The Maldives and Maldives travel insurance. Luxury in the ocean.
Goodness! The mere mention of The Maldives is enough to send us into a dreamy world of white sand beaches, blue seas teeming with brightly coloured fish, cocktails at sundown and swaying palm trees under a tropical sky. And all of it is true!!!
The Maldives promise – and deliver – all that our view of tropical perfection offers us. As an ocean nation of atolls in the Indian Ocean sitting across the equator with 1,190 coral islands in 26 natural ring shaped atolls it's got a lot of the sun, sea and sand thing going on.
The Maldives are often thought of as honeymoon destinations, simply because they have become so popular with couples seeking a little luxury away from prying eyes. This has been easy to achieve as many of the islands have been 'converted' into exclusive resort islands with their own bars restaurants, gyms, water sports facilities and boats. Most tourists don't ever feel the need to leave their little island paradise and back packing opportunities are very limited, apart from a few of the main islands. Around 90 of the 200 inhabited islands are resort islands. Most people pre-book their trip of a life time to the Maldives anyway, whether it's a week on a live aboard surf or dive boat or a fortnight on a luxury island with all the knobs and whistles, palm trees and hibiscus.
Don't go without a World First travel insurance policy
The Maldives cover a vast area and include isolated atolls and islets set in azure seas. What this means in times of trouble is that getting medical care – and getting to it - can be really expensive. If you are taken seriously ill you may have to be evacuated by seaplane to the capital, Malé or even to India or Sri Lanka. In very serious cases it may be the best option to fly you home. And all that costs a lot of money.
So it is vital to make sure you are well prepared and have the right travel insurance – at the right price. We offer a choice of policies that will give you all the benefits and cover you'll need for your trip – whether it's a stop off on a backpacking world tour, a week of surfing or simply two weeks of luxurious island living.
If you are heading off to get hitched we can provide enough cover to make sure your dream wedding goes off with just the one hitch. We'll cover your rings, gifts, photography, outfits and flowers in case anything goes disastrously wrong when you're out there.
Our Superior policy will cover every eventuality too, with up to £10m in emergency healthcare costs, £5000 in cancellation, gadget cover and cover for all your luggage and valuables. And we'll cover you for body boarding, diving to 30 metres, deep sea fishing, jet skiing, snorkelling and surfing at no extra cost.
Have a great time!
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Your quick guide to The Maldives
Dhivehi, but English is spoken widely, especially in resort islands
Rufiyaa, but Dollars are widely used in resorts (USD 1 = MRF 15.42)
220V 50Hz with 3 pin sockets like the UK
Language: your English will be fine
The official and common language is Dhivehi, a language that is partly derived from the ancient Sinhalese language, which is still used in Sir Lanka. As in any place, locals may appreciate hearing you struggle with a few basics such as hello, thank you and good bye.
However, English is used widely in resorts and in commerce and is the country's unofficial second language. It is increasingly taught in government schools.
Weather: totally tropical.
The Maldives has a tropical-monsoon climate with two distinctive seasons. The dry northeast monsoon lasts from December to March, while the wet southwestern monsoon lasts from May to November, with more strong winds and rain. April is a transitional period noted for clear water and heat.
The temperature remains remarkably consistent at around 30°C. Sea temperatures remain fairly constant at a balmy 29°C.
Weather: when to go.
There is no bad time to visit the Maldives but there are distinct seasons, with the European winter being the most popular for those seeking sun in the depths of winter. Christmas and New Year are particularly costly. May to November is the most likely time for rain and cloud to mar the view (although not completely) and this is considered low season.
Diving is good all year, although it tends to be better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and from the eastern side of any atoll December to April due to the monsoon seasons.
The surfing season runs from March to October, which is when resorts are cheapest.
Weather: natural disasters.
The Maldives were hit by the December 2004 tsunami, with over 90 killed and serious damage to a number of islands, including 19 resort islands. Most are now operating normally.
Weather: how low can you go?
The Maldives are the lowest nation on earth, with an average height above sea level of just over 4'. The highest point in the entire archipelago is just 7' 10". As a result of this, locals are extremely concerned about the potential effects of global warming and rising sea levels. For short term visitors this shouldn't be a worry but it's worth remembering when you see how easy it would be to engulf the entire nation.
