotel rates still in low-season mode.

 

 

Maldives weather by month- Maldives Travel Guide

As you’ll see by the chart below, the weather in the Maldives tends to be nearly identical regardless of the month. The days are always quite warm and at least somewhat humid, and the nights are always reasonably warm and a bit balmy.

Unlike many other tropical destinations, the Maldives has two different “monsoon” periods each year, but neither are known for dramatic weather or flooding, so the differences are rather subtle. Even during the non-monsoon periods, there will be some infrequent rainfall, so the overall consistency is what is most striking for the potential visitor.

 

Maldives monthly temperature averages and rainfall- Maldives Travel Guide

January

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 25°C/77°F
  • Rain: 76mm/3″

February

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 26°C/78°F
  • Rain: 51mm/2″

March

  • High: 31°C/88°F
  • Low: 26°C/78°F
  • Rain: 74mm/2.9″

April

  • High: 31°C/88°F
  • Low: 26°C/79°F
  • Rain: 132mm/5.2″

May

  • High: 31°C/87°F
  • Low: 26°C/79°F
  • Rain: 216mm/8.5″

June

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 26°C/78°F
  • Rain: 173mm/6.8″

July

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 26°C/78°F
  • Rain: 147mm/5.8″

August

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 25°C/77°F
  • Rain: 188mm/7.4″

September

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 25°C/77°F
  • Rain: 244mm/9.6″

October

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 25°C/77°F
  • Rain: 221mm/8.7″

November

  • High: 30°C/86°F
  • Low: 25°C/77°F
  • Rain: 201mm/7.9″

December

  • High: 29°C/85°F
  • Low: 25°C/77°F
  • Rain: 231mm/9.1″

 

Dry season and wet season

The dry season in the Maldives typically runs from mid-December through early May, but the beginning and end times do change a bit between one year and the next. The Northeast Monsoon season actually occurs between November and March, but of course, most of this is during “dry season” so it’s no surprise that the monsoon rarely amounts to anything more than a quick downpour a couple times a week.

The rainy season in the Maldives runs from early May through mid-December, with the Southwest Monsoon season officially being July and August. Again, the rainfall totals don’t actually very much, and the chances of a major storm are almost zero. The Maldives water villas are all built very well and specifically to comfortably handle normal conditions in the area.

 

Cloudbursts and sunshine

Typical of the tropics, when it rains in the Maldives it tends to come down heavily for a short time and then clear up just as quickly. Even during the “dry season” it’s not uncommon for it to be a sunny morning and then have thick clouds roll in the afternoon, with 30 minutes of heavy showers after that, and then a clear evening.

During the rainy season, it tends to rain a bit more at night, which means that the actual daytime rain that visitors see is even more consistent than it first appears. Even during the rainy season, it’s rare to have more than a few cloudy days per week, so it would be very bad luck to see much gray during an average holiday.

 

Humidity

It will be relatively humid all year in the Maldives, and those coming from a cold climate might feel slightly uncomfortable for the first day or so, but nearly everyone enjoys that special tropical feeling after that. Also, the temperature itself never strays much above the averages, so even the high humidity is never unbearable like it can be in Mediterranean Europe.

 

Winds

Being strung through a large portion of the Indian Ocean, there will be steady winds crossing through your Maldives resort pretty much at all times. The wind can change direction, but it’s almost never still, so even on hot days you’ll be cooled down by the breeze.

This steady breeze is yet another reason to choose a water villa instead of a beach villa if you can. Most of them have private terraces on two or more edges, which means you’ll always have access to the breeze if you like, something not always true of the island rooms.

 

 

Now, what are you waiting for?  Please let us know your views in the comments section below
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