An incredibly informative article that will enlighten you on the potential dangers in the Maldives facing tourists. Not only will I cover the hazards on land and in water, but I’ll also delve into island safety, exploring the attitudes of locals towards tourists and what to be wary of or avoid. Additionally, I’ll discuss the nuances of vacationing with children.
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Table of Contents
Safety in the Maldives for tourists
Let’s begin with safety in the Maldives. Tourists in the Maldives have absolutely nothing to fear. As the locals themselves often say, Maldivians do not steal, rob, or deceive. The only people who may cause harm to a tourist are other tourists. I, for one, wholeheartedly agree.
Having spent a significant amount of time on local islands, I cannot recall a single instance of a tourist being robbed or stolen from. It’s just not something that happens here, and with populations ranging from 100 to 2,000 on each island, everyone knows each other
- On the Maldives, there is no theft in hotel rooms,
- and belongings can be left unattended on the beach. It’s common for many tourists to leave their belongings on a towel and go snorkeling for two hours, and it’s perfectly safe.
- In addition, tourists are not overcharged in stores and restaurants. Situations where prices are inflated because of your tourist status are extremely rare. It might happen if the seller is not a local but a migrant, such as from India or Sri Lanka, but they are few in number.
It is important to know:100% of Maldivian citizens are Muslim, and theft is considered a grave sin in Islam. Therefore, it’s not even theoretically possible for someone to approach you with a knife and steal your wallet at night. Learn about the impact of religion on the tourist experience in the Maldives.
It’s important to remember that there is a police station on every local island, and if anything happens, you can go there for help. However, you won’t find police officers on the roads.
Nonetheless, even though the country is safe, basic precautions are still necessary:
- Avoid showing large sums of money.
- Don’t leave expensive items unattended.
As my Maldivian friend once told me, tourists should be most wary of other tourists. There’s no need to fear the locals.
Dangers in the Maldives
Now let’s consider the question of dangers in the Maldives. Everyone understands that there is no need to fear people and a tourist will feel comfortable. However, apart from humans, there are dangerous inhabitants and natural phenomena that one should be aware of at the very least.
Tsunami in the Maldives
Tourists’ concerns about tsunamis are understandable. The country is island-based and located in the open ocean, with the largest island only a couple of kilometers wide, and the highest point in the country being 2.4 meters. Any reasonably high wave can wash away any Maldivian island.
But here’s what you need to know about tsunami in the Maldives:
- The Maldives are located in a seismically inactive region. This means that there are no earthquakes here, and the islands cannot be in its epicenter.
- Theoretical risk of tsunamis exists. But in practice, there is nothing to fear, and if anything, the Maldives are already prepared for tsunamis.
It is important to know:In 2004, there was an underwater earthquake in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Indonesia. The magnitude was 9.3. It was the third most potent earthquake in history. The epicenter was 2,500 km away from the Maldives. The tsunami went through the entire Indian Ocean and hit the Maldives. The number of victims is estimated at 300,000 people in 15 countries, but the Maldives were luckier: minimal destruction and 80 people died. Today, there is a monument to the victims of this tsunami in the port of Villingili (Male).
After this first and so far only tsunami, the lesson was learned in the Maldives, and the coastal line was reinforced everywhere. They built serious breakwaters and protective barriers around large islands.
Even if, God forbid, there is a repeat of such a catastrophic event, the Maldives should be able to withstand it. By the way, in early 2023, the strongest earthquake in Turkey with a magnitude of 7.4 occurred. And the Maldives survived a 9.3. Such earthquakes and tsunamis occur not even every 50 years, but much less often.
Dangerous fish, sharks, rays
There are things to be afraid of for tourists here. And most of the dangers in the Maldives are lurking in the water, which happens to be home to one of the world’s richest and most diverse underwater ecosystems. You can read more about it in the article linked below, and learn who to be wary of and who not to be.
- Sharks. There are 24 or 26 species of sharks in the Maldives, but none of them are dangerous to humans. There are no great white sharks or any other type that could attack humans. The most common sharks in the Maldives here are nurse sharks, which don’t even have proper teeth and feed on plankton.
- In the Maldives, there are many excursions where you can swim with the sharks. All of them are safe, but it’s important to remember that sharks are still predators with instincts, and to observe standard safety measures. Learn more about excursions in the Maldives.
- Throughout its history, there has never been a single case of a shark attacking a human in the Maldives. However, there have been instances where a shark accidentally brushed up against a tourist while feeding. Some required stitches on their fingers or legs, but all ended up being fine. The conclusion is that sharks in the Maldives do not have an intention to eat humans. But it’s also best not to interfere with what they are eating.
