Scuba Dive in The Maldives – Travel, Diving Guide, & More
If you’re looking to hop on a plane and get a few weeks of uninterrupted, crystal-clear, blissful sun, then the Maldives are the place for you. Located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India, Maldives are known for their vast expanses of white sand beaches and turquoise waters, making them a popular tourist destination. Scuba diving in the Maldives is also world-famous, and with good reason.
The clear blue waters offer visibility of up to 30 meters, making it a perfect place to explore the underwater world. There are over 1,000 species of fish and other marine life in the Maldives and beautiful coral reefs.
If you are planning a trip to The Maldives, know it offers amazing dives and is one of the best diving destinations in the world. Maldives offers fantastic dive resorts and centers, so you can have the best scuba diving experience possible at the atoll.
History, Facts, & Culture – The Maldives
The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean, composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls and comprising more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s known for its beaches, blue lagoons, and extensive reefs. Malé’s capital has a busy fish market, restaurants, and shops on the main road, Majeedhee Magu, and 17th-century Hukuru Miskiy (Old Friday Mosque) made of carved white coral.
The Maldives was long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then British protection. Self-rule was achieved in 1965, and independence was achieved in 1968. A presidential republic was established in 1972 with an elected People’s Majlis. The succeeding decades were characterized by political stability, apart from a brief period of republican rule in 1978.
The country has become an upper-middle-income economy, with tourism, fishing, and shipping as the main sources of foreign exchange. It is also a member of the Commonwealth and the United Nations.
Physical geography: The Maldives comprises 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls. In addition, there are many small islands, with either no permanent population or a tiny population. There are only about 100 inhabited islands.
What to Expect When Scuba Diving in Maldives?
The Maldives is a top destination with some of the best sites for scuba diving in the world, offering clear waters, rich coral reefs and the chance to see manta rays and whale sharks and other big fish. However, it’s important to know the strong currents that can run through the Maldives’ dive sites. This can make diving challenging for inexperienced divers, so booking a dive trip with a reputable dive center that can provide experienced guides is best.
Even with a guide, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and not touch any of the coral. And while seeing a whale shark or manta ray is a highlight for many divers, it’s critical to remember that they are wild animals and should be treated with respect.
What’s The Best Time of The Year to Scuba Dive in The Maldives?
The answer depends on what you’re looking for. For the best chance to see whale sharks and manta rays, plan your visit in between May and October, as this is the best time of year to see these giants. Keep in mind that this is monsoon season, so diving conditions are rougher during this time.
But if you want to enjoy the beaches, sunbathe and relax, the best time to go is between December and April. This is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds and keep in mind that high season makes everything pricier. You won’t experience heavy crowds, though, as each resort is isolated on its own island.
What Marine Life Can I Expect to See?
According to CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity), the Maldives is home to a diverse range of marine life, 1.100. Turtles, Sharks, Whales, Dolphins, Corals, Shrimp and many more can be found in the Maldivian sea.
Some of the most famous sea creatures in the Maldives include manta rays, whale sharks, and dolphins.
Whitetip Reef Shark
These sharks are often found in the shallower reefs around the atolls and are a popular sight for scuba divers.
Whitetip reef sharks are relatively small, reaching a maximum length of around 6 feet (1.83 m). They are named for their distinctive white tips on their fins, which help to camouflage them in the reefs they call home.
Eagle rays are a common sight in the Maldives atoll. These majestic creatures can frequently be seen soaring through the air or gliding gracefully through the water. They are a popular subject of photography and videography and are one of the main attractions for scuba divers in the Maldives.
Eagle rays can grow up to 16 feet (4.88 m) in length, with a wingspan of up to 20 feet (6.1 m). They are mostly black or dark brown, with white spots on their dorsal (upper) side. Their long tail is used for steering and balance, and they have two rows of sharp teeth, which they use to feed on small fish and invertebrates.
Eagle rays are gentle giants and pose no threat to humans. They are often quite curious about divers and will approach them cautiously to check them out.
The Maldives is home to many marine life, and one of the most popular creatures to scuba dive with is the manta ray. These gentle giants can grow up to 29 feet (8.84 m) wide and weigh 5,000 pounds (2.27 ton).
Manta rays are typically found in tropical waters and are most likely seen in the Maldives from May to November. They regularly congregate around cleaning stations, where smaller fish pick parasites off their skin. These majestic creatures are a must-see for any scuba diver visiting the Maldives.
