As the last lights of Sri Lanka's capital of Columbo fade into the night, the vast darkness of the Indian Ocean sets in. For 600 kilometers, it's nothing but the velvety black of the sea and a canopy of stars. Then, like a brilliant shower of sparks, the coral island nation of the Maldives appears. Arriving in the Maldives—made up of around 1,200 islands (the number is constantly changing with the season) spread out over 26 atolls—is the oceanic equivalent of reaching an oasis in the desert. While fisherman and traders have long used the port of Malé as a checkpoint, today most accommodations are of the luxury variety—in our case the Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa.
Arriving in the pitch black night, there are no lines of cabs