In the Western world, tiny island nations like the Maldives seem like a mystical, fantasy place that exists only in movies or fairy tales. Actually, there is a little bit of truth to this. The Maldives are, in fact, an outcropping of 1,192 tiny islands spread across 90,000 sq kilometers of the Northern Indian ocean. Sure, only 200 of these islands are actually inhabited—and the local government only allows one luxury resort per island—but still, there is something for everyone here. Situated to the West of Africa and to the South of Asia, the Maldives is still one of the smallest countries in the world, but that’s not for a lack of foreign intrigue.
A Taste of the Tropics (and Maybe More)
Because of its location, the Maldives has long been known for its marvelous picturesque seascapes. With a large tourism industry, just about every room in the many hotels provides panoramic views of the crystal clear turquoise water that is quite likely only a few yards from anywhere you might be staying. And this very location—nestled between Africa and Asia—provides the shores of the Maldives with very little waves. This makes the beaches of the Maldives some of the most sought after in the world. As such, of course, water activities—swimming, snorkeling, boating, water skiing, etc—are popular Soneva Fushi pastimes.
A Deliciously Diverse Culture
The primary culture of the Maldives has been greatly influenced by India, its closest neighbor. Accordingly, the nation converted to Islam in the 12th century. Overall, though, you can find Arab, South Indian, and Sinhalese influences among the local culture. English is taught in all the local schools even though the native language is Dhivehi.
But there is more about the Maldives than tourism and resorts. Indeed, one of the best ways to understand a culture is through its food: and the cuisine of the Maldives is as diverse as they come. Prior to the tourism boom of the 1970s, the country had mostly a fishing economy. Still, the local fare leans mostly on local fish and seafood as the base for savory and spicy dishes also featuring coconut.