The Maldives is a destination that has a starring role in many vacationers’ dreams. White sand, crystal clear water, and a remote location make it an exotic playground that many of us have at the top of our bucket lists.
When planning a trip to the Maldives, there are a lot of things to take into consideration, including what resort you’ll stay at, how you’ll get there, how much money you plan on spending, and of course, what time of year you want to visit.
While the Maldives is a year-round destination, there are 2 distinct seasons that offer different benefits and drawbacks. In this guide, we’ll explore the best times to visit the Maldives, both by season and by interest. So, if you’re wondering about the best time to visit the Maldives for snorkeling or the best time to visit the Maldives to save money, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s get to it and start exploring the best (and worst) times to visit the Maldives.
The Maldives: At a Glance
The Maldives is an archipelago made up of over 1,000 islands located in the Indian Ocean southwest of Sri Lanka and India. Since it’s situated just north of the equator, the temperature stays relatively constant throughout the year with high temperatures in the mid-80s and low temperatures in the mid- to high 70s.
Of all the islands in the Maldives, only about 200 are inhabited. These islands are separated into 26 atolls — ring-shaped islands or chains of islands — spread out over 500 miles north to south and 80 miles east to west.
The Maldives is the lowest lying country in the world, with not a single island sitting higher than 6 feet above sea level. The capital, Malé, is only 3.2 square miles and is home to over 250,000 people, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Hot Tip: Learn about the best ways to fly and stay in the Maldives with points and miles in our detailed guide!
The Best Times To Visit The Maldives by Season
The Maldives is a bit unique because it doesn’t experience 4 seasons like many places around the world. Instead, it has 2 — a dry season and a wet season.
Let’s take a look at the difference between these 2 seasons, as well as the weather in the Maldives each month. Keep in mind that the islands and atolls are spread out over about 500 miles north to south, so the weather can vary throughout the country.
Wet Season in The Maldives
The wet (southwest monsoon) season in the Maldives is from May to October. Each island can see up to 9.5 inches of rain in a single month, making it a less popular time to visit for many tourists. However, just because it’s the wet season doesn’t mean there aren’t any sunny days. The weather during this time period is unpredictable and can include a combination of massive rainstorms with multiple sunny days.
The southern atolls see more yearly rainfall overall than the northern atolls, but storms are less frequent there and it’s less windy and sunnier overall.
Dry Season in The Maldives
The dry (northeast monsoon) season in the Maldives is from November to April. This is generally thought of as the best time to visit. While this is considered the dry season, it can still rain during this time period. November and December can actually see quite a bit of rain, mostly in the form of brief afternoon or evening thunderstorms, so keep that in mind when planning your trip to the Maldives. For the best chance of dry weather, plan your vacation for February or March.
The Maldives Month-by-Month
The Maldives in January
January is a peak time to visit the Maldives. Temperatures range between 77 and 84 degrees. The days are mostly sunny with an average rainfall of about 2.95 inches. Prices can be high, especially at the beginning of the month around New Year’s Day.
The Maldives in February
February is one of the best months to visit the Maldives. With less than 2 inches of rain, it’s also the driest month of the year. The temperature ranges from 79 to 84 degrees and the warm waters are crystal clear. February is prime time for romantic getaways, so expect high prices, especially around Valentine’s Day.
The Maldives in March
March is also a popular month to visit the Maldives. Temperatures range from 81 to 86 degrees and rainfall is at a minimum. It’s a great time for snorkeling and scuba diving since the waters are still calm and clear during this time. Prices can still be pretty high during March, especially when Easter falls during the month.
Hot Tip: The Maldives lies just north of the equator, so the sun can be intense. If you plan to spend lots of time outside, be sure to protect your skin with a rash guard and lots of sunscreen.
The Maldives in April
April is a transition month in the Maldives. This time between the dry and wet seasons can see unpredictable weather, including frequent afternoon storms, although there are still plenty of sunny days to be had. Water temperatures are at the highest of the year, averaging 86 degrees, so it’s a great time for activities like scuba diving and snorkeling. Air temperatures are also at the highest of the year, ranging from 81 to 88 degrees.
The Maldives in May
May marks the beginning of the wet season in the Maldives. This means there will be fewer crowds and lower prices, but also a higher chance of a lot of rain. Water visibility reduces and sea conditions can become a bit rougher. While that’s not great for scuba diving and snorkeling, it’s perfect for surfing. The temperatures in May drop from their April peak but are still warm with averages between 79 and 86 degrees. May can be quite a wet month, averaging over 8 inches of rain.
The Maldives in June
June can be very rainy in the Maldives which often receives almost 7 inches of rain, leading resorts to offer lower prices. This is great if you’re trying to save money, but set your expectations to include the possibility of some massive storms. While it can be wet anywhere in the country in June, the southern islands and atolls tend to be a little drier than the northern ones. Temperatures range from 79 to 84 degrees.
