SUPERYACHT DESTINATION GUIDE: THE MALDIVES
Last updated: 24/05/2019
Famous for their turquoise lagoons, overwater bungalows, and spectacular reef diving, the Maldives are an exquisite superyacht cruising destination.
With over a thousand coral atolls spread over 26 groups across 90,000 square kilometres of Indian Ocean, the Maldives offer astonishing treasures for all visiting yachts. Given the remoteness of the archipelago nation with its lack of marinas and established yachting infrastructure, visiting yachts need to be well prepared and will require the services of a yacht agent.
Visiting the Maldives aboard a superyacht
When to visit
The Maldives lie outside the cyclone belt, so are a safe yacht charter destination to visit year-round. The archipelago’s position on the equator means there is little temperature variation throughout the different seasons, with maximum temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius year-round.
The Maldives have a tropical monsoon climate, with a dry season from November–April and a wet season from May–October, although the huge geographical area of the Maldives leads to significant climate variations between the northern and southern atolls.
Peak season (and peak time for visiting yachts) is between December and March, when the water visibility is excellent, rain is generally experienced as brief tropical downpours, and winds are light. Lower humidity and fractionally lower average temperatures make this a very pleasant time to cruise the Maldives.
What to see and do in the Maldives
The Maldives are a vast archipelago of nearly 1,200 islands, with only around 200 of them inhabited. The majority of superyachts begin their cruising itineraries around the capital of Male, which has an international airport for embarking guests and provisions.
While there is almost an infinite range of cruising itineraries on a Maldives yacht charter, there are some exceptional highlights in reach of Male, including places to dive with manta rays, immense whale sharks, and hammerheads. Rasdhoo Atoll, Maaya Thila, Kuda Rah Thila, Miyaru Kandu are all unforgettable dive sites and some of the best in the Maldives. Many of the islands also offer magnificent luxury resorts with infinity pools, overwater spas, and incredible dining experiences such as the underwater restaurant at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
The further from Male you travel, the more remote and pristine the cruising becomes. Wherever you drop anchor in the Maldives, you can be assured of sugar-white sands, waving coconut palms, and blue-green lagoons.
Superyacht berths and anchorages
There are currently no superyacht marinas in the Maldives, meaning that visiting yachts will need to be prepared to remain at anchor for the duration of their stay. Anchorages are generally deep at around 50 metres, and holding is often poor in the soft sand bottom, so plenty of chain is required.
Most superyachts in the Maldives use the anchorage off the island of Bandos in North Male Atoll as their ‘home base’ during the season; this is one of the few islands that allow crew ashore to use the resort facilities, so it has become a ‘crew island’ of sorts. Bandos is also located within easy cruising distance of the airport on Male, so is often a first-night anchorage while on charter as well.
Yacht clearances, cruising permits and bunkering
Yachts are required to use the services of an agent while in the Maldives, and this eases the process of customs clearance and cruising. Yachts clear into the Maldives in the busy capital of Male, where government officials will board the yacht at anchor to do their checks.
Yachts will need to apply for a cruising permit to cruise in the Maldives. This permit allows free movement within the entire archipelago, upon the condition that the yacht reports their location and intended overnight anchorage on a daily basis, which can be done through your agent.
Fuel is delivered by barge at anchor in the Maldives, and agents will also organise the transport of provisions to your yacht.
Yachts leaving the Maldives often make the crossing to the Seychelles or South Africa, or continue south into the exotic cruising grounds of South East Asia and Australasia. Heading north, the exceptional diving of the Red Sea and the futuristic cities of the Arabian Peninsula make for excellent yachting destinations.