Liveaboard SCUBA diving in Maldives offers some of the world's most pristine and colorful reefs along with luxury dive boats that satisfy the choosiest of vacationers.
Diving in the Maldives by liveaboard offers the best in many must-have tropical SCUBA experiences. Deserted, white sand islands peep up out of the ocean by only two meters, stretching seamlessly into an underwater paradise of wildlife nourished by the Indian Monsoon current. The Maldives' crystal clear waters are home to mantas, whale sharks, and reef sharks, not to mention the brilliant flatworms and ghost pipefish who hide among its wrecks, coral gardens, channels, and pinnacles. Maldives liveaboards offer itineraries encompassing the world-class dive sites of North Male Atoll, Ari Atoll, Baa Atoll, Hanifaru Bay, Rasdhoo and many more, including remote atolls in the far north and south where you'd be hard-pressed to see another liveaboard.
35 liveaboards in Maldives
- Free Nitrox
The Emperor Virgo is a luxury floating resort. She has eight comfortable cabins with en-suite bathrooms & individual climate control. The Virgo Maldives schedules diving cruises from August through May.
The Carpe Vita is a 38m yacht with 10 cabins accommodating 20 guests. She visits Kudarah Thila, Manta Point, Maaya Thila, Fish Head, and Machafushi wreck.
- Free Nitrox
Emperor Serenity offers 13 en-suite, air-conditioned cabins, accommodating 26 guests. Scuba Diving takes place from the large, fully equipped diving Dhoni, Nitrox is FREE & non-divers are catered forEmperor Serenity
Liveaboard Diving in the Maldives
Liveaboards in Ari Atoll come for its submerged, volcano-shaped pinnacles, which attract immense amounts of big marine life. Diving in and near Ari Atoll can bring you face to face with manta rays, pelagic fish, and even hammerhead sharks at Rasdhoo Atoll to the northeast. Within Ari Atoll's 40 km length and 105 small islands, dive sites like the premier Maaya Thila, overflowing with reef life, or Donkalo Thila, one of multiple manta cleaning stations, are only accessible to liveaboards. The most dependable Maldives dive sites for whale sharks and manta rays are located in this area. Experienced divers will be best able to navigate the strong currents that bring the giants to Ari Atoll. Maldivian liveaboards to Ari Atoll are mostly MV luxury yachts.
The length of most liveaboard itineraries to Ari Atoll ranges from 7 to 12 nights. The best time to dive in Aril Atoll is the calm-sea season of December to May. The water temperature usually remains between 26-29 C, and visibility at a good 15-20 meters. Budgets for liveaboards in Ari Atoll range between 200 to 400 euros per. day. Ari Atoll liveaboards depart from Male, reachable by short flights from nearby Singapore, Dubai, and Colombo, as well as longer flights worldwide. Places to dive in and around Ari Atoll are North and South Male Atolls, Rasdhoo Atoll, and sometimes Baa Atoll. Ari Atoll liveaboard itineraries will often include a combination of the above.
Baa Atoll, in the Maldives Northern Atolls area, offers an array of famously beautiful underwater landscapes and plentiful marine life. At Maavaru Kandu, you can dive below huge rocky overhangs festooned with luminous pastel gardens of blue, yellow, and green soft corals. Dhonfanu Thila and Dhigali Haa dive sites are underwater pinnacles known for their scenic whip corals, bushy black corals, and sea fans, as well as schools of snapper and regular manta rays. Hanifaru Bay even enjoys world-famous manta and whale shark aggregations during the plankton-rich months from August through November. Some diving in Baa Atoll is suitable for beginners, with moderate currents. Liveaboards in Baa Atoll are mostly MV yachts and luxury yachts.
The length of most liveaboard dive cruise itineraries to Baa Atoll ranges from 7 to 10 nights. Baa Atoll dive sites can be visited year-round, though the southwest monsoon from May to November can make the seas a bit choppy. The water temperature stays stable at 27-30 C. Budgets for Baa Atoll liveaboards range from 200 to 400 euros per day. Many liveaboards bound for Baa Atoll depart from Male. However, some depart from Hanimadhoo in the north, and spend their whole itinerary in that area. Hanimadhoo can be reached by domestic sea plane from Male. Some itineraries on a Baa Atoll-bound liveaboard include North Male and Ari Atoll. Other itineraries may spend more time among Baa's uncrowded neighbors in the north: Lhaviyani, Noonu, and Raa Atolls.
Longer dive safaris include Lhaviyani, Felidhoo, Vaavu and Meemu atolls, whilst during January-March several Maldives dive liveaboards focus their attention on Huvadhoo Atoll in the Deep South close to the Equator. No matter which dive trip you choose, you can be sure to see healthy corals surrounded by colourful reef fish and plenty of pelagic fish action on each and every dive.
