Feb 20, 2016

The magnificent Maldives

There is a chance for a real life Robinson Crusoe moment in the beautiful islands of the Maldives.

The island nation is comprised of more than 1,100 islands— and only 200 of them are actually inhabited. Home to less than 400,000 citizens or roughly half of its annual visitors, there is an estimated 5 beaches to every man, woman and child. That’s a lot of territory to explore. But most of the 1 million annual visitors to Maldives don’t have any intention of venturing past the wooden pier in front of their huts over the pristine turquoise water or too far beyond earshot of the happy to please poolside staff.

As with any trip overseas, even in the Maldives travel insurance is a must have.

The Maldives islands are grouped into 26 atolls visible upon approach. The atolls (live coral reefs) are the first indication that you are in for an unforgettable vacation even before you land. The second one occurs when you actually land and see them up close. The atolls surround and protect the islands from erosion, caused by its unfortunately geography of just 6 to 7 feet above sea level.

It’s the same geography that has made the Maldives a strategic player in the Indian Ocean trade route. Ruled as an independent Islamic sultanate for centuries and colonial protectorate by the Dutch and then the English until it gained its independence in 1965. The remnants of colonization still remain and are evident in the religion, architecture, customs and traditions that exists today.

Located in the Indian Ocean just north of the equator, the Maldives has successfully remade itself into an upscale destination with luxury resorts and spas catering to affluent travellers, honeymooners, sport fishermen and scuba enthusiasts.

Most of its visitors still hail from Europe or the Asia Pacific area, but are more apt to plant a paper umbrella in a cold tropical drink than a flag deep in its’ white sandy beaches.

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