SCUBA Travel

Scuba Diving the Maldives Islands

29 June 2015
The 26 atolls (ring-shaped reefs) in the Maldives are home to 1192 islands. Tourism is strictly controlled: visitors must stay on registered tourist islands or on liveaboad boat. There are 85 resorts in the Maldives, but not all of them cater for divers. On those that don't you should be able to dive from a neighbouring resort. It's better to go full board as everything is very expensive, including equipment hire. July and August are cheaper, but the visibility is not as good. The serious diving resorts include Biyadoo - very good food as they grow their own fruit and vegetables and Elaidoo - popular with Germans and Belgians. There is one international airport in the Maldives, on Male.

Diving Maldives Islands: sharks
Sharks on Orimas Thila (Noonu Atoll). Photo credit: Tim Nicholson.

In July 2011 Baa Atoll, which comprises 75 islands, was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Biosphere reserves are sites that promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. A year later, in June 2012, the president of the Maldives announced that the whole of the Maldives will become a marine reserve by 2017, which is very good news.

Dive Sites of the Maldives Maldives Diving Operators Maldives Accommodation Books to Take to the Maldives Your Comments and Reviews Underwater photos of the Maldives Find a Hotel in the Maldives

"Over 60% of visitors to the Maldives participate in diving of one form or another, and 80% in snorkelling. To the best of my knowledge there is only a small handful of resorts that do not have a diving base actually on the Island and on these few your are still able to SCUBA dive in connection with neighboring resorts. During my two years there at three different resorts we had at least 30% of the guests who were certified divers and another 10 to 20% who at least tried it during their stay. Snorkellers were a bit more difficult to judge as far as percentages but I would guess at least half of the islands guests participated in such activities.
As far as cost it is comparable to diving in UK waters with Open Water course running between 150 and 350 Pounds depending of course on the grade of the Island. The cheapest being the larger resorts such as Sun Island, Male itself and Kuredu and the most expensive being the Hilton Rangali and comparable five plus star resorts. ". Paul Dollar

Longnose hawkfish in the Maldives
The shy Longnose Hawkfish. Photo credit: Suzanne Challoner.

Rate the Diving in the Maldives:

* * * * * (5 votes, 4.8/5)

Dive Sites of the Maldives

Manta Point

Manta point is off the tiny island of Baros. Its dive centre is Dutch run. The best time of year to see the mantas is between June and November.

"Unbelievable! Dive to about 18 m to a ledge. Then just sit there. The Manta's "fly" all around you, about 5 at any one time, some 3 m across. They are disturbed when you exhale, so you find yourself trying to hold your breath as they approach. But you have to exhale before passing out and they move away again. There is also a resident shoal of yellow fish (sorry, forgot the name) which must number tens of thousands. Once in the middle you are completely disorientated as you can see nothing but these fish! In all, an amazing experience. Have spent a month on the barrier reef, several dives in Thailand, but nothing gets close to Manta Point. "
Nick Matthews
"I dived Manta Point in November 2004. We stayed on Paradise Island which is five minutes from the dive site. I've dived all over the world but this site was amazing. The second time I dived it we had a total of 12 giant mantas circling us, swooping down to the cleaning station then shooting up to the surface. At times as they swoop down you can reach up and stroke their undersides. The currents are quite strong so you have to hold on tight but the photos I got of the Mantas were superb. If you are in the Maldives make a beeline for this site. "
Simon Turner
"I went in June 2005 and had the most phenomenal experience when we were surrounded by over 10 mantas, of an average tsize of 2 m, for almost 30 minutes. They seem to come right at you, turn just before they hit your face. We were told they like to play with divers' bubbles. The experience made up for the poor water visibility during this time of the year. "
Jannie C
"I went to Lohifushi in north male atoll now known as Hudhuranfushi in 2005 and 2006 and dived Manta point 3 times each holiday. The first year we only ever had 2 mantas at any one time but the following year we had 12 mantas on dive 1, 15 on dive 2 and on the third dive had 17 mantas swimming nose to tail to the one in front. MAGIC, the best dive of my life and just glad I had my camera to catch the moment.
Going to Chaaya Lagoon in november 2009 so hope its as good. "

