Part of the appeal of staying on a desert island is the fact that there isn't much to do apart from relax, which can be limiting for children. Younger kids will enjoy playing in the water and on the beach, but older children and teenagers may find resort life a little confining after a few days, and they may get bored.

  • Families should look for resorts that offer lots of activities.
  • Kayaking and fishing trips are always popular, and many places also offer courses in sailing, windsurfing and other water sports.
  • The minimum age for scuba diving is 10 years, but most resorts offer a ‘bubble blowers’ introduction for younger kids, which is very popular, and supervised snorkelling is always possible.
  • Kids clubs – for those aged 12 and under – and clubs for teenagers are very common in bigger, smarter resorts. These are free and the kids clubs run activities all day long, while teenagers are generally able to do what they want – even if it means playing computer games in a darkened air-conditioned room. Where resorts have good kids clubs or a generally welcoming child-friendly policy, we’ve included the child-friendly icon.
  • Although exotic cuisine is sometimes on the menu, you'll always find some standard Western-style dishes that kids will find appealing.
  • Young children are more susceptible to sunburn than adults, so bring sun hats and plenty of sunblock. Lycra swim shirts are an excellent idea – they can be worn on the beach and in the water and block out most UV radiation.

Practicalities

Note that some resorts do not encourage young children – check with the resort before you book. Children under five are often banned from honeymoon resorts and there is normally a minimum age requirement of 10 or 12 for water villas, given the obvious safety issues. Where kids are welcome, it’s no problem booking cots and organising high chairs in restaurants, and there’s often a kids club and babysitting services as well.

Baby supplies are available in Male, but usually not in resorts, so bring all the nappies and formula you’ll need for the duration of the holiday. Outside resorts, breast-feeding should only be done in private given the conservative nature of Maldivian society.