Nestled away to the south west of Sri Lanka and India, the Maldives are renowned for being made up of breath-taking islands which are simply iconic in their own right and popular with tourists worldwide. Perhaps little wonder.
This truly beautiful destination has historically been known under various different names through the Sanskrit language and then are often referred to collectively as “Necklace Islands”, “Garland of Islands” and “Hundred Thousand Islands”.
Despite being a notoriously expensive vacation to visit, the Maldives still remain extremely popular with tourists of all ages and much of its popularity is due to the tropical weather it boasts all year round. Put simply, there’s never really a bad time to visit the islands and in fact the climate rarely changes despite the fact there are two distinct and well defined seasons.
Little boat in Maldives.
Made up with a perfect cluster of small islands set almost like diamonds in the Indian ocean, the Maldives are predominantly made up of the water in-between 1,190 different islands; around 90 of which currently serve as popular tourist resorts. Their unique layout into a double chain of 26 atolls is spread out over roughly 35,000 square miles and each island offers something very special in its own right. In fact, you won’t ever find two islands the same here; which is another major plus for tourists of course.
Whilst the average temperature for the Maldives tends not to fluctuate much during the year, the ‘wet season’ (if ever it could possibly be called that!) lasts from May through to October; when there’s a slightly noticeable contrast between the months of November to April. During these months the sun tends to shine for a few more hours each day and there’s even less likelihood of rainfall, particularly in the northern regions, although temperatures still tend to average anywhere between 25 and 30 degrees for the majority of the day. In addition to at least 8 hours of sunshine visitors can also enjoy water temperatures of at least 25 degrees; making sea activities a truly pleasurable experience – particularly given that the seas also tend to be much calmer and therefore ideal for both divers and swimmers. The Maldives is, of course, renowned for the wide range of watersports it has on offer so calmer waters can often work very much in favour of those learning a new sport and certainly for snorkelers who are rarely left disappointed with undersea discoveries.
Resort huts in Veligandu Island in Maldives.
During the so-called ‘wet season’ prices to the Maldives tend to drop slightly, making it a perfect time to visit outside of peak season – particularly for those who haven’t visited before and might want to give it a go minus the high season price tag. However, despite being referred to as the ‘wet season’, temperatures very rarely drop anywhere below 27 degrees (and can even soar up to the 33 degree mark most of the time) so travel taken between April and October certainly shouldn’t be ruled out based on the very slight chance of a little rainfall. In fact, the average amount of annual rainfall is only 2,540mm on the north side of the islands compared to just 3,810 in more southern regions. The majority of rain tends to fall between June and August but rarely equates to anything much.
For divers (whether professional or amateur) both the wet and dry seasons have their own set of advantages. During the dry season, for example, visibility is superb due to the currents which begin to flow in November from the northeast. The currents then start to weaken around February although again, sometimes this can be so subtle it’s hardly noticeable.
During the wet season the water temperature then tends to be a couple of degrees lower and this seems to attract much larger numbers of hammerhead sharks and reef sharks to congregate. Experts maintain that they tend to do this in shallower waters than they do in the dry season. That said, visibility isn’t as good although the currents are less.
Corals in Maldives.
As regards adverse weather on the Maldives, serious storms are certainly very few and far between. During the winter rainy season you might expect a few afternoon showers and in the very rare case of a tropical storm then residents are easily relocated to safe areas. Fortunately, however, the Maldives are certainly not as prone to cyclones as other islands and in fact only 11 cyclones have affected the Maldives in over 128 years. It’s probably one of the safest holiday destinations you could possibly visit – both in terms of weather and crime rate. The latter is virtually zero.
Unfortunately, in the much longer term, the climate across the Maldives continues to be of significant concern for both local governments and environmentalists alike since the islands still remain the third most endangered nation in terms of flooding from ongoing climate change. In fact, it’s no great secret that if carbon emissions continue to soar as they are at the present time, then the entire island nation could well find itself immersed in water as soon as 2020. This is clearly of great concern. During the last century alone sea levels within this particular region have risen by more than 20cm and further increases could well threaten the islands’ future since its natural ground level currently sits just 1.5m above sea level.
However, in terms of enjoying the Maldives whilst they’re still here, then there really isn’t a ‘best’ or ‘worse’ time to visit. Put simply, they’re a stunning set of islands to explore all year round and adverse weather really shouldn’t factor into your plans on where or when you should go.
From a budget point of view, Christmas and New Year are probably best avoided but weather wise, it’s unlikely you’ll be left disappointed. In fact, the few tourists who have experienced storms on the Maldives have described them as being both refreshing and welcome so don’t be tempted to plan your vacation around bad weather – it’s very unlikely to happen!
Here are some other informative articles on Maldives that will help you plan your holiday.