Picture it: Calm, crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and a personal hut that sits just over the water so that in the mornings, a sunrise swim is only steps away. Pair that with a soft breeze that only the ocean can produce and the freshest seafood imaginable for dinner each night, and suddenly, the Maldives is created.

This grouping of islands (about 1,200 in total) has been an overwhelmingly popular destination for both celebrities and those who have the money to afford a vacation there. In recent years, however, it hasn't just been for the wealthy - many are discovering the sheer bliss that comes with an island vacation unlike any other. Still wondering why it's such a dream destination? Here's why it will likely always be a favorite.

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Life Is Simple

A common trend when visiting the Maldives is that it feels like time slows down here. Not only do travelers have the luxury to partake in activities at their own pace but if they choose not to, then they could simply spend an entire day lounging by the oceanside.

If they're staying at a resort, there's a number of different things they can choose from to pass the time, including:

  • Boat tours
  • Shopping in Malé
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba diving
  • Sightseeing tours
  • Spa days
  • Beachcombing
  • Visiting the fish markets
  • Going on historic tours

With so many colorful reefs surrounding these islands, there's plenty of life to explore underwater as well as above the water. When staying at a luxury hut, guests may even have the chance to see some of the local marine life swimming around their accommodations as well!

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A Life Of True Luxury

It comes at a cost but that cost is undeniably worth it. Resorts in the Maldives can come with anything from swimming pools within the ocean to resorts that are literally right on the beach, only steps away from the water. There, the lines are blurred between a hotel and the island itself, and, more often than not, visitors feel as though they're sleeping in the open with the ocean air to soothe them to sleep.

The Six Senses Laamu resort features 97 sustainable Maldive-style villas that are literally built to hover just over the water. Visitors have access to multiple beaches - as well as the mainland island - via wooden dock bridges that extend across the Indian Ocean. There, visitors can snorkel or surf, thanks to calm waters on one side of the island and breaking waves on the other. Although the island on which this resort is located is small, it's not lacking in scenery as much of it is covered with lush vegetation. There's just as much wildlife to see on a hike through the forest as there is during a snorkeling excursion offshore, and to say it's magical would be an understatement. While this is only one resort, a majority of the other Maldives resorts offer similar experiences.

The Food Is Unparalleled

The great thing about booking a resort in the Maldives is that guests will often get a meal credit. This is entirely worth it simply because of the fact that the food on these islands is second to none; there are few islands that can compare with the dishes produced by chefs in this location. With a base of fresh, local ingredients and a blending of cuisine styles, the meals served at each resort will always vary based on the time of the year and the catch of the day.

Additionally, visitors have the option to explore the local Maldives food scene outside of the resort, which is highly recommended. A trip to the fish market will result in plenty of fresh, exotic seafood options, any of which can be cooked up to perfection. Visitors will find anything from fresh seafood curry to Maldivian lobster, which is often so fresh that's it's cooked in front of diners - there's a lot of pride when it comes to the food that comes straight from the ocean surrounding. Sweet dishes, such as Saagu Bondibai, make use of coconut milk and condensed milk to create a creamy, decadent bite that travelers should not miss on their Maldives trip.

While much of the cuisine is influenced by local ingredients, it's also influenced by the tropical island lifestyle that Maldivian locals so love. The island's fruits and vegetables are just as exotic as its flavors; something such as cassava can be cooked down and used in a dessert that's sweet and satisfying, while pumpkin and sweet potato are used in savory dishes.

Next: The Maldives Is The Lowest Country On The Planet, And Other Things To Know Before You Visit