Amazing weather, white sandy beaches and turquoise water, coral reefs, stunning resorts have always been the hallmarks of the Maldives, but a bunch of new deals designed to attract people back to travel, mean it’s now much more affordable than it has been in years.
We’re taking a look at why this is the year you should go, such as each island in the Maldives having only one resort making it a perfect choice for a naturally distanced holiday and there being stringent safety measures put in place to protect tourists and staff. We also take a look at what the destination has to offer including bucket list activities and the best way to get there.
With an average temperature of 28C, the Maldives is the perfect destination for a beach holiday throughout the entire year. Dry season runs (January - March), but if you can put up with rain (even in the wettest months it often only rains every other day), you’ll certainly get lower holiday prices.
Another big pull to visit are the beaches but there are many more activities you can enjoy during your trip such as visiting local islands to experience local culture, cooking and eating good food. Enjoy dinner on a sandbank, a movie under the stars, walking, boat trips including a submarine trip, water-sports including jet-skiing, paddle boarding and canoeing and of course a must-do is snorkelling with manta rays and at shipwrecks and diving with whale sharks.
We may have taken fresh air for granted but only being allowed out once a day in lockdown has made us realise how good being out is for our mental health and even more so in the sunshine with that much-needed vitamin D. Walking around the islands, taking a bike ride or a swim in the gorgeous sea are just a few things you can enjoy without the need for a big price tag.
As well as a visit to the many beaches the Maldives has to offer, it’s also worth checking out some of the nation’s history and culture - a good place to start is the National Museum - it’s about 100 Rufiyaa for tourists, which is around £4.72 or $6.47.
A liveaboard boat is a great way to see many of the islands in one go, why not team this with a private tour so you can get the most out of the island with the knowledge of someone who really knows what they are talking about. You can head off dolphin spotting or see some sharks, there are even overnight tours and multi-day trips to really see more of the islands and underwater life.
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in the Maldives, some of our favourites are Cocoa Island, Velassaru, Halaveli Beach, Rangali Island beaches, Kunfunadhoo Beach, Huvafen Fushi Island beaches, Veligandu Island beaches, Bikini Beach and Gulhi Beach. Think gorgeous white sand, stunning waters and views that are out of this world.
The Maldives is made up of over 1,190 islands spanning 871 kilometres which are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls. Only 200 of all the islands have people living on them with an even smaller amount that are resorts, where you can enjoy a getaway in what looks like paradise to us.
Malé - Malé is the capital of the Maldives and it has the biggest population out of all the islands with a population of around 227,486 out of the total population of around 557,426. There is plenty to do in Malé with some of our top picks being Malé Fish Market, Malé Local Market, Grand Friday Mosque and Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque). From here you can also use Atoll Transfer to get from Malé to the other islands.
Another plus to the islands is the stunning coral reefs where you can see thousands of different species of fish and other marine life. Some great diving and snorkelling spots include Faafu Atoll, Dhangethi and Maafushi among others.
The reefs in the Maldives are really important as they protect the small islands as its natural defence system and there are conservation efforts ongoing to protect the marine environment. Under the water in the Maldives, you will find many sea creatures including whale sharks, turtles, dolphins, killer whales and dwarf sperm whales.
Each resort has its own island giving you an extra safe getaway with white sandy beaches, clear waters we can’t think of anything better right now. Some of the most popular islands to stay on include Malé, Baa Atoll, Addu and Fuvahmulah with distanced accommodation and facilities available.
As well as a choice of islands there is a wide range of accommodations to choose from too, there are 154 resorts, 614 guesthouses, 13 hotels and 158 liveaboard vessels. The Maldives is famous for its over-water bungalows where you stay right on the water with direct access to the warm water and you can enjoy the Indian ocean as your very own swimming pool.
Maldives resorts offer many great bucket list activities including underwater restaurants, rooms, spas, bubble tents, floating breakfast and private dining.
Getting there is pretty easy, with direct flights available from BA taking 10-12 hours and costing from around £500. You can check the latest flight prices (including some indirect flights that could be cheaper,) here.
When you arrive in the Maldives you will receive a 30-day visa providing you have an onward flight booked, a valid passport and a reservation to stay on one of the islands. In these times you must also have a negative PCR test result for Covid-19 no more than 96 hours before your departure and the health declaration form must be submitted 24 hours prior to departure.
We're looking forward to visiting the Maldives once international travel resumes in the coming months and as the Maldives wasn’t on the red list of high-risk countries, we should be able to go soon.
The Maldives is 5 hours ahead of the UK and the flight time is around 10 hours if you fly direct and you'll get a 30 days free on arrival visa.
The currency used in the Maldives is Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) with US dollars being accepted in a lot of places too.
You will need a speedboat or seaplane transfer once you land in Malé unless you are staying in the capital, these can be booked separately or may already be included in your package deal.
For even more information head to the visit Maldives website.
There is a first of its kind tourism loyalty program called ‘Maldives Border Miles Programme’ where you earn points each time you visit with the chance to earn further points, you will start as a bronze (Aida) member once you reach 500 points and then up to Silver (Antara) and Gold (Abaarana). The programme gets you discounts on things such as food and drinks, spa treatments, water-sports, accommodation, some really cool excursions as well as other perks.
If you are eligible for Maldives Border Miles, you can sign-up for the program when you submit your Traveller Health Declaration which is a requirement for all travellers going to and from the Maldives. Find out more information here.
Many resorts in the Maldives are on top of their game when it comes to responsible tourism which means doing what you can to help the environment by choosing environmentally friendly products, saving energy, supporting local businesses wherever possible and continuing local customs and traditions. Coral conservation and learning about nature is also a very popular activity.
Maldivian cuisine (also known as Dhivehi cuisine) consists of 3 main ingredients, one being fish of course as well as coconuts and starches including rice, sweet potato, tubers, cassava and some fruits such as breadfruit and screwpine.
You will also be able to enjoy a wide range of delicious curries which can be made with tuna, chicken as well as vegetable curries made with aubergine, pumpkins as well as unripe bananas - yum!
We would recommend booking a meal in one of the undersea restaurants for a one-of-a-kind experience like never before or taking part in a cooking class to learn about Maldives cuisine.
For an exciting introduction to the cuisine, the Maldives has an annual cooking competition called dhivehi rahathah.
The people of the Maldives are a real friendly bunch who will go out of their way to make your stay a trip to remember.
With its naturally social-distanced islands, many beaches and warm weather, combining with some of the best deals we’ve seen in years the Maldives may just be the perfect place to head off to for your 2021 holiday.