Best time to visit the Maldives
Q. When is monsoon season in the Maldives?
A. The climate in the Maldives is driven by two main seasons or “monsoons”. The “North East Monsoon” is actually the dry season, from December to March (low rainfall, low humidity and lots of sun). There is also a wet season – the “South West Monsoon” which runs from May to November (rain, strong winds and possible thunderstorms). Prices are lower during this period.
Despite a reputation for year round sunshine, blue skies and consistent high temperatures, the weather in the Maldives is actually a little more complex and – in recent years – much less predictable.
But if you time it right, you’ll be able to experience the dazzling colours and pristine beauty of this luxury paradise.
After the dry season – which runs from December to March – April is a transitional month, enjoying mostly dry weather, hot temperatures and clear waters.
However in the last couple of years the weather pattern has been much harder to predict (one year seeing plenty of rain in November and December) so experts now advise that it may be worth taking your chances in the wet season or during the transitional months, especially if you want to take advantage of seasonally lower hotel rates.
Temperatures remain near enough constant at 28ºC to 30ºC throughout the year, so if you do visit during rainy season you won’t need to worry about being cold.
If you can time it right and bask in the glorious sunshine then you’ll probably be happy just lying on a white, sandy beach all day but when it rains you may be hard pressed finding other things to do (unless you’re into diving or surfing.) It’s also worth noting that although July and August fall in the rainy months, they are still popular months to travel.
In terms of prices it’s usually cheapest to visit from May to November. Some people say the best time to visit the Maldives is March to April (outside the Easter holidays) when you may be blessed with dry weather and quiet resorts. However, prices will still be higher than during the wet season.
Tourist numbers and hotel prices are at their highest from December to February – they are hiked for Christmas, New Year and for Europeans who are looking for winter sun.
For many, the main attraction of the Maldives is its blue waters and marine life. You can swim safely at any time of the year but there are two things that may be of interest. Firstly, the surfing season is from March to October, which is convenient as resorts will be at their cheapest from May and less crowded.
Secondly, if you’re a diving fan then you’re in luck; diving conditions tend to be good all year round. However, it’s wise to plan your dive sites if you want good visibility and a nice variety of reef life. If you’re visiting from May to November then it’s best to dive on the Western sides of an atoll (coral island) and if you’re trip is between December and April then choose the Eastern side.
Ramadan in the Maldives
The Maldives is a Muslim country and it’s worth noting the dates of Ramadan – the month of fasting – if you plan to visit the capital city (Male’) as some restaurants may close during daylight hours. However, the island resorts are not usually affected in the slightest by Ramadan and most visitors are not even aware of the festival. Staff at your hotel may be fasting, but you’d never notice and they’d be far too polite to ever mention it.
Ramadan dates in 2017: 27 May – 24 June
Ramadan dates in 2018: 16 May – 14 June
Holidays in the Maldives
There are more than 70 tourist resorts in the Maldives. What makes this country unique is that each resort occupies its own private island. It’s unlikely during your stay that you’ll see guests from another hotel. This means it’s easy to get that “Robinson Crusoe” vibe with undisturbed horizons and quiet beaches. But although the islands themselves tend to look quite similar, the resorts themselves vary a lot in terms of size, levels of service and quality of accommodation. For ideas of where to stay, see our recommendations for luxury holidays in the Maldives.
Honeymoons in the Maldives
The Maldives is one of the most popular long-haul honeymoon destinations for couples getting married in the UK. If you want brochure-quality beaches, clear seas, brilliant sunsets and seamless service, the island resorts really are hard to beat. There are options across various price ranges. For mid-priced options see these Maldives honeymoon packages and all-inclusive Maldives. For luxury honeymoons we recommend Niyama.
Last updated: 8 July 2016
* Research by Gemma Care