Maldives is a tropical nation, home to beautiful beaches and clear seas. It is also famous for its sports and many people come to the country to take part in watersports like scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming and beach volleyball. Football is a favourite sport with the locals and can be seen being played by boys and men in their communities. Other popular games include tennis, baseball and badminton.

Located in the Indian Ocean, Maldives has two yearly monsoon seasons. The northeast monsoon runs from December to April and brings dry weather, while the southwest monsoon is wetter with heavy rains. Maldivians have a distinct culture that has been influenced by many factors over the years, particularly trade and immigration from neighbouring countries. Their cuisine is mainly spicy and the dishes are full of flavour.

The national language is Dhivehi and English is widely spoken, especially in tourist regions. Islam is the state religion and it is illegal to practice other faiths. The President is the head of state and government and is elected for five years by direct national vote. The legislature, the Majlis of Maldives, is unicameral and consists of 87 members.

The main religion in Maldives is Islam and most of the population is Sunni. Other religions are not practised and foreigners are not allowed to enter mosques or hold public positions. The Maldivian economy is primarily based on fishing and tourism. The Maldivian people are renowned for their skills in art and crafts, such as lacquered wooden ornaments and finely woven reed mats. Betel leaf with areca nut, cloves and lime is chewed after meals and older people smoke guduguda (an elongated pipe) and drink a local brew called raa.

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