Turquoise lagoons and pearl-white sandy beaches dominate garlands of dreamy coral atolls in the heart of the Indian Ocean; it is no wonder the Maldives are fast becoming one of the most sought-after yacht charter destinations on the planet. Explore a remote world where island coral reefs form natural barriers against the sea, yielding intensely tranquil waters with outstanding visibility, perfect for showcasing the kaleidoscopic array of underwater marine life and ecology.
Maldives yacht booking guide:
- Maldives Yacht Charters: At a Glance
- Popular Destinations for Yacht Rentals in the Maldives
- Highlights of a Maldives Yacht Charter
- Don't Miss:
- Who Goes on a Maldives Yacht Charter?
- History and Culture
- Types of Yacht Charters in the Maldives
- How Much Does It Cost to Charter a Yacht in the Maldives?
- When is the Best Time for Maldives Yacht Charters?
- Where Should I Begin My Yacht Charter in the Maldives?
- Popular Marinas and Anchorages in the Maldives
- Local Insight
- Most Popular Superyacht Hotspots in Maldives:
- How to Book Your Yacht Charter in the Maldives
These exquisite picture-perfect islands are made up of a series of low-lying coral atolls – with the highest point on the archipelago found on Villingili island, rising to just 2.4m (7.9ft) above sea level, giving Maldives the record as the flattest country in the world. Only 200 or so of these islands are inhabited, with 87 of these hosting exclusive luxury resorts, giving you a chance to stop and unwind on your yacht charter vacation before heading off to another idyllic island reef on your journey around this captivating territory.
- 1,200 island reefs
Offering world-class cruising around stunning coral atolls, surrounded by peaceful turquoise lagoons and deep water anchorages.
- Unique underwater ecology
A scuba diver’s paradise. The barrier reefs are home to an array of aquatic life, from majestic whale sharks to inquisitive manta rays, there are over 2,000 species of fish to discover in this area of the Indian Ocean.
- Plenty of activities
From windsurfing, flyboarding, parasailing, water skiing and kayaking to snorkeling, scuba-diving and even ‘flying’ in your very own personal submarine, you’ll find plenty to do in the Maldives.
- Luxurious island resorts
With 87 islands exclusively set up as resorts, there is no need to skimp on luxury when stepping off your yacht. Enjoy fine dining and deluxe spas, all delivered with top-notch service.
- Diverse cultural identity
The Maldives has developed its own unique identity influenced by 3,000 years of settlers, with strong cultural roots in Asia, Africa and Arabia.
- Zero taxes
With effect from April 2015, the Maldives abolished its 25% import tax meaning there is no longer any duty to pay on luxury charter yachts cruising its islands.
The Maldives is the ultimate yacht charter destination. With almost 1,200 islands made up of 26 circular atolls surrounded by crystal aquamarine waters, all teeming with a kaleidoscope of tropical fauna, as well as a plethora of uber-luxe island resorts offering all manner of world-class facilities. To help you narrow it down, we have compiled a list of our top destinations in the archipelago for you to choose from;
Northern region: Baa Atoll, Raa Atoll, Haa Alif Atoll, Manadoo, Fushifaru Kan’du
Best for: unspoilt scenery, Buddhist and Hindu settlement ruins, lush vegetation, secluded beaches, iconic dive sites, soft corals, swimming with rays and whale sharks, UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve
Central region: Ari Atoll, Rashdoo, Malé Atoll, Maafushi, Fesdhoo, Mushima Migili, Velaa
Best for: stunning coral-white beaches, international connections, superyacht berths, boutique shopping, fine dining, luxury spas, vibrant atmosphere, shark diving, underwater ‘flying’
Southern region: Gan, Aduu Atoll
Best for: surfing, reef fish, daily connections to the capital, optimum sailing conditions, vibrant corals, sheltered anchorages, tranquil beaches
A Maldives yacht charter vacation offers a mesmerizing selection of things to see and do. Here is our small selection of some of the most outstanding:
- Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere - swim with huge shoals of manta rays
- Maafushi, Kaafu Atoll – experience the most amazing watersports, including windsurfing and kite surfing
- Hukuru Miskiy, Malé - visit the Old Friday Mosque, one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the capital
- Mudhdhoo Island, Raa Atoll – witness the truly spectacular sight of a glowing sea, where its phosphorous waters come alive at night
- Thoddu, Alif Atoll – picturesque tiny island, with Buddhist ruins
- Crossroads Maldives, Male Atoll – a multi-island complex of 3 luxury resorts, offering everything from deluxe spas and boutique designers to exquisite dining options and a superyacht marina.
- Conrad Hilton Maldives, Rangali Island – offering the world’s first unique underwater dining experience amongst shoals of fish and reef sharks
- Soneva Fushi, Baa Atoll – eco-resort, a tropical paradise with a difference
- Velaa, Noonu Atoll – for golf lovers, visit this tiny private island and tee off on its 9-hole golf course designed by Masters golf champion Jose Maria Olazabal
With only 200 of the islands occupied it is perfect for relaxing and unwinding completely undisturbed, exploring secluded beaches and swimming amongst an array of marine life. The islands are a fantastic winter charter destination and a good alternative to the Caribbean, ideal for hopping from one paradise to the next.
