I’m usually not this adamant about visiting a destination. However, after spending some time in this tiny island nation last year, I now find myself telling anyone who will listen that they need to take a Maldives vacation.
Spread out across the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is made up of 1,192 coral islands collected into 26 coral atolls. It’s an idyllic paradise where overwater villas, white powder sand and 80 degree water temps are the norm. These days the islands have become a haven for honeymooners, divers, surfers and sun-worshipers. And despite the country’s growing popularity among travelers, the Maldives’ remote location–approximately a 20-hour flight from Toronto–helps keep the crowds in check and the vibe ultra relaxed.
Eventually, the tourist boom will happen, but, luckily, you still have some time before that day comes. To help motivate you to get there sooner rather than later, we put together six reasons why the Maldives should have a place in your five-year plan.
Sleeping over the water is an amazing experience. Not surprisingly, waking up in an overwater villa is just as magnificent if not more. Just beyond your bedroom window is a tropical playground filled with all kinds of colorful marine life, like tropical fish, reef sharks and gigantic rays. Our villa at Gili Lankanfushi also had a private coral garden that could be accessed through our bathroom, which was perfect for morning swims.
The Maldives delivers when it comes to gorgeous beaches. In fact, the countries nearly 1,200 islands are so consistently perfect that many consider the Maldives to be home to the best beaches in the world.
There are more than 100 resorts in the Maldives and each one has its own private island. Luxury travelers will be in heaven as five- and six-star resorts are constantly trying to outshine one another with ever-greater amenities. On the other hand, more and more island resorts are now catering to different demographics, such as families, divers, surfers and nature seekers.
Over the last 30 years, surfing has grown in popularity in the Maldives, and for good reason: the reefs surrounding the islands produce stellar waves. It also doesn’t hurt that the water is the perfect temperature and that there’s no pollution. The northern Atoll alone has eight main breaks, and while spots can get crowded, it’s also not impossible to find an empty lineup as six-foot barrels roll in over the sharp reef below.
If whiter-than-white sand isn’t enough to convince you to visit the Maldives, then surely its distinctive azure blue water will do the job. I could feed you nearly every adjective in the book about how magnificently blue the water is, but in this case, I think a picture is really all you need.
The Maldives is one of the world’s best diving zones, in part because the country’s controlled development. In other words, the resorts get that people come for the astonishingly blue water, so to dump garbage into it wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially the Maldives burgeoning tourism industry. At Gili Lankanfushi, the coral reef that rings the island provides the perfect tropical lagoon to snorkel and swim in.