The Maldives is a collection of islands well-suited for travelers looking to retreat, relax and unwind. The white-sand beaches, crystal-clear blue water, and surrounding lush vegetation make for the perfect environment to spend time practicing tranquillity with a drink in hand.
If ever you feel like stepping away from the relaxation at the Maldives’ all-inclusive resorts and exploring the cluster of islands – you might be surprised at the many Maldives activities to discover.
Wondering what to do in the Maldives? From water sports to whale shark watching, there’s something for everyone.
Things to do in Maldives’ Islands
Here are some of the top things to do in the Maldives. This list of activities is perfect for adventure junkies, families, and couples on a romantic retreat.
One of the best ways to discover the Maldives’ diverse ocean life is by going snorkeling. The archipelago is home to thousands of unique species of coral, fish, turtles, mollusks, crustaceans, and more that you won’t see from the shore.
Snorkeling is a family-friendly and fun activity that doesn’t require much skill, unlike scuba diving which takes some practice. Here, you can explore the reefs close to the surface. But don’t worry, you won’t miss out on too much of the deep-sea marine life.
You’re likely to spot a few friendly sharks among the many forms of life in the Maldives’ waters. No need to panic, they’re notoriously gentle species and very used to divers.
There’s never a wrong time to experience the Maldives. But, for the best snorkeling conditions, visit the islands from January to April. This is when the weather is dry and the water is clear, in these months you’ll be able to do more activities in the Maldives.
Cruising along the coast on a catamaran is among the most popular things to do in the Maldives Islands. It’s a fantastic way to see the islands’ underwater life from the surface. Many resorts in the Maldives offer catamaran cruises with snacks and drinks included.
Otherwise, it’s easy to find a private charter to guide you around the islands. Chartering a catamaran is one of the best activities to do in the Maldives with a group of friends or with family. You can spend a day on the water enjoying the island air, sunshine, and ocean life.
Kayaking through the still Maldivian waters is the perfect adventure for adults and families. This activity is an excellent form of exercise, but it also allows you to explore the coastline at your own pace.
Most hotels and resorts in the Maldives have free rental kayaks and lifejackets. If you’re lucky, you might find a glass-bottom kayak that lets you see the life in the ocean beneath you.
Kayaking along the coast is a wonderful way to view the coral reefs and watch the sea turtles. The best time of day to kayak is in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t too hot and direct.
Glass Bottom Boat Tour
Like glass bottom kayaks, these tours are a window to the life beneath the ocean’s surface that you might otherwise miss. There are a variety of boats available for these tours from resorts and private charters.
These excursions are usually around 1 – 2 hours. Still, it depends mostly on the resort or company, weather conditions, and the package you choose. Glass bottom boat tours are a great educational opportunity for young children who aren’t able to snorkel or kayak yet.
A friendly and knowledgeable guide will accompany you on the tour and guide you through the ocean creatures and plant life you’ll see on the journey.
Sandbank Dining and Beach Picnics
Ever wanted to experience dining in the middle of the Indian Ocean? Sandbank dining is one of the top activities in Maldives. This unique experience is available at a few of the islands’ resorts or can be arranged privately.
While dining at lunchtime will give you more time to take in the clear blue water and surrounding greenery, the best time for sandbank dining is during sunset. Once the sun fades away, the sandbank is illuminated in a magical ambiance with lanterns and torches.
A family favorite among the fun things to do in the Maldives is beach picnics. There are few things better than sitting on the warm sand and enjoying fresh food and drinks while watching the gentle ocean waves.
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, ask the friendly staff at your resort in the Maldives for more information or available dining packages.
Whale Shark Watching
Perhaps the most spectacular of the Maldives’ attractions is the Whale Shark. These mammoth ocean creatures are usually around 33 feet in length, but the largest Whale Shark in history was recorded to be double that in size.
Swimming with these gentle and giant creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many. The Maldives is a hot spot for sighting Whale Sharks. The region is home to the sharks all year round.
The South Ari Atoll is the best place to find Whale Sharks. This is a protected marine conservation area open to visitors and tourists. The Maldives has about 30 species of sharks, and Whale Sharks are the most popular. You’re destined to meet a few of them during your time on the islands.
Luxury Yacht Tours
Consider chartering a private yacht to get a real taste of luxury on your trip to the Maldives. It’s one of the best ways to experience life in and around all the islands that make up the Maldives.
Yachts will stop at the worthwhile places to visit in the Maldives, from the bustling city of Malé to the secret and secluded caves and beaches on the other islands.
Touring the region on a yacht is fantastic for tourists spending a while in the Maldives and looking to enjoy everything that the islands offer.
Exploring the local islands is the best way to learn about the people and the way of life in the Maldives. Island hopping is easy and ideal for travellers who want to see it all.
Some of the Maldives islands can be busy and overpopulated with tourists and locals. So, it can be difficult to admire the regional culture. Ideally, you should visit islands with small indigenous communities to discover more about life on the archipelago.
Getting from one island to the next is fairly easy. There are almost always taxi boats awaiting new passengers, or you can hop on a speedboat if you’re more adventurous.
To discover the city’s history, consider booking a guided tour. These tours can be as short as a few hours, or you can spend a few days island hopping and learning about the islands’ people and local lifestyle.
Experience Maldivian Food
Maldivian cuisine is a complex combination of flavors and local ingredients. Many dishes use the islands’ abundantly available seafood, local vegetables like yams, and fruits like coconut.
The local cuisine is majorly influenced by East Asian, Indian, Arabic, and Sri Lankan techniques and flavors.
There are several opportunities to explore Maldivian food as a tourist on the islands. Walking through one of the Malé’s markets is an excellent way to taste authentic Maldivian dishes from the region’s locals.
To better understand the region’s cuisine and its history, visitors to the Maldives may enjoy a cooking class hosted by the islands’ locals or Maldivian chefs. Besides its pristine beaches, the Maldives is admired for its food and culture.
Since the islands are teeming with ocean life, seafood makes up a large portion of traditional Maldivian cooking. Fishing is an essential skill as an island dweller but is also a popular recreational activity.
If you find yourself asking, ‘what is there to do in the Maldives?’ consider spending the day out on the water with some local islanders or professional fishermen. Fishing is a wonderful way to experience the Maldivian way of life.
Unlike some of the Maldives’ things to do, fishing doesn’t require much skill other than the art of patience.
It is important to book a registered fishing tour. Some areas in the Maldives are highly protected conservation areas, and for other sites, your guide will need to have a permit. No one wants to end up with a hefty fine on holiday.
Depending on the package you choose, your excursion may include stops at several points of interest or fishing hot spots. Some tours even include island-style cooking demonstrations where you’ll learn the traditional methods of cooking your catch.
Final Thoughts on What to do in the Maldives
The islands of the Maldives are jam-packed with things to do and see that the whole family will love. While the region is most famous for being the ultimate relaxation destination, there is no shortage of fun things to do and tourist attractions in Maldives.
When planning your days in the Maldives, make the most of your time and the fantastic weather by visiting some unmissable Maldives beaches and wandering through the streets of Malé.
You can’t tour the Maldives without getting up close and personal with the islands’ amazing ocean creatures. So don’t forget to book boat tours and Whale Shark watching adventures.
There are endless things to do in the Maldives that are waiting for you.