A family beach vacation in the Maldives is all about sea, sand and sun. And whether you intend to spend your Maldives holiday above or below the surface of the Ocean, there is no lack of family fun. Snorkel and scuba dive. Deep-sea fish. Windsurf, sail and even surf. And should you tire of nature, water sports and the beach, there is a cultural side to this pearl-like nation that offers much for adults and children to explore. Visit a village and in addition to introducing the kids to the local way of life, shop for crafts and souvenirs.... Read More

The Maldives, a string of 1,192 coral islands stretching 900 km (560 miles) from south to north, is a top snorkeling and scuba diving destination. Notwithstanding the damage to the reef caused by the December 2004 tsunami and coral bleaching in 1998, the diversity of the marine life is beyond compare. Over a 1,000 species of fish including manta rays and triggerfish, various types of shark - hammerhead, gray reef and white tip reef - and nearly as many type of coral are found here. Warm water and exceptional visibility round out the experience and ensure the Maldives is nothing short of a great place for snorkelers and scuba divers to explore the underwater world.

Formed by volcanic eruptions each of the islands found in the country's 26 atolls - ring-like coral formations enclosing a lagoon - has its own unique charm. Deserted white sand beaches. Peaceful lagoons. Stunning house reefs and deep marine channels teeming with colorful fish. And each resort has a unique appeal: dive resorts, all-inclusive family resorts, and barefoot luxury resorts.


Medufushi courtesy MTPB

Snorkeling Maldives

Snorkeling Maldives

Athuruga courtesy MTPB

Sea Fowl

Sea Fowl

Nicoletta Marconi

Maldivian Dhow

Maldivian Dhow

Yassim Hameed courtesy MTPB

What is an Atoll
South Male Atoll

South Male Atoll

Brian Knutsen courtesy MTPB


Atolls are often called islands but they aren't the same thing at all. Islands are pieces of land surrounded by water. Atolls are ring-shaped coral reefs with a lagoon in the center. And while some islands are the tips of underwater volcanoes, all atolls get their start from this landform.

How is an atoll formed? Corals grow on underwater volcanoes just below the surface of the water. As a volcano cools it becomes less dense and sinks. But because coral reefs need light to survive they build themselves upward as the volcano descends. When the volcano sinks so far that it disappears the only thing left is the round coral ring.

Why do some atolls have trees? Soil often forms on the top of the coral reef enabling plants to grow and giving atolls an island-like look.

How long does it take for an atoll to form? It can take as much as 30 million years.

Where can I see one? Atolls are found in the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Coral reefs can't grow in cold water after all.


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Empanadas are:
meat filled pastries
sea mammals
eaten by children in Asia
a cold drink