The world’s lowest-lying nation rises barely four-feet above sea level (at its highest point, a mere eight-feet), and fans over the Indian Ocean in wide, flat circles of blindingly white sand. The Maldives are nestled halfway between Indonesia and Africa, and attract travelers seriously committed to communing with the sparkling turquoise tides.
Made up of 26 atolls spanning 1,190 different islands (of these, less than a third are inhabited) the Maldives are like one giant jigsaw puzzle of sandbars and lagoons. An impressive number of marine species have made their homes in the surrounding reefs and, as a result, the Maldives are particularly popular among scuba divers.
The Maldives are where people come to experience island life at its most relaxed — and most beautiful. Whether you’re criss-crossing coral reefs in a glass-bottomed boat, or dozing off in your private overwater bungalow, the chances of returning home disappointed are slim to none. As noted author Adrian Neville writes, “It’s hard to have a bad holiday in the Maldives.”
Getting around the Maldives
Within each of the island chain’s ring-shaped atolls — North Ari Atoll, South Ari Atoll, Laamu Atoll, and so on — is a group of different islands typically anchored by a small airport. In the case of Kaafu Atoll, it’s home to Velana International Airport, which is the main entry point for all travelers. From here, you’ll need to arrange a separate flight or speedboat transfer to get to your individual hotel.
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