Turquoise waters, spotless white sand, and coral reefs that teem with fish and other marine life; these characterise the Republic of Maldives, an assemblage of sun-drenched coral islands on the Indian Ocean, touching the equator some 700 kilometres southwest of Sri Lanka. It is officially the smallest predominantly Muslim country in the world, and it attracted some 400,000 tourists in 2006.
Water sports are evidently the main activity in this tropical wonderland. A highly-rated diving destination, all of the resorts operate dive schools, with a good number offering various PADI-certified diving courses for both beginners and pros. Lion’s Head is a popular dive spot where grey reef sharks and striking coral gardens abound. Its three-metre reef-top, caves, and overhangs appear as a lion’s head. Red-tooth triggerfish, Hawksbill turtles, sea anemones, and sharks are some of the fascinating creatures frequently seen here.
Night diving safaris take you to an extraordinary underwater adventure on your Maldives holiday. See the corals sparkle under the moonlight, beneath the crystalline waters; resorts rent out cutting-edge diving equipment and professional divers and trainers are on hand to accompany guests to these underwater attractions. Catch mantas, clown triggerfish, and saddled putterfish in Maayaa Thila, Nassimo Thila, and Fotteyo, and the other submerged reefs.
Surfing is also a popular water sport in the Maldives. The wet season, which runs from mid-May to November, is the best time to catch waves. Ideal surf sites include Sultans in Tari Village Resort, Ninjas in Kanifinolhu Resort, and Tombstones in Thamburudhoo Island.
Fishing is a major Maldivian industry, and tourists get to experience a mix of sightseeing and gastronomic adventures. Typically done during the early hours of the morning, guests can take a dhoni, a traditional Maldivian yacht, to prime fishing spots, or watch fishermen seize their catch of the day. Little tuna, dolphin fish, and rainbow runners are some of the delights to be enjoyed.