Diving in Maldives and Popular Dive Sites

It is not without good reason that the Maldives has acquired a reputation as one of the most enchanting dive destinations in the world. The unique beauty of the Maldivian underwater world is doubly appreciated by divers world over due to the high visibility (sometimes even at depths of 50 meters), the multitude of exotic marine fauna and flora and the warm temperatures (25 – 30 degrees Celsius) throughout the year.

Diving in maldives

All resorts and most cruise boats operating in the Maldives have well equipped dive centers, staffed by multilingual, experienced professionals. Also, all resorts have dive schools where, although the facilities may vary depending of the resort’s size, location and clientele; a variety of dive courses ranging from beginners’ to expert PADI certification are offered.  In terms of equipment, all have the basics such as compressors, tanks, BCDs, wetsuits, weights and weight belts in addition to (a limited number of) other accessories such as lamps and dive computers. Underwater cameras and video processing facilities are also available in some of the bigger dive schools. All resorts conduct daily dive boat trips to dive sites around the island throughout the year and sometimes even to famous sites further away. Furthermore, although specialized dives (including night dives) are not daily events, many resorts arrange these also on a frequent basis.

Dive Facilities

Maldives is home to some of the most diverse marine fauna and flora in the world. Tens of thousands of reefs, a thousand recorded species of fish, over two hundred species of coral and hundreds more species of other marine life; no wonder many see this as one of the greatest dive destinations on earth.

Ready for a dive

The dive center is one of the most important facilities in any resort. Each resort has a dive center and are staffed by qualified dive instructors. Divers may, if they wish, bring along their own dive gear, however the centers carry a wide range of rental equipment. At resorts diving is conducted daily all year round. Even in Malé there are some dive centers, mainly serving the residents of Malé. There are two decompression chambers in the Maldives located in Kaafu Atoll and Ari Atoll.

Best Dive Sites in Maldives

The Maldives’ unique atoll formations create a spectacular underwater playground, where you can witness stunning coral gardens, dramatic drop-offs, and mysterious caverns. The warm, crystal-clear waters offer excellent visibility, ensuring that each dive is filled with breathtaking views and unforgettable moments.

The rich biodiversity of the Maldives’ marine ecosystem means that encounters with a wide variety of marine life are common. From the majestic manta rays and gentle whale sharks to playful dolphins and elusive reef sharks, there’s always something amazing to discover beneath the surface.

In addition to the natural beauty of the Maldives’ dive sites, there are also numerous shipwrecks and artificial reefs that provide exciting opportunities for exploration and serve as thriving habitats for a plethora of marine species.

Each dive site in the Maldives has its own distinct character, fascinating features, and diverse marine life, making this island nation a truly exceptional destination for divers of all abilities. Beginner divers will find plenty of shallow reefs teeming with vibrant corals and colorful fish, while experienced divers can explore thrilling underwater landscapes, deep channels, and challenging drift dives.

Lion’s Head

“Lion’s Head” is a protected marine park situated in a channel. Subject to strong currents, this deep wall reef boasts many exciting overhangs and forms the perfect environment for a large variety of fish, ranging from small basslets, red tooth triggers and fusiliers to the larger pelagic species such as tunas, napoleon wrasses, sharks and turtles. You will encounter beautiful nudibranchs on the underside of the overhangs, magnificent sponges and some very pretty hard and soft corals covering the reef.

Dive SiteLion’s Head
LocationSouthern end of North Male Atoll
Best time to diveWhen the wind comes from the north, thereby preventing a large swell
Average visibility20 – 25 meters, but visibility may reach up to 40 meters
Depth of reefAverage 15 – 20 meters. Maximum: 30 meters

Kuda Haa

Kudu is a protected marine sanctuary shaped like a two-humped camel’s back. Rising from 35 meters below the sea to six, this beautiful reef is covered in sponges and corals. The abundance of fish living here simply takes your breath away. Large schools of blue-striped snapper roam the deep; clouds of basslets, fusiliers and butterfly fish swim all over, while sharks hover in the shallow areas. You might also come across moray eels, cleaner shrimp and the rare scorpion and leaf fish. This is truly a dive you shouldn’t miss when visiting the Maldives.

Dive SiteKuda Haa
LocationSouth Western side of North Male Atoll
Best time to diveAll year round
Average visibility20 – 25 meters
Depth of reef5 – 35 meters

Girifushi Thila

Girifushi Thila is one of the best known and most beautiful dive sites on this island nation. Sandwiched between two outer atoll islands, strong currents are a permanent feature making diving here very exciting, while providing plenty of nutrients for both corals and fish. This protected reef enjoys overhangs, caves and crevices rising from 30 meters below the sea to ten at the top.

Most of the reef is completely covered in yellow, blue and orange soft hanging corals, as well as stunning sea fans. The current attracts an astonishing variety of small reef fish and large pelagic species such as gray reef sharks, eagle rays, tunas and barracudas. To really enjoy this dive you will need to be a confident and experienced diver.

