What you need to know for a holiday in Maldives

If you’re planning a trip to the Maldives then you probably already know about the white sand beaches, clear crystal waters and idyllic climate.

Arrive at Constance Moofushi by seaplane

Arrive at Constance Moofushi by seaplane

Here are some other things you need to know for a holiday in Maldives.

1. Arriving by seaplane is one of the highlights of the holiday

Make sure you’ve got your camera to hand as you board the seaplane at Malé Airport because you’re going to want it. Arriving at your resort by seaplane is one of the most stunning introductions to the nation of Maldives you can imagine with views across the Indian Ocean dotted with stunning white sand coral islands.

2. The Maldives is child-friendly

The Maldives may have a reputation as a honeymoon destination but that doesn’t mean that it’s not the perfect place to take kids for a family holiday. For younger kids try a beach or family villa rather than a stilted one over the water and relax beside your own pool while you watch the little ones play on the beach. Constance Halaveli even offers a complimentary Kids Club so the kids will have plenty to do.

3. Swim with some of the ocean’s gentle giants

The waters around the Maldives are home to a wide range of stunning marine life but few get the pulse racing as much as manta rays and whale sharks. These graceful giants pass through our waters from November to April.

Swim with Manta Rays

Swim with Manta Rays

4. Each Maldivian island has its own coral reef encircling a lagoon

The Maldives is made up of 1,190 coral islands spread across 26 atolls covering an area of more than 90,000sq kilometres. Each island has its own coral reef and lagoon which protects it from the wind and wave action of the vast surrounding ocean. It is the islands’ uniquely isolated location that make the Maldives feel like a secluded haven away from the modern world.

5. Maldivian culture is a unique combination of global influences

With influences from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe the Maldivian culture offers a unique blend of music, tradition and cuisine. Influences can be found in the curries which are a staple in the Maldivian cuisine, music played on the traditional bodu-beru drum which resembles an African drum and the local dhoni boats used by the fishermen which are similar in design to the Arabian dows.

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When to travel to the Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean offers a year-round playground of white sand beaches, sunshine and warm waters so all you need to do is pick the season and location best for you.

Indian Ocean destinations: Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Indian Ocean destinations: Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Close to the equator, temperatures rarely fall below 20ºC and seasons tend to be divided into wet and dry with a wet season in which warm tropical rain usually clears to blue skies in a matter of hours.

Choosing the perfect destination and time of year to travel to the Indian Ocean can depend on what you’re looking for from your holiday. Keen divers may want to follow key migration seasons, windsurfers are looking for sea breezes while sunbathers want nothing more than to follow the warm sun.

Mauritius

October-April: summer in Mauritius, 26ºC to 32ºC

  • This is the island’s wettest season but rainfall rarely lasts long and tends to be local, the microclimate on the island means the weather can differ within a few kilometres.
  • The warm waters of the Mauritian summer bring with them a vast array of marine life so this is a great time of year for divers, snorkelers and those interested in big game fishing.

May-October: winter in Mauritius, 20ºC to 26ºC.

  • These cooler, drier months are perfect for excursions, sports, hiking and taking in the sights of this beautiful island.
Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Seychelles

Year-round temperatures approx. 24ºC-32ºC

October-April: Northwest Trade Winds bring warm weather but with it an increased risk of rainfall, although these usually occur in the form of short, sharp showers.

May-September: Southeast Trade Winds bring cooler, drier temperatures but the wind tends to be stronger creating larger waves making this the perfect time of year for surfing, windsurfing and sailing. Those looking for calmer waters at this time of year need to look for one of the many sheltered beaches on each of the islands.

April/May and October/November: the months in which one trade wind gives way to another offering calm bright dry days with no wind, creating the perfect conditions for scuba diving and big game fishing.

Maldives

Average temperatures 27ºC to 30ºC

December-March: North-eastern Monsoon. The nation’s driest season with plenty of warm sunshine. It is also a great time to get out on the water to try some water sports. Divers and snorkelers will also marvel at the migration of the Manta Rays through our waters at this time of year.

May-November: South-western Monsoon. Brings slightly more unsettled weather with a stronger wind making this the ideal time for sailing, surfing and windsurfing. There is still plenty of marine activity to enthral snorkelers and divers at this time of year including the migration of the beautiful whale shark.

April: when one monsoon gives way to another is a dry, calm month making it the ideal time to enjoy clear waters and uninterrupted sunbathing.

