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About Maldives
Resorts in the Maldives woo tourists with promises of 'the last paradise on earth', and if your idea of paradise is a pristine tropical island with swaying palm trees, pure white beaches and brilliant turquoise lagoons, then the Maldives will not disappoint.

It's also a major destination for scuba divers, who come for the fabulous coral reefs and the wealth of marine life. But it's not a place for low budget backpackers or amateur anthropologists who want to travel independently and live as the locals do.

Tourism in the Maldives is carefully managed. The lack of local resources makes it necessary to import virtually everything a visitor needs, so it can't really compete on price. The strategy has been to develop a limited number of quality resorts, each on its own uninhabited island, free from traffic, crime and crass commercialism

The Maldives Tourist Promotion Board has helped build the Maldives' reputation as one of the best diving destinations in the world. And deservedly so with hundreds of breathtaking dive sites, a colourful and fascinating underwater world, perfect conditions throughout the year and a visibility every photographer dreams of.

Time Zone: GMT/UTC +5

Dialling Code: 960

Facts for the Traveler


Visas:
Visas are required for most nationalities, but are free and can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

Health risks:
sunburn (In the tropics, the desert or at high altitude you can get sunburned quickly and seriously, even through clouds. Use a strong sunscreen, hat and barrier cream for your nose and lips. Calamine lotion and aloe vera are good for mild sunburn. Protect your eyes with good-quality sunglasses)

When to Go


If you're looking for a few extra hours of sunshine then you should visit the Maldives between December and April, which is the dry season. This is the high season, however, and resorts can be fully booked and prices are higher than the rest of the year. The Christmas-New Year period is the busiest and most expensive part of the high season. Between May and November it's still warm, but the skies can be cloudy, humidity is higher and rain is more likely. This is the low season, and there are fewer tourists and prices are lower. The transition months of November and April are said to be associated with increased water clarity and better visibility for divers.

Maldives Attractions

Malé

About 2km (1.2mi) long and 1km (0.62mi) wide, Malé is small, quaint, and densely settled. Though not spectacular, it is quite unique as a capital city. It's clean and tidy, with mosques, markets, a maze of small streets and a certain, sometimes sleepy, charm all its own. Malé is packed to the edges with buildings, roads and a few well-used open spaces. Officially, the population is around 65,000, but with foreign workers and short-term visitors from other islands, there may be as many as 100,000 people in town - it certainly feels like it.

Resorts
The vast majority of visitors come to the Maldives on package tours, staying at one of the 70-plus resort islands. Most resorts are in the three atolls closest to the capital - North Malé Atoll, South Malé Atoll and Ari Atoll. Despite their apparent similarity, however, they differ considerably

Seenu (Addu Atoll)

This is the 'second city' of the Maldives, and the resort here is the best base from which to visit traditional Maldivian island communities. The Addu people are fiercely independent, speak differently from folk in the capital and at one time even tried to secede from the republic

Baa Atoll
Baa Atoll is famous for its handcrafts, which include lacquer work and finely woven cotton felis (traditional sarongs). The small, isolated atoll of Goidhoo has long been a place for castaways and exiles. The French explorer François Pyrard, found himself here in 1602 after his ship, the Corbin, was wrecked

Fuamulaku
This solitary island in the middle of the Equatorial Channel is something of an anomaly in the Maldives. It is exceptionally fertile, producing fruits and vegetables not grown elsewhere in the country, like mangoes, oranges and pineapples. The people are said to be bigger and healthier and to live longer than other islanders.

Kudahuvadhoo
In South Nilandhoo Atoll, the island of Kudahuvadhoo has one of the mysterious mounds known as hawittas. They are probably the ruins of Buddhist temples, but have not been thoroughly investigated by archaeologists. Thor Heyerdahl explored the island and commented that its old mosque had some of the finest masonry he had ever seen, surpassing even the famous Inca wall in Cuzco, Peru. He was amazed to find such a masterpiece of stone-shaping art on such an isolated island, though it had a reputation in the Islamic world for finely carved tombstones.
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