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Best Time of Year to Visit the Maldives

Explore > Travel Planning Articles > Best Time of Year to Visit the Maldives

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Dock and thatched roof huts in the Maldives.
Photo courtesy Jon Haase.

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Where are the Maldives?

The Maldives are a coveted vacation spot as the smallest country in Asia (regarding both size and population). This beautiful destination has historically been known under different names in the Sanskrit language, translated as "Necklace Islands," "Garland of Islands," and "Hundred Thousand Islands."

Dhoni-shaped wedding pavilion at Angsana Resort and Spa Ihuru, Maldives
Wedding pavilion at Angsana Resort & Spa Ihuru. Photo courtesy the resort.

As a cluster of small islands in the Indian ocean, the Maldives are made up mostly of the water in between its 1,190 islands, about 90 of which are developed as tourist resorts. Their unique layout into a double chain of 26 atolls spread out over roughly 35,000 square miles. Each atoll adds to a variety of vibrant coral reefs teeming with lush underwater life including fish, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi

Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi 5 nights from 4,857 per person
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen FushiLocated on the Shaviyani Atoll, which boasts one of the country's largest resort lagoon, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi is more than just your personal hideaway. Our "secret water island" as dubbed by the locals glistens like a pearl. Poster white sand beaches fringed with swaying palms, kissed by the turquoise waters of the 600-hectare lagoon that gives way to the tranquil blues of the Indian Ocean and a never-ending horizon.

Our luxurious resort is home to the longest infinity pool in the Maldives that leads you to the Coralarium, the Maldives' first and only coral regeneration project in the form of an underwater art installation by Jason deCaires Taylor. Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi is surrounded by opulent Beach Villas, decadent Over Water Villas and the unique luxury Tented Jungle Villas.

Explore range of unrivaled experiences with us. Sail away to a nearby deserted island for a romantic picnic just for two, join a sunset dolphin cruise aboard your own private yacht, or experience a wide array exhilarating water sports and check it off your bucket list. On other days, snorkel out to the open waters to encounter fascinating and abundant marine life in the company of our experience guides. For the ultimate underwater experience, try a diving trip to our 9km-long house reef, home to the manta ray cleaning stations.

Discover the magic of the Maldives with us. It doesn't get any better.
Learn more about Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi

Price includes hotel stay and all taxes and fees.

Beach bungalows in the Maldives.
Maldivian beach villas. Photo courtesy Jon Haase.


Typical airfares from New York (JFK) to Male, Republic of the Maldives

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Raffles Maldives Meradhoo

Raffles Maldives Meradhoo Resort 5 nights from 6,355 per person
Raffles Maldives MeradhooRaffles Maldives Meradhoo is a rare haven. In its remote location on the southern tip of the Maldives archipelago, it is as far away from the rhythm of everyday life as can be. Here, guests find their own rhythm. In harmony with nature, they relax, reconnect and realign. Surrounded by crystalline Indian Ocean waters home to unspoiled house reefs and their incredible inhabitants, it is easy to forget the world outside.

Set on 2 private islands in the Indian Ocean, this high-end resort is accessible by seaplane from Male. Thinadhoo is the nearest island. On the beach or over water, the luxurious villas feature private pools, terraces, living areas, marble bathrooms and 4-poster beds. All provide free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, safes, minibars and Nespresso machines. Upgraded villas add gardens; some sleep up to 8 guests. Butler service is offered 24/7. Amenities include 3 upscale restaurants with terraces, and 2 chic bars, as well as a premium spa and a gym. Water sports facilities are available.

The place is tranquil, beautiful and pure. The service is discreet, intuitive and gracious. The life is true Raffles luxury. This is elegance at its most natural.

Learn more about Raffles Maldives Meradhoo

Price includes hotel stay and all taxes and fees.

See & compare all resorts in the Maldives atolls

If you're trying to decide where to stay on Ari Atoll, Lhaviyani Atoll, Male, North Male Atoll, North Baa Atoll, or South Male Atolls, we can help! For the 28 resorts there, we've got nearly 500 high-resolution photos, 7 videos, and 13 virtual tours to help you find your Maldivian dream resort. Click here to use our Visual Explorer to check out all of them.

Boat docked on the atoll in the Maldives.
Photo courtesy Jon Haase.


