The Republic of the Maldives is a major tourist destination known for its clear waters, white sandy beaches, and 5-star resorts. The island nation is made up of 1,190 islands spread over 35,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean, off the western coast of Sri Lanka.
But the Maldives are in danger of disappearing due to climate change and rising sea levels. The islands themselves only have an average ground level of 1.5 meters, meaning within the next century, they could sink below the ocean’s surface for good.
And as if you needed more of a reason to go now, the government recently reversed a ban on the sale of spa treatments, alcohol, and pork, meaning your time on the islands will be a lot more fun.
If you’ve been wanting to visit the Maldives, now’s your chance.
Only 250 of the Maldives Islands are inhabited, which means you can take a day trip to your own private island and explore it.
Each of the islands offers a completely different experience: There are business-, romance-, relaxation- and family-oriented destinations.
The Maldives are considered a premiere diving destination, due to the white sand, turquoise water, and major reefs with over 187 species of coral.
The islands also have a ton of marine wildlife: 1,100 species of fish, five species of sea turtles, 21 species of whales and dolphins, and 145 crab species.
Water sports are a huge hit in the island nation. You can go surfing, water skiing, para sailing, or wind surfing.
Most hotels and major fisheries arrange night fishing trips for tourists: You can catch snappers, emperors, barracuda, squirrel fish and jacks while you fish under the stars.
The Republic of the Maldives makes most of its revenue from tourism, so they invest in a number of cool tourism projects, like The 5 Lagoons Project.
Not to mention the much-hyped Floating Golf Course, another part of The 5 Lagoons Project set for completion in 2015.
The Maldives is one of the only destinations in the world with an underwater nightclub, Subsix, with music and DJs.
The islands serve up delicious food, largely based on a Sri Lankan and south Indian diet. The dishes are spicy, flavored with coconut, and include fish (usually tuna).
Or try one of the national drinks, like the Sai (a type of Maldivian tea) or a fermented alcoholic drink made from the sap of palm trees called Raa.
There are plenty of highly-rated places to stay, too. Four Seasons Maldives, with its above-water Asian-style private villas, is one of the best in the world.
And don't miss out on the recently re-legalized spa services: Like The Spa by ESPA at the One&Only Reethi Rah resort with views of the ocean and exfoliation treatments.
Or if you're looking for a little culture, visit the National Museum in Malé and see the Sultan Park, a gorgeous public park that was once the Sultan's palace grounds.
- Flights from NYC to the Male airport are an average of 17+ hours (not including layovers), and cost at minimum $800 each way
- For an affordable hotel option, both the Kurumba Maldives and Kuramathi Island Resort hotel have rates that can go as low as $250/night depending on the season and average about $450/night
- And if you want to get fancy, check into the Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi Resort & Spa, where rooms start at $918/night (just note that it's completely booked until 2015)
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