From the bustling markets, art galleries and museums in the capital of Malé to remote atolls with caves, pristine beaches and lagoons, this tropical paradise is a popular destination for the SuperyachtSet who flock here every year to enjoy the warm waters and colorful underwater worlds on offer, without compromising on supreme luxury, whether on board or at the myriad resort islands studded across the archipelago.
Originally settled by fishermen from Sri Lanka and India around 300 BC, the Maldives were inhabited by Buddhists for nearly 1,500 years – evidenced by the ruins of monasteries peppered across some of the islands. After this time Islam became the dominant religion after the islands' garnered interest from Arab traders, with coir ropes made from the husks of coconut shells being the dominant export from the 12th Century onwards.
Due to their strategic location on the major shipping routes of the Indian Ocean, the islands have been respectively governed by the Portuguese, Dutch and British over the centuries. In 1965, the Maldives gained their independence and today remain a presidential democracy. The islands’ also have strong cultural influences from Sri Lanka and India which can be seen in their music, dance, customs and local dishes.
The Maldives has become one of the most popular winter charter destinations for those looking for an alternative to the usual Caribbean “milk run”. It's not surprising that yachts are flocking to this country, with its glorious endless garlands of reefs, secluded aquamarine lagoons and deep-water anchorages, making it the ultimate yacht charter vacation.
With a good variety of motor yacht charter options available to you; from sleek, sporty models to larger superyachts with all the bells and whistles, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding your perfect yacht. That said, although there are plenty of deep water anchorages in the Maldives, smaller motor yachts can offer greater access to the reefs and lagoons.
Sailing yachts are a great way to explore the Maldives, with the optimum time during the monsoon season from November to April, which produces a steady north-easterly – perfect conditions for the sailing adventure of a lifetime.
Another popular choice is a catamaran, with shallow drafts and easy access to the water; these are the ideal boats for island-hopping and exploring exquisite clusters of coral reefs surrounded by waters in infinite shades of blue.
With the good variety of options available, there should be something to suit every type of budget in this region. The average prices for motor and sailing yacht charters in Maldives are as follows;
- For motor yacht rentals in the Maldives, prices can range from $62,667 to $1.1m per week, plus expenses
- For luxury sailing yacht rentals in the Maldives, prices can go from $62,407 to $290,879 weekly, plus expenses
The Maldives is located near the equator and so enjoys year-round balmy temperatures of between 25-30 degrees celsius.
The best time to visit this idyllic location is from November to April – during the Northern Hemisphere winter, with the busiest months being December and January. This period coincides with their northeast monsoon, which is the dry season and produces warm mild winds, perfect for yacht charters.
That said, you can still visit throughout the year, just bear in mind the winds might be less favorable, with more chance of rain.
Yacht charters usually commence in the North Malé Atoll, where the colorful and vibrant Maldivian capital of Malé is situated. With its central location, international airport and small yacht marina, it makes this spot the ideal gateway to the Maldives.
Explore Malé Atoll’s divine palm-fringed reefs and luxurious resorts, before heading north through the Hukurudhoo Uthuru Kandu channel to Ari Atoll, where you will find rich coral reefs abundant with colorful reef fish, as well as huge shoals of manta rays and barracudas.
Head north towards the stunning Baa and Raa Atolls, boasting world-class dive sites, exquisite tranquil reefs and an abundance of protected marine ecology, perfect for spotting the magnificent whale sharks that feed on the area’s rich sources of plankton all year round. The Northern Atolls also contain many Buddhist and Hindu monuments and artifacts, belying its diverse cultural and religious history.
In the more populated islands of the Southern atolls, you will find the romantic heart-shaped Addu Atoll, the quintessential image of the Maldives. Head to Gan, which boasts its own small international airport, and explore the Feydoo, Maradoo and Hithadoo islands on foot across causeways linking the islands.
The newly developed Crossroads Marina Maldives is part of a multi-island integrated leisure complex, situated on the stunning Kaafu Atoll on the Emboodhoo lagoon – just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, and a short hop to the capital of Malé.
This deluxe marina caters to yachts of up to 50m (164ft) and also boasts its own 800-meter beach. Its two linked island resorts, Saii Maldives Lagoon and Hard Rock Hotel, offer fantastic retail therapy, spas and wellness centers as well as exquisite dining options.
A number of other resorts in the Maldives have their own marinas, although they tend to have their own boats which are made available to guests staying at their hotels.
The Maldives is a developing yachting hub, with current plans for more marinas in the pipeline, including in the capital Malé and Dhonakhuli Island in the north.
There are a vast amount of extraordinarily breathtaking and diverse anchorages for you to choose from, peppered throughout its myriad saltwater lagoons and oceans that surround the palm-fringed reefs.
