In his book “The Mystery of the Maldives”, renowned explorer Thor Heyerdahl describes the paradise islands he passed on a boat trip in 1933. It said that those islands “were floating like flower baskets in that clear water.”
Heyerdahl’s comparisons of the Maldives and Europe might have left some to wonder if he had actually seen both locations in person before making the comparison. While many residents of the islands believe Heyerdahl is right, there are some caveats with first-time visitors. Here are nine essential tips for everyone visiting Heyerdahl said:
1. Don’t scrimp on the experience
You probably have a budget in place for your trip to the Maldives, but remember that this is not a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. You’ll enjoy it much more if you don’t worry about spending too much or cutting corners on some of the luxuries. Plan ahead so you won’t find yourself fretting before your vacation even starts.
2. Do go local
If you’re interested in learning about historical and cultural aspects of the Maldives, visiting one of the 10 inhabited islands where most of the 400,000 Maldivians live is a great way to start. The governments relaxed restrictions on tourist visits to non-resort islands in 2009. Some of these islands offered both day trips and overnight stays and also had opportunities for visitors to experience local arts and craftsmanship and taste some traditional African savory or sweet dishes while they were there.
3. Don’t drink alcohol outside the resorts
Alcohol is prohibited in the Maldives, so don’t expect to get your hands on a glass of wine while you’re there. However, you have options such as resorts and liveaboards, who can serve alcohol for those looking for a little liquid courage and/or some drinks with friends. You can find your drink and earn your moolah by exploring one of the numerous islands that feature resort bars.
4. Dress & act appropriately outside the resorts
Dress modestly while on inhabited islands, including the capital, Malé. Men and women should avoid wearing shorts above the knees. Women should cover their shoulders and elbows, wear loose-fitting clothes, and refrain from public displays of affection.
If you’re staying in one of our world-class accommodations, you will have the freedom to dress as you please. However, be mindful that the weather is warm and that there are no signs posted prohibiting nude sunbathing.
5. Do be aware of environmental risks
The Maldives are the lowest-lying country in the world. As a result, they’ve been put in a uniquely delicate position when it comes to climate change. Choose activities that prioritize sustainability and try to minimize your own water consumption and waste production while on the islands.
6. Don’t feel like staying in an overwater villa is a requirement
Some bures may be most enjoyable if you want to be packed like sardines and enjoy the buffets on offer. But they’re usually set a long way from the ocean, which might not be as difficult to get to if overwater villas in the Maldives actually offers good seclusion. There’s only so much time in the day, though, so make sure bures are worth your consideration before you choose one.
7. Do buy a quality underwater camera
Spending time in the Maldives is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s one of the best places in the world to try watersports, like snorkeling or diving. If you plan on trying any of these experiences during your trip, there is one purchase other than your vacation that I recommend: an underwater camera. It will save you from bad memories and give you lasting images that you can reminisce about every day.
8. Do pack a lightweight outfit
If you’d like to dine at any of the resorts, don’t forget to leave your large shirts in the suitcase. While they’re likely accepted in most restaurants, a few of the more upscale ones may require collars and trousers. Dress accordingly — less than ideal in stifling tropical heat.
9. Don’t expect perfect weather
The Maldives is a tropical paradise you’ll never forget. It’s known for its white-sand beaches and beautiful blue-water, but it also has its drawbacks. The best vacation season falls between November to April, while the high tourist season falls in December to March. Beginning in May, the weather starts to get more unpredictable, but rarely gets bad enough to put a dampen on your trip. Temperatures stay warm during the rain, which doesn’t last too long.