13 Must-Know and the Best Time for the Maldives - Plus 5 Packing Tips
13 Must-Know and the Best Time for the Maldives

13 Must-Know and the Best Time for the Maldives


When Is the Best Time

The Maldives are definitely on most travellers' bucket lists, and you can visit these fantastic islands without breaking the bank. However, to be best prepared, there are things you should know before you plan your vacation, and this starts with the clothes you can leave at home if you plan to stay on local islands. You do not need to buy a guidebook just read my three Maldives Guides, watch our YouTube video and start planning your best journey ever. Everything is written from my own experiences. I travelled to the Maldives with my husband Markus and my brother René (pictures of all of us are added to my articles).

The colourful Maldives entrance sign at Velana airport.
My brother René at Male airport and harbour - all close together.

Check out my Table of Contents for a quick overview, and you are able to jump to the topics you are most interested in.

1 Are there mosquitoes in the Maldives?

Tourists wading through ankle deep emerald green water.
The LUX-Resort at the Dhigurah Sandbank.

Yes, there are. Usually, the luxury island resorts are treated with spray, and mosquitoes are not an issue. It depends on the nature of each island. If there is a huge forest, there is usually a high number of mosquitoes, like in Dhigurah. We experienced mosquitoes on all islands in the Maldives. It was bearable on most islands but an issue on Dhigurah. I highly recommend a DEET insect repellent.

Deet Spray which you can get in the Maldives
The Maldives Insect Repellent

It was the first time that my biodegradable repellent was inefficient. The small local shops sell a spray for roughly 100 MVR-6 Euro. Nevertheless, my favourite island is Dhigurah, and if I could, I would be there again in a second.

2 Money in the Maldives

The different Maldivian notes
These 1275 MVR are worth $83 or 76€

Most hotels accept a credit card but request a 3,5-4% fee. If you stay in a luxury hotel, you are able to pay all of the costs by credit card. If you are travelling on a budget to different islands, you need a mixture of local currency (MVR), US Dollar, and Euro as well. Most restaurants accept cash only, the three mentioned before. In small grocery stores, it is best to pay with MVR (Malediven Rufiyaa 10 Euro=167 MVR). If travelling by ferry, you need the local currency and the US dollar on speedboats.

An ATM in a glass building.
An airconditioned ATM at the harbour in Dhangethi.

Most hotels provide airport staff who assist you in reaching your speedboat or plane. They often offer currency exchange services, allowing you to convert dollars and euros into local currency at favourable rates. However, on most islands, you’ll find an ATM at the harbor, where you can conveniently withdraw Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). Keep in mind that there’s typically a withdrawal fee of around $5 at the ATM. 

If you travel to a resort island you are able to pay with credit card, dollars and euros and you do not need the local currency.

3 Best time to visit the Maldives - Climate

A woman in front of a boat in the azure waters.
I at a traditional "dhoni" - a Maldivian fishing boat.

The dry season, from roughly mid-December until April, is the best time for diving and snorkelling with the best weather conditions. This is also the best time to visit the South Ari Atoll to see manta rays and whale sharks during a tour. During the dry season, diving and snorkelling are excellent because of the calm sea and the great visibility in the water. Some diving companies and liveboards do not operate in the wet season.

A cloudy sunset in orange in Dhangethi.
Markus on the picturesque Moon Swing.
  • A tropical climate determines the weather in the Maldives.
  • Average temperature is around 30°C/86°F
  • February to June is slightly warmer
  • Water temperature is constantly warm between 28-30°C/82-86°F.

However, we are facing climate change around the world. The last two years have been markedly different - unusual, even. Hotel owners and guides have told me about the "new normal". Usually, the sea is calm, and the sky is clear blue during the dry season, but we also encountered rain and rough seas with high surf. Our boat rides between Male and the local islands were bumpy. Several people threw up or struggled with seasickness.

