Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013

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Maldives Emerging

Find paradise on a tiny, tropical atoll in the Indian Ocean—snorkeling required

Why Go NowSure, Will and Kate hit the oft-compared Seychelles for their honeymoon, but one can vacation just as royally (and romantically) in the Maldives, too. And there's no time like the present, either: As the lowest country on earth, its 1,200 islands are slowly sinking into the Indian Ocean. Don't wait for changes in sea level and water temperature to further impact this remote retreat or its stunning coral reefs. Two new airports in as many years—in Baa Atoll and Gaafu Alifu Atoll—make it easier to reach the Maldives' southern and northern islands, respectively, and start relaxing that much sooner. –by Cate Starmer

Where to StayFor a luxury eco-resort, check into the 2011-opened Six Senses on Laamu Atoll where you'll be greeted by your very own private butler. Rooms have outdoor rain showers and tubs to soak in the nature; there's also an impressive spa. Open since early 2012, The Residence Maldives is situated on Gaafu Alifu, known as the world's largest atoll (complete with a picturesque emerald lagoon). Both properties offer Trip of a Lifetime essentials like private plunge pools and over-the-water villas.

Insider TipBe sure to check out the stunning setting from above and below sea level. Snorkeling is practically an admission requirement, but flight-seeing tours aboard a helicopter or seaplane offer a different, and mesmerizing, perspective.

Word of Mouth "The Maldives is so beautiful as to make you weep, glorious sunsets, great snorkeling," says Fodorite Cicerone. "You can generally snorkel right off the beach on the hotel's "house" reef, and then take boat trips to more remote places. Most all offer water sports like kayaking, sailing and also power boat stuff like water-skiing. However, it is ALL about the beach."

When to Go December to March are the most popular (and driest) months; April to November are more likely to have windy and rainy weather; but you'll find, on average, eight hours of sunshine a day all year long.

Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's Maldives Travel Guide.

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