The Maldives, made up of over 1,200 islands, are a true paradise for diving. Located in the north-central Indian Ocean, the sparkling, clear beaches and waters of the Maldives offer some of the best diving conditions in the world. The atolls of the Maldives are home to whale sharks, rays, hammerheads, and a huge range of tropical and schooling fish.
With so many islands to choose from, where should a diver go? Here are our recommendations for the ten best dive resorts in the Maldives.
This luxe, adult-only resort is perfect for diving. The nearby reefs are some of the most popular in the Maldives, with good reason. Over 30 dives can be easily accessed from the resort, and South Ari Atoll offers shipwreck dives, vibrant corals, and channels. They are perfect for new or experienced divers to explore–look out for nurse sharks, rays, and turtles.
The resort also offers scooter diving, if you’re up for trying something new, and the beachfront dive shop also offers a wide range of PADI instructional courses. Komandoo is also close to 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, a rare chance to dine under the sea!
This cozy resort has only nine rooms, but it’s a perfect choice for year-round diving. It’s also a great place to learn more about the local culture, as over 200 people reside on the island of Fulidhoo and the resort is very close to Male, the capital city.
The dive center offers a diverse offering of diving and snorkeling excursions, including night dives to grey nurse shark habitats. The area is known for its large marine life, including manta rays and whale sharks (in season). There are also many stunning coral formations around the island.
South Ari Atoll
LUX* is consistently rated as the top dive resort in the Maldives by guests, and offers a private island hideaway. It’s a true diver’s paradise. Mantas and whale sharks are commonly seen here, and the atoll’s sheltered coral dive sites are home to a huge range of tropical fish. It’s a splurge, but perfect for a special occasion. After your dive, relax with room service or check out one of the property’s 11 bars and restaurants. A five-star PADI dive center and a spa are also on site.
Catering to those looking for a private beach escape, Nika Island consists of 48 beach-front bungalows, each with natural privacy from one another. Full board is included in the price, and the resort is super close to some of the area’s best diving sites: Gangheu Kandu and Maaya Thila. Divers can access sites for all ranges, from beginner to advanced.
They also offer lessons in freediving, if you’re looking to try something new.
South Male Atoll
Over 30 dives for all ability levels can be accessed from Rihiveli, including drift dives and dives to underwater islands. This stunning resort features a natural lagoon, which regularly attracts dolphins, and a huge range of marine life, including turtles, barracuda, and schools of tropical fish.
The resort is easy to access by a speedboat from the international airport, which will have you there in less than an hour. Traditional bungalows and an overwater restaurant and bar make this a great spot for diving and relaxation.
If you truly want to escape society and live your absolute best life (at least for a week), the W Maldives is the place to be. This luxury resort offers overwater villas, complete with private plunge pools, and private beaches. Oh, and you can charter the resort’s yacht for a day.
The resort is located on Ari Atoll, home to much pelagic marine life, such as rays, hammerheads, turtles, and reef sharks. Dive staff are multilingual and experienced, and a large range of dive sites can be accessed from the resort, via the W’s ‘dive limousines’–specially designed dive boats, complete with sun decks, bathrooms and changing rooms, and refreshments.
This intimate resort has only seven rooms–but it was created by divers, for divers, meaning it’s the perfect choice for those looking for a fully immersive diving trip. It’s one of the best places in the Maldives to see whale sharks, as they are spotted 12 months out of the year, as are rays. The dives near the resort are also home to a lot of smaller marine life, including moray eels and nudibranchs.
The dive shop is really great here too, as you’d expect in a resort run by divers and offers instructional classrooms, a well-appointed gear shop, and experts in underwater photography. Night dives are run on request.
North Malé Atoll
This large and spacious resort is a great base for diving, and also has plenty of activities to keep you busy, including nightly entertainment, a museum of Maldivian history and culture, a luxurious spa, and all sorts of land and water sports and activities.
The onsite PADI dive center has access to a range of dive sites for all levels. Expect to see schools of tropical fish, rays, turtles, and eel. There’s a shipwreck dive site in the area also, as well as caves, overhangs, and soft and hard coral formations.
This traditional boutique hotel is a great option for diving the Maldives on a tighter budget, and the resort also gets acclaim for its environmentally friendly practices. Diving in Baa Atoll is incredible–it’s a UNESCO-protected area and home to a wide range of species, including jackfish, sea turtles, and sharks.
Seasonal day trips to Hanifaru Bay, another UNESCO site, are also available, as are regular dives to Goifulhafehendhoo Atoll. The atolls in the area are known for their overhangs and coral formations, offering great opportunities for novice and experienced divers.
South Male Atoll
COMO combines the ultimate in diving and luxury. Indulge in daily yoga classes, relax with a spa session, or watch the sunset followed by a gourmet meal of Indian or fresh seafood, best enjoyed by candlelight.
The diving here is unbelievable, made even better by guidance from the resort’s resident marine biologist (dream job!). The resort has access to its own reef, frequently visited by turtles, dolphins, rays, reef sharks, and colorful marine life. Night snorkeling, via UV torch, is also available. For a break from diving, the resort also offers fishing, sunset cruises, and water sports.
Ready to dive in the Maldives? Which dive resort do you think is best?
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