Hanifaru Bay is one of the best places in the world to see large groups of Mantas and is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Maldives is one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks. These gentle giants of the sea can be found swimming in the waters during monsoon season, that starts in May and ends in November.
Diving with whale sharks is an unforgettable experience. These massive creatures are harmless to humans and are often curious about divers, making for some incredible encounters.
These turtles get their name from their hawk-like beak, which they use to feed on sponges and other invertebrates. They are also known for their distinctive shell, which is brown with shades of amber, yellow, or orange.
Despite being protected by law, hawksbill turtles are still in danger of extinction due to pollution, illegal fishing, and habitat loss. If you’re lucky enough to see one of these turtles in the wild, please do your part to help protect them.
These playful creatures are frequently seen bow-riding or surfing the waves in small groups. They are naturally curious and will typically approach divers to check them out.
Common dolphins can grow up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) long and weigh 350 pounds (160 kg). They are dark on the dorsal (top) side of their bodies, with a light gray or white belly. They have a long, thin beak and a prominent dorsal fin.
What Are The Best Dive Sites in Maldives?
It’s among the most famous diving sites in the Maldives. It is often featured as one of the best sites in the world. The diving site is suited for beginners to advanced divers. White-tip head sharks are the attraction here. Many Maldives resorts are found near it.
Located in the southeastern part of the country, this site is known for its clear water and abundance of marine life.
Divers can expect to see a variety of fish, including barracuda, tuna, and snapper. The coral here is also very healthy, with a wide range of colors and species. Visibility at this site is usually quite good, making it a great choice for both beginner and experienced divers.
While the currents here can sometimes be strong, they are generally not too challenging for most divers.
Banana Reef is one of the first diving sites where tourists started scuba diving. It flaunts its corals, fishes, caves, and overhangs amazingly. This diving site is suited for beginners to advanced divers.
Rainbow Reef is also called Girifushi Thila or HP Reef. It has vibrant and bright-colored coral reefs, and that is why it is called a Rainbow reef. Divers might have to dive several times for better underwater life exploration.
Fuvahmulah Atoll is situated in the far south of The Maldives and is approximately a 1-hour flight on a seaplane from the capital Malé. A perfect fit for the adventurous and shark lovers, the atoll has around 20 dive sites and many more are discovered yearly.
This is one of the best dive site to choose if you want to dive with Tiger Sharks or even the rare and shy Tresher Sharks. Mantas and hammerheads are also common sights here.
Kuda Giri Wreck
The wreck is a retired cargo ship that was sunk in purpose to make an artificial reef. It is located in South Malé, about 25 miles (ca. 40 km) from the capital. The depth of the wreck ranges from 18 to 30 meters. There are many fish and other marine life that make their home on the wreck. Kuda Giri is a great place to see turtles, wrasses triggerfishes, and eels.
The Victory Wreck
Huhule Reef was hit by a Singapore ship in 1981, which sank when in a failed attempt to make a safer passage. The Victory Wreck, thriving up to 35 meters, houses many marine creatures that you will adore and enjoy.
Kuredu Express is a fast-water drift diving site. This reef has many hang-out spots and beautiful marine life, attracting tourists.
Manta Point is a massive attraction for tourists all over the world. It is called Emas Thila in the local language. You will see substantial giant creatures and beautiful corals here.
Despite being a small site, Fish Head is also called “Shark Point” and is home to several marine animals, preferably sharks. Black corals here are a rare sight.
Can I Liveaboard in The Maldives?
Maldives is also known for its liveaboards. While there are many options for liveaboard diving, keep in mind that the best time to do it is from November to April, when the weather is dry, the water is warm and the sea is calmer.
There are many dive sites around the Maldives, and each offers something unique. Plenty of opportunities exist to see pelagic fish, turtles, manta rays and sharks. With that is mind, it is a great idea to live a few days on a dive boat, while cruising the islands in the Maldives and getting the best of it.
When you live on a boat, you can dive multiple times a day and explore different dive sites that you would not be able to reach if you stayed on land. Second, living on a boat gives you a more intimate experience with the underwater world.
If you do not know what liveaboard is, or don’t know if it is for you, check our “You NEED to Experience a Liveaboard Dive Trip” article.
What’s The Recommended Diving Experience Level to Dive?
