Diving in Huvadhoo Atoll
Maldives Scuba Diving Guide
Huvadhoo Atoll also known as Gaafu Atoll in the Maldives, a world-renowned diving destination. The crystal clear waters coupled with stunning underwater topography, and an abundance and diversity of marine life that you will find hard to believe until you've seen it with your own eyes. Colourful reef fish, large pelagics, photogenic macro subjects and beautiful corals all await your company. Whether you enjoy an exhilarating drift dive, a calm easy going exploration of a shallow reef or looking for sharks in the channels – there is something for everyone. There's a wealth of exciting dive sites waiting to be explored in this area, including colourful coral reefs, outcrops, dramatic walls, caves, tunnels, thilas (underwater islands) and fascinating channels.
Huvadhoo is the second largest atoll in the Maldives covering an area of almost 3,000 square km. The atoll's central lagoon is 40 miles (65km) across at its widest point and up to 279 feet (85 meters) deep. There are more than 230 islands at the center of its lagoon - more than any other atoll in the Maldives. It is fringed by a well-defined and almost continuous rim-reef with a deep lagoon. This atoll is a paradise for underwater adventures with scores of healthy coral islets and still undiscovered dive sites. Many of the vibrant reefs and lagoons remain unexplored, visitors here include stingrays, large numbers of turtles and a variety of sharks including black and white tip reef sharks, nurse sharks and occasionally hammerheads and tiger sharks.
LiveAboard.com Special Deals in Maldives
The feature of the most of the atoll's dive sites is inconspicuous caves and caverns, which hide in the variety of drop-offs. Untouched rocky formations shelter many tiny underwater species, which are a godsend for macro photographers. Diving in the area is a complete pleasure, as depth range is from 8m/25ft till 30m/100ft. The substantial outer reef forms a natural barrier to the ocean's currents, and diving options are available for both beginners and advanced divers. Most of them are accessible by boat. Divers can enjoy their diving in such dive sites as Nilandhoo Kandu, Hafsa Thila, Vadhoo Thila, Kaaddhedhoo Kandu and Mofzaa Thila. All of dive spots impress with the amount of rock-formations and dense corals covering the reef.
The isolation comes from the 97 kilometer wide channel north of Huvadhoo Atoll known locally as Huvadu Kandu. It is the broadest channels between atolls anywhere in the Maldives making it a popular route for liveaboards in the Maldives. Along this channel are many low coral islands. To the south is the 49 kilometer wide Addoo Kandu (South Equatorial Channel).
During the long period of time Huvadhoo Atoll served as a trading point or a stop-by place for mariners. Administratively Huvadhoo is divided into two regions: Northern Huvadhoo Atoll and Southern Huvadhoo Atoll. There are not so many places for sightseeing. The most popular are Buddhist remains, scattered around both of the regions. Due to its isolation, Huvadoo Atoll also has its own dialect known as "Huvadhoo Bas." The locals are known for their friendliness and hospitality and for the top quality woven mats they produce from the local grass, 'hau' dyed black and yellow. Thousands of tourists choose this tropical destination with another aim – to relax in top-class resorts, sun-bath on palm-fringed beaches and dive in pristine ocean waters. Away from the resorts and underwater restaurants, divers choose this place to admire the vast coral reefs, which strike with colors and the diversity of marine species.
If you're lodging on the Huvadhoo Atoll, then you will transfer by domestic flight (one hour) to either Kooddoo in the north or Kaadhedhoo in the south from Male Airport. It depends on where you're staying.
All year around. The best period for diving in Huvadhoo Atoll is North-East Monsoon: from January till May. Mainly incoming current with better visibility, stronger currents
South-West Monsoon: the rainy season runs from July till November. Mainly outgoing current with plankton rich water Temp: 28-30C. Strong winds from June-August Visibility: 15m-50m . Currents are moderate, but in some places may reach up to 2 knots.
The southernmost tip of Huvadhoo Atoll lies just 14 miles north of the equator. Weather patterns can vary from one end of the atoll to the other. However, weather year-round is tropical.The season for large pelagic fish runs May to September but with a liveaboard dive cruise in the Maldives, any sighting is possible year round.
