Maldives is one of the last few premier scuba diving destinations in the world. Close to 60-80% of all coral reefs have been bleached over the years as a result of natural disasters like El Nino and human activities like excessive fishing, tourism and pollution. Maldives though has tried to keep its reefs as intact and rich as possible. El Nino had a huge toll on the region’s reefs but over the years, the reefs have returned to better levels after excessive conservation efforts leaving Maldives to be one of the very few destinations in the world where you can experience scuba diving in its true glory. The warm and nutrient-rich waters combined with the strong currents in its seas allow it to have some of the most expansive and rich coral reefs in the world filled with an abundance and a variety of aquatic life that you can’t experience anywhere else in the world.
The reefs keep attracting more people year on year and over 15% of all visitors to the Maldives specifically come here for the scuba diving experience. If you are planning a vacation to the Maldives. I’d highly recommend that you take a dive, It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience and if you are lost about what to do. Here are a few things you should know about diving in Maldives.
Cost of scuba diving in Maldives:
The cost of scuba can widely vary depending on where you stay in Maldives and the number of dives you take as well, more the dives the cheaper it is. Local islands charge anywhere between 50-80 USD a dive while resorts charge upwards of that, 5 Star resorts sometimes charge 100-150 USD a dive. Introductory dives with PADI certification will cost you anywhere between 150-200 USD in most resorts and local islands. You also have the option of liveaboard where you will be taken from anywhere between 16-19 dives and they go for around 1700-2000 USD and the trip lasts for around 7 days.
Where can I dive in Maldives?
If you are looking for places to dive in Maldives, it’s very easy to get confused as there are just so many dive spots here. The Maldives archipelago has a total area of around 90,000 km2 and of that only 1% island, the rest is just open ocean. In this area, you have over 1190 small islands of which around 300 only are currently inhabited. All this put together basically means that the number of dive spots also could exceed 1000. Don’t worry though, I’ll be here to help you navigate through this. These are the 4 best dive sites in Maldives.
On the outskirts of the North Ari Atoll is Ukulhas Thila. The area is known for the Mavaara Kandu channel which is home to a flat reef top that is frequented by manta rays between the months of December to April. The manta rays use it as a common cleaning station during these times and it’s super fascinating to see them being serviced by shrimp and other smaller fish. It’s not a place for beginner divers though as the currents tend to be very strong. However, the dive experience here is amazing and not to be missed if you are an avid diver. For those uninitiated, Thila means an underwater mountain with a reef on top.
2. Kuda Rah Thila:
This dive site is situated in a marine secured zone and is extremely delightful as the Kuda Rah Thila is abounded with various reef fish, including Anthias, Fusilier, and Snapper and at the highest point of the Thila, you get to see Moray Eels, enormous Turtles, coral Groupers, Nudibranchs, Triggerfish and various Puffer Fish swimming around. Kuda Rah Thila is known for its abundance of aquatic life. The volume of fishes and other marine creatures you can see here is truly remarkable. The reef is now easily accessible if you stay at Amaya Kuda Rah resort that recently opened up
3. Okobe Thila:
Okobe Thila, otherwise called Barracuda Thila is found south-east of Thulhaagiri. This extraordinary site can give you very unique and exceptional encounters based on the currents. Its a long and thin Thila that is about 80m long, with three primary pinnacles that go from 10m to 50m. Because of the current, as a rule, you start at 30m and wind up to the pinnacle. On your way up, be on the lookout for enormous Moray Eels, Tuna and White-Tip Reef Sharks and additionally, you can discover schools of Long-Finned Batfish, Banner Fish, and extraordinarily rich coral arrangements. Best carry a flashlight on this dive as there are lots of cavities and holes to explore.
4. Fotteyo Kandu:
Found on the eastern edge of the Vaavu atoll, Fotteyo Kandu is one of the most preferred scuba destinations found all through the Maldives. This site is home to rich marine life and dazzling coral structures, be that as it may, probably the most engaging pieces of this site are found in its caverns, swim-throughs and overhangs that are brimming with yellow delicate corals and a couple of dark coral brambles in the lower depths as well. You get to see enormous Anemones, Jacks, Tuna and schools of Snapper just as various other reef fish species here. If you get the opportunity to dive here, don’t miss it and live to regret it.
Now a lot of you are gonna be staying at private island resorts primarily and might want to know some of the best resorts from where they can dive from. So here are the top 5 resorts that are known for their own house reefs or have some of the best reefs and dive spots around them.
1. Baros Island Resort
2. Angsana Ihuru
3. Amila Fushi
4. Ozen by atmosphere
5. Amaya Kuda Rah
You can check these resorts out to see which fits you the best. Ozen particularly doesn’t have its own house reef but has over 30 dive sites around it and similarly, Amaya Kuda Rah sits right next to the Kuda Rah Thila, which is one of the best dive sites in Maldives and the resort is quite affordable as well. Each of these resorts has its unique advantages so, look around and pick what best suits you. If you are confused about what to pick, feel free to reach out to one of our brilliant destination experts at Pickyourtrail who will be able to guide you and help you choose the best vacation itinerary at the price point you are looking for.