Nature: coral reefs and diving
Maldivian waters are home to several ecosystems, but are most noted for their variety of colourful coral reefs. They are a vital part of the atoll formation. The reefs protect the islands and stop them from being washed away by waves and storms.
As a result of these wonderful ecosystems the Maldives have long been popular with divers and most resorts will be able to offer diving, dive sites and facilities, including masks snorkels and flippers for snorkelling. Although the El Nino year of 1998 wiped out around 95% of the region's corals, they are now making a remarkable comeback and sea life is still wonderfully abundant.
The Maldives are home to 1100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtles, 21 species of whales and dolphins, 187 species of corals and 400 species of molluscs.
There are 3 decompression chambers in the Maldives.
Entry requirements: visas are free.
British nationals can get a tourist visa for up to 30 days on arrival in the Maldives, provided you hold a valid onward or return ticket and enough funds to cover your stay. Staying for longer than 30 days without the proper authority is an offence. UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from the Maldives.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
Transport: no licence required.
You may not need your driving licence! Driving is not one of the major ways of getting around. You'll need either a boat, plane or sea plane for that. If you are booked into a resort – and these can be hundreds of miles from the airport – then your transfers will be organised for you and will either be a seaplane followed by a speed boat right to the door. There are local ferries operating traditional boats called dhonis but they may not even go near your resort.
Healthcare: medical costs
If you fall ill your resort should have a resident doctor or be able to get one to you. If it is more serious then you may need to go to one of the two hospitals in Malé as facilities are limited outside the capital, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital or the private ADK Private Hospital. Bear in mind that evacuations and transfers via seaplane or speedboat to Malé can be really costly, so make sure your travel insurance is up to it.
The capital island of each atoll has a government hospital or at least a health centre, however, these do not replace the care you can receive in Malé. If you need specialist care then you may have to be evacuated to Colombo or Singapore or taken home to the UK.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 102 and ask for an ambulance.
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Crime: look after your valuables
There isn't much crime in The Maldives, however, there may be petty crime from hotel rooms, from bags left unattended on the beach. So take good care of your possessions, especially if you travel to Malé, the island's capital. In your resort use safe deposit boxes.
The FCO says of the situation: "There have been some recent incidents of gang related violence in locally populated areas, including Malé. There is no evidence that British nationals are being targeted. You should be vigilant when travelling to areas outside of resorts."
Laws and customs: no diving for souvenirs
The country has strong anti drug laws and importing or possessing drugs can lead to very severe penalties, including life imprisonment.
The Maldives are Islamic, therefore it is prohibited to observe any religion publicly other than Islam. Serious violations of local laws may lead to a prison sentence. Alcohol is only allowed on resort islands and it is an offence to import it.
Also it is forbidden to export coral or tortoiseshell, for obvious reasons, so don't consider diving for a little something for the mantelpiece. It could land you in hot water.
Dress is informal but be sensitive to local standards when visiting non-resort islands.
Nudism and topless sunbathing are not allowed anywhere, including on resort islands.
Same sex relations are illegal and convicted offenders could face lengthy prison sentences.
Electricity: if you must!
Why would you need to bring a laptop or tablet when all of island life is out there or under the sea? Well, if you do bring a charger for your mobile phone or digital camera, the electricity voltage is the same as in the UK. However, be prepared for an assortment of sockets to plug into as they could be anything. If in doubt, check with your resort.
Currency: bring plenty
Island resorts are expensive so bring enough to cover your bill or make sure you have enough credit to put it on plastic. There are no cash machines outside of the capital and travellers' cheques are not widely used. Major credit cards are accepted at most resorts and hotels.
Smoking: ask first
The 'Regulation of Determining Tobacco Free-Zones' prohibited smoking inside cafes, tea shops, restaurants, public places where people usually gather in numbers, parks and all government buildings from January 1st 2013. Owners wishing to apply for a permit allowing smoking areas can do so – but don't take it for granted that your resort will have one. Check first if you want to smoke.
Maldives: Know Before You Go
For up to the minute travel news that doesn't make the headlines, check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's website. Their Know Before You Go site has information on all risks to all travellers in more than 255 countries and territories around the world.
See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.
Follow the FCO on twitter HERE.
Of course, if you have any questions about our Maldives travel insurance, please call us on 0345 90 80 161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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