Destination – Maldives

Maldives

Maldives

First Thoughts

There are few if any places on this planet like the Maldives. The Maldives consist of over 1100 islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. It is the world’s lowest lying areas with the highest point in the country at seven feet above sea level and only about 270 of the islands inhabited. From the air, it really looks stunning. None of the islands are more than a 45 minute flight from the intl airport and almost all the resorts have air service.

A quick note: many of the resorts cater primarily to a single nationality even though the staffs all speak English and the resorts welcome all nationalities.

Why We Think the Maldives Rocks or Don’t

Because from the air is looks like pearls of sand and palm trees strewn across the Ocean. There are an unlimited number of dive sites including one of the most impressive manta aggregations in the world. And it has some of the most awesome resorts we’ve ever seen.

Things that Rock …

  • Its an island paradise
  • The government is actively protecting it from overfishing
  • Excellent biodiversity and healthy fish populations
  • Truly amazing resorts and accommodations
  • Over 80 resorts to choose from
  • Travel friendly with good travel infrastructure

Things that Don’t …

  • must break up trip to get there because its half way around the world
  • if you need more than diving, snorkeling, relaxing and hanging out, this isn’t the place for you
  • the Maldives are relatively expensive and there is almost no budget accommodation or transportation available
  • outside of Male, the capital, there is no such thing as a hotel. Its all resorts.

The Diving

The SCUBA diving in the Maldives spans and incredibly large area across 1190 islands grouped in 26 coralline atolls. The biggest question is whether to stay at a resort or on a yacht or do both. A resort lets you put you toes in the sand every day and there are a number of stunning resorts in the Maldives. A yacht is going to give you much better opportunity to dive a wider area. If you stay land based, you will only be able to dive part of one atoll.

There was a large coral bleaching event in the Maldives a few years ago and the reefs have mostly recovered. Its worth noting that the fish life was never affected and the Maldives is a very fishy place.

Manta Rays- It is estimated that the population of manta rays in the Maldives could be as high as 10,000 individuals. Diving with manta rays in the Maldives should be on every diver’s life list. Hanifaru is one of the places where monstrous aggregations of mantas and whale sharks come together for what is an extraordinary dive.

The Diving Areas of the Maldives

West Side of the atoll. The diving here during the southwest monsoon is phenomenal. Here you’ll find schools of pelagics such as tuna, eagle rays and sharks. Grey and hammerhead sharks tend to gather in shallower water here this time of year due to cooler water temps. During the northeast monsoon you’ll find the plankton feeders such as whale sharks and manta rays generally with lower visibility.

East Side of the Atoll. During the southwest monsoon the large filter feeders like whale sharks and mantas are found here but lower visibility also exists. two often go hand in hand as the filter feeders are there for the plankton. During the northeast monsoon look for pelagics on the current points. Currents and seas tend to pick up in January and February then ease into the “doldrums” in March and April with calm seas and less current. At the end of May the monsoon swings again to the southwest.

Our Favorite Things to Do “Out of the Water”

We believe in Surf and Turf checking out the best of underwater AND on land. It just so happens that most of the worlds best SCUBA diving destinations have other amazing things going for them in addition to kick ass diving. Don’t miss it.

  • Stick Your Toes in the Sand The Maldives have that quintessential stranded on a South Pacific island feel (even though they are in the middle of the Indian Ocean). Stick your toes in the sand, kick back, grab a cocktail. Yes.
  • LuxuriateThe Maldives is home to some of the most stunning resorts in the WORLD! Set yourself up at one of them, enjoy the sun, the sand and the surf.
  • Sea Plane Tours. This south sea paradise can be best appreciated by air. Check out a sea plane trip over these unbelievable atolls and islets!
  • Surf When O’Neil decided to host it’s Deep Blue surf contest in the Maldives a few years ago, it put surfing on the map here!
  • Snorkel. With over 1100 tropical islets you’re going to find tremendous snokeling!
  • Visit the Monuments of Male. Most adventures in the Maldives are in the water but in Male you can tour many of the popular monuments such as the Presidential Palace, the Friday Mosque and the Islamic Center. The National Museum displays the belongings of the Sultan of Maldives and Thor Heyerdahl’s stone carvings and archaeological findings.

Maldives Seasonality

The dry season extends only from January through March as the northeast monsoon season arrives. Wet season, or the southwest monsoon extends from mid-May through November. Diving can be done year around. See below for times to dive the various areas.

Overall

It’s a long way to get to the Maldives, especially from the U.S. but worth putting on your list. Visually, it’s a stunning place with blue, blue lagoons and atolls scattered across the ocean. The people are super friendly if not a little reserved and quiet and it has some of the most amazing resorts in the world especially if you are looking for an upscale experience.

Sharkman and Mantagirl give Maldives Fins Up

Check out Independent Travel Packages for Maldives or join us on a Guided Diving Adventure