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Why January Is The Perfect Time To Visit This Iconic Tropical Destination

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South Asia is filled with dreamy, sun-kissed destinations that have become that much more alluring now that winter has fully descended in North America; however, few places are as iconic or coveted as the Maldives.

woman walking on a pier in the Maldives

The gorgeous archipelago has become the very image that pops into every traveler’s head when they think of a tropical paradise, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a person who’s not pining to experience the white-sanded beaches at least once in their lives.

If a trip to the Maldives is in the books this winter, now might be the best time to finalize the logistics – January is the best month to visit the stunning country.

Here’s why:

Reasonable Flight Prices

The 9,563 miles (15,390 km) between the U.S. and the Maldives make travel one of the biggest expenses of your tropical getaway, so finding the right time to book those plane tickets can make a major difference in your budget.

Luckily, January boasts some of the lowest airfares of the year, with flights starting at $895, which, while not cheap by any means, is as close to budget-friendly as you’ll get when it comes to booking a trip to the Maldives.

bungalow villas in the Maldives

While the cheapest possible month to fly to the South Asian paradise is actually March (when airfare starts at $872), at this time of year, there’s an exponentially higher chance of sudden bursts of rain, which makes the small price difference feel not all that worth it.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, those looking to travel during busier months like December or July will be looking at plane tickets that start at $1047 and $1455 respectively, so just timing your visit correctly could end up saving you up to $560 per person!

Balmy Weather

The region’s temperamental weather, greatly complemented by the wild, natural beauty, can really put a damper on your long-awaited (and expensive) getaway.

aerial view of Maldives beach

However, that shouldn’t be too much of a concern in January.

The first month of the year marks the dry season in the Maldives, offering travelers the perfect weather to bask in the warm, tropical sun.

During this time, rainfall is minimal and temperatures hover around 75-86°F (24-30°C), which is perfect for sunbathing sessions and maritime excursions without having to worry about the excessive heat the archipelago is known to reach during March and April.

view of a Maldives Beach

So, if you’re planning a trip to the Maldives this January, make sure to pack lightweight, breathable clothing made from natural fibers (think cotton or linen) so you can stay as cool and comfortable as possible even under the hot mid-day sun.

Fewer Tourists

While there might be a couple of months throughout the monsoon season that are better equipped for those looking to avoid crowds at all costs, January is as good as you can get quietness-wise while also enjoying the warm, rain-free weather we all dream of when we think of the Maldives.

Maldives scenery

Interestingly, December and February are the most popular months in the country based on Kayak’s last year data, leaving a short, tranquil window in January for you to take advantage of.

It’s important to note that though January is often considered an off-peak month, that’s always relative to the number of people the archipelago is used to welcoming on a regular basis.

Millions of tourists flock to the Maldives year-round, so even though January is relatively quiet, don’t expect a fully private experience when visiting the country’s biggest hotspots – however, finding a more peaceful place to wind down afterward should be pretty easy.

Young adult couple standing on a sandbank against turquoise water in Maldives

Unique Sightseeing Opportunities

Visiting the Maldives in January not only grants you great weather and reasonable flight prices but also a few unique opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of if you were to visit any time.

For example, January marks the beginning of the manta ray season, when the fascinating creatures congregate in large numbers to feed on the plankton-rich waters of the region.

Flying Manta

The South Ari Atoll, in particular, is one of the most famous hotspots for manta ray sightings during this time, so take the opportunity to dive or snorkel to truly take in the breathtaking views.

Come next month, and you’ll also be able to experience the magic of bioluminescent shores – I can guarantee that taking a nocturnal stroll along the beaches of Vaadhoo Island to witness the fairytale-like glow will be one of the most memorable parts of your trip, and trust me, the competition is stiff.

Moreover, January is an excellent month for dolphin watching, seaplane excursions, and surfing on Thulusdhoo Island.

Bioluminescent glowing beach in the Maldives

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.