4 Maldives Rainy Season and Dry Season

Sunrise at the reef and white beach in Omadhoo.
You can watch spectacular sunrises and sunsets from all the islands.
  • Dry Season: mid-December-April—most sunshine hours—southwest monsoon
  • Drier months, although rainy season: June-August (in the last years, probably caused by climate change)
  • Rainy Season: May-mid-December—dry northeast monsoon
    However, the monsoon season brings heavy rain showers and periods of dry weather. Due to the choppy sea, visibility is often reduced, but it is as good as during the dry season on certain days. Plankton blooms during the wet or southwest monsoon season and also impacts visibility. Despite the reduced visibility, many divers prefer this season because of marine life's greater abundance and diversity.
    Hanifaru Bay is best from Juni-October.
  • The northern Maldives are dryer than the southern ones, so the south experiences more rain.

5 Maldives time difference

A heart made of a palm leave at sunset.
Each sunset is magical.

There is no daylight saving time. Therefore, the time difference between Central European Winter Time is four hours and Summer Time is three hours. Please note that some islands have introduced a particular time for their guests for longer daylight hours in the evening. Why is that? The Maldives are close to the equator. As a result, sunrise and sunset times are similar throughout the year, so there are no significant differences—Sunrise around 6 am and sunset 6 pm.

An illuminated wooden boardwalk above the sea.
The empty boardwalk in Dhangethi before 10 pm.

Note that speedboats, ferries, flights, and boat tours start early in the morning because of the early sunset—12 hours of daylight. We got used to this time pretty quickly. We were always in bed by ten o'clock and got up between six and seven.

Packing List Maldives - 5 Essentials

A snorkeler dived deep to a ship wreck
Markus with his snorkel gear.
  1. fins, mask and snorkel - The house reefs at each island are amazing. Some people use a full face mask, but keep in mind they are not suitable for diving a few meters down. You cannot equalize the pressure in your ears!
  2. swim shoes or Teva for a beach walk because most islands have coral pieces in the sand and water.
  3. sun protection: 1) I use my special SPF 50+ sunscreen for exposed areas like my arms and face. I have never gotten sunburnt since I started using this cream. 2) UV protective water shirt for snorkelling and for beach walks. I have never experienced such an intense sun before. 3) sunglasses
  4. one lightweight towel is usually sufficient - Most tour companies and hotels offer beach towels, but they are heavy.
  5. waterproof bag - This is a must for boat tours, especially on speedboats, to protect your valuables and mobile.

6 Religion and Ramadan - Islam Maldives

The Maldivian flag
The flag of the Maldives means the "State of the Thousand Islands".

Religion plays a significant role; it is the state religion and impacts travelling during Ramadan and on Fridays. During Ramadan, life moves at a slower pace. Boats usually leave an hour later, and restaurants on public islands may be closed during the day. However, resorts on private islands operate as usual. Friday is the holy day like our Sunday, and opening hours may vary, and fewer boats operate, and ferries don't.

The required dress code shows the dos and don'ts.
Such signs can be found on all local islands.

No alcohol is offered in the Maldivian villages but in the luxury island resorts. Shoes and slippers are expected to be left outside in tiny guest houses and private accommodations. Shoulders and legs until the knees should be covered. Swimwear is permitted at the beaches only. 

  • Ramadan in 2024 - 10. March - 9. April
  • Ramadan in 2025 - 28. February - 30. March

8 Muezzin Maldives

A mosque at the harbour.
The mosque of Dhangethi is not in the town centre, but loudspeakers are.

The muezzin’s call at 5 a.m. can be annoying if your hotel faces a mosque or a loudspeaker is opposite your accommodation. However, you won’t encounter this issue on private resort islands. If you’re travelling on a budget, it’s advisable to check the mosque's location beforehand. How long and often the muezzin call takes place on local islands totally differs from our experience. Sometimes, earplugs are a great solution.

9 Maldives entry form - IMUGA and departure tax

Sun bathers at Dhigurah Beach in the shade and sea
The pristine Bikini Beach in Dhigurah in shade in the morning.

All travellers to the Maldives must fill out the Traveller Declaration Form "IMUGA" (link to this required form) within 96 hours of arrival and departure!

