Hearing the country’s name conjures up images of luxury huts overlooking an aqua blue ocean, Maldives is a nation of islands located in the Indian Ocean. Comprising of 1192 islands the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of which is dry land (less than 1%). With over 1200 coral islands ringed by a beautiful landscape of reefs, it is the most dispersed country in the world. The complex atoll (pronounced – at al. Atoll means it is the ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of coral) structures of the Maldives are formed on ridges rising from the ocean. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls.
One-third of the residents reside in Male – the capital city, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Its unique geography and breathtaking natural beauty have made the Maldives one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world. Of the 200 islands, more than 120 have been developed as resorts and are in operation, and at least another 50 are under development.
Did you know that due to global warming 80% of Maldives may be inhabitable by 2050? This is according to multiple reports from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.
The beauty of the Maldives is not only above the water. The Maldives is home to about five percent of the planet’s reefs that come with an explosion of color contributed by soft and hard corals that form them. The reefs are home to a thousand species of fish. Lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents, large pelagic fishes such as manta rays and whale sharks also make the Maldives their home.
Things to know about the Maldives:
- Capital – Male
- Language – Dhivehi
- Local time – +10 hours EST | + 13 hours PST
- Religion – Muslim
- Currency – Maldivian Rufiyaa
- Country code – +960
- Visa – on arrival for all nationalities (as of Jan 31, 2022)
- Seasons – Spring, summer, autumn, winter