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The Maldives

When is the best time to visit the Indian Ocean?

Its sub-tropical climate means the Indian Ocean is blessed with warm, dry weather for much of the year, with near-perfect beach conditions available somewhere in the region at all times.

If you have your heart set on the Seychelles, we’d advise going in April and May or October and November. The Maldives make a great escape from the northern European winter between November and April, while October and December provide the best weather in Mauritius. Sri Lanka is a year-round destination, with the southwest coast at its best between December and April, and the east coast and the north from May to September.

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Our recommendations for when to visit Indian Ocean

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
The Maldives climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Mauritius climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The Seychelles climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Sri Lanka climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Zanzibar Archipelago climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Madagascar climate guide

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Best time to visit

Best time to visit

Good time to visit

Good time to visit

Travel possible

Travel possible

Not recommended

Not recommended

Month-by-month guide to travelling in the Indian Ocean

Fishing dhow, Zanzibar

Visiting the Indian Ocean in January

The Maldives and Zanzibar make great destinations in January with balmy temperatures, clear skies and good visibility for diving and snorkeling. It’s also a very popular time to visit, so book well in advance. Sri Lanka is another good option at this time of year, when the southwest and central hills are warm and dry and the seas are calm.

Events & Festivals

  • Galle Literary Festival (end of January/early February): Talks, workshops and author events in the town’s old Dutch Fort.
Blacktip reef sharks, Aldabra, Seychelles

Visiting the Indian Ocean in February

Hot and sunny weather continues in the Maldives and Zanzibar, making this peak season for visitors. The clear seas and calm water ensure good diving and snorkeling, but you’ll need to book well in advance. Hawksbill turtles begin to hatch in the Seychelles and you may see hatchlings making their way to the sea for the first time.

Events & Festivals

  • Galle Literary Festival (end of January/early February): Talks, workshops and author events in the town’s old Dutch Fort.
  • Holi festival (end of February or early March): Celebrating the beginning of spring, the Festival of Colours sees tinted powders and water thrown around the streets in Mauritius.
Anse Cocos, La Digue

Visiting the Indian Ocean in March

The Maldives’ spell of hot, dry weather continues making it a good time to visit, with clear seas offering great visibility for divers. Mauritius is hot and humid, while along Sri Lanka’s south coast you may see blue, sperm, fin and Bryde's whales, as well as many dolphin species, turtles and tuna. In the Seychelles, the northwest trade wind blows in during this period and the climate here is also hot and humid, with some rainfall.

Events & Festivals

  • Holi festival (end of February or early March): Celebrating the beginning of spring, the Festival of Colours sees tinted powders and water thrown around the streets in Mauritius.
Mauritius

Visiting the Indian Ocean in April

The winds drop in the Seychelles and the weather is hot and humid, making it a lovely time to visit. Northern Sri Lanka is warm and dry, good for visits to the Cultural Triangle or to the east coast. Though the south stays warm and sunny, showers increase. Mauritius is hot and dry, while the Maldives have a slight risk of rain.

Events & Festivals

  • Sinhalese and Tamil New Year (14th April): Celebrated with a public holiday and family feasts.
Mauritius

Visiting the Indian Ocean in May

May is one of the best months to travel to Mauritius, with warm temperatures but lower humidity and not so many visitors, so there can be some great hotel offers available. You may also find deals in the Maldives as rain increases and sea visibility drops, while the southeast trade winds mean it’s best to stay on the west coast of the Seychelles’ islands.

Events & Festivals

  • Vesak (early May): A religious and cultural festival celebrated in Sri Lanka with special street lanterns, street food and huge, illuminated pandals.
Indri

Visiting the Indian Ocean in June

In Zanzibar and Madagascar, the rains have eased and temperatures are decreasing, making it a good time to visit. The landscape is lush and green, with wildlife such as lemurs and reptiles often spotted in Madagascar. Mauritius makes a great destination if you’d like warm, but not overly hot, weather, while the Seychelles are hot and humid with southeast winds.

Elephants, Yala National Park

Visiting the Indian Ocean in July

July is a good time to visit Sri Lanka’s east coast beaches and cultural sights as well as its northern wildlife reserves. It’s a busy time however, so book ahead. It’s also a popular time in Mauritius, though the winds are beginning to pick up and temperatures are dropping gradually. Zanzibar remains warm and dry, while Madagascar is cool and dry.

Events & Festivals

  • Independence Day in the Maldives (26th July): Celebrated with parades, performances and street festivals.
  • Kandy Perahera (July or August): One of the oldest and largest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, celebrating the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha with processions and traditional dancing.
Walking in Andringitra National Park,Andringitra National Park

Visiting the Indian Ocean in August

For a beach retreat, Zanzibar and Mauritius are warm and dry in August, but nights can be cool. In Sri Lanka, the weather is best in the north and along the east coast beaches, while in Madagascar, the temperatures are cooler but the skies clear making it good for exploring the forests and hills, and you may spot humpback whales around Ile Sainte-Marie.

Events & Festivals

  • Kandy Perahera (July or August): One of the oldest and largest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, celebrating the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha with processions and traditional dancing.
  • The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival (August or September): Mauritius celebrates the Hindu god Ganesh with devotional processions taking Ganesh statues to the sea to be immersed in water.
Mauritius

Visiting the Indian Ocean in September

The trade winds die down during September in Mauritius and the temperatures start to rise once again. Zanzibar continues its spell of warm, dry weather, while Madagascar offers the chance to see humpback whales and lemurs with their newborns. Sri Lanka’s north and east coast see the country’s finest weather, while the Seychelles can be windy.

Events & Festivals

  • The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival (August or September): Mauritius celebrates the Hindu god Ganesh with devotional processions taking Ganesh statues to the sea to be immersed in water.
Hawksbill turtle, Seychelles

Visiting the Indian Ocean in October

Mauritius is at its best in October, with dry weather and pleasant temperatures but can get busy around school breaks. The wind is beginning to drop in the Seychelles and hawksbill turtles start laying their eggs, while in the Maldives there’s an increased risk of rain but the chance to see whale sharks and manta rays. There are also good deals on hotels.

Events & Festivals

  • Diwali (October/November): The Hindi Festival of Light is marked in Mauritius with enthusiastic celebrations and lamps everywhere.
Fossa, Madagascar

Visiting the Indian Ocean in November

Temperatures increase around Madagascar and there’s a chance to see fossa — endemic, cat-like, carnivorous mammals in the west. Lemurs, reptiles and tenrecs can also often be spotted at this time. Temperatures and humidity start to rise in Mauritius and the weather here and in Sri Lanka becomes less predictable, while the Seychelles is hot and humid.

Events & Festivals

  • Diwali (October/November): The Hindi Festival of Light is marked in Mauritius with enthusiastic celebrations and lamps everywhere.
La Digue beach, Seychelles

Visiting the Indian Ocean in December

Christmas and New Year are popular times to travel in the Indian Ocean so book well in advance. For white sands and blue skies, the Seychelles offer hot, humid and windy weather, Sri Lanka is warm and dry in the south and west, and you’ll get prime wildlife viewing in Madagascar with lemurs, reptiles and tenrecs regularly spotted.