More about the Atolls of Maldives
- Jump off the plane and hop on a boat for a classic Maldives dive trip in the Central Atolls.
- Grab your bunk on an exclusive Far North Atolls liveaboard for untouched, pristine diving.
- Drift dive the Southern Atolls in serenity and witness Maldives marine life with exceptional visibility.
- Crack the Maldives' best-kept secret- tiger sharks and oceanic whitetips in the Deep South.
Tips for Travellers
The best time to dive in Maldives is all year. However, some people prefer to avoid monsoon season, which hits the area in April and continues to bring rain through October. The water temperature typically ranges between 26 to 30 degrees Celsius (80 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit) with visibility from 20 meters (65 feet) to as far as the eye can see. Water depths include shallow reefs, deep walls, and everything in-between ensuring every diver can find their perfect dive. For the more intrepid diver, there are slow currents in many area and extremely strong currents jetting through the atoll passes for the more experienced thrill seeker. Whatever your tastes, Maldives has the diving suited just for you, which can be enjoyed in mild outside weather ranging from 24 to 33 degrees Celsius (75 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit).
In Maldives, additional liveaboards fees usually include gear rental (not covered by your trip price), which can be in the vicinity of 40 USD per. person, per. night. Every diver also needs to independently purchase dive insurance before getting in the water. Some other fees like extra alcoholic drinks and special gear such as torches may incur additional charges. In the Maldives, a new Green Tax of 6 USD per person, per night applies for every tourist in the country. Some islands and marine parks have national park fees that are not included in liveaboard packages, like Hanifaru Bay's park entrance fee of 20 USD per person. Nitrox is offered on virtually every Maldives liveaboard- some as a complimentary service, and some for a fee. A fuel surcharge per person, per. night may be added, depending on the route. This surcharge usually ranges from 10 to 15 USD per night. If you have any questions about extra fees in the Maldives, please contact us directly. We are here for you.
Minimum logged dives are required by many Maldives diving liveaboards, Scubaspa Yang and Ying being the exceptions. Ocean Divine requires 20, MV Orion and Amba require 50, and Carpe Vita requires 100. Safety briefings on boats like Scubaspa Yang and Ying are conducted on day one. Check dives on Maldives liveaboards are often held in Male on the first day.
The official language of the Maldives is Maldivian, or Dhivehi.
A free 30 day visa is issued on arrival to all tourists in the Maldives. However, tourists must possess a valid passport, a valid outbound ticket and either a reservation confirmation in a hotel or enough funds to cover expenses for the duration of their stay (30 USD per. day).
There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to the Maldives unless you have been in a country with increased yellow fever risk sometime in the nine days previous to arrival. In such cases, you must have proof of a yellow fever vaccination. We recommend standard protection against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, influenza, typhoid and hepatitis A. There is no endemic malaria risk in the Maldives. However, the rainy season (May through September) elevates risk of dengue fever. For advice on Malaria and Dengue, seek professional medical advice before travelling.
Electricity voltage runs at 220-240 volts; the standard socket is UK-style three-pin, but many resorts have universal sockets to accommodate non-UK tourists.
The Maldives is the smallest Asian country by land area (300 square kilometers) and population, but its underwater offerings are comparatively huge- 90,000 square kilometers of ocean. Fewer than 300 of its roughly 2000 islands are inhabited, leaving the rest of the white-sand paradises to sharks and corals, and the lucky divers who visit them. At a maximum height of about 2.5 meters above sea level, the Maldives is at incredibly high risk from global warming, which contributes to its activism for carbon-pollution reduction worldwide. Thirty one protected areas exist in the country, and incredible coral restoration projects are common.
Ports of Departure and how to get there
Male is the main liveaboard departure location in the Maldives, and the country's capital city, located on the southern edge of North Male Atoll (also called Kaafu Atoll). The main Male departure port is Hulhule, next to the Male airport. Liveaboards diving in the Central Atolls set out from here. North Male Atoll is the best known and explored dive area in the Maldives, long recognized as a world-class manta and reef shark destination with many longstanding, beloved dive sites of pinnacles, wrecks, coral gardens, and cleaning stations. Entry level divers can find offerings around Male, even though currents can be strong. Standard liveaboards departing from Male may visit North Male Atoll, Ari Atoll and Rasdhoo Atoll, and sometimes Baa Atoll as well. Other liveaboards may head south of Male Atoll to include Meemu (Malaku), Vaavu (Felidhu), and Thaa (Kolhumadulu) atolls.
