10 Best Dive Sites in Maldives

Where to Go Scuba Diving in Maldives

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Updated December, 2023

Diving in the Maldives is an experience not too be missed. The crystal clear and warm waters of the Maldives are a good place to see manta rays, whale sharks and an incredible abundance of tropical fish. Kandus and thilas among these 1200 islands support both strong currents and protected coral reefs. Almost every part of the Maldives has an ideal dive site for each interest and skills.

Diving in the Maldives is possible all year round, but for the most favorable conditions it is recommended to go from December to May. These months see the northeastern monsoon, when currents favor excellent visibility and a variety of species on the more popular, eastern sides of the atolls.

Below we listed the 10 dive sites in the Maldives, according to the rating of experts on diving. Despite the fact that many of these spots can be submerged during your stay in a resort, the best way to explore marine life of the Maldives archipelago is to go with a scuba dive liveaboard.

1 Maaya Thila, North Ari Atoll

Day or night, Maaya Thila is one of the best dive sites in the Maldives. lot With lots of caves and overhangs, this site can be dived in one dive depending on the currents. This pinnacle lies at a depth of 6 meters from the ocean's surface and falling down to 30 meters. The site lies at a distance of around 5nm to the northwest of the island of Ukulhas, and it's Protected Marine Area. Maaya Thila is home to an amazing diversity of marine life. You can spot a dozens of white-tip and grey reef sharks, giant trevally, barracudas, snappers, eagle rays, and many other pelagics here. Also the reef has scenic soft corals and gorgonians. On the reef top you can see schools of fusiliers and Hawksbill Turtles. But the real show begins after sunset - a night dive here is a thrilling one. Jumping into the water in the dark of the night, expect a real rush around you. Just swim around the top of the mountain and enjoy the action! Expect to see see hunting sharks, giant moray eels, sting rays and giant barracudas up close.

Types of diving: thila / night
Recommended Level: Medium to Advanced
Sights: Whitetip Reef Sharks
Nearest dive centersKuramathi Island Ukulhas Constance Halaveli, Maayafushi Island,  BathalaBodufolhudhoo Nika Island

2 Nassimo Thila, North Malé Atoll

Nassimo Thila, Paradise Rock or Virgin Reef - еhis “Thila” is considered to be one of the best “Thilas” of North Malé Atoll. This “Thila” has a number of pinnacles strewn randomly a few feet away from the main reef, stunning rock formations, caves, abundant fish life and everything else that is desired for an exciting dive. The top of the thila is between 10 and 15 meters and in a slightly oval shape. The full strength of the currents hit these pinnacles and soft corals are plentiful. Midnight Snappers, Dog-toothed Tunas, Barracudas and White-tip Reef Sharks are seen here. The ceilings of the long overhangs and caves on the main reef are covered with blue and yellow soft corals. Inside the other overhangs are Seafans. The top is reef is covered with hard corals. Schools of Snappers, Oriental Sweetlips, and Eagle Rays can be seen. Currents at Nassimo Thila are usually strong, so it is only recommended for advanced divers.

Types of diving: thila / drift diving 
Recommended Level: Medium to Advanced
Sights: pelagics, corals, White-tip sharks
Nearest dive centersGili Lankanfushi, KurumbaSheraton Maldives Full Moon Bandos Maldives

3 Kandooma Thila, South Malé Atoll

Kandooma Thila is a large, deep under-water pinnacle on the atoll's outer edges whet top is located 13m from the ocean's surface, while the sandy base is 35-40 meters deep. This “Thila” is in the middle of “Biyaadhoo Kandu”, between the islands of Cocoa and Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort. With full of hard corals on the top of the reef, the sides of thila are covered with different coloured soft corals. The narrow channel between the thila and the reef usually creates a strong outgoing current directed from west to east. This is the place where the underwater show begins, and where you must be. The current ranges between medium to very strong and attract grey reef sharks, eagle rays and large schools of fusiliers. Larger reef fish can be observed too, such as sweetlips, snappers and groupers. Expect descend into the blue and let the current drift us to the reef. Large tuna, giant trevally as well as spotted eagle rays are likely to ride the current with you making this one of the most exciting dives in the atoll.

Types of diving: thila / drift diving 
Recommended Level: Medium to Advanced
Sights: pelagics, sharks
Nearest dive centersCOMO Cocoa IslandHoliday Inn Kandooma ResortBiyadhoo Island ResortGuraidhoo IslandOZEN by Atmosphere

4 Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo, North Ari Atoll

The house reef of Ellaidhoo is globally known for its beauty amongst divers and thus, it is a true Eldorado for snorkellers too. It does not matter if you put on a tank for the first time or if you are a traveled and experienced diver – you will be astonished by the breathtaking beauty of the house reef! With a length of 1600 meters, the reef leads around the entire island. The Chaaya Reef has a consistent drop-off, good corals and amazing marine life. Mantas, sharks and even whale sharks were often seen near the island. Just 15 metres from the jetty is a wreck, which at 30 metres down is inaccessible for snorkelers but certainly adds something extra to the fine housereef diving. As the visiting big fish would indicate, there are occasional strong currents here which guests need to be aware of.

Types of diving: house reef
Recommended Level: first time to Advanced
Sights: pelagics, sharks, fish, coral, macro 
Nearest dive centers: Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon

5 Hanifaru bay, Baa Atoll

With high marine biodiversity, the only biosphere reserve in the Maldives, Baa Atoll is home to the ambundant of marine life and the underwater world of striking beauty. This is the best place to see Whale Sharks and Mantas together! It’s a small bay on the reef of the Hanifaru Island. The plankton bloom inside the bay from July till November attracts the gentle giants for feeding. Sometimes there are six to eight Whale Sharks together with hundreds of Manta Rays.

