Weather in the Maldives
The tropical Maldive islands form an island nation – a chain of about 7,000 islands stretching north to south in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, across the equator to the south west of India, in a string covering more than 1,000 miles. Only around 200 of the islands are inhabited – 44 of these occupied solely by luxury holiday resorts.
Being equatorial, daylight hours vary little in the islands all year round, with dawn arriving around 6am and night falling at 6pm. There are only two seasons in the Madives – dry and wet. The rainy season, running from the end of April, through May, June, July, August and September up until the end of October, can bring heavy, south-westerly monsoon rains, occasional strong winds and storms. During November and December the winds shift to the northeast, bringing drier, less humid conditions which last through January and February into March.
This sounds like a great deal of rain, but the rainfall is evenly distributed across the year and usually comes in short, torrential bursts. During the wetter months the Maldives still enjoy an average four hours a day of sunshine, and up to nine hours in the dry season.
Temperature-wise the equatorial heat is tempered on the Maldives by the surrounding ocean, which provides some cool sea breezes. The temperature ranges between a pleasant 24 °C and rather steamier 33 °C all through the year, feeling warmer at times because humidity can be high, particularly in the wet season.
When is the best time to visit the Maldives
The soft white beaches, crystal waters, lush tropical greenery, hot weather, and luxury resorts make the Maldives an attractive holiday destination all year round, but the best time to visit the Maldives is undoubtedly December, January, February and March. These months form the dry season, when humidity levels are lowest and there are maximum hours of sunshine. The wettest months in the Maldives are June and July – the weather is still hot, but skies will be overcast most of the day, it is very muggy, and the monsoon rains can be torrential.
What to pack for a holiday in the Maldives
The Maldives holiday resorts require nothing more than casual-wear – even dressing for dinner is a case of slipping into something cool and comfortable. With high humidity and temperatures hovering around the 30°C mark all year round, tank tops, shorts, skirts, sarongs and a selection of swimwear are all essential. For exploring towns, like the capital, Malè, a pair of comfortable sandals is advisable, although flip-flops will do fine everywhere else. Even in the rainy season don’t forget to pack sunglasses, sunscreen and a shady hat, and if visiting outlying islands a mosquito repellent may be useful.