Surfer underwater with wave above in the Maldives.

Experience the waves. (Photo: Getty Images)

Beach Travel

These 8 Maldives Must-Do’s Will Heat Up Your Island Getaway

With turquoise waters, powdery white-sand banks fringed with palm trees, and sunny blue skies, a trip to the Maldives archipelago is the perfect beach escape.

Home to a happening capital city, vibrant local traditions, picturesque sunsets and stunning underwater scenery, the island nation offers a slice of paradise for every traveler.

Here are eight things you need to add to your Maldives must-do’s. As always, check for travel restrictions or closures before planning your trip.

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Go Diving

Scuba diver swimming over coral in the Maldives.
See the underwater wonders. (Photo: Getty Images)

Plan to join a few diving trips to experience the magnificent underwater seascape in the Maldives. Crystal-clear waters are home to schools of colorful bluestripe snappers, stingrays, eagle rays and shy turtles. Rich, vivid coral is always teeming with sponges, sharks, barracudas and moray eels.

Extreme Maldives offers plenty of options, including night dives to breathtaking locations around the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. One popular site is the Banana Reef with warm, inviting tropical waters.

Not a diver? You can also join a PADI scuba diving course with Extreme Maldives to receive your diving certification.

Snorkel with Manta Rays

Snorkeling in the pristine reefs of the Maldives is quite a memorable experience. The Maldives is known for squadrons of manta rays swimming and twirling in circles.

At Manta Point – located in the North Malé Atoll — you can swim underwater with these gentle animals. Expect to join eels hiding in radiant coral and get swamped by shoals of colorful tiny fish.

Enjoy Outdoor Dining

A dining pavilion for two over the water at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa.
Sea Salt Pavilion, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. (Photo: Marriott International)

Adjacent to the lagoon, Sea Salt at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa offers a phenomenal outdoor dining experience with plenty of seafood options.

Choose your ingredients, customize your meals and watch your dinner being prepared during the restaurant’s open-air, live cooking sessions

Visit a Local Island

Hop on a boat and visit one of the many inhabited islands to get a glimpse of Maldivian daily life. The local people in the Maldives are Muslims who speak the country’s language, Dhivehi.

Although some families are now moving to the capital of Malé for employment and education opportunities, many people still live and work across many of the islands. Even the isles that are quite small in size tend to be well-equipped with schools, grocery stores and hospitals.

Visit the Capital City

Explore Male. (Photo: Getty Images)Bustling with people and activity, the capital city, Malé, offers glimpses into the little-known culture and domestic life of the Maldives — be sure to visit the golden-domed Grand Friday Mosque in the heart of the capital.

For a peek into day-to-day living, head to one of the main marketplaces on the northern waterfront, which are filled with aromatic spices, handicrafts, fresh vegetables, fruits and more.

Stick around until late afternoon to watch as fishmongers deliver their daily catch to the fish market and the scene along the waterfront springs to life.

Chase the Waves

From March till October, North Malé Atoll features some of the best breaks in the Maldives, including the surf break at Sheraton Maldives, which attracts surfers of all levels.

On a good day, the right-hander waves are long, and surfers can enjoy large swells. Extreme Maldives conducts lessons for beginners and kids.

Go on a Sandbank Picnic

Aerial of a sand bank in the Maldives.
Enjoy seclusion. (Photo: Getty Images)

At low tide, go on a picnic to one of the white sandbanks in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Kick back and unwind as the lapping waves gently sweep the pearlescent white, silky sand beneath your feet.

Bask in the tropical sun and go for a swim in the ever-expanding azure waters where colorful marine life — including more than 700 species of fish — live in abundance.

Spot Dolphins and Whales

One of the premier destinations in the world to spot wild marine mammals, the Maldives lays claim to 20 different species of dolphins and whales swimming in its surrounding ocean waters.

Hop on a boat right before the sunset and you will see pods of playful spinner dolphins flipping and twirling out of the water. You can also spot striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, giant sperm whales and killer whales cruising past you.