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If picture-perfect islands are what you’re looking for, choosing the Maldives as your next travel destination is an excellent choice! As a chain of almost 1,200 small islands located south-west of India and Sri Lanka, this idyllic archipelago lures visitors from across the globe with its gorgeous beaches, stunning coral reefs, epic surf and perfectly blue sea and lagoons.
As in most tropical destinations, the Maldives experiences a wet season and a dry season. When making travel plans, you may favor dry weather over tourist levels and cost – or vice versa – you may prefer unpredictable weather in exchange for better travel deals; all of which makes deciding the best time to visit the Maldives not-so-obvious.
As you finalize your plans for the best month to visit the Maldives, be sure to consider what activities are on your wishlist and what conditions work best for you. Keep in mind the weather, tourist seasons and local events to get a better idea of your potential travel experience. For all this information, just keep reading this comprehensive Maldives guide!
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When finding your best time of year to visit the Maldives, the weather temperature-wise isn’t too much of a factor – as it stays consistent year-round. Located so close to the equator, the average temperature stays in the warm 80s℉ (mid-20s℃) winter, spring, summer and fall! It’s rare to find temperatures dipping below 75℉ (31℃) or above 88℉ (21℃). Humidity is always high at around 80%.
What you do need to consider are the monsoon seasons, which define the Maldives’ dry and wet season. The best time of year to visit the Maldives is during the dry northeast monsoon – which marks the dry season – that occurs between December and May. Not surprisingly, this also marks the high-tourist season with the highest prices. You may still encounter random showers, but chances of rain are less than the other months of the year.
The wet season takes over from mid-May to November with the arrival of the windy and rainy southwest monsoon. It usually rains more at nighttime, but weather conditions are very unpredictable and may change at any moment. This is also the low tourist season, as planning outdoor activities is a bit more problematic!
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For the driest month and for the best diving conditions – if you’re willing to take on high prices and peak tourist season – you’ll find that February is the best time to visit the Maldives. In the north, there are usually only a couple of days of rain with about five days in the south. Because of the calm weather conditions, it’s also the best time for scuba diving in the spectacular northern atoll dive sites.
For budget travelers, the wet off-season months of June and July are worth considering. The weather will be particularly hot and humid with heavy downpours, but they’re often short-lived. These months are best for divers who want the thrill of diving with whale sharks and manta rays and for surfers seeking the islands’ biggest swells.
January sees some of the best weather in the Maldives with sunny, long days and low rainfall levels. If it does rain, it’s slight and passes through quickly. The average is 3 rainy days in the north and up to 10 days in the south. Overall, you can expect the weather during this popular time to be practically perfect!
Ideal sunny and dry weather continues in February. The water is warm and visibility is prime for diving and snorkeling. It’s the driest month of the year with less than 2 inches (50mm) of rain and 10 hours of sunshine. With such conditions, it’s easy to see why most consider this to be the best time to visit the Maldives!
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Weather conditions remain dry, but rainfall slowly increases to an average of 8 days in the south. Downpours aren’t yet the norm, and you’ll continue to find long days with 9 hours of sunshine. March is also the hottest month in the Maldives with an average temperature of 84℉ (29℃)
The transition from the dry season to the wet season becomes apparent as rain increases and occurs more frequently in the second half of April. The days are still long with an average of 9 hours of sunshine and water visibility remains excellent for water activities, but expect an average of 6-7 days in the north and over 10 in the south.
The wet southwest monsoon arrives! This is good news for budget travelers as resorts begin lowering prices as the second half of the month becomes more wet and humid. The wettest conditions begin in the south and move up north. Heavy downpours and thunderstorms are common, so you’ll want to be prepared! Average rainfall increases to 15 days with over 8 inches (216mm) of rain.
The wet season takes over the whole country as downpours, evening and morning drizzle and clouds become the norm. The chances of finding favorable weather are better in the south with an average of 10 rainy days per month versus the 18 rainy days in the north. Either way, be prepared with raingear!
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Hot, humid weather and consistent rainfall continue through July. The average rainfall in the north remains high with an average of 16 rainy days and increases to 12 rainy days in the south. For surfers, however, July is the best month to visit the Maldives!
Daily heavy and short downpours are the norm throughout August with temperatures remaining at a hot and humid 82℉ (28℃). Towards the end of the month, the number of rainy days continues to slowly decline in the north but average rainy days stay high at 12 to 14. Deal-seeking travelers often find this to be the best month to visit the Maldives.
September is the Maldives’ wettest month with an average of over 9 inches (243mm) of rain. The weather is unpredictable, however, as the rain may continue in short, heavy downpours over several days whereas some days may be mostly sunny with only an hour of rainfall. There are still great deals available for budget-conscious travelers!
Plenty of rain continues to fall as the Maldives enters its last month of the wet season. As the final month of the southwest monsoon, it also marks the last month of surfing and manta rays and whale sharks sightings. You can expect an average of 15 rainy days in October.
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This transition month marks the shift in wind direction as the southwest monsoon turns to the northeast monsoon. Rainfall begins decreasing in the north to an average of 8 rainy days but remains at a high 15 days in the south. Weather is still unpredictable and short, heavy afternoon downpours should be expected.
Some rain is still common in early December, but you can expect drier and sunnier conditions – especially as the month continues. December is the beginning of the dry season and marks the beginning of the high-tourist season as visitors flock for a warm holiday season with plenty of sunshine and 81℉ (27℃) weather!
Island living with plenty of warmth and sunshine is probably on your list of reasons for going to the Maldives. Perhaps outdoor activities – like snorkeling and diving – are on your wishlist too. If that’s the case, weather-wise, the dry season is definitely the best time to visit the Maldives. Especially in January and February, weather conditions are the most stable and provide the most hours of sunshine, warm beach days and the driest conditions. The non-stormy weather also provides the calmest sea conditions for prime visibility of the abundant coral and teeming marine life of the Maldives’ best snorkel and dive sites.
If you’re an avid surfer, you’ll appreciate the stormier weather that brings the big swells with it. In that case, June and July will offer the best experience weather-wise to provide the activities – like catching some epic waves – that you’ll enjoy most!
Regardless of when you decide to travel – dry or wet season, high or low tourist season – you can bet you’ll find warm weather and some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen! In that regard, any month year-round can be considered the best time of year to visit the Maldives. Even in the wet season, sunshine can be found, and the islands offer a variety of activities to enjoy regardless of the weather. So fear not, as long as you travel prepared for any weather that comes your way, rest assured that the Maldives will dazzle you with all its beauty and charm!
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Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.