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Maldives

Scuba Diving in the central Maldives

The central region of the Maldives offers some of the most beautiful diving trips in the world. This area is blessed with exceptional diving conditions, accessibility, diversity of dive sites, and a magnificent array of marine wildlife and fauna. There are many liveaboards and all are specifically adapted to your diving needs.
Latest uploads in The Maldives (Central region)
Reef manta ray in Thoddoo Faru in the Maldives
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Michael AlleMichael Alle

DIVE TRIPS IN THE CENTRAL MALDIVES

Map of the central region of the MaldivesNorth regionSouth region Far south region

The Maldives archipelago is considered as having 4 distinct diving areas. This page will cover the characteristics of the archipelago’s Central region. The other regions are known as the North, South and Far South. You will also find here information about diving in the Maldives as a whole.

The Central region of the Maldives archipelago extends north and south from the capital city of Malé. Its six administrative atolls (Baa, Lhaviyani, Kaafu, Alifu Alifu, Alifu Dhaalu et Vaavu) encompass more than ten geographic atolls of various sizes.

This is clearly the most popular area of the Maldives for tourists. Historically, Malé was the first tourist attraction and hence you can find many hotels and liveaboards in this part of the archipelago.

Tourists arriving at the International Airport practically walk straight onto their dive boat or are transferred quickly to their island resort by hydroplane or speedboat.

Although some tourists opt for a hotel in the capital itself, it isn’t really a holiday destination. Being only 2 km² with a high density of population can make the city at times feel quite oppressive. The activities on offer are also very limited. However, most liveaboards and island resorts offer frequent trips to the capital so tourist can explore this aspect of the Maldives. If you choose to visit the capital it would be prudent to check any travel advice or warnings in place through your respective Embassy as the Capital has recently seen many protests that can rapidly escalate.

Surrounding islands can be visited free from this nature of threat and guesthouses are in abundance. The impact of tourism in this area has led to this large number of guesthouses that have sprung up in all manner of shapes and sizes.

The seasons have a significant influence over life in this part of the world and you could often find yourself anchored with other liveaboards. The same goes for the most popular dive sites where it is becoming more and more difficult to dive without bumping into other dive groups.

This region does however offer a vast choice of dive sites, from cleaning stations which feature Manta Ray to channels where sharks will often put on a show. And we must not forget the eternal quest for the legendary Whale Shark.

The region has something to offer all year round. Each atoll offers its own seasonal particularity which is worth making the trip for. For example, Baa Atoll (which is classified as a UNESCO biosphere reserve) offers a unique opportunity to swim with tens, if not hundreds, of Manta Rays in the Hanifaru Lagoon. To be certain to not miss this extraordinary opportunity, you should plan to visit during August which is right in the middle of the rainy season.

If you want to come face to face with a Whale Shark then the southern part of the geographic atoll of Ari (Alifu Dhaalu Atoll) is the best place. Here during the dry season, navigation conditions significantly raise the chances of beating your flippers alongside the world’s largest fish. Such is the popularity of this shark, once one is sighted, it is common that it will be joined by 100 to 200 people swimming frantically in pursuit.

Safety is always paramount and the hospitals in the capital are easily reached by the many hydroplanes and boats in the region. These transfers are however costly but operational decompression chambers can be found in the Lhaviyani, Kaafu and Alifu Alifu Atolls.

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KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF DIVING IN THE CENTRAL MALDIVES

THE BEST SEASON FOR DIVING

Dry season

Rainy season

The rainy season (southwest monsoon) runs from June to November. The dry season (northeast monsoon) is December through to April.

The large majority of liveaboards do not operate during the rainy season.

As explained in the introduction to this region, some atolls offer the possibility to encounter certain marine life according to the season. The most important thing is to choose your holiday location based on these seasonal variations.

TRANSPORT

Ease of access

The vast majority of hotels and resorts are serviced by hydroplanes and speedboats. Although these are costly, the transfers are quick and generally very well organised.

ACCOMODATION OFFERED

Number of hotels and resorts

The central region of the Maldives is the most developed in terms of tourism; so much so that in some atolls there are more hotels than inhabitants. The majority of liveaboards remain in this area of the archipelago. Over the last few years many guesthouses have sprung up but the price and quality of this type of accommodation varies greatly.

Quality and pricing

Although it is fair to say that it is difficult to find reasonably priced accommodation in this region, the Maldives does offer almost every standard of hotel available from basic island living to luxury hotels offering underwater restaurants, and of course private yachts etc.

