Your guide to being an expatriate in Maldives

Caffeinate Your Maldives Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Spanning over 1,192 coral islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a tropical paradise that has captivated travelers and settlers alike for centuries. Known for its unparalleled beauty, this sovereign island nation boasts pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, and lush vegetation. Maldives' rich heritage can be witnessed in its vibrant culture and traditions.


Expat destinations in Maldives

Demographics of Maldives:

Ethnic groups

Dhivehi (Sunni Muslim) 98%, Sri Lankan 1%, other 1%


Dhivehi (official), English (widely spoken as a second language in the tourist industry and government), and various other languages spoken by ethnic minorities.

Religion Overview

The Maldives is a Muslim nation, and Islam has played a significant role in shaping its culture and traditions. Home to one of the oldest religious traditions in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives' history is marked by visits from the Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, who spread the faith to the region. Today, over 99% of the Maldivian population practices Sunni Islam, and religious observances are a fundamental part of daily life.

Major Religions


The Maldives enjoys a tropical climate with consistent temperatures that oscillate between 24-31°C (75-88°F). The dry season lasts from November to April, while the wet season lasts from May to October. Maldives' location atop a vast limestone platform results in the sea level being 1 to 1.5 meters higher than most other landmasses in the region, making it susceptible to rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Economy Overview

Due to its strategic location at the crossroads of major sea lanes, Maldives has evolved as an important trading hub. The country's economy is largely dependent on tourism, fishing, and agriculture, with over 60% of its GDP coming from the tourism industry. Fishing remains a significant source of livelihood for many Maldivians, with tuna being the most exported product. Recently, Maldives has started exploring renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, to lessen its dependence on imported oil.

Key Industries

  • Tourism
  • Fishing
  • Agriculture
  • Trade
  • Manufacturing

Major Companies

  • Island Aviation Services Pvt Ltd (sector: Aviation)
  • Marine Savers Beach House Pvt Ltd (sector: Hospitality)
  • Maldives Triangle Pvt Ltd (sector: Duty-free shopping)
  • Ocean Group (sector: Real Estate)
  • Blue Horizon Trading (sector: Wholesale Trade)

Culture and Language Overview

The Maldives' cultural heritage is a fascinating amalgamation of Indian, Arabic, and South Asian influences. Islam has had a significant cultural impact, evident in the country's arts, cuisine, music, and clothing. Maldives' cuisine is distinct and diverse, with seafood being a central component. Festivals such as the Kuddoo Festival (held in November) and the Sinamalee Frame Festival (held over Easter weekend) are widely celebrated.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cuisine: Seafood staples include 'garudhiya' (a fish soup), 'mas huni' (a breakfast dish made from scrambled tuna), and 'ridhi' (spicy tuna curry).
  • Festivals: The Kuddoo Festival, known for its traditional Maldivian dance and music performances, is usually held in November. The Sinamalee Frame Festival, held over Easter weekend, is a renowned cultural festival during which locals gather to showcase traditional Maldivian crafts like weaving, lacquer work, and plaiting.
  • Attire: The traditional Maldivian attire for men and women includes a 'bodu beru' (a long white tunic) and 'naanu' (a head covering wrapped around the head and body).
  • Music: The Maldives is known for its distinct music style, Maldivian traditional music or 'bodu beru' (literally meaning 'big drum'), featuring drumming, hand clapping, and singing. Popular rhythms include 'bayya' (sung while diving), 'sateli' (sung during the full moon), and 'faaalu' (sung during house visits to bless the new house).

Geography and Landmarks Overview

The Maldives is made up of around 1,190 small coral islands, mostly arranging themselves in a north-south chain known as 'natural atolls,' which offer a haven for marine life. The islands are low-lying, with the highest point, Kudahaas Ganduosi, no more than 2.4 meters above sea level. Mahibadhoo Island is the largest inhabited island, while Gan is the location of Velana International Airport (formerly Ibrahim Nasir International Airport).

Notable Landmarks

  • ADK Maldives Convention Centre & Chamber (Male)
  • National Museum of Maldives (Male)
  • Islamic Centre (Male)
  • Hulhule Island Hotel (Hulhule)
  • BIYADHOO Island Resort (South Ari Atoll)

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Maundy Thursday (Thursday before Easter)
  • Good Friday (Friday before Easter)
  • Easter Sunday (1st Sunday after Full Moon in March or April)
  • Independence Day (July 26)
  • Eid al-Fitr (3rd day of the Islamic month of Shawwal)
  • Eid al-Adha (10th day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah)
  • Republic Day (November 11)
  • Democracy Day (October 2)

Political Stability

"Maldives history, marked by a series of political coups and internal power struggles, is complex. It became an independent nation in 1965 and adopted a presidential system in 1997. While the country has achieved relative political stability in recent years, some key issues continue to challenge the nation's development. The Maldives' highest court, the Supreme Court, was suspended in February 2016 to calm a political crisis, which sparked protests and criticisms from regional and international bodies.

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