Although these series of islands have been dealt a harsh blow in the 21st century, from the deterioration of the coral reefs at the hands of El Nino to the tragic tsunami of 2004 which decimated much of the coastline around the islands, Maldives is nevertheless one of the most definitive luxury destinations the entire planet when it comes to experiencing the ultimate in island living.
Made up of nearly 1,200 coral islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives themselves are made up of 26 atolls, or ring-like coral formations that are literally hundreds of kilometers wide which have broken down over the years into a plethora of islands. The reefs themselves were originally based around the edges of massive pre-historic volcanoes which have long since sunk beneath the surface of the sea, leaving behind a series of structures which created some of the most beautiful coral scenery on the planet.
If coming here to experience some of the warmest waters on the planet, some of the best diving conditions, the most amazing underwater scenery, and blissful lifestyle of pure relaxation, then you've come to the right place. However, if you are here to experience a Caribbean-style vacation, you might want to set your sights elsewhere. The islands are made up almost entirely Sunni Muslims, which means that pork, alcohol, pornography, and public observance of non-Muslim religions are all strictly prohibited. The former three will be confiscated at the airport if you happen to be traveling with such, and if you are a religious individual you'll have to make arrangements for private observance in your hotel room or otherwise if you happen to be non-Muslim.
Maldives is fairly expensive, although it is accessible to all levels of travelers. However, deep pockets are required if you want the full experience. Transportation between the islands is done by either boat, sea plane, or private yachts, although the latter is reserved almost entirely to tourists.