The Republic of Maldives is made up of a double string of 1,190 coral islands located to the southwest of Sri Lanka, in the Indian Ocean. Stretching north to a point just south of the equator, the archipelago is 130 kilometres (81 miles) wide at its widest point and 820 kilometres (510 miles) long. It is the flattest land in the world, with the highest natural point less than 2.4 metres (8 feet) above sea level.
Grouped into 26 atolls – ring-shaped coral formations that provide a natural defence against wind and waves, enclosing a lagoon – the Maldives covers a total area of 859,000 square kilometres (331,661 square miles), only 1% of which is land. Not surprisingly, this aquatic nation is considered one of the top 10 diving spots in the world. With only 200 inhabited islands and an additional 98 islands developed exclusively as tourist resorts, the Maldives gains the majority of its economic support from tourism.
Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives, is an island 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) long and 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) wide. Malé is clean and quaint, with markets, mosques and a maze of small streets that approximately 103,000 people call home. Thirty minutes by seaplane northwest of Malé, visitors are transported into the idyllic world of Four Seasons Resort Maldives on the enchanting island of Landaa Giraavaru. Alternatively, a pleasant 25-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport takes visitors to the enchanting island of Kuda Huraa.
The Maldives – clear and translucent waters, coral reefs and white sand. What could be better than cruising on a dhoni to experience island hopping far from the crowds, learn about the local way of life and snorkel the spectacular reefs of the Indian Ocean. The dhoni, resembles a traditional Arab sailing vessel, and is handcrafted locally from coconut palm timber. They have been converted into live-aboard cruise boats with couchette accommodation and a saloon area inside, plus plenty of room on deck for relaxing and watching the world go by. During the day there is ample time to swim and snorkel and every evening is spent moored off a different island – meeting the locals of small settlements or enjoying a fresh seafood barbecue on a pristine uninhabited beach. There is a maximum of 8 passengers. Visit uninhabited islands and pristine beaches, idyllic corners of the Maldives, far away from the tourist resorts. Enjoy swimming or snorkelling in the warm, clear waters and spot manta rays, turtles and clown fish on spectacular reefs. You can even stop by a traditional fishing village and spend time with the local people to gain an appreciation of their life in this tropical paradise.
Guests can see Napoleon wrasse, reef fish and turtles while diving and snorkelling.
Seas are generally calm with a glass-like surface, providing excellent opportunities for a variety of water sports, including wakeboarding and waterskiing.
Guests can see coral spawning during night dives, with the greatest display in late March.
Guests can see manta rays while diving and snorkelling.
A combination of large swells from ocean currents and the western monsoon creates ideal conditions for surfing charters.
This is the season to see sharks, eagle rays and dolphins during dives.
The Maldives is on the migration path of dolphins and some of the world’s largest whales, including sperm, false killer and blue whales. Limited sightings of these gentle giants are possible during dive