The Maldives is almost synonymous with diving as this island nation enjoys the abundance of the Indian Ocean. With almost 1,200 little islands that form this archipelago, the country has just as many dive sites and underwater exploration avenues. A smart way to uncover the undersea marine diversity is to sign up for one of the countless Maldives diving tours from Samudra Maldives.
Thanks to its dispersed layout, The Maldives is located across both the sides of the equator, making it one of a handful of countries in the world that are part of the Northern Hemisphere as well as the Southern Hemisphere. Maldives’ weather remains rather pleasant all through the year, although the dry months of November to January are the best for sightseeing.
The country can either be experienced through its culture and cuisine or through its nature and marine life. About 200 local islands offer insights into the Maldivian lifestyle through walking tours, Island hopping tours and eco excursions. However, most of the other islands out there are private isles, each with a luxurious resort with overwater villas, beach bungalows and other relaxing accommodation options.
Diving in The Maldives is not only for the experienced but also for beginners. An established dive centre can provide you with a lot of information on what to expect under the ocean and how to dive responsibly. You will also be able to collect the appropriate gear and get on a diving tour to see the famous barrier reefs of The Maldives. There is a lot more than coral columns you can look forward to on any dive though.
#1 Madivaru Outreef Maldives Diving Tour
With a top reef that begins as early as 5 metres, Madivaru Outreef is perfect for a first-time diver. The dive site also offers a sharp drop of 30 metres and more on its outer reef, a great opportunity for intermediate and advanced level diving enthusiasts. When you go further down from 18 metres, you tend to see some intriguing caves with nudibranchs enhancing their beauty.
Also watch out for the overhangs and the profusion of moray eels that fill the space. The ceilings are particularly interesting as this is where you can spot soldier fish that weirdly swim upside down. Be sure to motion to your scuba diving instructor in case you feel disoriented after looking up. Other fish you can sight are scorpionfish, eagle rays and tuna.
The nearest island to this dive spot is Madivaru which is located in the Lhaviyani Atoll. At a distance of 45 minutes from Komandoo Island and 60 minutes from Kuredu, the Madivaru Out reef is certain to fascinate you.
#2 Hani Kandu Maldives Diving Tour
Not all dive sites in The Maldives are placed close to islands. Some sit exclusively in the middle of the ocean. One such site is Hani Kandu. A small channel located between the North Male Atoll and Kaafu Atoll Gaafaru, Hani Kandu can be easily reached from Malé, the capital city of The Maldives.
If diving is what you wish to do right after you land at the Velana International Airport, you should go on a diving tour of the shallow channel of Hani Kandu. Ideally suited to those who have prior diving experience, this site drops to 30 metres. Keep your eyes peeled for soft corals that cling to the tips of the channel overhangs. Vibrant in blue and yellow, these corals hide plenty of ghost pipe fish.
One can spot different species of fish at different parts of this dive site. While the sandy bottom is full of feather tail rays and whiptail rays, the edges of the channel are home to garden eels. The presence of currents make it possible for a diverse set of underwater life to flourish here. The currents are also why one must be experienced to do this dive.
Sting rays are generally found at the bottom of the ocean. However, if you are interested in other types of rays, you can catch eagle rays at various depths. If you are a fan of wrasses, you will not be disappointed as napoleon fish are common in Hani Kandu. Mesmerising coral gardens beneath the Indian Ocean create a setting that is perfect for making your Maldives Honeymoon package exciting and adventurous.
#3 Fun Giri Maldives Diving Tour
If you thought islands only exist over water, think again! Fun Giri is an underwater island that basically looks like a patch of sandy earth in the depths of the sea. This small island falls in the path of a channel. While the island surface has depths ranging from 7 metres at the top reef to 12 metres, its edges tend to drop sharply, forming walls on either side.
The steep walls are at least 14 metres deep and slope further down to 30 metres and more as you move away from Fun Giri. The slopes are home to 3 giant coral blocks. Intertwined in the corals are groupers. It is “fun” to watch the shrimps and cleaner wrasses cleaning up the groupers. You can go opt for a full day trip or half day trips depending on your available free time.
As you waft about in your scuba gear, you will mostly be able to see glass fish that seem to be stuck to the small overhangs along the walls. However, as you gently shove them aside, you will be able to spot cleaner shrimps and moray eels that are otherwise hidden. The walls are also the place to search for small nudibranchs which are gastropods with a soft body.
#4 Latheef Maldives Diving Tour
Located in Faadhippolhu Atoll, Latheef is a must-visit dive site for photography enthusiasts. It is highly recommended to carry an underwater video or photo device to capture the marvels that you will find at Latheef. Easily reachable by boat, this diving tour is ideal for beginners as well as intermediate level divers and advanced professionals.
Latheef has low currents, making it easily navigable, yet ideal for spotting marine life. The visibility in this part of the Indian Ocean is quite good, going as far as 30 metres. The reef starts as early as 5 metres in the depth, but drops steeply to 30 metres and more. There are a bunch of caves and overhangs that can be expected at Latheef.
The ceilings of the overhangs are quite beautiful at this diving site as they are covered with soft corals in different hues. The colour of the corals vary depending on the depth of the overhang, the shallower ones having bright yellow shades while the deeper caves have bright purple and blue coloured corals.
If you are on the search for leopard sharks, you will find some at the bottom of the deep caves. The sandy seabed is a resting place for these exotic sharks. The caves also house a variety of moray eels, nudibranchs and shrimps. Latheef is an exciting place to be, as you will be able to watch schooling fish such as bat fish here.
Turtle watchers should look out for green turtles at Latheef. If you can be patient, you will also be rewarded with a glimpse of the elusive large hump head parrot fish which feed in this region. You can include this diving trip as an add-on to your Maldive tour package.
#5 Kuredu Caves Maldives Diving Tour
Often called Turtle Airport, Kuredu Caves are located between Latheef Reef and Kuredu Corner. This dive site in The Maldives has earned this moniker due to the prominence of green sea turtles. The population of these amphibians is so large that one does not even have to wait long to spot one.
Scuba diving at Kuredu Caves is possible for divers of all experience levels as the top reef begins just at 3 metres. The maximum depth of the site is 30 metres, but most of the action can be seen till 25 metres, making the remaining depth indispensable on any diving tour. The overhangs start at 8 metres and can be found until 20 metres deep.
Soldier fish are commonly sighted near the soft corals on the ceilings of the overhangs. Since the corals drip downwards, the fish swim upside down, offering a strange sense of semblance deep in the ocean. Big napoleon fish and stingrays are commonly found at the sandy bits of the reef. This is one such trip that you should not miss to include with your Maldives vacation package.
There are many other types of fish one can find at the overhangs. Some of these are scorpion fish, porcupine fish, leaf fish, lion fish and moray eels. Located off the Kuredu Island, Kuredu Caves make for a great dive, with plenty of sites waiting to be explored alongside on a day-long excursion.
Even though diving is a preferred activity for many travellers in The Maldives, the country offers umpteen other pursuits to fill your time. You can explore shallow water snorkelling, active water sports such as wakeboarding or surfing, light activities like canoeing, or even fun activities like banana boat rides.
The sparkling blues of The Maldives are also popular for the sunset tours on dhonis – traditional Maldivian wooden boats. There are many ways to reignite your romance on these islands, from private sandbank picnics, to luxury yacht tours, to candlelight dinners to floating breakfasts on the private pool of your overwater villa. Add island hopping tours to the mix, and you stand no chance to get bored for even a second in this Asian paradise!