The Maldives make up a total of twenty six atolls, with many (otherwise uninhabited) islands being occupied by a single resort hotel. Vacationers usually spend much of their time on hotel premises, so picking the right island is a matter of relative importance. Staying at upscale resorts, however, isn't the only option available to visitors. Since recently, the Maldives have appeared on the radars of budget travelers - a few inns and guest houses have opened up on the larger, inhabited islands (Guraidhoo and Maafushi, to name a couple). This has given start to breaking down the age-old conception of Maldives as an exclusive, luxury destination solely for honeymooners and the world's rich and famous.
Global warming, and - consequently - rising sea levels have brought about alarming news and heated discussions about the future of these pristine islands, and whether the nation is doomed to go underwater in a few decades' time. Do try and take advantage of the islands' beauty and marine riches now, while tourism in the area is booming like never before, and the Maldives are becoming economically accessible to an an increasing number of travelers.