Maldives is probably one of the world’s best holiday destinations in the world ! Maldives is not only popular for white sand beaches, coral reefs & crystal blue waters but also for its spectacular and rich underwater life. If you are a certified scuba diver or if you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons then head to Maldives and explore one of the most amazing underwater world .
1/ WHERE TO DIVE IN MALDIVES
Resorts scuba diving vacations are strongly recommended for beginners and intermediates divers . Each resort has its own dive center with luxury facilities and personal dedicated instructors. Of course this service comes with a price. Resort holidays are not cheap in Maldives and diving packages can be expensive. Before booking a resort we advise you to consider all the expenses you will have to face (accommodation, transfers, food and beverages, extras…)
Resorts have excellent good dive sites nearby and they usually make the most of the sites but don’t forget that you will have no choice but to dive in a limited area. This geographical limitation will forbid you from discovering some marine species & underwater landscapes only visible in specific areas.
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You want a resort holiday type island without spending thousands on accommodation, food and dives? This friendly holiday option will give you the opportunity to interact with the local community and experience the traditional Maldivian culture and way of life.
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You have plenty of local islands to choose from and several accommodations types that cost less than resorts. Each local island will have one or more dive center, all certified with qualified & licensed dive masters .
Guests houses are a very interesting budget solution in a resort dominated country. But just like the resorts, your dives will be limited to a single area. Make sure to choose wisely your local island in an atoll reputed for his diving location.
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*LIVE ABOARD (SAFARI BOAT) :
If you wish for the greatest marine diversity, if you want a value-for-money accommodation, if you want to explore the real Maldives, then safari boat holidays are made for you.
Diving cruise vacations are very popular as you will travel across different atolls and scuba dive the most popular but also secrets sites in Maldives. Live aboard diving is king in Maldives and we strongly recommend this vacation option to all certified divers.
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Each vessel provides a separate diving dingy allowing you to access remote diving spots. Local dive masters with a perfect knowledge of the country will take you to the best diving spots possible.
Safari boats provide cabin type accommodation with en-suite bathrooms. You will be served excellent food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Safari boats packages usually include 2 to 3 dives per day plus 1 or 2 night dive per week. Non diving companions are welcomed on board as they can enjoy snorkeling activities, various excursions or just relax on the sun deck while enjoying a cocktail (unlike guests houses, alcohol is available on board).
Some specialized tour operators can arrange private diving cruise vessel for group of friends or family members with a minimum of 4 passengers. See our selection of diving safari boat here .
2/ WHEN TO DIVE IN MALDIVES
Diving is fantastic all year long, but the monsoon brings occasional rain between April and October (especially June to August).
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Visibility usually varies from 20 metres (70 feet) to really, really good. Visibility is lower when plankton is present; this is good news as it tends to attract whale sharks. Mantas, whale sharks, turtles, reef sharks and hammerhead sharks are found in the Maldives all year round.
3/ BEST DIVING SPOTS IN MALDIVES:
ARI ATOLL :
Ari Atoll is the most reputed area for pelagic and Ocean fish. Big fish such as whale sharks, mantas rays , eagle rays and hammerheads are very frequently seen in this area. Ari is probably the most consistent atoll for big fishes, you can also easily spot large number of Napoleon Humphead Wrasse, grey reef & white tip sharks, barracudas, tunas …
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NORTH MALE ATOLL:
Due to his proximity to Capital city Malé, this atoll is the most easy to explore. North Male atoll has also some of the oldest and most famous diving sites in the Maldive Islands . Banana reef is probably one of the most renowned sites in this atoll. Shaped as a banana, this reef stretches over 300 meters. This spot is perfect for underwater photographers as fishes show absolutely no fear of divers.
You will see impressive underwater scenery (caves, abrupt drop-offs…) and meet a large diversity of fishes such as sharks, mantas, snappers, moray eels, bannerfish, groupers…
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All year through you will be able to see reef sharks and several different shark species (even sometimes the hammerhead) . In addition to sharks you will see plenty of tunas, giant trevallis , Naso ( unicorn fish) , manta & eagle rays, groupers, snappers, triggerfishes etc…
Vaavu atoll is renowned for its famous diving spot Fotteyo Kandu, considered by many as the best diving site in the Maldives. This narrow channel features huge overhangs, swim-throughs and small caves covered in every type and colour of soft coral. However this site is not recommended for beginners.
Of course this is a non-exhaustive list of all the diving sites possibilities in Maldives. Maldives underwater life is so rich and impressive that you will never be disappointed wherever you dive.
Interested in Whale sharks? Choose Ari Atoll, Gaafu or Thaa atoll in the south.
Lhaviyani, North and South Male, Vaavu, Meemu, Laamu and Gaafu atolls are reputed for reef sharks.
For mantas encounters, plan a visit to Ari, Addu, North Male, Haa Alifu, Haa Daalu, or Baa Atoll (declared BIOSPHERE RESERVE By UNESCO in 2011).
For Hammerheads, dive in Rasdhoo Atoll ( next to north male atoll) or Veevu Atoll.
Thresher & tiger sharks can be seen Gnaviyani /Nyaviyani Atoll all year round.
With only 1% of the country being land-based you have countless possibilities for scuba diving in Maldives.
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