We frequently heard about a departure tax being required, payable in cash—$60. However, upon our departure, we discovered that this tax was already included in the cost of our return flight. So, you don’t need to carry $60 in your purse. It would be far too much of an administrative burden if this tax had to be paid at this small airport.

10 Service water from the tap

Our well equipped double room in Dhangethi.
We got two of these bottles refilled daily in our room in Perla-Dhangethi.

The tap water is non-potable, which means it’s unsafe to drink. To address this, the hotel provides kettle water specifically for drinking purposes. By washing our hands frequently, our fingers began to peel. However, bottled water is available in local stores on all islands. On speedboats, bottled water is free for customers. There is no need to transport bottles from one island to the next.

11 Whale sharks and Manta Rays

A whale shark and bristlenose catfishes
A juvenile probably 5-6 m long.

In the Maldives, encounters with whale sharks and manta rays are possible, and we were fortunate enough to spot them. However, the most promising tour ended up disappointing because the mantas were nowhere to be found. This is nature, and it is not guaranteed to spot what you seek.

An information board for tours in the Maldives.
There is no guarantee for sightings, as you can see here.

The tours are named "Searching for Whale Sharks/Manta Rays", and require payment regardless of whether you spot these gentle giants. At least tour companies offer the chance to snorkel or dive at a beautiful reef.

My Underwater Camera

I with my Olympus TG underwater camera
My Olympus and underwater gear.

I have been using the Olympus TG for years already and am super happy about the photo quality. It is essential to clean the camera with fresh water to remove the salt or use an underwater chassis (more details about the new TG 7 at my affiliate partner Amazon). You need an underwater chassis for depths higher than 15 meters. 

12 How do you find a tour company or dive centre?

A diver in front of a cave in a depth of 10 meters.
Sleeping nurse sharks during a dive trip of my brother.

You can book your dives or snorkel tours through your accommodation or just pop into one of the dive centres after arrival in the evening. However, there is one thing you must know. On some islands, you are forced to book tours with the tour company your accommodation works with, and there is no other option! These companies come to your hotel in the evening. 

Four tour guides sitting on the top of the boat.
Our guides in Dhigurah - combine snorkel and diving tours.

The price for a whale shark or manta ray tour at the South Ari Atoll is around $75. Some ask for $100, but this is a rip-off - more about prices in my additional article, "Travelling the Maldives on a Budget". You can rent all the diving equipment, and many hotels and resorts offer snorkelling gear for free or a small fee. We always travel with our own masks, snorkels and fins.

13 What kind of shorty do I need for the Maldives?

A diver in shallow waters in the Maldives.
A shorty is recommended like at this diver.

Selecting the right diving gear in the Maldives depends on several factors, starting with your personal preferences and the depth of your planned dives. The tropical waters are warm, typically ranging between 28°C to 30°C at the surface. A neoprene shorty wetsuit with a 1 to 2mm thickness is suitable for most divers.

Two female divers in 15 m depth.
However, these women chose a thicker wetsuit.
  • Frequency of Diving
    If you plan to dive multiple times daily, especially if you tend to feel cold quickly, I recommend a shorty wetsuit.
  • Men often prefer thinner shorties, while women may choose thicker ones based on their comfort.
  • Diver Preferences:
    Interestingly, there’s a split among divers: approximately half opt for shorty wetsuits, while the other half prefer bathing trousers. This is what we experienced during our vacation and tours.
  • Sun Protection: 
    At least protect yourself from the intense sun. The highest sun intensity is 12 UV in the Maldives, so consider wearing a sun protection shirt.  

My Maldives Guides

A snorkeler in front of a whale shark.
A juvenile whale shark

    Top Resorts - Close to Manta Rays and Whale Sharks

    These are my two top tips if you would like to book a luxury stay. The advantage of these resorts is that they are closer to the spots where we spotted whale sharks and manta rays, the gentle giants.

