An Ultimate Guide for Best House Reefs and Snorkeling Resorts in The Maldives

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November, 2022

Snorkeling in Maldives is perhaps the easiest way to enjoy the underwater wonders. Maldives snorkeling is a memorable and unique experience. This group of atolls in the Indian Ocean south of India, offer a stunning destination for a snorkel adventure. You don’t need a tank on your back and you don’t need too much diving experience or any scuba diving certifications to be able to discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with tropical marine life. Most snorkelling spots in Maldives are also readily accessible – simply bring your mask, snorkel and fins, and hit the shoreline.

The tropical waters around Madives are ideal for snorkelling. Temperatures are an average 27°C, and most sites are calm throughout the year. The best sites for snorkeling in the Maldives are the house reefs. Most resorts the house reef are easily accessible from the shore just few steps into the sea and excellent snorkeling can be found while other resort islands use boats to take you to the edge of the reef where you could experience some brilliant snorkeling.

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Top 10 Best Snorkeling Resorts

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LUX* South Ari Atoll

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Best Local Islands to Snorkel with Whale Sharks

Maamigili whale shark snorkeling


Maamigili, also known as 'Whale Shark Island' is an inhabited island and the only airport in South Ari (Alif Dhaal) Atoll. There are a few guesthouses, and it's a popular budget base for divers, who especially love

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Dhigurah dive with whale shark tour


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Best Resorts/Guest Houses to Snorkel with Manta Rays

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

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Kihaa Maldives Resort and Spa

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Dusit Thani Maldives

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Dharavandhoo' mantas


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Maalhos diving school


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Best Local Islands with House Reef Snorkelling



With unique features for the Maldives, Ukulhas is an inhabited island of Alif Alif Atoll that easy opens for budget tourism with a handful of guest houses and mini-hotels. Known for good ecology,

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Thoddoo vacation


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Omadhoo Hotels


Great place for an authentic beach experience, Omadhoo is an inhabited island in the Maldives. An ideal site for swimming and house reef snorkelling, Omadhoo is perfect for budget travelers

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Bodufolhudhoo Islands


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Plumeria Maldives, Thinadhoo

Plumeria Maldives, Thinadhoo

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Who can SNORK?

Who can snorkel in the Maldives? Each! Because you have great opportunities for starting and exploring in calm and crystal clear waters. The marine life of the Maldives is a natural and endlessly beautiful aquarium. You do not have to swim far and deep to admire the underwater world with all the dazzling wonders of the Indian Ocean.

Maldives offers fantastic visibility under water and is surrounded by one of the cleanest waters on earth, with an average annual water temperature of 20 ° -30 ° C, and in lagoons often reaching 32 ° C.

Depending on the resort, snorkelling can wait for you on the threshold of your villa, close to the beaches of this island, or in the lagoon.

If you swim like an ax, then just put on a mask, take a few steps to the lagoon and tilt your head into the water ... most likely you'll find some marine life interested in your feet. No waves, no danger, a lot of fun even for the youngest and oldest snorkelers.

If this is not the first time, you can safely open the landscapes Maldives' underwater world with a mask, snorkel and fins, and leisurely drifting over the surface of turquoise waters.

If you feel like a fish in the water, safely pack your equipment, consisting of a mask, a pair of fins, tubes and, according to the circumstances (physical condition, age, currents), a life jacket. Discover, explore, dive, practice breathing!

house reef free diving maldives

What Snorkeling gear should I bring to the Maldives?

One of the great things about snorkelling is that there is minimal equipment to think about, it is however, important to get that equipment right.

Mask – we recommend a traditional, good quality mask that encloses just the eyes and nose. A good fit is really important – you want to be comfortable and you want to be able to see! A cheap, poorly fitting mask has the potential to ruin a snorkel trip and put you off the activity for good.

Due to sea currents fins are an absolute must when snorkelling in Maldives, swimming in a current with out them is very tiring and not recommended – don’t be tempted to try it. Full foot, plain fins are the most reliable choice and will last you for years.

Snorkel – a basic snorkel with no valves is what you need, just the plain tube type – they are easier to use with no risk of the valve leaking due to a stray grain of sand!



