Travelling to the Maldives

The Maldives are an island nation formed by twenty-six atolls about 700 km south-west of Sri Lanka and 400 km south-west of India. The Maldives cover a territory of more than 90,000 square km, making it one of the world's most geographically dispersed countries.

It has a population of around 330,000 people living in 200 of its 1,192 islands on average with just 1.5 m above sea level, the planet's lowest country. The Maldives' capital and most populated city is Malé with a population of 100,000.

Tourism arrived to the Maldives 40 years ago to Kurumba, an Island close to Malé. Today, Maldives is a well known destination worldwide especially for its islands full of palm trees and soft white sand surrounded by natural blue crystal clear waters, turquoise reefs and vivid corals.

Even though surf is our main attraction on the Maldives, this unique destination is very exciting for many other reasons that will complement your trip. Romance, surfing, diving, fishing, wellness, island cruising and relaxation are some of the other pleasures you will find here better than elsewhere in the world. Even though tourism began to be developed on the archipelago on the 70s there are still many islands out of the catalogs and some of those unexplored islands happen to host some of the most secret surf spots on the planet.

Language

Don’t worry if you can’t speak Maldivian as many speak basic English, enough for directions and trivial conversations. Most locals will appreciate if you can at least say Shukuriyyaa (thanks!) and Assalaamu alaikum (hello!). All Surfinn staff speaks English.

Cuisine

Maldivian food is more about sea than land and has strong influence on the Arabic, Indian, Sri Lanka and Oriental cuisines, so expect some coconut, spicy and curry made dishes. If you have a very sensitive palate or wish to have less condiment food, you just to inform our staff in advance so that chefs can prepare food accordingly. 

These are some of the most popular dishes:
  • Mas huni — minced smoked fish with grated onions and coconut, very common at breakfast
  • Hedhikaa – fried finger food mostly made of fish
  • Bambukeylu hiti — curry of breadfruit
  • Gulha — pastry balls with smoked fish
  • Fihunu mas — barbequed chili fish
  • Bajiya — fish pastry with coconut and onions
  • Keemia —fried fish rolls
  • Kulhi borkibaa — fish cake (HOT!!!)

Drink

We do not advise to drink tap water as it is desalinated. Actually, Maldives is the only country in the world where Coca-Cola is made of desalinated water!!!

The Maldives is a Muslim country, which means that the alcohol consumption is only allowed in some resorts to foreigners. All Surfinn yachts and resorts have alcohol license, yet some of the hostels don't since these are located in islands with the presence of locals. 

If you’re going on a boat trip, drinks should be requested previously. Please get in contact after your booking to get the list of drinks and prices. We advise every guest to drink with responsibility, especially because with a hangover you will miss a lot of waves!

Health

You will not need to take any vaccines or medicine before going to the Maldives as there are no serious diseases. Some islands have mosquitoes and catching dengue fever from them is possible, but highly unlikely and Malaria does not exist. If you are coming from regions infected by yellow fever then you will be requested an international certificate of inoculation.

Most health problems come from diving or sun burnt. Drink lots of water and look for shade whenever possible. Important: Don’t forget to bring sunscreen!!

For safety reasons Surfinn recommends that travelers obtain a valid travel insurance before travelling.

Climate

Sunshine is the main feature throughout the year as the Maldives is located on the equator line with temperatures very similar to the Caribbean. The temperature ranges between 25 °C (75 °F) and 33 °C (90 °F) throughout the year and with a relatively high humidity.

The Maldives has two distinct seasons, the dry season that lasts from November to March with hot days tempered by cooling sea breezes and mild evening temperatures and the wet season (southwest monsoon) runs from mid-May to November.

For more information about the weather on the Maldives visit this page.

Environment

Resorts at the Maldives, after many years achieving differentiate positioning by offering luxury water villas, infinity swimming pools and underwater spas, have now started to be more conscious about environmental concerns, providing guests with eco-friendly options which Surfinn totally supports and promotes.