COMO Cocoa Island 5 nights from 5,721 per person
COMO Cocoa IslandCocoa Island is the Indian Ocean outpost from COMO Hotels and Resorts. With bristling reef life and long stretches of white sand beach, Cocoa Island is an indulgence not to be missed.

Kick back and relax on your sundeck, toes dipped into the island's peaceful lagoon. For those who want to do more, Cocoa Island offers an active island life. From first-time divers to Yoga devotees, from keen sailors to idle snorkellers – we've got the equipment, knowledge and expertise for a memorable stay.

The diving is exceptional, with our own team ready to instruct and guide. Explore our online Travel Planner to discover the full range of activities we have on offer, including deep-sea fishing, watersports, beach drop-offs and private full-day fishing charters.

The Maldives are made up of tiny dots strung out like turquoise ink spots. Many summits sit just below the surface of the water. The coral reefs are exceptional, creating a world-class diving destination. Like Cocoa Island, most resorts occupy their own private island.

The government has sensibly controlled tourism development. Outside the capital, Malé, where the international airport is located, there's no traffic. The only thing you might hear is the sound of fishermen calling to each other on the sea.

Cocoa Island, known locally as Makunufushi, is located among South Malé's coral atolls.

Our island is long and thin with sand snaking out into a perfect spit that disappears with the evening tide. The first thing to strike you on arrival is the welcome of palms, hibiscus and Kadjan/Coconut Thatching while the house reef, which encircles Cocoa, delineates a gin-clear lagoon.
Learn more about COMO Cocoa Island

Price includes hotel stay and all taxes and fees.

Best time of year to go to the Maldives

As a tropical monsoon climate, the Maldives have two dominating seasons: a dry season (associated with dry northeast winter monsoons) and a wet season (associated with moist southwest monsoons and strong winds and storms). The dry season has little rain and lower humidity; it lasts from December-April. The wet season is (you guessed it) wetter, characterized by stronger winds and rain; it lasts from May-November.

For divers, both the dry and wet seasons have their advantages: during the dry season, visibility is superb, due to currents beginning to flow in November from the northeast; the currents start to weaken in February. During the wet season, the water temperatures are a couple of degrees lower, and this seems to inspire larger numbers of hammerhead sharks and reef sharks to congregate, and to do so in shallower waters than in the dry season. Visibility isn't as good, however, as the currents are less.

Aerial view of Sheraton Full Moon resort, Maldives
Aerial view of Sheraton Full Moon Maldives. Photo courtesy the resort.

Average temperatures in the Maldives

The temperature remains fairly consistent year-round, ranging only from the low- to mid-80's (Fahrenheit). September-January tend to hover around the 80 degree mark, and February-August tend to reach a little higher around the mid-80's. Chances are any time you decide to visit, the Maldives will be pleasantly warm.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: The Nautilus Maldives

The Nautilus Maldives 5 nights from 10,248 per person
The Nautilus MaldivesA tantalising slice of freedom in the Maldives’ stunning Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, The Nautilus Maldives 5 star resort offers life unbound. Every visitor to our shores discovers life’s rarest treasures. Gifts that money cannot buy – time, freedom, refuge.

This collection of 26 immensely private beach and ocean houses exists beyond the bounds of time. Our private Villas in the Maldives is a place where nothing is fixed, and anything is possible. Where you are free to set your own beat. Free to do – and to be – as you please.

A celebration of the individual spirit, The Nautilus offers liberation. Freedom unconditional. Space to share, to meet, to be yourself and shape your own personal journey. And, most of all, to celebrate the people you’re with, in any way you choose. Because in the end, it’s these simple, elemental pleasures – that ability to simply be – that form the greatest luxury of all.
Learn more about The Nautilus Maldives

Price includes hotel stay and all taxes and fees.

Storms in the Maldives

During the winter rainy season, afternoon showers occur with frequency. In the case of a tropical storm or cyclone, residents and travelers are relocated to safe areas. Fortunately, the Maldives are not as prone to cyclones as other islands; only 11 cyclones have affected the Maldives in over 128 years.

Overwater villas in the Maldives.
Overwater villas in the Maldives. Photo courtesy Jon Haase.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Baglioni Resort Maldives

Baglioni Resort Maldives 5 nights from 4,858 per person
Baglioni Resort MaldivesParadise with Italian grace.

Lose yourself in the vastness of the Indian Ocean and find yourself again, luxuriating blissfully under a palm tree.