Types of diving: snorkeling
Recommended Level: first time to Advanced
Sights: mantas, whale sharks
Nearest dive centers: Anantara KihavahKihaa MaldivesDharavandhooMaalhos

6 Maamigili Beru Reef, South Ari Atoll

Maldives is one of the best places in the world for diving with whale sharks. And the best place in the Maldives to find these huge fish is the South Ari atoll. Whale sharks are the highlight of any visit to South Ari Atoll and these gentle giants can be seen year round. The southern coast of the Sun island is open to the Indian Ocean and has a plateau at a depth of 5-10 meters, which makes it easy to find whale sharks that regularly patrol these waters. For the best chance to see a whale shark, head out on a dive or snorkel trip organised by your resort – the guides will know where any been seen recently and guests can enjoy the tropical beauty of the Maldives whilst keeping a close lookout for the distinctive shadow or fin breaking the surface of one these huge animals.

Types of diving: shallow reef
Recommended Level: first timers to Advanced
Sights: whale sharks
Nearest dive centersSun Island ResortLUX* South Ari AtollMaamigiliDhigurahAmaya Resorts & Spa Kuda RahVakarufalhi Resort,    Centara Grand Island Resort & SpaMaafushivaru Maldives,    Conrad Maldives Rangali IslandMirihi IslandAngaga Island

7 Fuvahmulah, Gnaviyani Atoll

Vuvahmulah is the only place that any diver must visit! The local island is measured 4.5 km long and 1.2 km wide with a submerged reef (Rashikedefaro) extending about three kilometers southeast. Fuvahmulah is a rock in the middle of the ocean, which plays the role of a huge cleaning station and mating place for big pelagic like Black Oceanic Manta Birostrics, Mola Mola, Pilot whales. Fuvahmulah has ultimate set of sharks which can be seen all year round: Tiger Sharks, Thresher Sharks, Hammerheads, Silver tip, Whale shark, Grey reef, White tip. Big schools of Barracudas; Yellow-Fin Tuna, Bonitos, Sailfishes, Marlins and millions of reef fish surround the local reef daily. But one one the main feature which makes Fuvahmulah amazingly attractive is Tiger Sharks. Tiger Sharks are surrounded island and clean the waste daily produced by fish market. Diving with the tiger sharks is avaliable everyday and doesn't depend on the Monsoon. Experienced dive guides lead this dive following all necessary safety requirements.

Types of diving: reef 
Recommended Level: medium to Advanced
Sights: tiger sharks, thresher sharks, Hammerheads and other pelagics 
Nearest dive centersFuvahmulah

8 Miyaru Kandu, Vaavu atoll

This may be the best place in all Maldives to face a hammerhead shark. In fact, “Miyaru” means a shark in the Dhivehi. During the northeastern monsoon, a strong current draws pelagic species into the channel. With a reef on the right, look into the blue and you will see sharks, eagle rays and dog tooth tuna.

Types of diving: drift
Recommended Level: this is a site for intermediate and advanced divers. Experience level If the current is stronger
Sights: sharks, Hammerheads and other pelagics
Nearest dive centers: Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives, Keyodhoo, Thinadhoo

9 Embudhoo Express, South Malé Atoll

Embudhoo Express lies in Embudhoo Channel and is a Marine Protected Area. This site that is dived on the incoming tide, allowing for a fast-paced drift dive through a channel into the lagoon. The currents here are considered to be really strong and the site is known to be one of the best drift dive spots. The southern corner of the channel is where the Grey Reef is seen and there are many small caves a few long overhangs. Schools of Eagle Rays, Sting Rays, Dog-tooth Tuna, Trevallys and Barracudas are seen here as well. In the middle of the channel is a small “Thila” with impressive show of hard and soft corals, which covers the reef. You'll finish the dive in a shallow coral garden to observe the butterflyfish, angelfish, wrasse, damselfish, surgeonfish and other species that are unique to these Indian Ocean waters and some lovely hard coral.

Types of diving: Kandu or channel drift dive.
Recommended Level: this is a site for intermediate and advanced divers
Sights: reef sharks, eagle rays, pelagics, corals
Nearest dive centersTaj Exotica,    Embudu Village,    Gulhi

10 HP Reef aka Rainbow Reef, North Malé Atoll

HP Reef or "Girifushi Thila” or Rainbow Reef is a Protected Marine Area and it's one of the best known and most beautiful dive sites on this island nation. The site is located near the island of Himmafushi and is in the channel called “Himmafushi Kandu”. The top reef is completelly filled of reef, caves and crevices with an outside that goes from 15 to 24m, where a large cave is located. Soft corals grow in abundance on the reef outcrops and under the overhangs due to the strong currents coming through the channel. HP Reef has an unusual reef formation in terms of reef outcrops, caves and crevices. Schools of Trevally, Snappers and Dog-toothed Tuna and Eagle Rays can be seen regularly.

Types of diving: drift dive, cave
Recommended Level: this is a site for intermediate and advanced divers
Sights: reef sharks, eagle rays, pelagics, soft corals
Nearest dive centersHimmafushiCinnamon Dhonveli,    Gili Lankanfushi,    Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa,    Adaaran Prestige Ocean Villas

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