What to See
The diving is amazing in Huvadhoo atoll and the local waters are teeming with marine life. Scuba-diving in the area is presented by admiring large pelagic fish, which leisurely roam around their rocky homes. Manta rays, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks, different species of ray, wrasse, moorish idols and butterfly fish, tuna, stingray, parrotfish, surgeonfish and turtles inhabit Huvadhoo Atoll dive sites. It's also possible to see whale sharks in May and June when the currents change direction and plankton levels increase. Make sure you've got enough space in your dive log.
Underwater landscape is mostly hard corals in tremendous good shape. The coral reef structures is fantastic: table corals reaching 4 metres across and healthy acroporas, stone corals, staghorns, brain corals, sea fans, and many other soft and hard corals. On the inner and outer reefs expect vibrant yellow box fish and schools of bigeye trevally spiraling like liquid in a blender. Nudy branches, sponges, gorgons, snappers, jack fishes, trigger fishes, oriental sweet lips, tunas, parrot fishes, green and hawksbill turtles. In the north of the atoll, the Hithaadhoo Nature Reserve, which provides shelter to nesting turtles, can be found in a deep interior lagoon.
The most of divers visit Huvadhoo Atoll for its sharks. Nurse sharks laze in crevices and whitetip, blacktip and grey reef sharks patrol the channels. If you're lucky, tiger and thresher sharks may ascend from the deep blue on the south-west of the atoll. Hammerheads and leopard sharks can be found, but they're not as common as they are further south. Large bluefin trevally are either solitary or swim in schools to herd smaller fish into bait balls.
Popular Huvadhoo Atoll Liveaboards
Huvadhoo Atoll represents two distinct districts, Northern Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Alifu) in the north, and Southern Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Dhaalu) in the south. Located in the southern stretch of the Maldives, few hotels are present and therefore tourism and traffic is limited mainly to local liveaboard cruise operations. The spectacular marine life of the Indian Ocean fills the many unexplored and vibrant reefs and lagoons creating a great variety of dive sites. Read More ...
This is a typical Maldives dive site that has a large amount of marine life, lots of beautiful reef structures, many overhangs and some steep drop offs. The depths are relatively easy but there can often be strong currents in the area. Divers will have to have the necessary experience with diving in currents to dive here. However mostly dive sites from beginners till advanced level, all of them show a very unspoiled characteristic and coral life which is tremendously good. There's a wealth of exciting dive sites waiting to be explored in this area, including colourful coral reefs, caves, thilas (underwater islands) and fascinating channels. Watch reef sharks feeding, dolphins passing by, spot moray eels hiding in holes, observe turtles searching for food or maybe even find for macro life like nudibranchs and cleaner shrimps.
Rahadhoo Channel: Sharks, eagle rays, strong currents. Kuda Hafza Thila: Sharks, leaf fish, ribbon eels. Channel dives: lots of hard corals of a unique quality, strong currents, abundance of fish life. Outer Reef: Fish rich and real good coral life Giri and Thilas. Channel dives like Vilingilli, Nilandhoo, Mareehaa and Kondeey and reef dives like Gazeera and Vaadhoo are not to be missed.
Vadhoo Thila and Maarenhaa Kandu offer great shark sighting while Nilhandhoo Kanu and Ekefaru Kandu are populated mostly by barracuda and wide-eyed trivially, not to mention mammoth jackfish, and of course Manta Point, where Manta sights are all but a guaranteed. At the northern tip of Gaafu alive, divers will find a deep lagoon with brilliant displays of macro life.
This is wide northern corner meradhoo Kandu. Top of the reef is about 10 meters and goes down to 30 meters. The ocean side is full of beautiful corals at 20-25 meters, riches in lush yellow and orange soft corals. In front, in the blue, it is easy to spot the large pelagic such as jackfish, tuna and white tip reef sharks. Often approach also eagle rays, snappers, and then also Napoleon fish, to make unique this exciting dive. Nitrox is higly recommended.
This is a very small and interesting dive site. It is totally different from other dive sites in this area. The top reef starts at 10 meters with a big coral block on top that comes up to 6 meter below the surface. On Kuda Hafsa Thila you will find a vast amount of fish, ranging from small bait fish to big tuna. Here you can also find a resident school of yellow and blue striped snappers. Sharks are regularly spotted and so are turtles. Keep your eyes peeled for the little leaf fish.