Paul Harris, 2009
Ari Atoll
"A one km long rock with plenty of soft coral and all kinds of reef fishes. In the winter you can often see a lot of big manta rays. A difficult dive with strong currents and visibility not always good. You need to reach the bottom very quickly...a small group of divers is suggested. "
Ari Atoll
Kuda Rah Thila
Kuda rah thila is the 1st protected marine area in the Maldives. A small underwater pinnacle covered with snappers, fusiliers, white tip reef sharks, trevally, bannerfish. Huge overhangs cover both sides of the thila and a small swim through can be found at the east side. Encouters with pelactics are always possible."
Dennis Kaandorp, 2008
South Ari Atoll
Maaya Thila
"Best dive in South Ari Atoll, hunting whitetips during nightdive. Small stuff on top of Thila(reef), big stuff at 30 meters. Sharks, rays, etc."
Edwin van Velzen, 2008
South Ari Atoll
7th Heaven
"Deep thila in the South Ari Atoll in the Digurah channel. The most perfect site covered in soft corals. Blue, yellow, pink, orange.. all can be found here. A true advanced dive site due to strong current. Fish all around and mantas swim over your head. "
Dennis Kaandorp, 2008
South Ari Atoll
"The diving on this island is operated by Werner Lau, and they have good, safe staff. They make all divers do 2 basic skills before they are allowed to dive - namely retrieving their regulator and removing and clearing their mask. You'd be surprised how many qualified divers did not want to do this! You can do shore dives around the island, in and out at well marked exit points. Alternatively you can do boat dives, for which there is a US$ 10 charge per boat trip. Two boats go out each day - one for novices, and a second boat for anyone who has more than 40 logged dives and choses to visit a site that is a little more advanced. All dives are guided and good briefings are given. The dive boats can get a little crowded, but still not to the point ot being cattle trucks. The majority of guests on Vilamendhoo are British, German or Japanese. We were lucky, we saw whale sharks and snorkelled with them, plus we did some pretty decent boat dives: some in strong currents which did bring out the larger fish. However, the shore diving was a little disappointing - a large amount of the coral is dead/bleached, which was initially quite shocking to see, although this does not seem to have affected the population of reef fish - as there are plenty, which brings life to the place and colour. The resort itself is ok, not really a party place, there were a few families etc. I'd recommend it. "
Iona Hill
Lhaviyani Atoll
Madivanu Corner
"Strong current, large Napolean Wrasse, reef sharks, shoals of big fish, Stingrays and Eagle Rays. And the chance of an occasional manta or maybe even a hammerhead. "
Mark Goodchild
"Dive in a channel, in the right period schools of Manta rays and whale sharks. "
Nicolas, UK, 2008
Lhaviyani Atoll
Kuredu Express
Maldives diving: Hawksbill turtle
"Pelagic Heaven"
Brendan Lund
"Amazing dive site from the island of Kuredu in the Maldives. Lots of trigger fish soft corals, saw on two occasions large nurse shark, fast current, an exhilarating dive full of colour and beautiful selection of bright fish at 8 m - fantastic! "
Lhaviyani Atoll
Biyadhoo House Reef
"White tip shark, black tip shark, sting ray, eagle ray, turtles, moray eels and fishes in big proportions."
Jen Gaskin, 2011
Lhaviyani Atoll
Fish Head
"Big soup of fish :)"
Rasmus, Denmark, 2011
Donkhalo Thila
"up to 20 mantas dancing round you for an hour ..."
Toby Farnell, 2010
Maldive Victory
Maldives diving: wreck
"Dived the Maldive Victory in November 2005 and it was one of the most challenging dives that me and the wife have ever done. There was a 4 knot current and the boat crew had to make a noose for us to hold as we jumped in and then they dragged us to the guide line otherwise we would have been swept away. On descending if we turned to face the way the current was running it tried to pull our mask and regs off.
It's one dive I would love to do again but in calmer seas."
Paul Harris
Huvadhoo Atoll
Nilandhoo Kandu
"A Channel dive with strong currents. Lots of Pelagics. 20-25 grey reef sharks, lots of white tip sharks and 6-7 eagle rays, Napoleons, Trevallys etc. "
Kristian, (Denmark), 2011

For more details see Diving in the Maldives: Huvadhoo - The Forgotten Atoll

Squid and Mantas - Night Diving in the Maldives

Maldives Diving Operators

Dive Club Maldives Pvt. Ltd
Maldives Holiday Club
Lets Go Maldives Pvt. Ltd.
Maldives Oceanic Dreams Pvt Ltd.

Maldives Oceanic Dreams Pvt Ltd.
Tel: +960 786 0513
Fax: +960 331 41 01

Liveaboard whose routes incluede Male, Felidhe, Mulaku, Ari and Baa atolls.

