A speed boat whisks guests in a little over twenty minutes from Malé airport to tiny Chaaya Island, a small, self-contained resort ringed by gleaming beaches and a shallow lagoon that’s popular with quiet couples and – in the off-season of June and July – surfers. One of the best surf breaks in the country is located here, and there’s a top-notch surfing school and well as dive centre on site.
Accommodation comes in chalets scattered around a leafy tropical garden inland, or more exclusive over-water bungalows and suites. This is a particularly good option for passionate swimmers and snorkelers: the surrounding seas are teeming with rays, reef sharks, turtles and a kaleidoscope of colourful fish. Island-hopping excursions by dhoni boat take you to remote sandbars for BBQ picnics or to dolphin feeding sites, and you can sign up for guided fishing trips to catch your own supper.