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Madagascar

November-April: warm, wet season

May-October: cooler, drier season

Within these general seasons there is a lot of local variation in Madagascar depending on elevation and which side of the island you are on (the west coast is dryer as it is most protected from the trade winds) and the driest of all is the extreme south.

Because there is so much to see in Madagascar many people choose to visit from May to October as this is the perfect time to explore nature trails, take hikes through the national parks and explore its unique wildlife.

September to December: warm and dry

The highest visibility for divers is from October to December and April to May, although many divers and nature lovers prefer to time their visits to coincide with the sperm whales’ arrival in July and August.

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Stunning dive sites in the Indian Ocean

With a seascape of stunning coral reefs, underwater tunnels, vast areas of sponge gardens, wrecks and stunning coral strewn rock formations the Indian Ocean has a vast array of spectacular dive sites to explore.

Explore the underwater world of Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Maldives.

Explore the colourful coral reefs

Explore the colourful coral reefs

Top dive sites in the Indian Ocean

Top dive sites in the Indian Ocean

Swim with Whale Sharks

Swim with Whale Sharks

Meet the Indian Ocean's many vibrant characters

Meet the Indian Ocean’s many vibrant characters

Get wrapped up in schools of fish

Get wrapped up in schools of fish

Swim with incredible Manta Rays

Swim with incredible Manta Rays

Find out more about our hotels and resorts in the Indian Ocean:

MauritiusConstance Le Prince Maurice & Constance Belle Mare Plage

SeychellesConstance Ephélia & Constance Lémuria

MaldivesConstance Halaveli & Constance Moofushi

MadagascarConstance Tsarabanjina

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Madagascar uncovered

Madagascar offers visitors a world of adventure and discovery with its unique wildlife and stunning, diverse scenery.

The unique lemurs of Madagascar

The unique lemurs of Madagascar

Here are 5 things you may not know about this beautiful, mysterious island.

1. Lemurs are protected as they are considered reincarnations of ancestors

The Malagasy people are guided by fady or taboos passed down from generation to generation. One such fady protects the country’s lemurs as it is believed they are reincarnations of ancestors.

Read more about Wildlife of Madagascar.

2. The Malagasy word for eating is literally translated as ‘to eat rice’

Rice is the core staple at the heart of Malagasy cuisine so the Malagasy word mihinam-bary which means ‘to eat’ is literally translated as ‘to eat rice’. The culinary influences of settlers from Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe have combined to form a national cuisine of rich flavours and warm spices with curries and dishes based around fish or ‘zebu’, a kind of African cattle.

Discover 5 unusual foods of Madagascar.

3. The first settlers of Madagascar were from Indonesia

Settlers from the Sunda Islands of Indonesia arrived on Madagascar by canoe around 350BC. They were joined 500 years later by settlers from Africa and then more from Asia and Europe, each bringing their own culture and cuisine which over time have combined to form the completely unique Malagasy culture and people.

Read more about the rich culture of Madagascar

Baobab Trees: a stunning and diverse landscape

Baobab Trees: a stunning and diverse landscape

4. Washing black pots in the rivers of Andringitra National Park is forbidden

Often described as one of Madagascar’s most scenic national parks with areas of deep valley rainforest, mountains and highland forest, Andringitra is also a sacred region where the washing of black pots or mourning clothes is forbidden.

Read about Top 5 walks in Madagascar

5. Prior to colonisation Madagascar was ruled by a queen

Queen Ranavalona III (1883-1897) followed in the footsteps of Queen Ranavalona I (1828-1861) in attempting to ward off foreign influence but in 1897 she was deposed by French colonialists. Visitors can explore the royal palace at Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see the queen’s quarters.

See more: Madagascar in photos

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How to create your travel bucket list

Susan Sontag once said, ‘I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.’

Does the maldives feature on your travel bucket list?

Does the maldives feature on your travel bucket list?

Creating a list of wonderful places you dream about one day visiting is the first step in an adventure which can last a lifetime.

But for those who don’t already have a travel bucket list it can be an intimidating thing to start.

Luxury Travel Mom blogger Kim-Marie Evans urges her readers who don’t yet have a bucket list to ‘start writing, you might be surprised at what you find on the page’.

Think of photographs you’ve seen which have made you sigh longingly, stories friends have told about places that have made you green with envy. These are all places that should be on your bucket list.

The experience of a lifetime

The thing to bear in mind about your list is that it doesn’t need to be just a catalogue of destinations. A bucket list can also be a collection of experiences you would like to have in your lifetime.

