Diving in Maldives

Diving in Maldives

Paradise out of the water, pure heaven under the water is the only way to describe the Maldives, offering some of the best diving sites in the world.

The myriad of channels and passages between the atolls allows the currents to sweep and play throughout the island chain so that nutrients are always on the move. This unique nature and continous flow of water attract large numbers of fish enjoying the passing feast and you can expect to see Napoleon wrasse, parrotfish, snappers, barracudas, jacks and sweetlips in almost every site where the water flows.

These channels give divers opportunities to explore caves, caverns and overhangs where soft corals proliferate, and there is a riot of colourful sponges, invertebrates and gorgonian fans all profiting from the nutrient-rich water.

When slightly away form the reef you are likely to have the chance to spot the pelagics that are abundant in the Maldives, including large mantas, eagle rays and a variety of sharks including the mighty whale shark and hammer heads. Wherever you look you would be likely met by something of interest going on and for many it is in the shallows where the best of the action takes place. The clear water with high visibility, brightly illuminated by the direct rays from the sun above provides an ideal environment both for photographers and divers alike.

The unique and diverse nature of dive sites in the Maldives makes it suitable for divers of all experience levels, that is if you choose the right island and the right sites.  The sheltered reefs within each atoll are located away from fast flowing currents that are suitable for less experienced divers and experienced divers will enjoy some of the best drift dives in the world in these locations. 

All our holiday destinations cater for scuba divers all year round and all types of international certificates are accepted. Dive schools in the resorts have well-trained, experienced staff and dive equipment are available for hire so you do not necessarily need to bring your own equipment. These Dive schools will offer a variety of dive courses for the very beginner to the advanced, with PADI certified certificates handed over at the end of the course and are generally available in several different languages. Courses also include open water and advanced courses such as rescue diving, night diving and underwater photography.

Divers in Maldivesmaldives seaMaldives Under Water

Popular Scuba Diving Sites in Maldives:



Topographically, Ari Atoll diving differs from many others in the Maldives since it does not feature many long stretches of barrier reef. A number of thilas are located here with submerged pinnacles both inside and outside the atoll lagoons act as sites of marine aggregation, making for amazing diving both in and around the pinnacles and in the channels. Ari Atoll is considered Many divers to be the best in the Maldives by many divers and is featured prominently on the itineraries of many Maldivian live-aboards.

Major Points of Attraction in Ari Atoll

Sharks, manta rays and other pelagic fish are more commonly encountered around Ari Atoll and even the mighty whale shark regularly puts in appearances. Although there are other famous spots elsewhere for sharks and mantas the most reliable sites for this ever popular sightings are located here.

Maaya Thila - If not the premiere dive site in the Maldives or possibly the Maldives, then it surely is one of the best. This amazing site is home to a tumultuous assortment of maine life, with an amazing variety and volume of creatures. Brightly coloured nudibranchs vie for your attention while giant frogfish and turtles can be seen feeding on the reef, the elusive guitar shark can be spotted by the alert diver once in a while.

Fish Head - Another pinnacle in Ari Atoll, is a favourite for packs of grey reef sharks with never ending trains of fusiliers and batfish often shoot past on the ocean highway, to further destinations at the atoll.

Hammerhead Point - This dive site is often visited by liveaboards in the early hours of the morning. The sites' proximity to deep waters provides the location with the best chances of getting close to schooling hammerhead sharks.

Hammer head shark in Maldives watersFrog fish found in MaldivesWhale sharks in Maldives


North Male is one the best known and most explored areas of the Maldives, having long been recognised as providing a great variety of diving, beautiful scenery and close proximity to the international airport makes it a destination which is relatively easy to get to.

North Male diving features reefs, caves and drop offs. The atoll sees plenty of fish in action and is generally a good area for large pelagics, with sharks and mantas in the front of the list.

Wrecks left by ships passing through the channels are already bustling with marine life here. In addition some of the best coral reefs in the Maldives can be enjoyed in this location and dive spots in this area are as healthy and bright bustling with life as anywhere in the world.


Major Points of Attraction

Manta Point - Manta Point, which lies in the northern section of the channel leading out of the Ari Atoll, is - as the name suggests - an ideal place that's great for close encounters with Mantas Rays, not just for observing manta rays at close quarters, but also reef residents such as octopus, moray eels and white-tip reef sharks. The Mantas are frequent this site from December until the middle of April , the topography and the location of the site makes it an ideal habitat for all species of fish that live on plankton.

Girifushi Thila - A pinnacle covered in a riot of colourful soft corals, swept with currents that sweep in masses of schooling fish.

Mantas in MaldivesUnderwater ferns in MaldivesReef fish found in the Maldives

Tips on Diving in the Maldives

The North East monsoon from December through to April represents the Maldivian summer and is generally characterised by drier conditions and a current flow that runs from the North East through the atolls, exiting out to the South West.

Visibility on the eastern sides of the atolls is excellent through out the North East monsoon with the currents typically faster at the start of the monsoon and decreasing in power as the season progresses.  Water temperatures remain fairly consistent at around 28° centigrade. Divers are more likely to encounter Manta Rays and Whale Sharks on the western sides of the atolls during the North East season although the visibility drops.

During the South West Monsoon from May to December the focus on diving is shifted mostly to the western sides of the atolls as the currents flow from the South West through the atolls exiting out to the North East.

Clear visibility will be experienced by dive sites in the west with the slightly cooler water temperatures attracting many of the shark species closer to the surface. Typically Manta Rays and Whale Sharks will only be found of the Eastern edge of the atolls during the South West season . Sea conditions can be expected to get rougher and there is a slight increase in rainfall over the South West season however the diving still remains superb.


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