Please do not forget to take with you a plastic bag every time you stop to visit a desert island, so that you can collect and bring any garbage you may find on your way. As you know the Maldives are one of the most sensitive environments but unfortunately due to sea currents a lot of plastic bottles and cans arrive to its shores. Make your presence count!

Entry requirements - Visas

To enter the Maldives is hassle-free as no pre-arrival visa is required. A free thirty day visa is issued on arrivals to all nationalities. You will only need a valid passport and have bought a return ticket to continue the journey out of Maldives. Your Surfinn booking forms may be requested to attest the purpose of your visit.

You should contact Surfinn during your trip, if you decide to extend it longer. It will be necessary to contact the Immigration services and to sign an application form. In this case a visa fee will be applied. Foreigners, who stay beyond the approved stay, may be deported.

How to get there

Depending on your location, flying to the Maldives may take some hours, but we believe that it will be worth the time.
Many flight companies operate directly to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (IATA: MLE, ICAO: VRMM), also known as Malé International Airport. The airport is located on Hulhulé Island just a few minutes from the capital Malé.

You can get direct flights from London, Moscow, Bangalore, Bangkok, Colombo, Zürich, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Frankfurt, Milan and Singapore. For full list of the carriers operating to the Maldives please visit the airports’ website.

The last way from the airport to the yachts and resorts can be done by a Surfinn transfer, which is included in most of the packs. After the booking is confirmed an automatic email is sent with all the customized info about "how to get there".

Flights

There are several daily flights connecting the Maldives to all parts of the world. However, most of flight connections to the Maldives stop in Sri Lanka, UAE or Qatar.

If you have to fly between Atolls, flights will be handled by Maldivian Air, the domestic air carrier. The company offers very comfortable seats and flies frequently to all the domestic airports in the Maldives. Some of the packages already include the flight, but if you have to book directly or if you require more information we recommend visiting www.maldivian.aero.

There are also two private air taxi companies operating in the Maldives:

Safety

The main safety concern that comes to our mind is the risk of Tsunamis (which happens every millennium!) In 2004, the region was hit by a Tsunami and being one of the lowest countries in the world above sea level, this future threat will always be present. Yet, after the tsunami the Maldivian Government took important measures to prepare the country for future incidents and the Maldives is now far better prepared than ever in the past enabling the emergency evacuation of thousands of people in a matter of hours if necessary.

Regarding assaults and harassment there are no major incidents to be reported. You will feel very safe but of course, as in any other tourism destination, you may find some hustlers to be quite annoying, offering to give directions or sell anything. The best thing to do is to politely refuse their services and keep walking. If it doesn't work, a firm "No" should be enough.

Also, women should always dress conservatively (no low-cut tops, midriffs, or shorts) and respect the local Muslim culture.

Useful Contacts

  • Maldives International telephone code: +960
  • Police: 119
  • Ambulance: 102
  • Fire: 118
  • Maldives Tourist Office: +960 323 228
  • Malé International Airport: +960 3325511 

Forbidden items

You will not be allowed to enter the Maldives with the following items:
  • Pornographic literature or materials
  • Idols of worship
  • Pork products and certain other animal products
  • Explosives, weapons or drugs (ATTENTION: life sentence may apply)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animals require a veterinary certificate, but dogs cannot be imported.

And you will not be allowed to get out with:
  • Turtle shells and products made of turtle shell (the killing of turtles has been banned by the government)
  • Black coral
  • Pufferfish, eel, skate, parrotfish, and ray, big-eyed scad under 15 centimetres (6 inches)
  • Bait fish used in tuna fishery, whale, dolphin, lobster, all stony coral, triton shell, trochus shell and pearl oyster.

Other facts

  • Local currency: Maldive Rufiyaa
  • Number of shark attacks since 1976: None
  • Local time: GMT +5hrs
  • Electricity: 240 AC (British 3-pin plugs)