Dive SiteGirifushi Thila
LocationSouth East North Male Atoll
Best time to diveAll year round during high and low tide
Average visibility20 – 30 meters
Depth of reef10 – 40 meters

Middle Point

“Middle Point” is situated in the middle of the Tamburudhu channel and offers a drift dive for the experienced and adventurous. It rises from 100 meters below the sea to ten. When commencing your dive you will jump into the deep blue of the ocean with nothing much around you until the current takes you to the front point of the reef, where you will observe a large school of gray reef, silver tip and white tip sharks circling the deeper waters. Looking up at the surface you will discover eagle rays dancing in the current accompanied by tunas and barracudas. After some time of underwater dreaming, you can let the current carry you along the reef and enjoy the other treasures it has to offer.

Dive SiteMiddle Point
LocationSouth East North Male Atoll
Best time to diveAll year round on incoming current
Average visibility20 – 40 meters
Depth of reef10 – 50+ meters

Nassimo Thila

This dive takes place in the spectacular Bodu Kalki channel. “Nassimo Thila” is a large reef with imposing reef pillars standing proudly at a height of 40 meters. You will wind in and out of this bizarre underwater landscape taking in its amazing beauty. The pillars are covered in blue, yellow, red and orange soft corals and large gorgonian fans. The large overhangs of the main reef also house hundreds of different coral species, colorful sponges and thousands of fish. Large tunas, barracudas and trevallies are often found chasing small reef fish like basslets, surgeon and butterfly fish, as well as entire schools of fusiliers. Turtles and friendly napoleon wrasses can be seen here regularly too.

Dive SiteNassimo Thila
LocationSouth East North Male Atoll
Best time to diveAll year round
Average visibility20 – 30 meters
Depth of reef10 – 35 meters

Okobe Thila

The “Okobe” marine reserve is one of the most awe-inspiring dive sites in the Maldives, a small thila consisting of three large rock formations. A mooring line is attached to the front of your dhoni (Maldivian word for boat) for this dive. Once you reach the bottom of the line, you will be met by a friendly and curious napoleon wrasse welcoming you to his “home”. Further down, it gets difficult to see the reef, as you are surrounded by hundreds of fish. If you believe you are in an aquarium, you will be forgiven. The reef is not large but requires more than one dive if you want to take in all the beautiful corals and fish. A “must see” dive in the North Male Atoll.

Dive SiteOkobe Thila
LocationInner South East North Male Atoll
Best time to diveAll year round
Average visibility15 – 30 meters
Depth of reef10 – 35 meters


“Rasfari” is a spectacular outer reef in the North Male Atoll. Its large sloping wall falls from ten meters below the sea to 25, levels out and then ledges off again dropping down to 90 meters. You will follow the sloping wall some 30 meters down to the reef and marvel at gray reef sharks, silver tip and white tip reef sharks circling right in front of you, while a large family of eagle rays dances in the current. Completing this magnificent show of underwater magic are some giant barracudas, tunas and napoleon wrasses, as well as schools of fusiliers, blue-striped snappers and surgeon-fish.

Dive SiteRasfari
LocationOuter West North Male Atoll
Best time to diveAll year round
Average visibility15 – 30 meters
Depth of reef8 – 40 meters

Sunlight Thila

“Sunlight Thila” is a formation of two small reefs that attract giant manta rays between March and October, when the winds from the south carry a large amount of plankton to this area. Between the reefs lies a 70-meter long sand bottom boasting small coral formations with plenty of cleaner wrasses. During your dive you will kneel on the sand whilst watching these majestic mantas circling above you waiting for their turn to be cleaned. As it is not uncommon to see ten or more manta rays at a time, this dive has become a big attraction for both beginners and experienced divers.

Dive SiteSunlight Thila
LocationInner South East North Male Atoll
Best time to diveMarch to October
Average visibility10 – 15 meters
Depth of reef5 – 17 meters

Banana Reef

Banana Reef is a very well known dive site in the Maldives – one of the first, one of the best and one of the more treacherous due to strong currents. On the eastern side of the banana-shaped reef, some rocks have broken away and created a perfect habitat for a surprising variety of schooling reef fish and large pelagic. Amongst the large overhangs resides an enormous school of blue-striped snapper. As you carry on along this banana-shaped dive, you will discover a pristine reef wall bursting with life, from different species of moray eels to fascinating corals and fish.

Dive SiteBanana Reef
LocationInner South East North Male Atoll
Best time to diveAll year round
Average visibility20 – 35 meters
Depth of reef5 – 40 meters

Maldives Victory

The Maldives Victory is a 110-meter long cargo vessel that sank in February 1981. Our dive takes you 12 meters down a rope to the ship’s main deck, where you will be sheltered from the strong currents. Here you will be amazed by the colorful marine life that calls the Maldives Victory home, from large groupers and tunas to giant trevallies and schools of fusiliers. Come face to face with turtles guarding the bow of the vessel and its stunning corals, or step back in time and explore the ship’s former accommodation quarters and bridge. On your ascent you will have a majestic bird’s eye view of this beautiful vessel. This dive is best undertaken by experienced divers only.

Dive SiteMaldives Victory
LocationWestern side of Hulhule Airport Island
Best time to diveAll year round. Due to strong currents, high or low tides are best
Average visibility15 – 25 meters
Depth of reef12 – 35 meters

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