The Maldives are arguably the most happening luxury destination on the planet right now, a fact reflected in the frenzied acquisition of ever more of these idyllic desert islands by the big hotel groups. Every year sees another grand unveiling as increasingly glamorous and sophisticated resorts jostle for the attention of the discerning traveller.
Diving the Maldives: The key is choosing the Maldivian island that suits you best
After two recent research trips, we at Original Diving have chosen the best of a very, very good bunch of hotels, be the requirement a honeymoon haven, the ultimate dive destination, or just the quintessential desert island experience.
If you were lucky enough to enjoy diving the Maldives ten years ago, you would have found them utterly spectacular. In 1998 they were devastated by El Niño, which is said to have destroyed 95 per cent of the region’s coral. Thankfully nature is making an amazing comeback, largely thanks to the nutrient-rich currents that sweep the area. Soft corals are once again plentiful, while hard varieties, including cabbage and staghorn corals, are slowly but surely reappearing.
Diving here is mainly about the marine life, particularly manta rays and whale sharks
What has not changed is the sheer quantity and diversity of marine life. Diving the Maldives used to be truly magical, a real fairytale, but today it remains fantastic by anyone’s standards. You will come across everything from nudibranchs to manta ray, frogfish and stonefish – these islands have it all.
Go now while you still can. These low-lying islands off the west coast of Sri Lanka will be among the first to disappear as sea levels rise due to global warming. The loss will be devastating, not only to the Maldivians but also to the 300,000 annual divers and visitors. These 1,190 unique jewels are strung out like a necklace from north to south, spread over some 500 miles of the Indian Ocean. Totally unspoilt, they offer a breathtaking sight from the plane before you even touch down.
- Indian Ocean
Flight time from the UK 11h
Time Difference GMT +5.30
Currency Rufiyaa (MVR)
Combines well with Culture & wildlife in Sri Lanka and India