Maldives offer surprising variety when it comes to beaches. No two are identical, and the islands they fringe can vary greatly in size, tone and appearance. While some have a canopy of coconut palms, others are carpeted in low, lush, tropical scrub.

As a rule of thumb, the islets in the northern atolls tend to be smaller, and are more often than not surrounded by classic underwater ring reefs. Those in the south are larger and usually separated by deeper channels.

The islands chosen as the location for resort hotels tend to hold the perfect combination of powder-soft, coral-sand beaches, lagoons, reefs and palm trees. Many are so-called ‘saturated islands’, where the reef has filled out and the beaches face broad, sandy-bottomed lagoons. In these, the beaches are permanent and require little maintenance. On more exposed islands, however, the monsoons can wreak havoc each year and the sand has to be replaced – a job which some resorts perform well, and others less well.



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