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Maldives

The coconut palm and the yellow-fin tuna, symbols of the Maldives, say a great deal about this nation of more than a thousand islands. Grouped into 26 low atolls in the Indian Ocean, less than 300 of the islands are inhabited. The Maldives is flat with white sandy beaches and excellent reefs with an abundance of marine life. Scuba diving is done at a leisurely drift pace as the Indian Monsoon Current sweeps along the island chains, moving nutrients and divers along. This nutrient-rich water flows up along the walls, feeding the sponges and soft corals clinging to the rock sides. Inside the atoll lagoons, rock pinnacles – thila – vault up from the bottom to scratch the water’s surface. In the channels, there are swim-throughs, caverns and overhangs festooned with colorful sponges, invertebrates and gorgonians to explore. At well-known cleaning stations, wrasse and shrimp service manta rays, and other large marine species. With a welcoming culture and some of the finest liveaboard dive boats and luxury resorts on the globe, a dive holiday in the Maldives makes for an unforgettable experience.

Latest Dive Photos from Maldives

Maldives Sea Life

Maldives is one of the best places in the world to spot manta rays and whale sharks; this should be more than enough to convince anyone to travel there, but there is more. Reef sharks like whitetip and grey reef are quite common too, together with big tunas, Napoleon fish, eagle and stingrays. Big schools of jackfish patrol the reefs, morays and turtles are also very commons. The reef enjoys both soft and hard, colorful corals, and tons of little fishes, nudibranchs and worms.

How to Get There

Velana International Airport is located on Hulhule Island in North Male Atoll, near the capital island Male. International travellers will need to fly into Velana International Airport as it’s the only airport in the Maldives that receives international flights from multiple destinations. Many carriers offer direct flights to Velana International Airport, although bear in mind that schedules may change during peak season. Hanimaadhoo International Airport on Haa Dhaalu Atoll has direct flights to Thiruvananthapuram in India, while Gan International Airport on the island of Gan in Addu Atoll has a direct flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Best Scuba Diving in Maldives

Thaa Atoll

Thaa Atoll’s diving is suitable for beginners, but many of the best dive sites have strong currents that requires experience. Advanced divers can explore deep, steep walls that are decorated with coral.With little current, lots of macro life, and the possibility of a manta, the Caribbean Garden is for all divers. This large thila (submerged island) starts at 20 feet...

Vaavu Atoll

The diving in Vaavu is popular for its channels, but the strong currents aren’t always suitable for beginners.Located to the south of the Vattaru Reef is an easy dive. It’s protected from strong currents and begins in the channel. You’ll drift along the reef’s edge with butterflyfish and oriental sweet lips that have a leopard-skin pattern on their fins...

Laamu Atoll

Laamu has fewer channels than many atolls which reduces currents and improves visibility. The scuba is suited to beginners as well as advanced divers.The inside walls of Laamu are shallow (82 feet / 25 meters), and with reduced currents are easier for less experienced divers to manage. You can enjoy the soft corals and drifting ornate ghost...

Ari Atoll

With feeding manta rays, graceful whale sharks and schooling hammerheads, the Ari Atoll is a pelagic dream. Most of the dive sites here are not protected walls or coral reefs. Rather, the region favors thilas (pinnacles) and kandus (channels) perfect for drift diving. Because of the exposed nature of the atoll, currents can be quite strong and many dive sites might...

Lhaviyani Atoll

Due to the popularity of this atoll the dive sites are well explored. You’ll get the best advice during your visit.The Aquarium is a sheltered dive on the reefs off Huravalhi Island, and suitable for all levels. A steep drop-off follows a reef that descends to 82 feet (25 meters). Wonderful schools of bluestripe snappers with cyan stripes down their yellow...

Baa Atoll

With the diverse marine life around its reefs, thilas (submerged islands), overhangs and swim throughs, Baa Atoll deserves its UNESCO status.Located to the east, and part of the atoll’s protected reef, is the Horubadhoo Thila at a depth of 39-52 feet (12-16 meters). The thila is covered in different hard and soft corals, lots of macro life and large pelagic. On...

Fuvahmulah Atoll

As Fuvahmulah is an island, its shores are often barraged by large waves. This makes mooring challenging. The dive sites require calmer seas, and the choppy surface conditions and strong currents are less suitable for beginners.Much of the atoll’s diving remains unchartered, so it’s an excellent opportunity to trust your divemaster...

Faafu Atoll

Faafu Atoll

The atoll’s resort has scuttled two wrecks (traditional dhoni) on its house reef. At a depth of 98 feet (30 meters), it’s the perfect place to complete your advanced training. The channels can be challenging, mantas can be seen all year, and an occasional whale shark visits the atoll’s waters.Located on the inner atoll is Repeater’s Paradise. It gets its name because...

Dhaalu Atoll

Dhaalu Atoll’s scuba is perfect for beginners due to its wider channels and shallower drop-offs. But advanced divers can still explore greater depths and enjoy the thrill of drift diving in stronger currents.On the inside of the lagoon, on Lohi Island, is a cave dive that is suitable for both beginners and advanced divers. During stronger currents, it’s...

Ihavandhippolhu Atoll

As this area is unchartered, your dive operator will be able to provide details of any known dive sites. However, a characteristic of the northern atolls is the wider and shallower channels. This reduces currents and makes the scuba suited to beginners as well as advanced divers. Beginners, however, won’t be able to dive unchartered sites until the currents are known...