Straddling the equator, washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the Maldivian archipelago has 1,190 small and low lying coral islands slung over 90,000 square kilometers of tropical sea offering an astounding variety of attractions that is unparalleled anywhere else.
The Maldives Islands are an independent Republic of over 1,200 Coral Islands scattered across the blue waters of the Indian Ocean some 650 km South West of Sri Lanka. Its palm fringed islands, sparkling white beaches, turquoise lagoons, clear warm waters and captivating coral reefs abundant with varieties of marine flora and fauna draw pleasure seekers and sports enthusiasts alike.
A haven for water-sports enthusiasts, Maldives offers fantastic facilities for scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. Island hopping provides an excellent diversion for those requiring a more leisurely break, and wishing to view the many facets of this tropical paradise. The flight time between Sri Lanka and Maldives is approximately 45 minutes.
The origin of the Maldivians is lost in antiquity but history reveals that the islands have been populated for over 3,000 years ago. Early settlers were travellers on the Silk Route and from the Indus Valley Civilization. Inherently warm, friendly and hospitable by nature, it is easy to feel comfortable and relaxed with a Maldivian.
A proud history and rich culture evolved from the first settlers who were from various parts of the world travelling the seas in ancient times. The Maldives has been a melting pot of different cultures as people from different parts of the world came here and settled down. Some of the local music and dance for instance resemble African influences, with hand beating of drums and songs in a language that is not known to any but certainly represents that of East African countries. As one would expect there is a great South Asian influence in some of the music and dancing and especially in the traditional food of the Maldivians. However many of the South Asian customs especially with regard to women – for instance the Sub Continent’s tradition of secluding women from public view – are not tenets of life here. In fact women play a major role in society – not surprising considering the fact men spend the whole day out at sea fishing.
The Maldives has a range of resorts catering to all budgets and is relatively undiscovered by North American travelers. Simply sit on the beach or the veranda of your hotel and with a cocktail in hand and watch the sunset. Or take part in one of the many water sports such as diving, snorkeling, sailing and windsurfing.
If you are a diver, expect to see amid the coral reefs in the clear blue waters which abound here, mantas, sharks, hammerheads as well as swarms of colorful tropical fish. In fact, there are 200 species of coral and over a thousand different species of fish! Anyone wanting a change of scenery for a day, can go island hopping without any difficulty.
The Maldives make the perfect honeymoon or romantic destination. Imagine having a room on a pier jutting out from the shore with a glass floor under which tropical fish can be seen swimming or your own private beach picnic. A trip to the Maldives is certainly a romantic trip of a lifetime, with air & land vacation packages from $3259 per person departing New York. For more details visit our Air and Land Getaway pages for the Maldives here.
Emirates is one of our preferred airlines to get you to the Maldives.