In keeping with this week’s theme of Geography Awareness, I continue with my exploration of travel destinations on all seven continents.  Yesterday was Antarctica, and today, I head off for Asia. . . and the Maldives.

The Maldives (more officially the Republic of Maldives), is located in the Indian Ocean south of India and southwest of Sri Lanka.  It is an island nation, the smallest smallest of the Asian countries in terms of population, and is home to spectacular beaches.

Tourism plays a key part of the Maldive economy, and the country now boasts luxurious tropical resorts.  A typical resort is situated on a private lagoon, and often a private island.  Many times lodging will consists of a building on stilts in the middle of the water, or a cottage on a sandy beach.  The water is that beautiful azure color we typically see only in travel brochures, and that the Maldivians see every day.

What’s there to do?  While rest and relaxation is often high on the list, daily activities center around the beach and the water — swimming, fishing, snorkeling, windsurfing, etc.  Maldives is a highly ranked diving destination.

Many of the Maldives resorts are built on private islands, and daily rates there would feed a family for longer than I care to think about.  While the island hires local workers, these workers do not live on the resort island itself, thus perpetuating a huge chasm between the “haves” and “have nots.”

Still, the government is attempting to protect the delicate balance of nature, if not of its people, by promoting ecotourism and enacting laws that protect the natural flora and fauna of the country.

Maldives may be a politically incorrect destination, but its topical beauty still calls to me.  It’s quite a trek from Seattle, about a two day trip, but I’d love to wake up, open my door, jump into the Indian Ocean, and then spend my day in paradise.

Up next:  Africa

Photo credit:  flickr


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