The Maldives is made up of 1000 islands that are all perfect examples of dazzling beauty and spectacular scenery. White sands, coconut palms, and the yellowfin tuna are all things that you can expect to find in the Maldives.
The place is certainly a haven for divers. With tropical warm waters and excellent visibility, diving in the Maldives is guaranteed plenty of sights. So, take the scuba gear package, and let’s go!
These are the 10 best diving spots in the Maldives.
1. Ukulhas Thila, North Ari Atoll
There is a huge reef to be found near the north rim of the Ari Atoll. It rises to 30 meters. Near the end of the dive spot, you will find Maavaru Kandu, quite a large channel at the center of the Ulkulhas Thila.
One striking feature of the dive site is the narrow yet very long pinnacle that has a flat top and is over 300 meters long. The flat-top also slopes down to 30 meters. Near the end of this flat top is a zone or cleaning station which manta rays use between April and December.
During this time of the year, the waters here are characterized by very strong currents. When diving in the Maldives you will have to hold on to rocks at this dive site. As you do this, however, take care not to grasp on a piece of coral as this could damage the reef.
The strong currents here mean this is not the best dive spot for beginner and intermediate divers and only experienced divers should attempt to dive here. You should be aware of the scuba diving dangers and risks. Once having held on to a rock, the curious mantas may come close to investigate you giving you a unique and unforgettable experience.
2. Broken rock, south Ari Atoll
Here you will find a deep canyon that separates the reef in two. What’s great about this unique dive site is that you can actually swim through the canyon. Keep in mind however that you will need to be highly proficient in buoyancy making this dive site for the experienced diver.
There are some really strong currents here so many divers will prefer to remain on top of the reef and find rocks to grab onto as they watch the variety of fish swimming by.
Soft corals are lining the walls of the canyon with vivid pastel colors. If you chose to dive at this spot, you will see butterflyfish, Anthias, Moray eels, Napoleon Wrasse, Pufferfish.
Diver beware of the moray eels here when holding onto rocks as they can be quite protective of their space. Having good quality scuba fins will help you swim at your optimum when under the water.
3. Fotteyo Kandu, Vaavu Atoll
At the eastern side of Vaavu Atoll is Fotteyo Kandu and it happens to be one of the most popular and favored Maldives scuba diving which is understandable owing to the stunning coral and the beautiful and diverse marine life.
While located to the east of Vaavu Atoll, this channel points towards the northwards direction and features tropical warm waters which means that divers can access it any time of year. That said, the peak season is between December and May.
Due to the large number of species to be found here, Fotteyo Kandu is a favorite of many marine biologists and researchers. Ocean photographers also dive here to capture some amazing underwater images.
More so are the overhands and the caves and the swim-throughs where you can find black corals and yellow corals. Check out the beginner’s guide to cave diving. Whenever you commit to Maldives scuba diving, you simply don’t want to miss out on this site. Here you will also spot sea anemones, snapper, jacks as well as Tuna, and a variety of other stunningly colored reef fish. If you choose to dive in the early mornings, you will often come across hammerhead sharks.
4. Miyaruga Thila, North Ari Atoll
There is a large file to be found on the North Ari Atoll called Miyaruga Thila. It is 30 meters deep and 80 meters long. The top of the reef is a mere 15 meters under the sea. However, since there are many currents to be found here you will need to make negative descent. There are terraces, overhangs and caves to be found throughout the pinnacle.
However, the best part about this dive site becomes clear when you get to the center of its north side where you will come across two tunnels that go across each other. There is one at 21meters and the other at 2meters and they are both roughly 1m in width.
The rock formations at miyaruga Thila are remarkable. There are caves, holes, and cavities with spectacular soft coral formations all over the dive site. It offers the perfect site for underwater photographers allowing you to catch some remarkable images.
Keep in mind that the tunnels and the caves can get quite dark so always carry your dive light with you. Also always bring a dive buddy for added support and safety.
5. Kudah Rah Thilla
This dive site is to be found at the South Ari Atoll and is situated in a protected area. The underwater sights here are simply stunning. You will begin your dive by swimming through a coral-covered arch. One of the most striking features of the kudah rah Thila is the large variety of reef fish. These include snapper, anthias, fusilier.
Higher up you will also come across moray eels, coral groupers, turtles, triggerfish, nudibranchs as well as pufferfish.
The currents here can range from mild to strong which makes this a dive site for the advanced diver. The light can get limited at the arch so always bring a dive light with you on the dive. The sights here are simply unforgettable, especially with beautiful coral formations.
Before diving always perform a buddy check.
6. Kandooma Thila, South Male Atoll
Kandooma Thila is among the best dive sites in Male and features a pinnacle in the shape of a tear which is 300 meters long. The marine here and the sights and underwater scenery are simply breathtaking. Jack corner lies to the west of the kandooma thila and is the best place to be when the current is outgoing.
