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The Maldives is an island nation with 19 official atolls. Its crystal clear visibility and swift currents attract an array of key pelagics and marine megafaunas such as Manta rays and whale sharks!
Apart from bigger animals, the Maldives boasts an underwater landscape of hard and soft corals, creating a colorful oasis for eagle rays, reef sharks, and an abundance of medium to small fish species.
The variety and seasonality of the Maldives make it an exciting destination for seasoned liveaboard divers and divers looking to explore what liveaboard diving has to offer!
Maldives Liveaboard Itineraries
The Central atolls offer the best diving in the Maldives. This route explores North Male, South Male, Ari, and Vaavu atolls. The central atolls notoriously exceed divers expectations by providing an assortment of dive sites within a rather small area. Exploring these central routes often allows divers to have whale shark and manta ray encounters and big schools of fish and healthy reefs to explore!
The central route can be visited all year round; peak season is from December until April.
The Maldives’ deep south route compromises three southernmost atolls: Addu, Fuvahmulah, and Huvadhoo. This reef is more niched for divers who want to focus on encountering various shark species such as tiger sharks, thresher sharks, grey reef sharks, and white and black tip reef sharks!
It is also home to one of the many manta cleaning stations in the Maldives, and divers get to encounter a variety of rays like spotted eagle rays, marble rays, and perhaps, on the given occasion, the elusive guitarfish!
The deep south atolls are only reachable in January-April.
Seasonality in The Maldives
The Maldives is the perfect diving destination year-round and holds a steady air temperature of up to 30°C/86F.
January – May is considered the best time for diving in the Maldives. These months usually boast good visibility, weather conditions, and abundant life! With this being said, there are still windy and rainy weeks during the monsoon transitional periods in December and May.
Divers and visitors can expect more rainfall during the Southwest monsoon between April and October, especially during May, June, July, and August.
The heavy rainfall and higher plankton density also mean less water visibility, giving divers a higher chance of encountering manta rays and whale sharks.
Marine Encounters While On Maldives Liveaboards
The Maldives offers a wide variety of diving, yet most divers visit the Maldives hoping to encounter marine megafauna and see the rich and abundant coral reefs. Due to their residential behavior, Mantas are one of the main attractions for divers, along with the potential of encountering whale sharks on dives!
The abundance of marine life in The Maldives often leads to regular encounters with grey, white-tip, and blacktip reef sharks. Divers could also stand a chance to see hammerhead sharks on a lucky dive! Other marine species are eagle rays, napoleon wrasse, and barracuda, among various pelagic fish life.
There are also selected dive sites that offer the possibility to encounter tiger and thresher sharks.
Types of Maldives Liveaboards
The types of boats used in the Maldives are mainly luxury steel or wooden monohull motor yachts; these boats offer a comfortable top deck for relaxing between and after diving, spacious cabins, an inside dining area, and well-equipped dive decks.
Most liveaboards in the Maldives use a locally built Dhoni, a separate boat that serves as a floating dive center.
Cuisine Onboard Maldives Liveaboards
The cuisine onboard usually follows a diverse menu. Divers can also expect meals inspired by local dishes, typically fresh fish, coconut rice, curries, fish soup, chicken, local vegetables, and fruit.
Should divers have any dietary requirements, they can feel free to inform the agency or liveaboard operator about it, and the chefs on board will ensure a tailored meal!
How Many Dives A Day?
Maldives Liveaboards are organized in a “Dive, eat, sleep, repeat” fashion; divers usually do three dives a day with the option for a night dive on some nights. Most traveling between dive sites will occur at night or during surface intervals.
Dive Certification Requirements
Having at least an advanced open water or equivalent certification is advised when booking a liveaboard trip in The Maldives.
Most interesting dive sites are deeper than 18 meters, and divers can expect moderate to strong currents on the sites where you will look for bigger marine life like sharks and pelagic fish. Nitrox certification is also advised as some liveaboard boats offer Nitrox.
Other Useful Information For Maldives Liveaboard Diving
Entry into The Maldives
A tourist visa for 30 days is granted to all nationalities upon arrival. However, divers must meet the basic entry requirements:
- A passport with at least one empty page valid for at least 30 days after arriving in the Maldives.
- Pre-paid accommodation.
- Sufficient funds for your stay.
- Confirmed onward/return ticket.
- A traveler declaration form must be filled in and submitted within 96 hours of the flight time.
The local currency in the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. U.S. dollars and Euros are also widely accepted.
Culture and Religion
The main religion in The Maldives is Muslim; due to most inhabitants of the Maldives being Muslim, alcoholic drinks are not available on inhabited islands, except in places like tourist resort islands or on liveaboards.
While visiting inhabited islands, guests should dress conservatively and behave respectfully, especially during Ramadan.
It is also not allowed to bring alcohol into The Maldives.
Airport taxis and other transfers are usually included in your liveaboard booking. Should you want to go sightseeing before or after your liveaboard trip, the most common methods of transport are taxis, busses, or boats should you want to go from one island or the other.
Airport and other transfers are usually included in your liveaboard booking.
Tipping the liveaboard boat crew and dive guides at the end of your stay is customary.
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