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Encompassing over 1000 coral islands that form about 25 natural atolls, the Maldives is separated from the rest of the world by the seemingly endless Indian Ocean, offering visitors a secluded little pocket of paradise. These exquisite tropical islands are best known for their white powder sand beaches, glistening blue lagoons and extensive reefs which are home to a diverse range of colourful marine life.
The nation’s bustling capital of Male features an array of charming shops and restaurants as well as a busy fish market and a must-see 17th-century mosque known as Hukuru Miskiy which was constructed out of intricately carved white coral. Visitors will find plenty of activities to keep them entertained including: scuba diving, snorkelling, water skiing, stand up paddleboarding, spa visits, and hopping from one idyllic little island to the next.
TRAVEL, TRANSPORT AND GETTING AROUND
Internal flights in the Maldives are operated by Maldivian (www.maldivian.aero), linking Malé with provincial centres Hanimaadhoo, Kaadedhdhoo, Kadhdhoo and Gan.
There are also two seaplane companies operating seaplane transfers from Malé airport to individual resorts. These are Trans Maldivian Airways (www.transmaldivian.com) and Maldivian Air Taxi (www.maldivianairtaxi.com). These services are also available for charter trips around the islands.
There are only roads in Malé and a couple of other islands where there are small tarmaced strips. Overland transport on resort islands is usually by golf buggy.
Travel on individual islands does not present any problem since few of them take longer than half an hour to cross on foot.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
The Maldives climate provides warm, tropical weather all year round, even during the wet season the temperature averages around the high twenties and low thirties. The Hulhangu Monsoon season runs from May to November leading to significantly higher rainfall, particularly on the southern islands; this period can see strong winds and fierce storms as well as overcast skies. However, it is still likely visitors will experience long hours of bright sunshine amidst the short, sharp torrential downpours of the monsoon. The Iruvai dry season sees a reduction in humidity and rainfall starting in January and continuing until April. February and March provide the most sun for holidaymakers from Europe seeking refuge from colder climes back home.
Due to the lower rainfall and reduced humidity, Maldives climate is best experienced during the dry season, particularly between February and April. Although there is greater chance of rain during the wet season, the temperature remains hot and there is a strong chance of extended periods of sunshine in between showers.
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