The most spectacular anchorages can be found around the Ari, Kaafu and North Male Atolls in the central region, as well as at Baa and Raa Atolls in the North. To the south, you will find plenty of good anchorages on Thaa and Addu Atolls.
So, relax, unwind and soak up the blissful paradise because this yacht charter promises to be out of this world. Dive into the inviting turquoise-blue waters and glide among colorful shoals of fish and exquisite coral islands – just don't forget your snorkel!
- The Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and a popular hotspot for visitors wanting to see the shoals of manta rays and whale sharks. For this reason, the area is strictly regulated and there is an 80-person capacity at any time. Therefore, it is essential to book ahead to ensure you don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- Have plenty of cash to hand as the only ATMs are in Malé. Although the Maldives has its own currency, US dollars are widely accepted.
- Some anchorages are in fairly deep water, which may be an issue for yachts with a smaller anchor chain. Plus, access to the lagoons through the coral reefs that fringe the atolls can sometimes prove problematic. This has been remedied in places where parts of the outer reef have been blasted away to facilitate access.
- Some of the best anchorages are based around the island resorts, but you should be mindful they will likely charge a fee to anchor or land your yacht at their resorts.
- Please note that the tap water is not drinkable in the Maldives, so bear that in mind if you plan to venture ashore.
- Be sure to respect the Muslim culture in the Maldives by adhering to their dress codes, especially around the towns and cities.
- Alcohol is prohibited in the Maldives, with the exception of the resorts.
The Maldives has three main areas: Northern, Central and Southern Atolls – each with their own unique characteristics.
In the northern region of the Maldives, you will find the breathtaking Baa Atoll, encompassing lush tropical islands fringed by endless powder-white beaches and phenomenal marine ecology, earning it the first UNESCO World Biosphere status. Visit the marine protected area of Hanifaru Bay on the eastern edge of Baa Atoll, and swim with thousands of manta rays performing graceful loops as they hoover rich plankton.
Another must-see is the eco Soneva Fushi resort where you can discover the art of glass-blowing, or enjoy stargazing from the observatory.
The Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru is an island sanctuary situated in the Biosphere Reserve, dedicated to conservation. This resort is the absolute last word in luxury, including wellness and ayurvedic spa therapies allowing you to squeeze in a heavenly pamper session during your yacht charter. For adventurous souls, it also offers a chance to explore the kaleidoscopic underwater world in your own personal submarine, without even getting wet!
Raa Atoll to the north has only recently opened to the public and retains an untouched beauty unrivaled anywhere else in the world.
The Central Atolls encompass a number of popular island reefs in the region, including the North and South Malé Atolls, as well as the stunning Ari Atoll out to the west.
The Maldivian capital of Malé is located on the North Malé Atoll, a colorful island metropolis where you will be swept up in its rhythmic vibe and hustle.
Head over to the award-winning Conrad Hilton Maldives on Rangali Island and dine amongst shoals of fish and rays in the world's first underwater glass restaurant, Ithaa.
From Male, head south to the multi-island luxurious resort at Crossroads Maldives, linked with two other luxury resorts, which also boasts a marina that caters to yachts of up to 55m (180ft).
Many people visit the Central Atolls for diving, which is a truly transcendent experience. You will find excellent dive sites around the Rasdhoo Atoll, where you can swim amongst parrotfish, dolphins, blacktip reef sharks and hammerheads.
Some of the best-recommended dive sites can be found in the Ari Atolls, which includes Ulkulhas Thila in North Ari Atoll, a fantastic place to witness the majestic manta rays, as well as Kuda Tah Thila in the South Ari Atoll, teeming with masses of rainbow-colored reef fish – an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever.
The Southern Atolls are renowned for their romantic secluded beauty popular with honeymooners and epitomized by the heart-shaped picture-perfect image of Addu Atoll, used in thousands of holiday brochures to sell the glorious dream of a Maldives getaway.
Addu Atoll is located in the extreme south of the Maldives, extending past the equator into the Southern Hemisphere. Once a British Naval base, there are numerous sheltered lagoons to anchor in. The Atoll is naturally protected from storms by its heart-shaped barrier reef, providing the area with a rich abundance of tropical marine flora and fauna, making it a superb spot to snorkel in the calm turquoise waters. To the west lies the populated Addu City, as well as a number of luxury resorts.
Gan island, located in the southern end of the Atoll, has its own international airport with regular flights from the capital, Malé.
Many islands in the Southern Atolls are uninhabited, filling you with a sense of peace and tranquility as you decide on which exquisite white sandbar to set up your picnic.
The Maldives is an increasingly popular destination for yachts, however, the selection of yachts is not as comprehensive as for the Mediterranean, therefore it would be wise to book your yacht charter well in advance of your trip to ensure you secure your perfect yacht and itinerary. There tends to be a fair amount of red tape when cruising the Maldives, such as permits and various local taxes, therefore it is essential your yacht charter broker is familiar with the country's rules and regulations around the various islands.
There are so many amazing places to see and experience, an experienced broker can help you choose the perfect itinerary to make your dream yacht charter vacation become a reality.
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