DIVING

Variety of sites

The central region is home to some of the most amazing dive sites in the Maldives archipelago. Although the choice of site is varied, the most popular sites are often overcrowded and the sheer number of divers can lead to damage which nature can hardly find the time to repair.

Difficulty of dives

In this region there are many sites which are accessible to all levels of diver, although some pinnacles and channels are reserved strictly for the experienced diver who is familiar with diving in currents.

Variety of species

This region offers something for everybody, from the tiny Halimeda Ghost Pipefish to Manta Rays and of course Whale Sharks. The variety of species alone makes this region one of the richest dive areas you will experience; although to discover the rarest of these species such as the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris) or even the rare Nudibranch (which is generally found in other parts of the world) you need to explore the northern and southern extremities of the area. You can see the variety of species on offer in the Maldives underwater photo gallery.

Number of divers

Although some sites are an exception to the rule, the central region is the victim of its own success. The density of divers is high and especially in the most popular sites which are frequented by liveaboards.

THE BEST WAY TO DISCOVER THE REGION

Island-hotels

Guesthouses

Liveaboard

The dive centers based on the Maldives Islands generally have the best understanding of the sites close to their location. As always the liveaboards offer a unique freedom to visit the atolls and can adapt to the most suitable dive times. Guest houses offer a range of experiences.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Other activities on offer

As is the case all over the archipelago, hotels and resorts in the Central region offer numerous activities such as sailing, fishing, visits to the Capital etc.

iDiveMaldives book
Reference
iDive Maldives
300 Dive locations with illustrated information and GPS coordinates

DIVE SITES IN THE CENTRAL MALDIVES

Hanifaru Lagoon Dive site
Comments: 0
Diving media: 2
Maamingili Beyru Dive site
Comments: 0
Diving media: 1
Lankan Manta point Dive site
Comments: 0
Diving media: 11
Madivaru Beru Dive site
Comments: 0
Diving media: 9
The Maldives (Central region)
Dive center icon Dive centers Dive site icon Dive sites
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DIVING PHOTOS ET VIDEOS IN THE CENTRAL MALDIVES

  • Laced moray in Embudhu Beru in the Maldives Featured
    18 Oct 2015
    Laced moray
    -Embudhu Beru-
    South Male, Maldives
    • 2
    • 6
    Phil
  • Scuba diving in Madivaru Beru in the Maldives Featured

    Maldives
    Madivaru Beru
    Turtle fighting
    • 0
    • 6
    Docy Good
  • Reef manta ray in the Maldives Top Rated
    Reef manta ray
    Maldives
    Docy Good
    • 0
    • 6
  • Scuba diving in Ebooduoo Thila in the Maldives Top Rated
    10 Nov 2015

    Maldives
    -Ebooduoo Thila-
    Phil
    • 1
    • 5
  • Reef manta ray in the Maldives Top Rated
    22 Dec 2015
    Reef manta ray
    Maldives
    Phil
    • 0
    • 5
  • Scuba diving in Maamingili Beyru in the Maldives Top Rated
    23 Apr 2016

    Maldives
    -Maamingili Beyru-
    Idivemv
    • 0
    • 5
  • Reef manta ray in Thoddoo Faru in the Maldives Top Rated
    26 May 2019
    Reef manta ray
    Maldives
    -Thoddoo Faru-
    Michael Alle
    • 0
    • 0
  • Scuba diving in Thoddoo Faru in the Maldives Top Rated
    26 May 2019

    Maldives
    -Thoddoo Faru-
    Michael Alle
    • 0
    • 0
  • Reef manta ray in Thoddoo Faru in the Maldives Top Rated
    26 May 2019
    Reef manta ray
    Maldives
    -Thoddoo Faru-
    Michael Alle
    • 0
    • 0
  • Scuba diving in Thoddoo Faru in the Maldives Top Rated
    26 May 2019

    Maldives
    -Thoddoo Faru-
    Michael Alle
    • 0
    • 0

DIVE CENTERS AND RESORTS IN THE CENTRAL MALDIVES

Ocean Junkies Dive center
Maldives, Hulhumale'
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Affiliated: PADI
(0) (0) (34)
Dive Club Maldives Dive center
Maldives, Male'
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Affiliated: PADI
(0) (8) (40)
Fulidhoo Dive Dive center
Maldives, Fulidhoo Island
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Affiliated: PADI
(0) (7) (25)
Thoddoo Diving Center Dive center
Maldives, Thoddoo
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Affiliated: -
(0) (0) (19)
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