Fewer than 200 of the Maldives islands are inhabited and even fewer are designated as resort islands that permit tourists. You can enjoy snorkelling everywhere in the Maldives as well as diving, but not always directly from the beach. Sometimes, you will be offered a snorkeling exursion by boat to get to the nearest reef. In 99% - it's not free of charge excursion. Some of the best snorkeling, though, can be had along the reef walls of uninhabited coral islands. Basically, in the Maldives you will find 3 types of island resorts:

1 - next to the house reef around the island.
2 - with an extensive blue lagoon around the whole island.
3 - a cherished dream: the island has a house reef and a crystal clear lagoon.

The first option is an ideal choice for a guests. Most islands feature a so-called ‘house reef' close to their shores, where the shallow lagoon precipitously drops off into the deeper ocean waters. The house reef is that area close to the vertical drop off where the coral begins to aggregate in a kind of coral garden teeming with marine life and colorful fish. The shallow water enclosed by the house reef also serves as a large natural swimming pool and protects swimmers from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents outside the reef.

The second one is very impressive and inspires dreams of swimming and sailing, but snorkeling only with a boat and maybe even on a nearby island. The third is the marriage of the above and is suitable for everyone and all ages due to a wide range of activities, including water sports, swimming and snorkeling right from the beach

Lily Beach Resort' House Reef

Lily Beach Resort' House Reef

Lily Beach's House Reef, Maldives, offers you an excellent opportunity to dive and snorkel right on your doorstep. The house reef is easily accessible, allowing you to easily swim and snorkel there during the day Read More

Hurawalhi' House Reef

House Reef in Hurawalhi

Nature and comfort go hand in hand at Hurawalhi and the resort's house reef is no exception. After being accommodated at Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives, guests usually will not leave their Read More

Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon

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Maldives Coral Reefs

The Maldives are recognized as one of the best diving destinations in the Indian Ocean, and is on the bucket list of many. Sea currents give life to the reefs of the Maldives, one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, and are responsible for fantastic diving and snorkeling in this unique part of the Blue Planet. In the Maldives the reefs form when corals grow in shallow water as fringing reefs close to the smaller islands. It takes a long time to grow a big coral colony or a coral reef, because each coral grows slowly. Why snorkeling in the Maldives is so wonderful? Two words: location and formation.  READ MORE

What is Underwater?

Virtually everything. The vibrant variety of marine species is too massive to be listed on one page. Of the world's more than 500 species of coral, more than 70 are present in the Maldives' reef systems. But in a few days, you will come across or see from afar the dolphins, rays, reef sharks, sea turtles, fantastic coral forms around some house reefs (rare beauty at present), moray eels, napoleons vrasse, reef fish of all colors and sizes, play alone or with schools, macro creatures, squid ... the list can be endless. Mantas and whale sharks often move into snorkeling-depth waters in the late summer and fall months.

The resorts with a house reef will often have dramatic drop off, the kingdom of thousands of sea creatures and various coral formations you've even seen.

In large areas of shallow water, expect to find many small and sometimes larger, creatures. It all depends on luck and time of day. Remember: who is looking for, he will always find! Read More

Snorkeling Tips

Snorkeling in Maldives is one of the best ways of discovering the hidden world of underwater right over the shallow reefs. Although the lagoons around Maldivian islands tend to be shallow and clear, some considerations should be taken for both your own health and safety as well as that of the reef system. Almost all of the Resorts in Maldives have their own dive school offering snorkeling equipments to tourists. You can either buy your equipments or take it on rental basis. These dive schools take travelers on snorkeling trip to different reefs to appreciate the vibrant and contrasting aquatic life.

- While buying a mask or taking on rental basis, select only that mask which fits to your face tightly. Examine snorkeling mask by wearing it without the strap. If the mask fits your face tightly without falling, then the mask is suitable for snorkeling.
- While snorkeling, it should be recommended to wear only those pair of fins, which give comfort.
- Before going on snorkeling adventure, check your equipments that whether they are intact or not.
- It is advisable to snorkel in the present of instructor or fellow snorkels.
- Grab knowledge of the ideal snorkeling site in Maldives and how to access them.
- Know the weather and tidal current beforehand to avoid any unprecedented danger.
- The Maldives are very close to the equator. Use waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin against ultraviolet rays.
- Do not go inside the holes in the reef, it could turn out to be a den of a moray eel. Extreme care should be taken while entering the underwater world.
- Do not step in to coral formation.

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