Resort Islands Travel Guide

Ari Atoll © Neville Wootton

Most visitors to the Maldives come on prearranged package tours that include accommodation on any one of the 87 resort islands. All the resorts are located on pristine islands, with idyllic settings for water activities and long, lazy beach days.

The resorts are predominantly located in the three atolls closest to the Maldivian capital, in Malé (Kaafu) atoll. A few are found in Vaavu, Baa, Lhaviyani and the Ari (Alifu) atoll. Each resort has its own distinct character, and the architecture to suit it. Ari has recently been earmarked for development as the new Tourism Zone, and the tourism industry there is growing.

The larger, less expensive resorts attract young, adventure-seeking tourists, while some of the smaller, more expensive resorts offer a more intimate holiday. The excursions provided by the resorts vary, depending on their proximity to dive sites, local villages and natural attractions. All the resorts, however, offer watersports, such as night-fishing trips, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, banana-boating, knee-boarding or ringo-riding. Excursions in glass-bottomed boats and dolphin-viewing trips are very popular.

Most resorts in the Maldives are not cheap, with little in the way of budget accommodation or transport. By law, resorts charge in US dollars, although visitors find that having a bit of money in local rufiyaa can be handy in Malé and other inhabited islands.

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