With its impossibly blue water, vibrant tropical wonders and outstanding visibility, the Maldives are one of the best places on earth for diving. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives’ hundreds of isolated coral cays provide the ultimate underwater playground for divers to explore. Best of all, visibility is absolutely spectacular and can reach depths of up to 50m throughout the year.
During a diving trip to the Maldives, you can expect to see over 2000 species of marine life. The Maldives is actually home to the largest manta ray population on earth, with an estimated 7000 species. Sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, whale sharks, tropical fish, soft and hard corals also occupy the underwater world and provide unrivalled opportunities for divers of all skill levels. The water temperature sits at a balmy 26-30 °C all year round, however diving conditions will vary throughout the year.
The Maldives has two seasons, the north-east monsoon and the south-west monsoon. Running from December until the end of April, the north-east monsoon brings sunny days, calm oceans and very little wind. Visibility is 50m in the eastern region of the Maldives and 25m in the western. This time of year also brings an influx of plankton which attracts manta rays, gray sharks and many other majestic sea giants. It’s an amazing time for diving in the Maldives as well as swimming, snorkelling and relaxing beneath the tropical sun.
Alternatively, the south-west monsoon begins in May and lasts until early November. Unfortunately, this time of year brings lots of rain, however, marine life is very active in the western Maldives region. Visibility is at its peak during May through July and manta rays are present from August to November.
The most impressive Maldives reef is the Hanifaru Bay. This famous location is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and a nursey ground for grey sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and sting rays. If you visit during the months of August through November, you can swim with up to 200 manta rays. As a protected area, diving is actually prohibited at Hanifaru Bay, however snorkelling is allowed.
Many Maldives resorts offer fantastic diving facilities and excursions. They also provide helpful dive guides who are extremely knowledgeable about the local reefs and can take you to the best dive sites in the area. In terms of safety, the resort staff are more than equipped and are trained in first aid if any emergencies occur on the dive.