The 26 postcard-perfect atolls in the Indian Ocean that make up the Maldives are so pristine they may seem too perfect to be true. Lying 700km (434 mi) southwest of Sri Lanka, the low-lying coral islands are nothing if not isolated, and the 1,200 islets, secluded lagoons, and crystal blue waters have made it a place of pilgrimage for scuba divers from around the world. Unfortunately, as much of the country is within reach of rising sea levels (the highest point is about 2m (6.6 ft) above sea level), the country is in danger of shrinking. For the time being however, paradise is still available – for a price. Make sure you have lots of room on your credit card, as prices can be sky-high.