The weather is tropical and if you're after a seaside holiday with acres of white, sandy beaches to crinkle your toes in, this is the place. The dry northeast monsoon period runs from December to March, and the wetter period is generally from May to November. You can dive most months of the year although there are stronger winds and rain in the May - November period. April is a transitional period with lovely clear water and dry heat. The temperature is generally much the same at around 30°C all year long. It's a warm beach holiday so casual wear is acceptable although some restaurants require a more formal casual dress code in the evenings.
Cheap, expensive and everything in between
Male is the capital city and it's full of restaurants. Much of the produce, except for seafood is shipped in so you'll not find any bargain basement restaurants here, but the quality of the food and the delicious flavours that the mix of Sri Lankan, Indian and Portuguese settlers have delivered is nothing short of extraordinary. You'll be very pleasantly surprised at how different the food is on the Maldives.
The budget options – look out for a restaurant called I-berry Cafe on Hulhumale. It's a very simple place with very simple fare. Order the fish curry or chicken for dinner and you won't be disappointed. It's also great for what they call short eats in the afternoon. The juices are fresh and sublime.
Mid price options – Breakwater on Male takes in one of those breathtaking views the Maldives is so famous for and serves it up chilled. The food is pizza, barbecue with an Asian spin and is delightful. It's all freshly made each day and the tropical view as you're chowing down on an excellent Marguerita will stay with you for a long time.
Splurge – the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant on Rangali is one of those once in a lifetime experiences as you dine, literally, underwater. Tropical fish and the late sunset provides a never ending abundance of things to stare in wonder at. The food is up market and starts with cocktails. It's a big night out as you dine on lobster and caviar with all the trimmings.
Maldives - a diving and beach-loving paradise
The Maldives is not a cultural or nightlife hotspot. The pace is very laid back. It's more your diving and watersport, lazing about on the beach kind of holiday, with some very up market activities at your fingertips if you so desire.
Diving - if you love your diving, whether it's open water or coral reef based, here's where to go. The warm seas and relatively calm swells make it an easy, yet spectacular, place to dive. There aren't wrecks, but there are hundreds of thousands of fish of every hue and it's an underwater photographer's paradise because of the complete lack of pollution in the water.
Watersports - surprisingly perhaps, the islands are a surf mecca too. The southwest monsoon brings in big swells from June to September and the best breaks are in North and South Male Atoll. The beauty of having all year temperatures in the 30s is that all other watersports like canoeing, windsurfing, parasailing and jet skiing are easy to take part in. No freezing your bones off on a windswept beach!
Excursions - do take the time to visit a village on your resort atoll. The local villages have a charming custom of starting work early and finishing in the afternoon then taking bowls of curry and what not down to the beach areas to gossip while the children play. The other thing to do is organise a fishing boat which will take you to a deserted island, catch some fish on the way and then cook the catch over hot embers. Fresh fish caught 30 minutes ago while you watch the sun set - now that's magic!