WAYFAIRER TRAVEL GUIDE: MALDIVES
Where to go, when to visit, what to see and do, as well as essential practical travel information for a Maldives holiday.
The Maldives are renowned as a year-round destination, blessed with warm, sunny skies for the better part of the year. However, the country has two distinct seasons, with rainfall occurring throughout the middle of the year.
The sunny dry season is the best time to visit the Maldives, with temperatures rarely dropping below 25ºC and reaching average highs of 28-30ºC. The most divine weather happens between November and April, and you’ll have long stretches of blazing sunshine, perfect for lounging on the beach or taking a dip in the ocean.
These months also bring the best diving conditions, with excellent visibility, warm sea temperatures and colourful coral gardens lit up from the sun rays. Snorkelling and diving are at its best in February and March, with calm, clear waters offering incredible views of tropical fish, manta rays, sea turtles and whale sharks.
With the exception of November and December, there is little rainfall throughout this season and low humidity. The rainfall in November generally comes in short, refreshing showers, and clears up by the end of December.
Due to the incredible weather and holiday season, December to March is the peak season for the Maldives. You’ll encounter larger crowds and higher prices, but it’s worth it for the heavenly beach conditions.
Even during the wet season, the Maldives experiences warm weather. The temperatures average 27-30ºC, however the rains can bring cooler nights averaging 25ºC. The wet season ramps up from May, with frequent, daily downpours and tropical storms occurring through to October.
Despite the monsoon, you’re still likely to encounter clear periods of sunshine, however the weather is unpredictable. Swimming, snorkelling and diving are still possible during the wet season, as the water temperatures are warm and the seas are mostly calm. However, diving visibility is greatly reduced from June to November, due to a buildup of plankton, brought on by the monsoon.
Those who venture out from September to November will have the best chance of spotting manta rays and whale sharks in Hanifaru Bay, which come to feed on the plankton. The wet season is also the best time for surfers, particularly in October.
The wet season is the low season for the Maldives, so those who brave the rain will be rewarded with fewer crowds and lower prices. Take advantage of this peaceful period, and while away a rainy afternoon with a massage, a cocktail or a movie.
January is one of the best months to visit the Maldives, with excellent weather and long, warm days boasting eight to nine hours of sunshine a day. It's considered to be the coldest month of the year in the Maldives, yet temperatures rarely drop below 24°C, and you'll enjoy average daily temperatures of 28°C. Rainfall and humidity are low, offering perfect beach weather and superb swimming and diving conditions. January is peak season for the Maldives, with larger crowds and higher prices, and we recommend booking ahead to secure the best accommodation.
February is another fantastic month to visit the Maldives, with dry, sunny temperatures averaging 28°C throughout the day and night. February has the highest hours of daylight of the year, with ten glorious hours of sunshine a day. Rainfall is rare, the ocean water is warm, and the swimming and diving conditions are excellent, making for the perfect island escape.
February is still peak season for the Maldives, and can get particularly busy over Valentines Day, with loved-up couples descending on one of the most romantic places in the world. If you'd like to take your partner on a special trip over Valentines Day, be sure to book early and chat to us about including luxury touches like couples massages, private starlit dinners, petal-filled rooms, and champagne on arrival.
The Maldives high season continues into March, and this is the last month of the dry season. The weather is still excellent in March, with temperatures averaging around 27-30°c, and around nine hours of sunshine a day. You'll enjoy clear skies, warm seas, great underwater visibility and excellent swimming and diving conditions. The chance of rain is a little higher, but usually comes in short, refreshing showers across the southern islands. March is another popular month, as crowds escape to the tropical warmth of the islands, so book early to score your favourite resort.
April is a transitional month between the dry and wet season, experiencing sunny days and light, afternoon showers. This month marks the start of the low season with dropping prices (except for the Easter holiday period), yet you'll still enjoy average temperatures of 27-30°c and up to nine hours of sunshine a day. The humidity is ramping up and the rains start to appear more frequently towards the end of April, with a few hours of light, refreshing rain appearing most days. Despite this, underwater visibility is still great, sea temperatures are at their warmest, and swimming and diving conditions are fantastic.