- The same goes for stingrays, turtles, and so on. Stingrays have a barb on their tail that won’t kill a human but can cause injury. Turtles have powerful beaks, so it’s best not to stick your fingers near them.
In general, no underwater inhabitant wants to attack humans. All injuries are caused by the foolishness and stupidity of tourists, such as feeding a sharks in the Maldives by hand, putting a finger in a turtle’s mouth, or petting a stingray.
And then there are a lot of tears on the internet about being attacked. By the way, it is mandatory to have travel insurance when visiting the Maldives, which is also required for entry into the country. Learn all about Maldives insurance.
Of the dangerous fish for humans, there are only two here: the triggerfish and the stonefish. The triggerfish is simply aggressive and attacks anyone who swims above its nest. So, if you see one like the photo below, it’s best to swim away. It won’t seriously bite, but it will scare you. The stonefish simply lies on the bottom with spikes and you can step on it, as it blends in with the sand and coral. Coral shoes completely solve the problem. But it is rare to encounter them on popular beaches.
There are no jellyfish in the Maldives, and there are very few sea urchins. Therefore, of all the dangers of underwater creatures in the Maldives, tourists should only be wary of the stonefish. If you step on one, you won’t die, but you will limp for a couple of weeks.
Dangerous animals, insects and coconuts 🙂
Is it dangerous in the Maldives? What about poisonous insects, snakes, animals, or even plants? Let me put your mind at ease, the Maldives is a paradise for both adults and children. Here are some details on what to expect when traveling with kids to the Maldives.
Good to know:There are no wild animals, predators, poisonous plants, or insects on the Maldivian islands. In fact, there are no snakes at all. The only hazards for tourists in the Maldives are mosquitoes and coconuts.
It’s essential to understand that:
- around 200 people die every year worldwide from falling coconuts. There are many coconut trees on the Maldives, and in some places, they are harvested to prevent any accidents. However, this is not the case everywhere, so always check the top of the palm tree where you plan to relax.
- Mosquitoes do exist in the Maldives, but they won’t significantly disrupt your vacation. However, there tends to be more of them after sunset. It’s ideal to bring a plug-in mosquito repellent with you on your trip. Once you arrive, plug it in and let it run continuously during your stay. This will ensure that your vacation is uninterrupted.
- What else should you bring with you on your trip to the Maldives, besides mosquito repellent and sunscreen?
- For those concerned about malaria, the government of the Maldives claims that the disease has been eradicated from the islands for several years now. However, it’s still recommended to use insect repellent in the evenings. Although malaria is easily diagnosed and treated, it’s still better to be safe than sorry. And this is another reason why having travel insurance is essential.
Ultraviolet index (UV index)
One of the most non-obvious dangers in the Maldives is the ultraviolet index. I will briefly explain, as you can read in detail in the article about the weather and seasons in the Maldives.
Here’s what you need to know about it:
- The Maldives are located practically on the equator. You can read more about this in the article “Maldives on the World Map“.
- It’s summer and +30°C all year round here. The difference in average temperature between the coldest and hottest months is only 2-3 degrees.
- Those who did well in geography at school know that more ultraviolet radiation reaches the surface of the earth at the equator. The sun here is the most merciless. You can get a sunburn in just 30 minutes in the sun.
Even SPF50 sunscreen doesn’t help much, especially for those who have just arrived. To put this into perspective, in our latitudes, Central Europe, the UV index in the middle of the day in the summer reaches 6-7-8 points. Anything above 10 is considered critical.
It is important to know:In the Maldives, no one looks at weather forecasts or air temperature, as it’s the same all year round. Here, they pay attention to the ultraviolet index.
You should have sunscreen with you when you arrive in the Maldives. You can certainly buy it here, but until you find a store, until you get there, and if there’s not always time. You’ll burn instantly. And a bedtime question: What’s the first thing tourists do when they arrive in the Maldives? They run to the beach, not to the store. Trouble will come without sunscreen 🙂
In conclusion, you now definitely know if it’s dangerous in the Maldives and what tourists should be afraid of. Honestly, it’s absolutely safe here, the crime rate tends to zero. And of the natural dangers that can actually await tourists, it’s stonefish, coconuts on palm trees, and the ultraviolet index. Well, and annoying mosquitoes after sunset. There’s absolutely nothing else to fear here.
Have a peaceful and relaxing vacation on these paradise islands!
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