The Maldives has a rich and diverse culture that reflects the seafarers who passed through over the centuries. The local people have embraced Islamic traditions but retain some of the customs of the South Asian and African nations who also settled here. Art and craft are important to the Maldivian culture. The weaving of mats from dyed reeds and the woodcarving of traditional boats known as ‘dhonis’ are both famous.
The country’s beautiful beaches and aquatic sports are a magnet for tourists from all over the world. Swimming, jet skiing, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling and beach volleyball are just some of the popular activities that attract visitors to this paradise. Football is a favourite sport of the locals and young men and boys can often be seen playing in their neighbourhoods.
Local food consists mainly of fish and coconut. Vegetables are scarce due to limited availability of land to grow them. Rice is the main staple and steamed fish, such as grouper, swordfish, jobfish, or octopus are popular dishes. Spices are widely used and there is a strong South Asian influence in many of the dishes. Garudhiya, a fish broth with lime, chilies and onions is a common dish. Mas huni, finely shredded smoked tuna mixed with grated coconut and lemon is a breakfast favorite. The dish is served with roshi, the local flatbread.
Many of the resorts offer a half board option which is ideal as most restaurants serve enormous buffets for breakfast and dinner and you may not want to eat lunch. It’s also a good idea to stay on different islands during your trip to get a varied experience of the country.