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Plan Your Trip to Maldives: Best of Maldives Tourism

What is Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travelers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
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With 26 atolls and 1,000+ islands spread out across the idyllic waters of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are an island-hopper’s dream. Below the water, there’s miles of coral reef that are home to thousands of species of marine life and underwater treasures. To get the best of it: Go diving at Broken Rock, snorkel with manta rays in Hanifaru Bay, or charter a boat to hit all the top spots. Then there’s the world above, which is known for its beautiful beaches and luxury villas, but has a rich culture and history to uncover as well: Explore the 17th-century architecture of the Old Friday Mosque or get a taste of local life (and some of the islands’ freshest seafood) at the Fish Market in Malé. It doesn’t stop there—we’ve got more hidden gems and must-do’s below.

Travel Advice

Essential Maldives

How to do the Maldives in 7 days

Island-hopping, overwater bungalows, and lots of off-the-radar sights
Read on

Kid-friendly Maldives

Most people don’t think of the Maldives as a family destination—which is a mistake. I’ve witnessed first-hand its spellbinding effect on young kids and, more recently, on my older teens (a notoriously tricky age group to please). Here are a few of my favorite private island resorts for families. And a note—they all have top-notch kids clubs, so I’ve highlighted the many other reasons to go.
JaneAndersonTravel, London, UK
  • Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives
    My older teens fell in love with this wild beauty of this jungly island—from the fruit bats wheeling above us as we cycled to the jetty to snorkel on the house reef to the baby sharks circling in the shallows beneath Just Veg, the hotel’s fine-dining vegetarian restaurant. Our vast Residence had its own circular pool. My teens also adored the boat ride to the Atoll Marine Conservation Centre on neighboring Naifaru Island, where we saw rescue turtles up close.
  • Varu By Atmosphere
    It’s not often you get to book a massage for your 19-year-old daughter where she can spot sharks swimming by the glass panel in the floor, and post treatment, join her and her brother in the spa infinity pool. We also loved the inclusivity of KAAGÉ restaurant, whose name means “family dining room” in the local language. And the dishes like mas bai (tuna with coconut, chili, clove, and cardamom) couldn’t be beat.
  • Ifuru Island Resort Maldives - Premium All Inclusive
    Newly-opened Ifuru is the only resort island in the Maldives with its own landing strip—which means planes can arrive at night. Bringing something of a rebellious, cheekier spirit to the Maldives, it offers skydiving for ages 10 years and up. Rochelle Kilgariff, the Island Vibe Boss (a.k.a., the GM) says it’s all about family get-togethers here, with beach suites and villas arranged in “retreats” and “villages,” ideal for multigenerational gatherings.
  • Niyama Private Islands Maldives
    I visited Niyama when my kids were aged 15 and 12, and it ranks as one of our all-time top trips. The resort has two islands named (appropriately) Play and Chill. Unusual for the Maldives, there’s a surf break here, and my kids loved taking lessons with the Surf Guru in the shallows. Other highlights included the BBQ night at the Surf Shack and dining under the waves, just like Spongebob at Subsix.
  • Siyam World Maldives
    I respect the fact that Siyam World goes all out for family fun. Not only is it home to the largest inflatable water park in the Indian Ocean, it also has its very own horse ranch with Marwari thoroughbreds for parents and a team of ponies for smaller guests to ride. Plus, there’s coral planting with the marine biologist and—for little soccer lovers—there are summer camps, complete with legends of the game.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
    With all the flair you’d expect of a Ritz-Carlton, kids are invited to experience the Maldives’ first Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, complete with marine biology classes. There’s also a series of visiting Masters of Craft throughout the year. Past workshops have included Rachel Khoo’s choux pastry masterclasses for little ones. And the special amenities for babies by Bamford are a nice touch.
  • Six Senses Laamu
    Marine conservation lies at the heart of what Six Senses Laamu wants kids to take away from their vacation. Children go on snorkeling adventures and learn to make their own conservation videos. They also appreciate the autonomy of visiting the organic garden to make their own juices. And when it comes to indulgences, Six Senses delivers experiences like hair braiding, mini-facials, and pedicures in the spa for older kids. Younger ones get spoiled, too, with cute toys in the beachfront family villa.

