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
Ocean Divine is a luxury liveaboard offering cruises to the North Atoll, Ari Atoll, Felidhu Atoll, Central Atoll & Southern Atoll of the Maldives. This five star vessel offers seven deluxe staterooms
- Free WiFi
The beautiful ScubaSpa Ying offers exceptional service aboard this floating luxury hotel in the Maldives. Be pampered by the 6 full time spa therapists and enjoy the stunning Maldives marine life
- Free WiFi
The 50m ScubaSpa Yang, accompanied with its own dive dhoni, allows you to dive with exceptional ease. Enjoy first class service on board as you dive and snorkel the amazing Maldives AtollsScubaspa Yang
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 trip was focussed on sharks. That meant current - drift and canal -dives. We got it. Visibility not the very best (as it is in the Maledives).Diving Maldives in February on the Carpe Novo
Good, great service by crew and consistently good dive conditions due to prevailing currents.Diving Maldives in February on the Emperor Atoll
Super prestige nature and great divingDiving Maldives in February on the Scubaspa Ying
If you are lucky and have the right conditions, you can find it all, pelagics, muck, coral and the beautiful Islands. I would come back any time! But you have to be prepared for some challenging dives due to strong current. But, no current, no pelagics:-)Diving Maldives in February on the Soleil 2
the few wasn´t so good at that time, but we saw so many big fisht hat made up for it. We went night diving and saw a lot of nurse sharks. We saw lots of Mantas also eagle Rays. I really liked itDiving Maldives in January on the Blue Force One
Everything ran seamlessly from pick up at the airport to an interesting and varied dive sites. Would not hesitate to do it again.Diving Maldives in February on the Emperor Voyager
see the comment with the 3 highlights. diving has been interesting with lots of larges fishes, Manta, sharks & tuna & travallies. coral not as good as remembered from years ago, yet 2 tilla dives were excellents. however, too much emphasis put on hooking in the current and watch till deco arrives, rather than play with landscape in the current and still explore. the easy solution to provide picture for tourists, but a bit disappointing diving wise.Diving Maldives in January on the Soleil 2
Maldives were great - very strong currents made me realize that I need to work on my skills a bit more.Diving Maldives in January on the Emperor Voyager
it can be very challenging and is really very good for big fish, shark, manta wale shark and some very amazing places for soft corralsDiving Maldives in January on the Manta Cruise
Diving in Maldives is not for beginners, it requires experience, due to the current. The biodiversity is impressive and the wildlife abundance is amazing! I was not lucky with the visibility, but it was perfect!Diving Maldives in January on the Princess Haleema
Loved diving in the northern Maldives. The people were warm and welcoming, and the north is so quiet. Such a better experience than diving the central Maldives.Diving Maldives in October on the Amba Liveaboard
Wonderful fish life. Corals were o.k. Got a chance to see a group of 15 Mantas that hovered above us for 30 minutes. Also about 5 whale-sharks and many sharks.Diving Maldives in January on the Carpe Diem Liveaboard
Very good but partly very very challenging, because of the strong current. It is very important to be guided by experienced guides like on the Theia.Diving Maldives in January on the Theia
AMAZING, LOTS OF SEA LIFEDiving Maldives in January on the Adora
Brilliant, already planning a trip back.Diving Maldives in December on the Carpe Diem Liveaboard
Absolutely epic, most amazing place on earth! Not enough superlatives for the place!Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Yang
Would recommend it to all my diving friendsDiving Maldives in December on the Blue Force One
We don't recall the names of all dive locations, but all dives were simply great.Diving Maldives in January on the Scubaspa Yang
Very good. Great water temperature and constant air temp made diving comfort wonderful. A long way to get there from Australia but worth the experience.Diving Maldives in January on the Princess Haleema
The best ever dive experience for me. Higly recommendableDiving Maldives in January on the Emperor Serenity
AMAZING - Had some incredibly unique experiences that I haven't encountered anywhere else in the world.Diving Maldives in December on the Scubaspa Ying
Amazing experience, will repeat another diving experience here for sure some day.Diving Maldives in December on the Emperor Serenity
each atoll had its specifics, but overall huge variety in dive sites and type of diving (relatively sheltered to being carried out by current after releasing your reef hook line) wouldn't mind going back for a longer trip, and visit the more southern atollsDiving Maldives in December on the Theia
Diving was very good. Sometimes visibility was not so good due to weather conditions and current but the more current there is - more sharks there will be :-) Lot of good places and especially different places to dive. You'll get night diving, drift dives, deep dives and lot of different marine life everywhere. Lot of different shape of pinnacles. Sometimes there are so much fishes around you that it's like you were in fish soup You will manage well as non-experienced diver also.Diving Maldives in December on the Sachika
More varied than I thought Better visibility than expected Less whale sharks than hopedDiving Maldives in December on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard
Very nice and impressive. I want to go again.Diving Maldives in December on the Princess Haleema
We had a great time. Dives were wonderfull, boat was very niceDiving Maldives in December on the Princess Haleema
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