It’s common to head a list of activities with a selection of Must Do’s. Such is not the case with the Maldives, where visitors are compelled to do nothing more than enjoy themselves, which could be easily accomplished by wandering the few steps from their villa to a beachside hammock.
You don’t have to travel very far in the Maldives to come across that beach you saw in the brochure, a calendar, or on a postcard.
And then all the clichés – crystal clear azure waters, powder white sand, one step short of heaven – suddenly hit home with extra resonance. There’s rarely a scrap of litter to disturb the idyll, and fish swim right up to the water’s edge.
Visitors could well be forgiven for spending their entire holiday on the strand, though the tropical sun’s effects on human skin are well documented. Use sunscreen and common sense.
There are whales around the Maldives, but the most accessible marine spectator sport is watching dolphins, usually the utterly acrobatic Spinner variety.
The Spinners usually obligingly feed around sunset, allowing resorts to load up a dhoni with paying guests and some sort of onboard bar. Kodak moments apart, this is a lovely excursion, romantic even, as the sun descends into the ocean and the scores of dolphins cavort above and below the waves. Visitors especially keen on dolphin watching should check with their resort how far they have to travel to take in the spectacle, and may wish to book accordingly.
Almost all Maldivian resorts provide water sports facilities, though it is worth checking ahead if you are devoted to something in particular.
Kayaks, dinghies and windsurfers are pretty much a given; water skiing, kite boarding and banana boats are catching on fast; and the more exotic (if less eco-friendly) aquatic pastimes such as jet skis lurk at more up-market places.