Due to its large size, it’s not possible to circumnavigate Kandooma Thila in a single dive. Because of this, many divers will focus their dives either at the west and north of the pinnacle.
Here you can see Barracuda, jacks, trevally, groupers as well as white-tip reef sharks. Sometimes you may even see dogtooth tuna and schools of eagle rays. There is a cave that lies around 23 meters under Jack’s corner where snapper and big eye trevally like to hang out.
It’s important to make a negative descent when exploring Kandooma thila due to the strength of the current here. Observe the scuba diving 5-point descent guide. The most recommended way to make the dive is to always perform a safety stop when you are at the top of the reef when ending your dive. You will also see different turtle species while you are at it.
7. Dhevana Kandu
Situated at Felidhe atoll, you definitely want to check out Dhevana Kandu. This dive site is to be found south of Ali Madhaa.
It is among the more popular sites for Maldives scuba diving thanks to its stunning underwater marine life and its beautiful coral formations. Here you can see the variegated lizardfish, the pufferfish, as well as the angelfish, are common.
There are also overhangs and caves to be explored at Dhevana Kandu and you can easily spot reef sharks, pelagic fish in schools as well as rays. This is one of the best dive spots for those interested in a bit of shark spotting.
Just make sure to bring your diving camera with you so that you can capture some amazing images to watch when you finally get to the surface.
8. Okobe Thila, North Male Atol
This Thila is also called Barracuda Thila and is to be found to the southeast of Thulhaagiri. What sets Okobe Thila apart from the other dive sites is that the experience that the diver is going to get will very much depend on the strength of the current.
Due to its structure and the fact that it is long yet thin, divers can circle it in a single dive. It is around 80 meters in length. Okobe thila features 3 main pinnacles all ranging between 10m and 50 meters.
The current will often cause you to begin at 30 meters and then circle up the pinnacle in spirals. While you are at it, you are likely to spot white tip reef sharks, moray eels as well as Tuna. You can also find bannerfish, long-finned bat fish as you enjoy the super healthy coral formations to be found here.
As you make the dive there are 10 diving concepts to always remember. The pinnacle walls have plenty of holes and cavities so always bring a dive torch with you to help you view the underwater sights at night as you explore the pinnacle of Okobe Thila.
9. Rangali Madivaru
Also located at the south Ari Atoll is Rangaru Madivaru. It is among the best places to spot some manta rays. If you are planning to visit this area during the monsoon, then you will be delighted to know that it is among the best time of year to dive Rangali Madivaryu. This time of year, the waters are rich in plankton which in turn attracts the manta rays.
At the northern side of the reef is a wall that rises vertically upwards which is in contrast to the southern side that slopes gently into the deep blue. Divers can access the site from the northern side or at the manta rays cleaning station while spending very minimal time at the surface.
It is advisable, however, to stay on the slope when you notice manta rays on the reefs and should remain on the wall when the manta rays are present on the slope. Keep in mind Boyles law and scuba diving.
Also, divers should remain vigilant of moray eels hiding in the rocks. These can turn very aggressive when getting too close to them.
But there is plenty more to see here and others that the beautiful mantas, there are lionfish, snappers, squirrelfish, and fire fish.
While having a current is great as this attracts manta rays, there is also the risk of the swirling effect. Your guide will be there to advise you on the best place and time to dive Rangali Madivaru.
10. Sun Island, South Ari Atoll
If there ever was a perfect place to swim with the graceful and majestic whale sharks, then it’s got to be the Sun Island at the South Ari Atoll offers some of the best diving in the Maldives.
On the southern side of the Sun island is the Indian ocean with a plateau that is between 5-10 meters. This allows you to easily spot the cruising whale sharks as they go about their business.
To greatly increase your chances of spotting and diving in the Maldives with a whale shark, it’s advisable to visit sun island days before the full moon.
The shallow depths of the plateau mean that snorkelers can also swim with the whale sharks. It is also a perfect location for beginner divers.
And if you are wondering where you can access the scuba gear package, you can find these at the dive Oceanus which has plenty of boats and rental equipment. Every morning 2 tank diving trips are set and an extra 1 tank dive in the afternoon. For the more experienced divers who plan on going down deeper and staying under for longer, you can also access nitrox.
In fact, the nitrox is free at some dive shops provided you have a dive certification.
Globo Surf Overview
The Maldives scuba diving is a mecca for dive enthusiasts, marine biologists, and ocean photographers owing to the beauty that lies in its underwater world. From soft to hard corals, warm waters, and a variety of colorful fish, there is so much to see in the Maldives that you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
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1. Diving in Ukulhas Thila, divescover.com