The Maldives in July
While July is a rainy month in the Maldives, prices can increase slightly due to summer vacations. Temperatures remain steady between 79 and 84 degrees. July is a great time for surfing in the Maldives.
The Maldives in August
While still part of the wet season, August is a popular time to visit the Maldives due to school vacations. Temperatures are similar to June and July, ranging from 79 to 84 degrees. Rainfall can be a little less in the north than in the south, with the country seeing about 7.5 inches of rain in August.
The Maldives in September
September is the wettest month in the Maldives and the peak of the low season. Rainfall averages about 9.5 inches and downpours can be heavy. While this can be a good time to visit for surfers or those looking for low rates, it’s not ideal if you want to soak up the sun or float in calm waters outside of your overwater bungalow. Temperatures are still warm though, ranging from 77 to 84 degrees.
The Maldives in October
October is another transition month in the Maldives, with the wet season coming to an end and the dry season emerging toward the end of the month. Rainfall averages between 8.5 inches and 9 inches in October. There’s still great surfing during this month and temperatures remain steady between 77 and 84 degrees. Prices should still be relatively low since the weather can be unpredictable.
The Maldives in November
November is the coolest month in the Maldives, although it’s far from cold with temperatures ranging from 75 to 84 degrees. It’s the end of the surf season and the beginning of the peak season in the Maldives. Average rainfall drops below 8 inches but heavy downpours can still be common. Resort prices start to creep back up this month.
The Maldives in December
December is the beginning of peak travel times in the Maldives, although it’s actually one of the wettest months! December can see over 9 inches of rain, but it tends to happen at the beginning of the month. Temperatures remain balmy, fluctuating between 77 and 84 degrees. The Christmas and New Year holidays at the end of the month are popular times to visit the Maldives and therefore prices can be sky high. Some resorts may even have minimum stay requirements if you’re visiting during the holidays.
Bottom Line: The temperature is fairly consistent year-round in the Maldives, so you’ll want to pay attention to the wet and dry seasons when choosing when to plan your trip. The most popular time to visit the Maldives is during the dry season from November to April. If you’re trying to save some money, aim to visit during the wet season from May to October, but be prepared for some potentially wet days.
The Best Times To Visit The Maldives by Interests
The Best Times To Visit the Maldives for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
The Maldives is a great location for scuba diving and snorkeling. While these are year-round activities, the water tends to be calmer, making the visibility better, from January through April. However, some wildlife, like manta rays and whale sharks, make more frequent appearances during the wet season.
Water temperatures are nice and warm throughout the year, ranging from about 80 to 86 degrees. The warmest water temperatures in the Maldives occur between March and June.
Hot Tip: Even in warm water like you’ll find in the Maldives, it’s always a good idea to wear a wetsuit if you plan to scuba dive. Make sure to check out our guide to the best snorkels, masks, fins, and snorkel sets if you prefer to travel with your own gear.
The Best Times To Visit The Maldives To See Bioluminescence
Did you know that bioluminescent plankton can make the nighttime sea glow in the Maldives? This phenomenon occurs when these microorganisms emit a blue light underwater. This beautiful display is actually thought to be a defense mechanism. Whatever it is, count yourself lucky if you get to witness it.
While it’s hard to predict when bioluminescence will be visible in the Maldives, your best chances of seeing it are between June and November when the skies are darkest and there is the largest amount of plankton in the sea. The hotspot to see bioluminescence in the Maldives is the “Sea of Stars” on Vaadhoo Island in Raa Atoll.
The Best Times To Visit The Maldives for Surfing
The best time for surfing in the Maldives is from February through November. While many tourists want to avoid the wet season from May to October in the Maldives, it’s actually a popular time to visit among surfers since the waves and swells can be bigger during this time.
The Best Times To Visit The Maldives for a Honeymoon
If you’re lucky enough to be planning your honeymoon in the Maldives, you’ll want to put some thought into when you’ll be visiting. For the best weather, shoot for a trip between January and April. February and March are the months that tend to be the driest. However, if you are trying to save some money, consider visiting during the wet season from May to October. While you may have some rainy days, resort prices will be cheaper. And relaxing in an overwater bungalow with your new spouse during a tropical rainstorm can be a romantic way to spend the afternoon!
The Cheapest Time To Go to The Maldives
Let’s be clear — it’s never really “cheap” to go to the Maldives. However, you can save a little money by visiting during the wet season from May to October.
According to Google Travel, hotels are the most expensive in December and January, so avoid those months if you’re trying to save money. April through October will have the lowest hotel prices of the year.
Another great way to save money on your trip to the Maldives is to use points and miles for your hotel and flights.
The Maldives is a tropical destination at the center of many travelers’ vacation dreams. It’s exotic, remote, and picture-perfect. However, there are things to consider when planning a trip to the Maldives, like the different seasons and the high prices.
The best time to visit the Maldives depends on what you’re looking for and what your budget is. For the best weather, visit during the dry season from November to April. If you want to save some money, aim for the wet season from May to October.