Maldives

It’s not surprising that couples and seekers of glamorous tropical getaways have long had the Maldives at the very top of their wish lists. Imagine the visual impact of islands encircled by a lagoon shimmering with crystal clear waters and protected by a reef structure where spectacular underwater life dwells.

The Maldives prides itself on 26 natural atolls with 1,190 islands formed in unique and circular shapes. The word “atoll” comes from the Dhivehi language, “atholhu.” Ring-shaped reefs developed after volcanoes subsided and the sea level rose. Every resort is on its own island.

One of the biggest groupings of islands is Baa Atoll, consisting of 3 separate atolls of 75 islands and a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve. Several well-known 5-star resorts operate here. While most of the Maldives has great snorkelling and diving, the Baa Atoll offers outstanding experiences that include incredible gatherings of manta rays and whale sharks. On clear days of snorkelling or diving, you might get lucky in spotting marine turtles with at least ve species out of seven in the world swimming by: the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle, loggerhead turtle and leatherback turtle. Frequently sighted on the atoll are hawksbill turtles.

The Baa Atoll can be reached by a domestic flight or seaplane direct to your island resort. The best time to go depends on your budget and timing. It’s low season between May and November, when storms occur but usually won’t disrupt a week-long stay.