The Maldives is a nation of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, where 200 are inhabited. In the 1970s, the country has blown up as a tourist destination due to its incredibly pristine white sand beaches, coral reefs, and delicious cuisine. Today, the island nation is a mecca for luxury tourism, most recognized for its iconic floating bungalows.
A trip to the Maldives will certainly leave you in awe, but when is the best time to visit? Here are the best seasons or times of the year to visit depending on your interests and budget.
For the best weather
The Maldives is a great tropical destination year-round since the country does not have traditional seasons of summer, fall, winter, or spring. Instead, it experiences wet and dry seasons, which may have a huge influence on your trip depending on which season you visit.
If you want to make sure that you get the best weather with minimal to no rain or humidity, visit the Maldives during its low season from December to April. During this season, the islands receive between 2-4 inches of rainfall in a given month. Temperatures also consistently stay between 80-90°F (27-32°C), making for the perfect beach weather.
If visiting during the dry season, you will be in the Maldives during its high season. This means there will be larger crowds and higher prices for accommodation, food, and flights. If you want to avoid large amounts of tourists during the high season, consider visiting one of the less-frequented islands in the Maldives like Olhuveli, Baros, or Thoddoo.
For the lowest prices
Although it is best to visit the Maldives in the dry season, it will put a big dent in your pocket. For the budget traveler, consider visiting the islands during its wet season, between November and May. During this time, the Maldives receives between 7-9 inches of rain and about 5-15 rainy days in a month. Although it is inevitable that you will experience rain while visiting during this season, it also means that there are fewer tourists and therefore lower prices. Make sure to bring a good rain jacket, rain shoes, and an umbrella, and you will be unfazed while walking around.
The rainy season is the best time to visit if you want to have a luxury experience for less. Since accommodations charge their lowest rates during the low season, you can stay at some of the best-rated hotels which would normally be 50-80% more expensive during the high season. This also means you can have a longer stay in the Maldives, and you’ll have more opportunity to spread out your trip to account for the rain.
For seeing bioluminescence
One unique and unforgettable sight you can find in the Maldives is the abundance of bioluminescent plankton in the seawater. Plankton, which is a naturally occurring tiny marine organism, can create a bioluminescent glow through internal chemical reactions. The result of this is an incredible starry glow in the water and at the shore at night from millions and millions of plankton.
The Maldives is one of the only places in the world that has bioluminescent plankton – seeing it is a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Although this technically occurs all year round in the islands, the best time to visit to guarantee you will see it is between June and December.
One of the best places to visit to see the most pronounced bioluminescence is Raa Atoll on Vaadhoo Island. Here, you will find a beach appropriately named the “Sea of Stars Beach.” Once an under-the-radar destination, the small island with a population of 500 is now growing in popularity amongst travelers and is rapidly growing as a tourist hub.
For water activities
The best time of the year for water activities like snorkeling or scuba diving in the Maldives is during its dry season between January and April. This is because there are less storms, wind, and rainfall, and the waters will be more clear. However, this means that there will be less cloud cover and more direct sun, so make sure to put on a lot of extra sunscreen if you go snorkeling. It is still possible to go snorkeling during the wet season, however, be prepared for more unpredictable conditions and less visibility.
Visiting the Maldives during the best snorkeling conditions can allow you to see some of the most beautiful and unique native marine life, such as manta rays, lionfish, and parrot fish. If you decide to go scuba diving, you may have the opportunity to see some larger animals, such as the whale shark, hammerhead shark, and tiger shark. The Maldives is also a perfect place to see some of the remaining pristine coral reefs in the world – there are over 70 different species of coral throughout the islands. You can find several different resorts that offer organized tours with local guides.
The Maldives is a world-renowned tropical island destination that attracts nearly two million tourists annually. Not only can you enjoy some of the clearest water and whitest sand beaches in the world, but there are endless opportunities to see some of the unique fauna of the country, such as marine life, coral reefs, and most uniquely, bioluminescent plankton.
For the best overall experience and weather, visit the Maldives during its dry season between December and April. The catch of visiting during this time, however, is larger crowds and higher prices. If you are on a budget and don’t mind some rain, visit the Maldives during the wet season between November and May.