Travellers bound for Male can take direct flights from Dubai, Singapore, and Colombo. Longer international flights from Europe, America, China, India, and Australia are all readily available, often connecting through the airports mentioned above. Flights to the Maldives are available on multiple airlines, such as British airways, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, among others. From the UK, expect at least a 13 hour trip. From Germany or Australia, the flight duration is at least 12 hours. Divers arriving from the USA can fly first to Sinagpore, with a flight duration of 20 hours from Los Angeles.
Maldives Diving Reviews
The dive guides were very knowledgeable and the amount of coral and fish was amazing.Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Yang
Very positive experience overall, diving is a bit more challenging with most dive sites being around 30 m. Reommmended primarily typ divers with AOW or higher. Nitrox is also recommended.Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Yang
It requires certain level of experience as the currents can influence the dives.Diving Maldives in December on the Emperor Serenity
My third visit to the Maldives and I still love it. Its the first time I went in what is supposedly their low-season (Sep) but we still got 2 weeks of amazing weather and flat seas.Diving Maldives in September on the Blue Force One
Besides coral bleaching, Maledives are still a MUST for divers.Diving Maldives in December on the Emperor Atoll
Super super greatDiving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Ying
Better than any other diving!Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Ying
This is my third trip to the Maldives in a year and I would return again in a heartbeat.Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Ying
A place you have to dive once in your life at least!Diving Maldives in December on the Moonima Liveaboard
If you are a sharks lover, this is the place for you! Loads of practice diving with current, which can be a tad scary for beginners. I love the detailed briefing of each dive site before we depart.Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Ying
Fantastic the only thing's we didn't see were the hammerhead sharks and the whale shark's but that's nature!Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Yang
Great experience diving in the Maldives from the time we arrived to the time we left. We will be back soon as we want to experience and dive in the South atolls.Diving Maldives in November on the Fun Azul
Very good , lots of Variety of big and small fish , although your U do need to be an experienced diver as almost every dive had some sort of current ranging from slight to strongDiving Maldives in November on the Carpe Novo
I really like the diving in the Maldives. The water is warm, the diving Dhoni is really convenient and the marine life fantastic. I also like the fact that the dives are a little challenging at times with the stronger currents that attract the life. All in all a great time.Diving Maldives in November on the Emperor Voyager
I think the diving here is great, beautiful reefs and fishes there is always something to see and larger animals. The water is great and low currents make for relaxing drift dives .Diving Maldives in November on the Scubaspa Yang
This was the first time we were really exposed to medium currents and inexperienced divers with 23 dives under our belts. Our dive guide really assisted and made us comfortable allowing us to fully appreciate the diving and sorrounding attributes. Lots of marine wildlife on each dive which include but not limited to manta rays, sting rays, white tip sharks and turtles, all were amazing.Diving Maldives in November on the Scubaspa Yang
Good experience for diving. Wasn't expecting so much rain though.Diving Maldives in November on the Emperor Voyager
It was the BEST dive trip that I have EVER been on!! I thought that Fiji was the best, but this tops that!!Diving Maldives in October on the Leo Liveaboard
Unbeliveble. Saw everything that i expected snd Even more!Diving Maldives in November on the Emperor Serenity
good for the fish but visibility was not excellent at this time of the year (november)Diving Maldives in November on the Emperor Serenity
manta , sharks ,night dive ,best dive trip in my life until now !!!!!!Diving Maldives in October on the Scubaspa Yang
I dived in Egypt, Boracay and the Maldives. The Maldives for me is by far the best due to the abundance of fish life.Diving Maldives in November on the Scubaspa Yang
Very enjoyable diving in the Maldives. Would return.Diving Maldives in October on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard
bad weather forced us to do a lot of thila dives in the inner atoll area. This results in many similar dives. But we've seen a lot of larger animals (turtles, manta's, eagle rays, sharks, whaleshark, sting rays), what was the aim of the trip. Macro live is dissapointing. (few nudi's, 2 frogfish in 26 dives, 1 pipe fish, ...)Diving Maldives in October on the Carpe Diem Liveaboard
Great...will come again :)Diving Maldives in October on the Scubaspa Yang
Quite nice, the visibility was not the best but we could still see most shark action and got plenty of mantas!Diving Maldives in October on the Sachika Liveaboard
Rainny season, moderate visibility, many marine life.Diving Maldives in October on the Orion Liveaboard
Great, good variation of drift dives, wrecks dives and just observing wildlife at cleaning stations. Night dives also spectacular with nurse-sharks being in abundance...Diving Maldives in October on the Scubaspa Ying
good to see big marine lifesDiving Maldives in October on the Emperor Atoll
Absolutely awesome!Diving Maldives in September on the Emperor Serenity