This is a classic outreef dive site. The reef starts on 5 meter and slopes down to around 15 meters, then drops down to 40 meters like a wall. This dive site is covered with beautiful corals and a lot of different reef fish. The best thing about diving on this outreef is that just about anything can make an appearance, so keep your eyes peeled and look into the blue, as big fish regularly pay a visit! Turtles, sharks, tunas, barracudas and napoleon wrasses are commonly spotted as you drift along with very little effort. There is plenty of macro life here, too, so don't forget to take some time to admire the smaller creatures, such as flatworms, nudibranches and cleaner shrimps.
During the shark dives in the Kooddoo channels, divers can expect to see: Grey Reef Sharks, Black-Tip Oceanic Sharks and there are often sightings of Hammerhead Sharks. For 2 or 3 months around January to March the live-aboard dive boats currently also these sites, but because of the long transit from Male’ in open water and unpredictable weather they do not operate there in other months. During the month of January – April, there is a special site near to Mercure Kooddoo to do night snorkeling with Whale Sharks. A special lighting technique is used to attract zoo plankton to the back of the boat and whale sharks come around to feed. It is very unique!
Nilandhoo Kandu is often one of the destinations on the routes of the liveaboards leaving from the north atolls and Huvadhoo (Gaafu) Atoll in the Maldives Islands. Drift diving here is a flight over the shining reef or a wall. While diving, divers are likely to face the strongest current near the entrance of the channel and the drop-off. The best time to dive at Nilandhoo Kandu is from January to April. The water temperature remains around 28-30C during the year. Divers may see a full spectrum of bold underwater creatures that come close, such as leopard sharks, gray reef sharks, silky sharks, schools of barracudas, small groups of eagle rays, big schools of jacks, and turtles on the sandy bottom. Nilandhoo Kandu is popular with the ‘shark trips’ and lovers of underwater photography.
MALDIVES RESORT Packages, Offers & Promotions
- Milaidhoo Stories - 45% OFF (Limited Time Special offer)
- Baros Maldives: BAROS ESCAPE - 40% off - Bed & Breakfast Offer for a stay until 22 Dec 2021
- Hard Rock Hotel Maldives: COME TOGETHER - 35% OFF Book by 30 Sep for a stay until 20 Mar 2022
- Kuda Villingili Resort, Male: Indulgence Offer! Book for 3 nights and get up to 20% discount. Stay Period: From 1st Nov 21 onwards
- Kuramathi Getaway: Book your stay with superb savings with flexible 3 days cancellation policy. Rates include daily breakfast, lunch and dinner at the buffet restaurant.
- Hard Rock Hotel Maldives: FAMILY CAMP-CATION offer, 7 and 14 nights packages; Prices from $337/night
- Crown & Champa Resorts Special offers: Up to 40% OFF for stays till October 31, 2021
- Adaaran Prestige Vadoo: Last Minute Offer - Save Up to 35%; Flexible cancellation
- Dhigali Maldives: Complimentary Departure PCR & 50% Off Adult Transfer
- Constance Maldives: Up to 50% OFF at Constance Moofushi or Constance Halaveli
- Accor Hotels: Recharge Maldives offer with more benefits for stays until Sep 30
- VIEW MORE MALDIVES ISLAND RESORT OFFERS
Best Hotels in Maldives
Best for Budget Trip
Best Resorts in Maldives
Recent Posts 20.09.2021
- COVID-19 TRAVEL FAQ
- The Best Time to visit Maldives A Month-by-Month Breakdown
- 10 Maldives Islands That Should Be at the Top of Your List
- "Glamingo": Ananya Panday's Perfect Caption for these Stunning bikini pics from The Maldives
- MBM appoints Jose Enrique as the first Brand Ambassador
- 10 Ultra-Luxury Travel Experiences
- Wellness Trends You Can Practice at JOALI BEING
- Lily Beach Resort gets Haute Grandeur Global Awards regional honours 2021
- Celebrity Introduces New Brand Look, Encourages Cruisers to Sail
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises Returns to Sailing
- Win a One Week Honeymoon to the Maldives with Coco Collection
- THE OZEN COLLECTION hosts Champagne Tasting Masterclass with Guy Charbaut
- THE OZEN COLLECTION launches Immersive Wellness Experiences
