Where to Go Diving in the Maldives?
October 25 2017
October 25 2017
Where to Go Diving in the Maldives?
The Maldives redefines luxury diving holidays with gorgeous, palm-fringed beaches lapped by translucent shores, glamorous private resorts and a wealth of mesmerising marine life to discover. It’s literally a dream destination for the free-spirited gypsetters of the world. It’s also one of the few places on earth where what you see in the idyllic pictures and postcards translates perfectly into the real-life experience. If you are planning to go diving in the Maldives, the good news is that beyond the chic private resorts, lies an aquatic playground of crystal-clear waters surrounded by vivid coral reef formations teeming with brilliantly coloured fish that boasts excellent diving all year round.
This coveted tropical hideaway offers some of the best diving in the world, famous for its whale sharks, manta rays and other shark species, not to mention that five of the world's seven marine turtle species have been spotted around the islands. Its unspoilt corals attract a myriad of fish at a number of different dive sites for enthusiasts of varying abilities. Here are our top picks:
Broken Rock, South Ari Atoll
Undoubtedly one of the best places to go diving in the Maldives for intermediate divers, this unique pinnacle formation has been divided by a deep canyon. Strong divers who have mastered the art of buoyancy control are able to swim through the canyon, but most tend to find a rock to hold on to as the strong current transports a stream of colourful fish past them. Large fan corals and lightly coloured soft corals can be found in the canyon and along its walls. Sightings of turtles, Napoleon wrasse, scorpion fish, moray eels and puffer fish are common here.
Maaya Thila, South Ari Atoll
Another phenomenal site to go diving in the Maldives, Maaya Thila is excellent for a dive, day or night. At this incredible pinnacle, which starts at six metres and reaches to a depth of 20 metres, you are able to see larger pelagic fish, such as whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks, stingrays, barracudas and giant trevallies. Famed for its night dives, during which the sharks tend to be the most active, this site is ideal for intermediate to advanced divers.
Sun Island, South Ari Atoll
Swimming with whale sharks is high up on most intrepid travellers’ bucket lists, and the Maldives is one of the best places in the world to do so. The best whale shark site is Sun Island, specifically in the week before a full moon. On the southern side of the island, a plateau of five to ten metres opens to the Indian Ocean which makes it possible to see the whale sharks as they pass by. The great thing about this is that no diving experience is necessary, as both divers and snorkellers alike can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Fish Head, North Ari Atoll
Another famous site to go diving in the Maldives, Fish Head—which also goes by the name Shark Point or Mushimasmingili Thila—is one of the best places in the world to see sharks. The pinnacle, which reaches a depth of 35 metres, is dotted with caves and overhangs. This dive is recommended for intermediate to advanced divers. Their reward could be witnessing grey reef sharks—on good days divers can see up to as many as 16 of them.
Banana Reef, North Male Atoll
Perhaps the most significant site when diving in the Maldives, Banana Reef is said to be the one that first drew the attention of international divers. Now a protected area, it’s got everything you could want to experience on a dive—from mysterious caves and overhangs to vivid corals and a wonderful array of reef fish. Great for beginners and snorkellers, common sightings include jackfish, Napoleon wrasse, grouper, turtles and some small sharks.
Hukuru Elhi Faru, South Ari Atoll
This wonderful site, also known as Manta Point, is open to divers of all experience levels and is absolutely beautiful. Starting at approximately 12 metres and dropping to 25 metres, this is one of the newer spots most recently added to the protected marine areas. While divers can find Napoleon wrasse here, the site is particularly renown for its special manta ray sightings (thus the nickname). Mantas come to Hukuru Elhi Faru between January and April, to feed as well as to rid themselves of unwanted parasites from deeper waters. You have the opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures, whose wings can reach three to four metres in length, as they swim or hover over you in the shallow waters.
Kuredu Express, Lhaviyani Atoll
A phenomenal dive site, and possibly the most fabled one in the Lhaviyani Atoll, Kuredu Express—named because of the strong currents that rush through the site—is an excellent spot to see magnificent marine life riding the currents. They are best viewed from the terraces on different levels created in the intersection between the channel and a perpendicular reef. The dive ranges from five metres to 30 (and more, but the maximum depth limit for dives in the Maldives is 30 metres) and is best reserved for divers with at least intermediate experience. Ardent underwater fans are provided with an opportunity to see barracudas, tuna, eagle rays, manta rays and grey reef sharks in the current. Towards the end of the dive, you can spot some leaf fish and gorgeously vivid corals.
Miyaru Kandu, Felidhoo Atoll
Many divers aspire to see different sharks, and, as already illustrated, the Maldives is a wonderful place to spot them. But if seeing a hammerhead shark in its natural habitat is something you desire, then this is where you need to head. ‘Miyaru’, translated from the local language means ‘shark’, so for underwater thrillseekers, this is certainly a dive for you. This spot is ideal if you are diving in the Maldives during the dry months, where a strong current pulls bigger species into the channel. This allows you to catch a glimpse of the majestic eagle rays, dogtooth tuna, grey reef sharks and hammerheads. This, however, is a dive reserved for advanced divers.
Christmas Rock, Noon Atoll
A gorgeous dive, so named because of the resemblance of its reef to a Christmas tree, Christmas tree rock is nothing short of extraordinary. The ‘Christmas tree’ reef is wonderfully colourful and is adorned with a huge array of marine life. Blue striped snappers, sharks, white tip reef sharks, nudibranchs and morays are all the incredible creatures you can encounter. This intermediate dive ranges from three metres to 30 (and beyond, but again, 30 being the limit).
Kuredu Caves, Atoll, Lhaviyani atoll
This unbelievably beautiful dive is great for everyone from beginner to advanced divers. The dive itself starts at three metres and reaches a depth of 30 metres, but the highlight is really at 25 metres and shallower. Nicknamed the ‘Turtle Airport’, and for good reason, this amazing spot is home to a huge population of green sea turtles. Approximately eight metres down, you will see overhangs, decorated with soft corals and soldierfish, that go all the way to a depth of 20 metres. On the dive you also have the chance to spot a huge array of sea life from stingrays, Napoleons and porcupine fish to lionfish, moray eels, scorpion fish and leaf fish.
If you are tempted to go diving in the Maldives and longing for the ideal resort to call your dive base, then look no further than the Kanuhura. Apart from the promise of a blissfully carefree lifestyle, outstanding food and a pure, unfettered paradise, we also offer excursions to over 40 sites in the Maldives. Join us for incredible adventures discovering the underwater world of the Indian Ocean and if you have never been dived before, that’s okay—we offer a range of courses perfect for you, right at our excellent PADI dive centre. With some of the best diving in the world, we would hate you to miss out.