Destination Spotlight: Maldives

The Maldives, a tropical paradise of pristine beaches, are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the Indian Ocean. They lie south-southwest of India and are considered part of Southern Asia.

The Maldives is renowned for its incredible diving opportunities. The crystal clear water and shallow lagoons are perfect for snorkelling, while the reef walls offer a kaleidoscope of sea life for more experienced divers. The Maldives have an amazing diversity of sea life, with corals and over 2000 species of fish, ranging from reef fish and reef sharks to moray eels, rays and whale sharks. The island's many sheltered lagoons also provide the perfect destination to enjoy an adventure-filled family holiday or romantic getaway for two.

Given that the unique geography of the islands of the Maldives, perhaps the best way to explore this beautiful archipelago is by cruise boat.They vary greatly in size, facilities and services, from modest boats to exclusive high-end luxury complete with spa services.

Because of its marine location, the Maldives boasts every kind of water-based adventure sport from paddling around a lagoon in a transparent hulled canoe to being propelled several metres below the surface of the sea by underwater scooter, or gliding several metres above the surface dangling from a parachute behind a speedboat. For the energetic and adventurous, the Maldives is just as rewarding a destination as it is for the laidback sun worshiper or sophisticated epicure.

The Maldives has a reputation as one of the best diving destinations in the world – and for good reason. The unique beauty of the Maldivian underwater world is appreciated by divers the world-over due to the excellent visibility (sometimes to 50 metres), the multitude of exotic marine fauna and flora and the warm temperatures of the water .

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