Although the Maldives is a nation that includes more than 10,000 islands sprinkled through the Indian Ocean, its highest point is about 3 meters/10 feet above sea level. Every resort sits on its own island. The diving is spread wide among a vast area of this country. There are 26 coral atolls and countless unexplored dive corners. Drift diving adds adrenaline as well as thick concentrations of schooling fish, and the visibility often exceeds 45 metres/150 feet. Being islands in the middle of an ocean, lots of interesting diving exists, such as huge aggregations of manta rays and whale sharks, sometimes in the same place, passes filled with sharks, and reefs crowded with eels. Above the water leisure and romance weave together on the sea breezes. There’s little to do but dive and enjoy a life of idyll – which is a good thing.
When to go:
The ideal time to visit Maldives is during the months of December to April but generally it is a year round destination.
Marine Life Seasons:
Manta rays and whale sharks gather in different areas in different seasons. Check with the local dive shop for best time of year to experience these pelagic species.
When to Get the Best Deals:
May to October.
What to Pack:
3/2 mm wetsuit, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, safety sausage for drift dives, DAN card.
28°C/83°F Year round
Year round between: 28°C/83°F and 29°C/83°F
The Maldivian currency is called Rufiyaa, but it is rarely used at resorts. Most transactions take place in US dollars. Most resorts accept major credit cards.
Valid passport; check with local immigration office for visa requirements.
Included in your airfare.
What to Eat:
Seafood, coconuts and starchy root crops form the foundation of the traditional food of the Maldives, with spice influences from Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine.You'll probably eat most often at your resort, but if you do get a chance, try a few Maldivian short eats (snacks, also called hedika), such as deep fried fish, fish balls, fish rolls and fish cake.
What to Drink:
You'll find alcoholic beverages are only available at resorts.Tea, taken with milk and sugar, is the most common drink everywhere else.
You might spend an afternoon visiting a local village, otherwise it's read a book, get a massage, take a nap, relax at sunset with a drink, all on your own island resort.
Customs and Culture:
The Maldives are a Muslim country, but with each resort on its own island, the customs are generally resort-centric.
Electricity and Internet:
230V/50Hz; Internet common in hotels only.
Drink the water?
Water is safe to drink at the resorts.
Dhivehi, but English is widely spoken.
Amazing Marine Life
These giants gather off the Maldives and can sometimes be seen during the same dive, at the same sites as manta rays.
These large eels can be seen peeking out from their lairs with their mouths usually agape exposing their formidable teeth.
These giants follow the plankton blooms throughout the islands.
Also known as the Maori wrasse, this enormous and vividly colored fish can grow to lengths of up to two metres/six feet.
Silvertip Reef Shark:
This large shark, gray with silvery fin-tips, grows up to 3 metres/10 feet long.
Spotted Eagle Ray:
These elegant rays show up when there's a little current for them to hover.
These schooling fish can be found circling in large formations over the reef.
Hawksbill and green turtles can be found swimming in leisurely fashion or napping under ledges on most reefs.
Several species of these wildly colored sea slugs can be found in the Maldives.
Striking in appearance with orange-and-black stripes and frilly venomous spines, these fish remind one more of a tiger than a lion.
Top Dive Spots
This protected marine park is situated in a channel and subject to strong currents, The deep wall reef boasts many overhangs sheltering a wide variety of fish, ranging from small basslets, red tooth triggers and fusiliers to the larger pelagic species such as tunas, napoleon wrasses, sharks and turtles. Look for nudibranchs on the underside of the overhangs, magnificent sponges and hard and soft corals covering the reef.
A protected marine sanctuary shaped like a two-humped camel's back rising from a depth of 30 metres100 feet, this beautiful reef is covered in sponges and corals. Look for schools of blue striped snapper, basslets, fusiliers, butterflyfish, sharks, moray eels, cleaner shrimp and the rare scorpion and leaf fish.
Sandwiched between two outer atoll islands, strong currents are a permanent feature, providing nutrients for both corals and fish. This protected reef enjoys overhangs, caves and crevices rising from 30 metres/100 feet. Most of the reef is completely covered in yellow, blue and orange soft hanging corals, as well as stunning sea fans. The current attracts an astonishing variety of small reef fish and large pelagic species such as gray reef sharks, eagle rays, tunas and barracudas.
Situated in the middle of the Tamburudhu channel, this drift dive wall rises from a depth of 90 metres/300 feet. Look for gray reef, silvertip and white-tip sharks circling the deeper waters, as well as eagle rays, tuna, and barracuda.
Located in the Bodu Kalki channel, this site features a large reef with imposing pillars towering 36 metres/120 feet. The pillars are covered in blue, yellow, red and orange soft corals and large gorgonian fans. The overhangs of the main reef house a wide array of coral species, colorful sponges and reef fish. Look for tuna, barracuda, trevally, basslets, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, fusiliers, napoleon wrasses, and turtles.
This marine reserve features a small thila (pinnacle) comprised of three large rock formations covered with coral species. Descending divers will find themselves surrounded by hundreds of fish.
On an outer reef of the North Male Atoll, this wall slopes down from to 23 metres/75 feet, levels out, and then drops again to almost 90 metres/300 feet. Look for gray reef, silvertip and white-tip reef sharks, eagle rays, giant barracuda, tuna, and napoleon wrasses, as well as schools of fusiliers, blue-striped snappers and surgeonfish.
This formation of two small reefs attracts giant manta rays between March and October when the winds from the south carry a large amount of plankton to this area. Between the reefs, a sandy bottom boasts small coral formations housing a cleaning station of cleaner wrasses. Kneel on the sand to watch majestic mantas circling above you waiting for their turn to be cleaned.
On the eastern side of the banana-shaped reef, rocks have broken away to create a habitat for a wide variety of schooling reef fish and large pelagic visitors. Look for blue striped snapper, different species of moray eels, corals, and fish.
This 90-metre/300-foot cargo vessel sank in February 1981. On the ship's main deck at 11 metres/35 feet, look for large groupers, tunas, trevally, schools of fusiliers, turtles, and corals. Advanced divers can explore the ship's former accommodation quarters and bridge.