The sky is literally the limit when dreaming up bucket list activities. Have you always wanted to zip-line through a tropical jungle, learn to scuba dive or play golf on a Championship golf course in Mauritius? Jotting it down on the list can be the first step towards making it happen.

Many 5* hotels, such as Constance Hotels & Resorts across the Indian Ocean, now offer a range of bucket-list-worthy activities from cookery lessons with a world-class chef to diving with sharks or spending a day on your very own desert island with dinner delivered by boat.

Bucket list destinations

It can be difficult sometimes to pin down exactly where we want to go, we know that photographs of white sand beaches shaded by palm trees in magazines make us drool but where are they exactly?

Dramatic landscapes: The Baobab trees of Madagascar

Dramatic landscapes: The Baobab trees of Madagascar

Here’s our guide to possible bucket list destinations:

  • Maldives – If you dream of walking barefoot on the beach of a white coral sand island secluded in a vast blue ocean, or sleeping in your own villa which stands on stilts over a clear blue lagoon, the chances are the Maldives should be on your bucket list.
  • Madagascar – If your spirit craves adventure, you want to explore dramatic landscapes, see new things, immerse yourself in a vibrant friendly community then Madagascar needs to go on the list.
  • Seychelles – The Seychelles features on many bucket lists not just for the picture postcard white-sand beaches and enticing climate but the warm welcome visitors receive and the natural beauty of its various islands.
  • Mauritius – With its stunning coastline and activities aplenty both on the ocean and amidst the dramatic, mountainous interior Mauritius earns its place on many a bucket list.

Wherever you choose, whichever destinations get your pulse racing and your heart fluttering, start the list today. You might be surprised by the places your imagination will dare to take you.

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Best holiday reads 2014

Whether you’re loading up your Kindle or squeezing paperbacks into your suitcase, taking a great book with you can be the finishing touch to packing for a perfect holiday.

Best holiday reads 2014

Best holiday reads 2014

Take a look at who’s recommending what this year to help inspire your choice.

The Guardian – Best holiday reads 2014

The Guardian has brought together a selection of writers from Jeanette Winterson and Colm Tóibín to Ruth Rendell and Ian Rankin to tell readers what they’ll be reading this summer. Highlights include:

  • Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine, the memoir of Albertine’s punk musician days
  • A God in Every Stone ¬by Kamila Shamshie, a compelling story of history and the people who live in it.

The Observer – Best holiday reads 2014

The Observer has lined up a stellar cast of authors, historians, screenwriters and journalists to give their guide to what to read this summer. Highlights include:

  • Prince’s Boy by Paul Bailey, set in the 1920s a Romanian looks back at his time in Paris as a young man from the writer of Gabriel’s Lament.
  • A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor a novel about a young Indian woman’s struggle for freedom and desire.

The Independent – Summer reads 2014: 10 best memoirs

The Independent shines its light on the many compelling autobiographies out this summer and runs down its Top 10. Highlights include:

  • Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton, a fascinating insight into the workings of the mind of the woman and statesman that is Hillary Clinton.
  • Carsick by John Waters, a lively, highly entertaining read, this book follows Waters’ journey hitchhiking across America in 2012.
The perfect location to embrace your next novel?

The perfect location to embrace your next novel?

Esquire – The high-brow beach-read round-up

In an attempt to avoid the summer blockbusters and political potboilers of most summer reading lists, Esquire takes a look at what’s available for those looking for something more substantial. Highlights include:

  • The True American by Anand Giridharadas, New York Times columnist Giridharadas, traces the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan a survivor of a revenge shooting for 9/11 by delusional Mark Stroman. Bhuiyan not only forgives Stroman and rebuilds his life, he also tries to save Stroman from the death penalty.
  • In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen, a novel about how we should write and think about the holocaust set at a Zen retreat in a former concentration camp.

Vogue – Summer’s buzziest beach reads

Vogue bases its summer reading list on the ‘if you liked that, you’ll love this’ approach. Highlights include:

  • I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum, a comic story of a fading Brit Pop artist trying to win back his wife.
  • The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon, a thriller set in a future in which society is rendered unable to speak by digital technology.

Red – The best summer reads

Pulling together the best of the new releases and classics from the past the Red team give their recommendations for this summer. Highlights include:

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, set on the French Riviera in the 1920s this is typical Fitzgerald jazz age glamour and heartbreak.

Half A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this Orange Prize winner is a compelling tale of the Biafran War as seen through the eyes of its characters.

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