The currents here can be strong and unpredictable, so having at least a few dives under your belt is important before venturing into these waters. That being said, even experienced divers should heed the advice of local dive guides and always mind any safety warnings.
But if you’re relatively new to diving, there are shallower and more sheltered dive sites. Once you’ve got a few dives, you can start venturing further afield and exploring all the Maldives has to offer.
For those who are not yet certified, there are plenty of options for taking courses in the Maldives. Many resorts offer package deals that include accommodation, meals, and diving courses. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, the Maldives has something to offer everyone.
How Expensive is Scuba Diving in the Maldives?
Diving in the Maldives is not cheap. A one-day diving trip can cost anywhere from $120 to $300, gear rental included.
But there are ways to save money on your diving trip. If you plan ahead and book your trip during the off-season, you can find some great deals. And many resorts offer all-inclusive packages that save money on meals and activities.
So if you’re interested in diving in the Maldives, don’t let the cost deter you. With a little planning, you can find a way to make your dream trip a reality.
How do I Get to The Maldives?
Getting to the Maldives is easy, with many direct flights from Europe and Asia. The main airport in the Maldives is Velana International Airport (MLE) located on the island of Hulhule. Once you arrived at the airport, you will need to take a short 20-minute boat ride to reach your resort island.
Many tour operators offer package deals that include your flight, hotel, and meals. This is a great option if you want everything taken care of for you. You can also book your own flights and accommodations separately.
What is Gastronomy Like in The Maldives?
The country’s cuisine is a mix of Indian, Asian and European influences. The Maldives is famous for its fresh seafood, and the people of the Maldives are very fond of spicy food. Pork is served in some restaurants, but it is not common.
One popular dish is garudhiya, a soup made with chicken or fish, coconut milk, and chili peppers. Another is kavaabu, fried pastry parcels stuffed with fish or meat. For something sweet, try mas huni, shredded coconut mixed with chili flakes and smoked fish.
What You Can Not Miss While in The Maldives?
What to do in the Maldives after a day of diving? Attractions that you can not miss!
After a long day of diving, it is important to take some time to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery that the Maldives has to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in the Maldives after a day of diving:
1. Watch The Sunset From Your Resort
There is nothing better than watching the sun set over the water from your resort in the Maldives. Many resorts offer private balconies or terraces where you can enjoy this special moment.
2. Go For a Swim in Your Resort’s Pool
Most resorts in the Maldives have beautiful infinity pools with stunning views of the ocean. This is a great way to relax after a day of diving and enjoy the incredible views.
3. Take a Walk on The Beach
The beaches in the Maldives are some of the most beautiful in the world. Simply taking a walk on the beach is an amazing experience.
4. Go For a Sunset Cruise
Seeing the sunset from your resort s private balcony is great, but nothing compares to seeing it from a boat. You can go sailing and enjoy some drinks while the sun goes down.
5. Visit a Local Village or Town
There are many small villages in the Maldives that you can visit. You may find local shops, restaurants, or bars where you can get to know the locals.
6. Go on a Fishing Trip
The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean. Go on a fishing trip to catch some delicious fish swimming in their waters.
7. Take Part in a Fire-Dance Show
There are fireworks all over the Maldives. You can attend one of these shows and watch the locals do their thing.
8. Have a Spa Treatment
The Maldives have some of the best spas in the world. Pamper yourself with a spa treatment.
9. Try Some of The Local Food
There is a mix of Asian, Indian, and European cuisine in the Maldives. Try some of these dishes.
10. Visit Some Historical Sites and Islands
The Maldives have many ancient buildings that are worth visiting.
A scuba diving trip to The Maldives is a vacation you will never forget. Its clear blue waters and abundant marine life make it a paradise for any avid diver. And with its luxury resorts and world-class service, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of diving. So if you are looking for an amazing diving experience and a luxurious vacation, then The Maldives is the place for you.
Maldives perfectly blends serene beach beauty and thrilling underwater experiences. Known for its clear waters, rich marine life, and world-class scuba diving, it’s an ideal destination for relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re a diving enthusiast or a beach lover, the Maldives offers a unique and unforgettable experience with its breathtaking landscapes, diverse aquatic life, and luxurious resorts. This tropical paradise is a must-visit for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and aquatic adventure.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that DIVEMONDO may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate this website earn from qualifying purchases.