Eight Best Dive Resorts in the Maldives
As the destination where we both learned to dive many years ago, the Maldives is very special to us at Reefscape Travel. The ease of access, quality of accommodation and service, and of course the world class diving, keep us returning year after year and secure its place as one of the best diving destinations in the world. The problem is, with around 160 resorts across this island nation, and constant new openings, almost all of which have an on site dive centre, it can be very hard to choose just where to go.
We’ve visited some 30 resorts since 2001 when Louisa first ventured to the turquoise paradise, following in the footsteps of her parents whose first trip there was in 1982. A lot has changed over the years, following some hugely impactful coral bleaching events in 1998 and 2016, but we’ve selected eight of the best dive resorts in the Maldives which have stood the test of time and still deliver excellent diving holidays.
Six Senses Laamu, Laamu Atoll
This barefoot luxury resort, located in the southern Maldives, has one of the best dive teams in the country. With access to over 30 dive sites, divers can enjoy sloping reefs topped with clouds of fish, exciting channel dives with outstanding visibility and walls of schooling sharks and even a manta cleaning station within 10 minutes of the resort. This is the perfect spot for beginner divers or those who have already logged hundreds of dives, and the diving in the atoll promises only to improve, with the help of the three NGOs based at the resort, who have formed the Maldives Underwater Initiative to protect the reefs and lagoons of the Laamu Atoll. The rooms are rustic luxury in style and full of character, and food and service is exceptional. The resort’s house reef has weathered the bleaching events and made an amazing recovery, and the snorkelling in the seagrass beds of the lagoon is fantastic.
COMO Maalifushi, Thaa Atoll
Currently the only resort in its atoll, COMO Maalifushi has access to some of the most beautiful deep reefs we have seen in the Maldives in recent times. Channel dives showcase enormous schools of jacks and trevallies, as well as plenty of sharks and rays, whilst reefs in this area explode with colour and life. Not many venture to this remote atoll, so divers will have the sites all to themselves and the opportunities are endless. The overwater and beach villas at this luxury dive hotel are some of the most spacious and beautiful anywhere in the Maldives, and the food is of a very high standard. A stay at COMO Maalifushi is not complete without a trip to the world class overwater spa. For families with young children, there is a great kids club with a varied activity schedule.
Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Huvadhoo Atoll
Hadahaa is a small, perfectly formed island in the Huvadhoo atoll, and the island which the Park Hyatt calls home. Fringed with a fantastic house reef all the way around the island, this luxury dive hotel draws in snorkelers and divers due to its impressive diving credentials. Generally speaking, the coral health is better in the southern atolls, and that is certainly reflected in the reefs around the Park Hyatt. The resort is architecturally very impressive, and has a wide array of facilities to keep divers happy whilst not underwater.
OBLU Nature Helengeli, North Male Atoll
In the far north of the Male atoll, just a speedboat journey away from the international airport, lies a very special dive hotel. OBLU Nature Helengeli is all about underwater experiences, with virtually all guests being keen snorkelers and divers. This all-inclusive dive resort has a teeming house reef easily accessed from the white sand beaches. Nearby big-hitting dive sites host large schools of reef sharks, squadrons of eagle rays, giant Napoleon wrasses and inquisitive turtles. The macro life is great too, with unusual nudibranchs and tiny crustaceans lurking in reef crevices. The team are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, the perfect underwater guides to showcase the best of the North Male Atoll. Bright colours pop in the charming rooms which have beautiful semi-outdoor bathrooms.
Komandoo, Lhaviyani Atoll
Located in the Lhaviyani Atoll, Komandoo is an adults-only dive resort which has a loyal following of repeat guests who come back year after year to enjoy the bountiful house reef and excellent access to over 50 dive sites across the atoll. The resort style is laidback and simple, with wooden bungalows both overwater and on the beach. With over 30 years experience in the area, the on site dive centre is one of the best established in the Maldives.
Mirihi, South Ari Atoll
We couldn’t round up a best of the Maldives list without including a resort in the South Ari atoll, which is amongst the most famous for divers. Whale sharks, mantas and sharks galore make this a big hitter on any Maldives diving bucket list, and Mirihi offers everything a keen diver could want, including a very good house reef. This tiny island is geared up with divers in mind, and has a daily sightings board to scintillate prospective divers. The rooms are traditional and elegant, both overwater and on the beach, and food and service is of a very high standard. With just 40 rooms, this luxury dive hotel gets booked up far in advance due to its popularity.
Milaidhoo, Baa Atoll
Visually and in terms of service levels, Milaidhoo is one of the most polished and impressive resorts in the Maldives, with immaculate décor and outstanding attention to detail. Lesser-known though, is the marvel of Milaidhoo’s house reef; a series of caves and overhangs exploding with beautiful soft corals and with the most enchanting light make this a particularly special diving spot. Baa Atoll is renowned in particular for Hanifaru Bay, a nearby site where mantas and whale sharks aggregate in the summer months for a feeding frenzy. This is a once in a lifetime experience and it is right on Milaidhoo’s doorstep!
Zero Degree Residence, Fuvahmulah
Owned and run by the Fuvahmulah Dive School, this is a simple boutique resort on the edge of one of the most exciting diving experiences imaginable. Big fish enthusiasts will marvel at a trip to this deep southern atoll where tiger sharks come up close to visit divers, attracted by years of feeding by local fishermen. Whilst the tigers are undoubtedly the stars of the show, divers can also see thresher sharks, hammerheads and oceanic manta rays, making this home to some of the best dive sites in the Maldives. The dive team have logged thousands of dives here and champion responsible encounters with some of the ocean’s most impressive predators – a real bucket list moment!