Maldives Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Maldives


Snorkeling! Personally, I would never go to a resort without a house reef as I would be missing out on what is the best thing about the Maldives — the underwater world! The amount and variety of fish are incredible, and for first-timers being able to swim with sharks and turtles is such an amazing experience (in fact it never gets less amazing!).


Our biggest priority when choosing an island is the accessibility and quality of the house reef/snorkeling. Another must-do is watching the sunrise and sunset.


The underwater world is, of course, my number one, but watching dolphins play at sunrise is probably my number two.


For us, the Maldives is all about snorkeling. Yes, it's stunningly beautiful and totally idyllic, but what makes it utterly unique is the underwater world that is SO accessible and varied.


Swimming with the fishes (sorry, couldn't resist) in the Maldives is a life-changing experience, so far removed from most people's day-to-day life that it has the power to change your whole perspective. For many of us, there is no going back — a holiday that isn't shared with a shark or ten is just not worth the bother.


Have to say it's the diving for me, amazing corals and fish, and if you time, the months you travel and location the opportunity to dive with Manta, whale sharks or 200+ sharks at the mouth of a channel is amazing. With Fuvahmulah, the addition of tiger sharks, oceanic manta, hammerheads, and threshers makes this a one-of-a-kind location for diving. Throw in the remoteness, and on a clear night, unbelievable skies, it's a paradise hard to replicate.

What is the best way to get there?


Velana International Airport (VIA) is the only international airport in the Maldives. It offers several flights to/from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. From its location on Hulhule Island near the capital island of Male, you can grab your (usually pre-arranged) speedboat, seaplane or ferry to your destination island.

For more info, visit the Male Airport Guide or Trans Maldivian Airways.

Do I need a visa?

Though a 30-day tourist visa is given to all travelers upon arrival, there are certain entry requirements, such as a passport that’ll be valid for at least six months.

For more visa info, see here.

When is the best time to visit?

It doesn’t get much more tropical than the Maldives! And the best time to visit the Maldives is January through March, though prices may be higher this time of year. Prices are typically cheaper May through November during the rainy season. The average daily temperatures most times of the year are highs of 32 C (89 F) and lows of 26 C (78 F).

Get around


These high-speed boats are a common way to get around the islands, especially to/from the hotels and airports, but they can be expensive.


These get you to the more far-flung islands in the Maldives if you want to island-hop, but these, too, can be expensive.


Public ferries run between the inhabited islands, but schedules are often unreliable and can vary depending on the time of year. Visit here for more info.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Maldives Time.

What are the voltage/plug types?

230 V and 50 Hz with type D and G plugs.

What is the currency?

Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Only in certain areas.

Are credit cards widely accepted?


Is it easy to find a bank?


How much do I tip?


$1-$2 per bag and a few dollars per day of your stay for the housekeeping staff.


Because of the service charge, just rounding up your bill is sufficient, but if the service was excellent, extra cash is always appreciated.

Spa Service

$5 per service.

Tour Guides

Tours in the Maldives can be expensive, so tips are not usually expected by guides. But, if one went above and beyond, at least $10 will suffice.

Are there local customs I should know?


The legal drinking age in the Maldives is 18.


Most residents speak English, but learning a few words of the national language Dhivehi is appreciated: “Assalaamu Alaikum” (hello); Ran’galhu, shukuriyaa (fine, thank you); Shukuriyaa (thank you).


Additional entry requirements in the Maldives include proof of pre-paid accommodations and that you have enough funds for your stay as well as confirmed onward/return tickets home. For more info, visit here.


Coral reefs are the foundation of the Maldives, so it is very important to not disturb, touch, remove, or stand on its coral reefs when diving or snorkeling. And never leave garbage behind.

Always greet people

A courteous, formal greeting in French, “Bonjour, Monsieur/Madame,” is always appreciated — this includes shop attendants, wait staff, hotel staff, drivers.

Don’t talk loudly in public

It is considered rude and ugly.

Don’t expect fast service

Sales assistants in shops or wait staff in restaurants won’t approach you straight away — giving people time and space is an important part of French culture. Also, don’t expect wait staff to give you the bill when your meal is finished, you will have to ask for it.

Frequently Asked Questions about Maldives

If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Maldives between March and May, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between September and November.