- Wonder of the Seas' Debut Shifted From China to U.S. and Europe
- Maldives is back to UK’s green list
- Hard Rock Hotel Maldives wins 2021 Luxury Lifetstyle Awards
- Komandoo Maldives features New Menu at Aqua
- Six Senses to add second branded property in the Maldives – Kanuhura
- Underwater World: Amilla Maldives inspires travelers to celebrate local Art
- Vakkaru Maldives Announces 'Glitter and Gold' Festive Programme
- Hina Khan having a fun in the Maldives
- Sara Ali Khan enjoys the Sun and the Sea in Maldives
- Green Globe certifies Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
- Emirates offers even more reasons to visit Dubai and Expo 2020
- MSC Approved To Sail First Cruise Out of Port Canaveral
- Two More Norwegian Ships Restart Operations
- Coco Bodu Hithi, Maldives announces New General Manager
- Holland America Sets New Dates for Three Ship Restarts in 2022
- Waldorf Astoria Maldives wins TRAVEL + LEISURE 2021 World's Best Awards
- Amilla Maldives opens EAST - The brand new South Indian eaterie
- Regent Unveils Seven Seas Grandeur's Designs
- Crown & Champa Resorts celebrate 10k guest reviews on Tripadvisor
- Waldorf Astoria Maldives wins TRAVEL + LEISURE 2021 World's Best Awards
- Amilla Maldives opens EAST - The brand new South Indian eatery
- Regent Unveils Seven Seas Grandeur's Designs
- Lily Beach - Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resort by Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2021
- Carnival Corp., Quest Diagnostics Offer Cruisers Access to COVID Tests
- Sea Cloud Cruises christens New Sea Cloud Spirit, its third Ship
- Green Initiative at Grand Park Kodhipparu Maldives
- Jumeirah Group announces opening of new resort in Maldives
- Dusit Thani Maldives supports Community Connections with Unique Gifts for Kids
- Lily Beach Maldives to host Football Workshops with Guinness World Record Holder
- Flexi Booking with Huvafen Fushi
- Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts lands in the Maldives with Signature Glamourous European Spirit
- Where to Spot Celebrities in The Maldives
Beach or Water Villa?
Maldives - a name that became synonymous with honeymooners' paradise in the tourism world, has slowly revamped to cater to the needs of families visiting this tropical island. Special kidsRead More
10 Romantic Dining Experiences
The Maldives is a breathtaking destination with it's paper-white sands, azure lagoons, and seclude island vibes. Dining and romance go hand in hand in the Maldives.The restaurants and destinationRead More
6 Underwater Restaurants
Dining under the sea is a growing trend in the Maldives that enables diners to enjoy a great food and incredible underwater views all at once. The 6 breathtaking underwater restaurants in Maldives must toRead More
Maldives Hotel Reviews
Some of the best hotels and resorts in the Maldives are already included in this list, and the good part of them offers the best prices. We will constantly add new hotels, so regularly check for the best dealsRead More
10 Best Liveaboards
Liveaboards in Maldives is the best way to discover underwater world with many must-have tropical SCUBA experiences. Deserted, white sand islandsRead More
10 Exclusive Resorts in Maldives
The Maldives is paradise destination that should be on the bucket list of every discerning travelers. There's a special breed of hotels there that cater to the most tasteful of luxury travelersRead More
Maldives Luxury Guide
Here's the best of Maldives for luxury travellers. We've compiled the finest recommendations of places to stay, ranging from the most celebrated five-star resorts to luxurious private islands Read More
Maldives Romantic Guide
The ultimate ‘flop and drop' and honeymoon destination, the Maldives is the playground for the most amazing and finest utilization of each second of this extremely valuable and hopeful time with each other in tota Read More
Maldives Budget Guide
Budget travellers choose Maldives as their destination of choice thanks to the variety of affordable stays Read More
Maldives Family Guide
Maldives - a name that became synonymous with honeymooners' paradise in the tourism world, has slowly Read More