    A luxury resort with waterfront accommodation
    Pure Luxury - with private access to the sea from each bungalow.
    • Hotel: Lux South Ari Atoll by booking.com - Thanks for booking via my website. With your support, I am able to provide all the information for free.
    • Island: Dhidhdhoo between Maamigili and Dhigurah
    • This island and hotel is a little slice of heaven; you do not have to worry about anything.
    • The hotel offers many activities so it’s hard to get bored.
    • The diving and snorkel tours are fantastic.
    • There are top restaurants spread around the island.
    Island Resort with bungalows above the sea.
    The newly opened Barceló Whale Lagoon in the South Ari Atoll

    We were close to this fantastic resort when we spotted and snorkelled twice with a whale shark. Not many tour operators go that far and search for a whale shark. 

    Best Months to Visit


    Location and Tips

    Male, Maldives

    The Maldives are roughly 1,200 islands divided into 26 main atolls. You can travel to these terrific islands throughout the year; you simply need to know the best times for the north and south. Snorkelling and diving are outstanding. However, good preparation is key, especially if you are not staying in an island resort. I will give you all the information you need before travelling here and where to fill out the entry form in advance. You do not need a guidebook; just read my three guides and start planning your vacation.

    View from the plane to several islands in the Maldives.
    You can see the house reefs around the islands.

    If you like my guides written from my own experiences, I would be happy if you shared them with friends and on social media. If you want to support me, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and don't miss out on our Maldives videos, which we will release soon.

    A couple leaning at a palm tree.
    Markus and I have been married for 25 years.

    If you wish to use any of my photos, contact me, but I will take action against picture theft. Why do I write this here? Hundreds of my pictures are used worldwide without any credit, nor did they get my permission. The World Wide Web has changed a lot, and rewriting honest travel content with AI is the new business for many fake travel websites. Do you wish to know more about this topic and how to unmask such websites quickly? Read my article “The Truth About Fake Travel Websites and Picture Theft.” 

    Does honest travel content based on real experiences have a future? I don't know any longer. If travellers like me stop writing unique travel content, diversity and new ideas will die out.

      Nearby Places
      How to Travel the Maldives on a Budget - South Ari Atoll
      48 km
      How to Travel the Maldives on a Budget - South Ari Atoll
      The Maldives are on everybody's bucket list, but most people think they are too…
      When and Where to Spot Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in the Maldives
      87 km
      When and Where to Spot Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in the Maldives
      The Maldives are on everybody's bucket list, but most people think they are too…
      Whale Watching - Blue Whales from Mirissa in Sri Lanka
      794 km
      Whale Watching - Blue Whales from Mirissa in Sri Lanka
      There is a 90 % chance of a blue whale sighting at the peak season. Sri Lanka…
      Sinharaja Rainforest - 3 Tips - Entrances and Hiking Trails
      813 km
      Sinharaja Rainforest - 3 Tips - Entrances and Hiking Trails
      Sinharaja has been a World Biosphere Reserve since 1978 and UNESCO World…
      Sri Pada - The Sacred Adam’s Peak - All You Need to Know About the Pilgrimage
      827 km
      Sri Pada - The Sacred Adam’s Peak - All You Need to Know About the Pilgrimage
      Adam's Peak, the place where Adam first set foot on earth, is also known as Sri…
      Horton Plains Called World's End
      859 km
      Horton Plains Called World's End
      Horton Plains was declared as a National park in 1988 and World Heritage Site…
      Tea Plantations in Nuwara Eliya
      861 km
      Tea Plantations in Nuwara Eliya
      Sri Lanka home of the Ceylon Tea and former British crown colony between 1802…
      Dambulla Cave Temple
      889 km
      Dambulla Cave Temple
      Dambulla also called the Golden Temple is the largest and best-preserved cave…
      Climbing Sigiriya Rock the Lion Rock and Fortress in Sri Lanka
      905 km
      Climbing Sigiriya Rock the Lion Rock and Fortress in Sri Lanka
      Rising almost 200 meters (660 ft) from flat plains, this ancient rock fortress…
      Spotting Leopards in Sri Lanka on a Safari in Yala National Park
      907 km
      Spotting Leopards in Sri Lanka on a Safari in Yala National Park
      Yala designated as National Park in 1938 is the oldest one of Sri Lanka. It is…
      Created by
      Micha Herber-Bleich
      Micha Herber-Bleich
      I am always open, curious about new…