Let’s make one thing clear: not all atolls are created equal. But on the plus side, the Maldives have thousands of sun-drenched islands, and discovering the perfect island for your trip is part of the fun.

Each resort in the Maldives is its own private island, but choosing the right one for you can be difficult. Want to start your vacation in the Indian Ocean in style? Our guide will help you know what to look for in the search for your perfect island, whether you are looking for affordable options or five-star resorts with brilliant diving schools.

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.

The new Patina Maldives Resort is an ideal launching pad for island hopping trips @ Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

The distance dilemma

Yes, your sun-drenched island resort may be wonderfully secluded, with no other atolls in sight, but remote locations inevitably add to the price – not just because there are higher costs to cover (like resorting to supplies. in question) but because it is likely that you will have to pay for a short domestic flight or a seaplane flight to get there. Seaplane transfers are the more expensive option (expect to pay between US $ 300 and US $ 900 for a round trip), while domestic flights to one of the smaller airports in the Maldives (followed by ‘boat transfer) will be slightly cheaper.

The good news? Some of the best resorts in the Maldives are only a short boat ride from Malé’s Velana International Airport, so don’t write off properties just because of their proximity.

We recommend: Patina Maldives, the Fari Islands

A brand new resort on the new development of the Fari Islands, Patina Maldives, the Fari Islands is a 45 minute speedboat transfer from the international airport. Fancy an island hopping trip? Traveling between the islands of the Maldives can get expensive, but Patina Maldives is only a short boat shuttle service from the other resorts in the Fari Islands (a Ritz-Carlton and a Capella), so there is no risk of claustrophobia.

Where to stay for the best food

It might sound complacent, but trust us – knowing your culinary standards can make or break a vacation. This exclusive little island you have an eye on might just have a Michelin-starred chef, but even the most delicious seafood will soon look pretty straightforward once you browse the restaurant menu in space. two days. In short, bigger is often better if food is a priority.

We recommend: Siyam World Maldives

Opened in October 2021 on Dhigurah Island, Noonu Atoll, Siyam World Maldives has eight restaurants, including one with an underground wine cellar and one specializing in Japanese cuisine. It is also incredibly family friendly, which makes it perfect for anyone visiting the Maldives with children.

Where to go for downtime

Why are you going on vacation to the Maldives? If you dream of lazy sunbathing sessions at the best beaches in the country, your priorities will be different from those of the adrenaline-fueled traveler keen to try all the octane activities available, whether it’s swimming with it. manta rays or learn to dive. Typically, smaller resorts are great for downtime without crowds, while larger ones are better suited for families and active types.

We recommend: Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

For the best of both worlds, consider Baa Atoll’s Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, where there’s a wide range of activities and experiences on offer, but where you can also escape your fellow islanders by signing up for a pretty cool activity – a night out on a nearby deserted island.

A couple on a pier watching a colorful sunset at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives in Kuda Huraa
The Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa is one of the best hotels in the Maldives for honeymoons © Ken Seet / Four Seasons

Money talks

It’s a myth that you have to be a millionaire to vacation in the Maldives, although without a little research the costs can easily get out of hand. Travelers wanting to get the most out of their hard-earned money should familiarize themselves with the packages on offer to ensure they are getting the best value for their money. Options can range from plans with breakfast only to ones that include all meals and drinks, as well as some activities.

We recommend: Four Seasons Resort Maldives in Kuda Huraa

A private island in the North Male Atoll which is one of the best places in the Maldives for honeymoons, the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa not only offers a huge range of room categories, it also offers a excellent selection of packages, including Island Romance packages, which have fantastic additional extras designed for couples.

What to look for in sustainability

Taking a second to consider your destination’s sustainability credentials will not only benefit Mother Nature, it could save you a lot of money as well. If an island produces its own drinking water, grows its own vegetables, and transports guests by boat rather than the gas-guzzling seaplane, the expense will be less, which means less costs to cover, which will translate into higher room rates. low.

We recommend: Amilla Fushi

Another seaside resort on Baa Atoll, Amilla Fushi excels in sustainability issues. Reverse osmosis is used to produce drinking water, jams, pickles and spa products are made from plants grown on the island, and crushed glass is made into building materials.

Let go of the obsession with water

It’s easy to become obsessed with recreating the imagery associated with the Maldives, famous for its overwater villas, but these highly sought-after accommodations have their drawbacks – and in fact, there are plenty of reasons to choose a villa that is not Above water.

These are usually the most expensive accommodations and the furthest away from resort facilities, and the views – usually of the sea and nothing else – aren’t necessarily that great. Overwater villas are designed for privacy, so views are often limited by high walls framing the terrace – unlike beachfront villas, where there is often more to look at than it is. be it a pretty lizard or a parrot fish that crosses the shallows. Sound insulation is generally better thanks to the surrounding greenery.

We recommend: Kuramathi Island Resort

Located in the natural Rasdhoo atoll, Kuramathi Island Resort is a teardrop-shaped island where hiking trails crisscross lush vegetation, much of which offers privacy to the large number of villas set back from the beach.

Snorkelers filming and swimming near a manta ray in Hanifaru Bay, Maldives
Swim with manta rays in Baa Atoll © Bernard Radvaner / Getty Images

Timing is everything

Let’s be clear: there isn’t a bad time to visit the Maldives. But considering the season is important if you have certain activities at heart. If you plan to swim with mantas, for example, staying at a Baa Atoll resort between May and November is your best bet, although July through October is a great time to see mantas elsewhere. If you are planning a surf session, you will need to go there between April and October.

We recommend: frequent vacations

To ensure you experience the best of the Maldives, plan a vacation every month without fail. We’re kidding, but you get the idea: think about what you want to see and do, and refresh yourself at seasonal outlets in different areas.