Maldives Travel Cruise Pvt Ltd

Maldives Travel Cruise Pvt Ltd
4th Floor B Apartment
Tel: +960 771 052
Fax: +960 330 933

Island Safari 1Maldives

Rating: (1)

"The crew was great and I would definitely dive with them again. "
, Washington DC
Sailing Tours Pvt. LtdMaldives

Sailing Tours Pvt. Ltd
Abdulla Ibrahim
Ma Uivashaage
Tel: + 960 332 5468
Fax: ++ 960 331 8997
E-mail: [email protected]

Offer liveaboard diving safaris around the Maldives. Also handle inbound tours to Maldivian resorts

Antrac Maldives Pvt Ltd

Antrac Maldives Pvt Ltd
Mohamed Hameed
3rd Floor
MA. Rafrafge
Buruzu Magu
Tel: +960 331 0129

Offer liveaboard diving safaris around the Maldives. Also handle inbound tours to Maldivian resorts. Have their own yachts for charter plus do resort and hotel bookings, operate luxury tours, air tickets, dive trips, cruising, surfing, safris etc.

Sailing Tours

Sailing Tours
Tel: + 960 779 3898
Fax: + 960 331 8997
E-mail: [email protected]

Diving specials in the Maldives.


Tel: +960 771 1306
Fax: + 960 334 2951
E-mail: [email protected]

Luxury liveaboard in the Maldives.

Oceantree Maldives

Oceantree Maldives
E-mail: [email protected]

Liveaboards in the Maldives.

Ocean Oasis

Ocean Oasis
Blue Horizon
Tel: +960 332 1169
Fax: +960 332 8797
E-mail: [email protected]

Tour the inner and outer atolls of the Maldives. Offer up to 3 dives a day and one weekly night dive.

Baros Diving
Baros DivingBaros

Baros Diving
PO Box 2015
Male 20-02
Republic of Maldives
Tel: +960 664 2672
Fax: +960 664 3497
E-mail: [email protected]

South-East Ari Atoll > Vilamendhoo
Werner Lau Vilamendhoo

Werner Lau Vilamendhoo
South-East Ari Atoll
Republic of Maldives
Tel: +960 668 0637
Fax: +960 668 0637
E-mail: [email protected]

Divers Lodge Maldives

Divers Lodge Maldives
Island of Villingili
Republic of Maldives
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel or sms (+960)7784264 and (+960) 7782232

" Located in the small Island of Villingili, an 8 minute ferry ride from the Capital Male. This dive school is in easy access for the tourists and expatriates who stay on the Capital Island. We offer dive courses and boat dives to the most famous dive spots around, including the Manta point and wrecks."
Divers Lodge Maldives, 2012

Northern Maldives > Haa Alifu Atoll


"The resort is 5*+ and so is the dive school and it's staff. Been there July 2009."
Ed, 2009

Trip Concept Pvt Ltd

Trip Concept Pvt Ltd
3rd Floor
Kurangi Goalhi
Tel: +9607771996
E-mail: [email protected]

Carpe Diem Maldives

Carpe Diem Maldives Pvt. Ltd.
H. Coal Field 1st floor/B
Kalhuhuraa Magu, 20085
Male, Maldives
Tel: +(960)3300883 Fax: +(960)3306747
Hot line: +(960) 7645393 Skype: carpediem_maldives
E-mail: [email protected]

"We have boats to charter and pre-arranged tours among the beautiful atholls"
Mohamed Hardy (Carpe Diem), 2010

Princess Ushwa

Oasis Holiday Maldives Pvt Ltd
M. Daaf Store No1 Building
Tel: 00 960 330 9697
Fax: 00 960 332 9697

Princess Ushwa is Dive Liveaboard from Maldives.

Submaldives Pvt. Ltd.

G. Aima
7th Floor
Banafsa Magu
Republic of Maldives
Tel: +960 791 7953
E-mail: [email protected]

Operate Dive Safaris in the Maldives with 4 boats, including one luxury Cruise of 47 meters.

Maldives Accommodation

For hotels and resorts see the Agoda site...
For more on the different resorts try Resorts of Maldives.

Prestige Holidays

Sudetenstr.21 D-64572 Buttleborn

Books to Take to the Maldives

Diving in the Maldives: Huvadhoo - The Forgotten Atoll
by Alexander von Mende, 200 pages, 2011
Resorts of the Maldives
by Adrian Neville and Adrian Tatum.
There area over 100 resorts in the Maldives to choose from. Which is the right one for you?
Maldives (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
by Tom Masters, 224 pages, 2012
The Maldive Mystery
by Thor Heyerdahl, 320 pages, 1988
Thor Heyerdahl's account of the culture of ancient Maldives.
Coral Reef Fishes, Indo-Pacific and Caribbean
by Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers, Harper Collins, 400 Pages, Paperback
An excellent, comprehensive guide to reef fishes, which is small and light enough to pack regardless of amount of diving equipment. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to identify the fish they see whilst diving the tropics.
Read the full review...

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