The tiny country of the Maldives in the middle of the Indian Ocean is made up of about 1,200 tiny coral islands grouped into 26 atolls. The word atoll actually comes from the the Dhivehi (a language spoken on the Maldives) word “atholhu”. With the highest point above sea level being around 6 feet (2 meters), the Robinson Crusoe life style is everywhere you look. The primary activity on the Maldives is scuba diving and snorkeling. The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of miles away from any major landmass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it in the Maldives.
Only 200 islands are inhabited by local Maldivian people while only 5 islands have a population of more than 3,000. The overcrowded capital island of Malé is home to 26 percent of the Maldivians. Of the remaining islands, 88 have been developed as tourist resorts and the others are uninhabited.