The Maldives are a beautiful, natural chain of over 1,190 tiny, low-lying islands. Spread over 90,000 square kilometres, they are also some of the most dispersed in the world, yet in landmass only twice the size of Washington DC. Situated far out in the Indian Ocean, they are divided up into 26 atolls, or groups of islands (the word atoll, which originated from a Maldivian word atholhu in the Dhivehi language, means ‘ring-shaped coral’).
The Maldives stand around 700 kilometres southwest of Sri Lanka and approximately 400 kilometres from the tip of Southern India. The tips of a vast underwater mountain range, the islands make up part of the 2,000km-long Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos Group.
These tiny islands (the largest is only eight kilometres long) are surrounded by spectacularly clear waters. The land itself is made up of live coral reefs and sand bars, making the natural ecosystem here truly distinctive. Coral patches may be exposed at low tide and just as quickly covered up again six hours later. For the islands are some of the lowest lying on the planet. They are typically flat, with the highest point above sea level reaching a mere 10 feet.
As to Cocoa Island, the resort is located in the South Malé Atoll (or South Kaafu Atoll), only 40 minutes by speedboat from the capital of Malé, which is also where the international airport is located. The equator, an imaginary line equidistant from the North and South Poles, passes through the Maldives, just south of Cocoa.