The Maldives are home to 1,190 islands, with only 200 of them being inhabited by locals and/or resort-goers. This means that there are lots of places to explore and things to do - so much so that you might not know where to start! Here is a look at four things you absolutely must do on your first visit to the Maldives.
Visit the City of Male
To visit Male (pronounced "mar-lay) is to visit the authentic Maldives. This is no resort town - this is where locals live and work and carry out their daily tasks. Male is interesting in that it is one of the smallest capital cities in the world, coming in at a tiny 2.2 square miles from end to end. Even with such a small area, though, it is chock full of things to see and do. There are alcohol-free cafes and quirky restaurants, the Old Friday Mosque with its incredibly intricate architecture, the National Museum, Sultan Park and the intriguing "China-Maldives Friendship Bridge," which goes out into the open sea.
Visit a Local Fish Market
Another great place to visit in Male is the Male Fish Market. This market is representative of the country's fishing industry, the thing it is most known for commercially. Not only can you buy some delicious fish here, you can also know that it is amazingly fresh. It is so fresh, in fact, that in the afternoon the local fisherman sail their boats right up to the side of the market and turn in their catch of the day. The most popular fish here is tuna, but there are also other species of fish that you can buy after watching them be prepared by the talented fish market workers.
Take a Walk on the Beach
The beaches in the Maldives are gorgeous. They have pristine white sand that butts up against crystal clear blue water, making every ocean view look like a postcard. There are many different beaches in the Maldives, as there are so many different islands to choose from, and which one (or ones) you visit depends on what you are looking for in a beach. There are some beaches that surround calm, peaceful lagoons, others that are within swimming distance of a coral reef, and others that are right next to resorts and bustling with other beach-goers. Whatever kind of beach you are looking for, the Maldives definitely have it.
Go Scuba Diving
Perhaps one of the most incredible things you can do in the Maldives is to go scuba diving. While it is possible to have a ton of fun snorkeling around the beautiful reefs, you can see so much more by diving deeper. If you do not already have your scuba diving certification, don't worry - many of the resorts in the area have classes and divers to train you. Once you are certified, you can go under the waves to see the stunning reefs and marine life, as well as one of several sunken ships. This is a once in a lifetime experience, and it is something you probably can't get anywhere else!