Scattered across the Indian Ocean, the atolls of the Maldives lie approximately 435 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. The country is comprised of 1,192 tiny coral islands, of which only 200 are inhabited. Over recent years, the Maldives have come to define luxury in increasingly opulent terms. But the real draw is the opportunity to live out a Robinson Crusoe fantasy in an exquisite setting. Because the Maldives is a devoutly Muslim country, the government has insulated its tourist trade from the local population. A few hotels offer day trips to the capital of Malé, but most travelers spend their entire visits happily sequestered at the resorts of their choice.

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