Index


Introduction



The Maldives, islands of the Indian Ocean located to the southwest of India, have a tropical climate, hot all year round and influenced by the monsoons. The south-west monsoon, from late April to September, it's stronger on the northern islands, and it's accompanied by the wind, which can make the sea rough and therefore may discourage activities such as diving, and it's also accompanied by higher humidity and more frequent cloudiness. The northeast monsoon, from October to December, it's quieter and simply brings showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening, especially in the southern atolls.
The driest period, outside the monsoons, runs from January to April and is felt more on the northern atolls.

The temperatures are stable: highs are around 30 °C (86 °F) and lows around 25 °C (77 °F) most of the year. Relative humidity is high and stable throughout the year as well, around 80%. However, between February and May, there is a slight increase in temperature and in the feeling of sultriness as well, especially in the northern atolls; in fact, in this period, the maximum temperature rises to 31/32 °C (88/90 °F) and the minimum temperature to 26/27 °C (79/81 °F).
As is common in tropical areas, the rains mostly occur in the form of short and intense downpour or thunderstorm. Total annual rainfall is a bit more abundant in the southern atolls, where it hovers around 2,200/2,300 millimeters (87/91 inches) per year, and less abundant in the north, where it hovers around 1,700/1,800 mm (67/71 in) per year. The difference is mainly due to the fact that in the central and northern atolls there is a relatively dry season from January to mid-April, which is more pronounced in the northernmost atolls.
Here is the average precipitation in Gan, on Addu Atoll (or Seenu), the southernmost island of the Maldives. Here, there is no dry season, so the climate can be defined as equatorial (in fact, the atoll is located just south of the Equator).
Gan - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)2001351451702251851751902152752002502365
Prec.(in)7.95.35.76.78.97.36.97.58.510.87.99.893.1
Days101013141612141515181516168

Malé



Here are the average temperatures of the capital, Malé, situated in an atoll of the central part.
Malé - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)252526262626252525252525
Max (°C)303131323130303030303030
Min (°F)777779797979777777777777
Max (°F)868888908886868686868686

In Malé, rainfall amounts to about 1,950 mm (77 in) per year. Here, there is a rainy period which runs from May to December, while the least rainy months are January, February and March, when precipitation drops below 100 mm (4 in) per month.
Here is the average precipitation in Malé.
Malé - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)9070801302101851601852152301902001945
Prec.(in)3.52.83.15.18.37.36.37.38.59.17.57.976.6
Days558101614131415161313142

The amount of sunshine in the Maldives is good from January to April, and the sunniest months are February and March. In the rest of the year, and even in the rainiest months, the sun shines for a good number of hours, on average about 7 per day, although there may be days, or periods of a few days, when the sky is often cloudy, especially in the season of the southwest monsoon (late April-September). Here are the average sunshine hours per day in Malé.
Malé - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours899877777887

Maldives

Sea temperature



The sea in the Maldives is warm all year round, in fact, the water temperature ranges from 28 °C to 30 °C (82 to 86 °F).
Malé - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)282829303029292929282928
Temp (°F)828284868684848484828482

Tropical cyclones



The Maldives can be occasionally reached by tropical cyclones, which usually affect these islands in the early stages of their formation (as happened with a tropical depression in May 2016, which then became Cyclone Roanu and moved northwards), or they brush them as they pass further north over the Indian Ocean, as happened with Cyclone Ockhi, which struck more directly Sri Lanka and Southern India in early December 2017. However, being that they are flat islands with buildings at sea level, cyclones can bring some damage due to rainfall, wind, and anomalous waves.
Cyclones are formed more often between April and December, with two peaks in May and November, but given that the sea is always warm, they may occur throughout the year. The southernmost atolls (Huvadhu, Addu, Fuvahmulah) are affected in a more marginal way because they are located near the Equator.

Best Time



The best time to visit the Maldives runs from January to mid-April, since it is the driest and sunniest season of the year. However, there can be showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon also in this period, especially on the southern islands.
If you want to travel in the summer, you can choose the southernmost islands, which are less exposed to the south-west monsoon, therefore, they are less windy and more sunny, and are also more sheltered from tropical cyclones.

What to pack



All year round: bring lightweight, tropics-friendly clothing, a light sweatshirt for the evening, a scarf for the breeze, a light raincoat or umbrella, sunglasses, sunscreen.
When going to the reef, you can bring snorkeling equipment, including water shoes or rubber-soled shoes.

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