This is just one of the unique experiences that await you at the Baglioni Resort Maldives. Dreamily resplendent on the island of Maagau in Dhaalu atoll, a 40-minute hop by seaplane from the capital, Malé, this remarkable resort is awash with tropical natural beauty. Come visit one of the Maldives’ top luxury resorts for a one-of-a-kind blend of easygoing beach vibes and Italian style.

Our elegantly furnished villas are surrounded by stunningly beautiful beaches, coconut palm trees, crystal clear waters and breathtaking sunset views.

The Baglioni Resort’s comprehensive comforts offer an unforgettable stay with a blend of sports, relaxation and prestigious gourmet dining to suit its exclusive international clientele. It is a piece of paradise in true Baglioni Hotels style.

Luxury villas with suites surrounded by tropical nature,turquoise waters and velvet-smooth white sands: The Baglioni Resort Maldives welcomes you to paradise. This beautiful accommodation was created with the renowned Italian attention to detail – using materials and design techniques for optimum sustainability while making the most of the natural setting and its all-embracing beauty. Choosing a resort in the Maldives with a private pool for ultimate relaxation has never been easier.

Our Maldives villas leave nothing to be desired. Take a dip in the private pool and enjoy unparalleled views of the white sand and the crystal clear ocean. The Presidential Water Villa is the Resort’s crowning glory, with 360 square meters of interior space + 310 square meters outdoor area. It can also vaunt a waterside veranda and terraces looking on to the ocean: for unforgettable private dinners serenaded by the sunset. But no matter which villa you choose, we promise you will not want to leave.
Learn more about Baglioni Resort Maldives

Price includes hotel stay and all taxes and fees.

What's special about the Maldives?

Tourism is relatively recent here--really, it all started for the Maldives in 1972 with just 2 resorts. It's grown to over 80 resorts today. It's the lowest country in the world (yes, it's in the record books) with an average altitude of only about 5 feet above sea level. You're going to get fabulous lagoons protected by coral reefs and other atolls, and gorgeous beaches. But you won't get the knife-edge mountain backdrops you'd see somewhere like Bora Bora, or jungle hikes to waterfalls like you'd get in Hawaii, Fiji, or the Seychelles.

Infinity pool at the Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa, Maldives.
Infinity pool at the Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa. Photo courtesy the resort.

Certainly it's famous for fantastic snorkeling, scuba diving, and above-water sports too. Like the Seychelles, you're going to be a long ways from a major land mass, which means dense schools of fish, less pollution, and more privacy. The roughly 1200 islands are all quite small, with none of them larger than 5 miles across. Each atoll has on average about a half dozen inhabited islands, plus 20 to 60 that are uninhabited.

Underground wine cellar and chocolate cave at Gili Lankanfushi, North Male Atoll, Maldives
Underground wine cellar and chocolate cave at Gili Lankanfushi, North Male Atoll, Maldives. Photo courtesy the resort.

Traditional Maldivian cuisine is based on coconuts, fish, and starches. Skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, frigate tuna and wahoo are common in Maldivian cuisine. As well, a thick brown paste made from tuna, called Rihaakuru, is an essential part of many dishes. Maldivians don't eat raw fish, however (but that doesn't mean you won't ever find sushi in resort restaurants). Their starches are typically rice, taro (the root ingredient of Hawaii's poi), sweet potato, and cassava. You'll find a strong Indian influence--not surprising, given the proximity--and a plethora of different curries. As a tourist in the resorts, expect to find Indian and Maldivian options, but also food styles from around the world. The resorts are well aware that many guests will want to what what's familiar to them.

Check this video overview of the Maldives, courtesy Maldives Tourist Promotion Board (MTPB):


How we work with you to plan the perfect trip:

  • We'll talk with you to find out what you're looking for, what you like/don't like, etc.
  • We'll use our first-hand knowledge of the destination to pick out a handful of resorts we think you'd like
  • We'll create a custom mini website for you, with photos, videos, maps, etc. of the resorts we are recommending
  • We'll follow up with you to help you make your decision
  • We'll go to work with our suppliers to get you the best deal available on what you've decided on.


About the author, Michael Cottam

Founder of Visual Itineraries, Michael lives in Bend, Oregon. He's an avid traveler, scuba diver, photographer, and a private pilot, and also the founder of Bright Yonder. He's been a Rotarian for 20 years, currently on the board of the Greater Bend Rotary Club. Follow Michael on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.