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Passport The Maldives When to go: Year-round The cost: $3,599, 7 days Why go: Escapism doesn’t get more natural than on these exotic green islands surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters. The Maldives have a long and interesting story as they lie along a popular trading route in the Indian Ocean that’s as old as recorded history. This constant flow of varied cultures has resulted in a people that are as different as the islands they populate, carrying genes of Asians, Africans and Arabians. This cultural blending makes for very interesting local arts, cuisine and traditions. Though the modern focus is on tourism, Maldivians work hard to uphold their time-honored individuality, beliefs and even some intriguing superstitions. 62