Let’s go island hopping in the Maldives

Escape with me for a moment and visualize this:

You’re on an island of lush green palms and coconut trees surrounded by abandoned, sugar-white beaches that lead to a warm, crystal clear turquoise lagoon.

Perched on stilts above it all is your over-water villa, pimped out with teak furniture and your very own private plunge pool. But off your deck, and within a few descending steps, you’re sharing the warmth of the Indian Ocean with schools of coral colored fish as they float gently past you.

It’s early morning in the Maldives and you’ve learned to start your day this way – it’s another unforgettable moment, and it’s just as you pictured it.

Where is the Maldives you ask?

This string of 26 closely spaced small coral islands sits just south of the continent of India and Sri Lanka. It wasn’t until I researched for this post, that I fully understood the magnitude of the Maldives. In other words, just how many atolls were part of this gorgeous chain in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea area.

Maldives, Indian OceanFormed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south
off India’s Lakshadweep islands offers over 1190 coral islands

Over-water bungalow anyone?

The Maldives are composed of live coral reefs and sand bars, acting as a natural barrier against the sea, forming lagoons. Other islands, set at a distance and parallel to the reef, have their own protective fringe of reef. These barrier reefs protect them from the storms and high waves off the Indian Ocean. It’s no wonder this region has become so popular with plenty of private over-water bungalows and five-star resorts to choose from.

over water bungalowHowever we’ll forego the luxury resorts, preferring to island hop by public ferry, and stay in guesthouses or Airbnb’s on inhabited islands to truly experience Maldive culture and friendly local population.

Plan your own awesome itinerary

Our journey to the Maldives likely begins in Male. Our flight from Toronto will eventually find its way to this pint-sized capital where we’ll spend a few days exploring this densely crowded city before we begin playing our version of Robinson Caruso and island hop. I’m surprised at the hubbub of Male with its tall, brightly colored buildings, restaurants, shops and markets, which will make Mary a happy camper.

Luckily there’s a public ferry network that connects you to all the inhabited islands, which by the way, may only be a couple of times a week to another island in the atoll. It’s the ferry that makes independent travel possible which is exactly what this couple wants.

Ferries, MaldivesThere are 1190 coral islands, most are uninhabited, in pristine state.

Ferries are inexpensive but relatively slow. A pricier alternative is to rent a speed boat or a sea plane, which will take you anywhere in the atoll. You’ll need to check the ferry timetables so you don’t get stuck on an island if you’re just there for a day trip. The timetables are online here at mtcc.com.mv.

After a few days we’ll bounce from the capital hitting as many of  Male’s island neighbors as we can. The guest houses that we stay in will provide us with the next day’s adventure. It’s common that hosts organize island hopping excursions so that eliminates much of the guesswork for us. Every morning we’ll hop on board another boat, headed to another unknown destination, each with its own distinct differences. Perhaps the only thing that’s common is the warm turquoise waters, the white sandy beaches that surround them and the sun that follows us.

And I can’t wait.

The best time to go to Maldives
Steer clear of the rainy season and shortened daylight hours.
Temperatures in MaldivesThis might be helpful
A list of guest houses
Male ferry service
A list of resort islands


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