May heralds the arrival of the wet season and can be one of the wettest months of the year, with an average of 216mm of rainfall. The average daytime temperatures sit around 28°C and you'll still experience long periods of sunshine, broken up by intense daily downpours lasting an hour or two. Humidity levels are increasing, although you can cool off in the sea as swimming conditions are still great. Underwater visibility is also good, and snorkelling and diving is possible even during rainfall. Visitors during May also enjoy fewer crowds and lower prices.
The wet season is in full swing, yet you'll still experience seven to eight hours of sunshine most days. The temperatures are slightly cooler, due to the stronger winds and rainfall, averaging between 26-29°C. Humidity levels are heightened, although the short, sharp showers bring a pleasant relief. You can still swim in the ocean or pool when it rains, however diving visibility is reduced due to the presence of plankton, brought by the monsoon.
July is similar to June, with the southwestern monsoons bringing daily downpours and cooling winds. Temperatures average 28-29°C, with rainy nights dropping to a cool 25°C. The days can be quite cloudy, although they blow over quickly due to the island's low-lying position. The wet season in the Maldives is shorter and milder than the rest of Asia, making it a fantastic beach destination nearly all year round.
Although July is considered an off-peak season, this month is quite popular, as families take advantage of the school holidays. Visitors will also have the chance to see the island parades and events of Maldives Independence Day, falling on 26 July each year.
August is another wet month in the archipelago, with frequent rains and high humidity across the Maldives. The monsoon weather can be unpredictable, with some days bringing eight hours of sunshine, and other days bringing intense downpours and just a few hours of sunshine. Temperatures hover around 28-30°c, and the rains bring the evening temperatures down to a cooler 26°C. The northern part of the Maldives tends to have less rain than the southern islands, however it falls across the nation. Despite the erratic weather, August is another popular month to visit, as many families choose to go on holiday over the school break.
September is one of the wettest months of the year, with monthly rainfall averaging 243mm. The weather is unpredictable, varying between tropical storms and sunny blue skies. The temperatures stay consistent, averaging 27-29°C, with the evening rains bringing a cooler 25°C. The weather may improve towards the end of September, but visitors should still expect frequent heavy downpours.
Diving visibility is reduced due to a buildup of plankton, however it's a great time for spotting whale sharks and manta rays around Hanifaru Bay, as they come to feed off the plankton. As an off-peak month, September sees few tourists and lower prices, so you may end up with a whole island to yourself.
As the last month of the wet season, you can still expect plenty of rain. However, with an average of eight hours of sunshine a day, October tends to experience more clear days, particularly towards the end of the month. Temperatures average around 27°C, with rainy evenings dropping to 25°C.
Sea temperatures remain slightly higher at 28°C, and while the southwestern winds make swimming more difficult, it can be a good time for surfing. Diving and snorkelling visibility is reduced due to a buildup of plankton, but there is a greater chance of seeing whale sharks and manta rays which come to feed on the plankton. With fewer crowds and lower prices, October is a great value time to visit, and you can still enjoy plenty of rainy day activities like spa treatments and movies.
The wet season is receding, although cloudy days are frequent, with an average of six hours of sunshine a day. The weather is unpredictable, so you may experience some clear, sunny days, or light showers. The humidity is lowering and temperatures average 27-29°C. The previous months of rain have illuminated the islands in lush greenery, and it's a great time for a nature walk to explore the native flora and fauna of the Maldives.
Sea temperatures sit around 26°C and while the visibility is still reduced due to plankton, a visit to Hanifaru Bay offers the chance to spot whale sharks and manta rays. November is the last off-peak month to enjoy the lower prices and fewer tourists, before the December crowds arrive.
December marks the start of the high season, although this month still brings plenty of rainfall. Most days see nine hours of sunshine and cooling winds, however you can still expect rainfall and occasional storms, particularly in the first half of the month. Conditions start to clear up towards the end of December and it's a great month for swimming and diving. Temperatures average 27-29°C throughout the month, with the evenings dropping to a pleasant 25°C. The Christmas holidays bring soaring crowds and prices, so it's best to book your accommodation well in advance.