Liveaboard Diving in Male Atoll

Male Atoll Liveaboard dive sites

Male Atoll is technically termed Kaafu Atoll, but by any name, it is the classic Maldives- best known and explored of all Maldives atolls. Male is divided into North and South Male Atolls, both of which were the first in the country to open to tourism, though the south opened before the north and still sports more resorts and dive sites. North Male has beloved manta cleaning stations, great topography, and a couple coral gardens on par with some of the nicest reefs worldwide. South Male is famous for its kandus, which are channels that bring ripping currents of nutrient-rich water from the open ocean into the atoll, along with big pelagic fish following the food. While sharks are plentiful in both North and South Male, the southern atoll is best known for them. The north, however, is better-preserved and a bit quieter.

In North Male Atoll, Manta Point may be the most famous dive site. Its name speaks for itself- when you visit, get ready to see more mantas than you can keep track of, as well as sharks and other reef denizens. Nowhere else in the Maldives can you jump in the water to see mantas so close to your arrival at an international airport. The other top North Male location is Girifushi Thila, recognized as one of the premier Maldives dive sites. The current here is full-time, so expect a drift dive alongside scenery of colorful soft corals and water full of fish, including rays, sharks, and tuna.

The variety of dive sites in North Male Atoll caters to every taste. One of the best-loved and first-discovered is Banana Reef, which still showcases healthy thickets of branching corals. Along the curve of this banana-shaped reef, giant grouper and morays can be found. A huge school of bannerfish hangs in the current at the edge, and a few incredible caverns call for investigation. In another area, the impressive 100 meter Maldives Victory Wreck, has enjoyed over thirty years of colonization by creatures of the sea. It's lucky there's a line for ascents and descents, because the current can be strong. Once you find your sheltered areas, enjoy the big and small fish and invertebrates that have many this wreck their home.

More sharks are available at Miyaru Faru, where divers watch the blue-water show from the safety of an overhang on the wall. The incoming current at Miyaru Faru brings crystal-clear water and pelagics, including manta rays, eagle rays, tuna, and more. And for inexperienced divers, North Male actually has great sites available. Two stunning dive sites that are relatively free of current are Hans Haas Place with plenty of overhangs and little caves, and Back Faru, which offers good reef and pelagic life in incredibly low-stress conditions.

South Male Atoll's six big channels, or kandus, are not known for coral, but they have amazing pelagic life, big schools of fish, and tons of sharks. Cocoa Thila is one of the most famous South Male dive sites. If you've got the perfect amount of current, you can see rays and all the rest; luckily, there are some dips and caverns in the topography in which divers can rest as they watch the goings-on. Cocoa Thila is a big pinnacle rooted in deep, deep water, and it's located on the perimeter of South Male Atoll. This means you may well be doing a drift dive in the same current that brings in the big ocean life.

Guraidhoo Kandu South is actually many sites under one name. This is a large area that cannot be covered in only one dive, and the variety of its topography adds to the feeling of many different dives sites. Here, divers can submerge on a vertical or horizontal plane, from walls, to flats, to channels, to caves. At Guraidhoo Kandu South, sharks glide along the waterways while tons of different reef denizens enjoy their holes and hiding places. However, for buckets of sharks, it's Embudhoo Kandu that South Male offers at the top of the list. Embudhoo Kandu hosts a healthy population of white tip and grey reef sharks. Its marine protected area was established to make sure that's the case forever.

Besides Cocoa Thila, Kandooma Thila is known as the premier South Male Atoll dive site. At a thin channel along the side of this thila, an intense current brings a crazy amount of activity, including schools of barracuda and other big predators. Kandooma Thila is another dive where current must be dealt with; the pinnacle provides shelter during parts of the dive, but you'll eventually drift into the blue with a marker buoy for the ending. Other South Male dive sites include Vadhoo Caves and Kuda Giri Wreck. At Vadhoo Caves, one cave after another offers the chance to chill with reef inhabitants among a garden of colorful soft corals, while watching sharks glide by in the adjacent open water. At Kuda Giri Wreck, inexperienced divers have a great chance to jump in the water to explore the artificial reef and its inhabitants with little or no current.

Itinerary details

The length of liveaboard itineraries in Male Atoll usually ranges from 7 to 10 nights, with a budget from a bit over 200 to 350 euros per night. Male Atoll liveaboards go almost everywhere within the Maldives; there is a tour to fit virtually every diver's particular passions and timeframe. The shortest trips make a loop in the central atolls, sometimes dividing the tours into north-central and south-central options to fit in a bit more of Ari or Baa (to the north), or Vaavu/Meemu (to the south). Check out Scubaspa Ying and Yang, and many other boats, for these classic Maldives itineraries. Larger and larger loops or traverses go farther afield in all directions (example liveaboards include Carpe Vita and Carpe Diem). Liveaboards in Male Atoll are mostly MV yachts and luxury yachts.

The experience level required by Baa Atoll liveaboards range from zero to 100 logged dives, with a certification level of Open Water for some boats and Advanced Open Water for others. Entry level divers can find some offerings around Male, but in general, expect many of the dives to be drifts, especially in the kandus of the southern area.

Liveaboard departures

Male is the main liveaboard departure location in the Maldives and the country's capital city. It is located on the southern edge of North Male Atoll. The main Male liveaboard departure port is Hulhule, next to the Male airport, making it virtually possible to jump off a plane and hop on to a boat. Divers bound for Male Atoll can take direct flights from Dubai, Singapore, and Colombo. Longer international flights from Europe, America, China, India, and Australia are also readily available, often connecting through the airports mentioned above.

Best time to travel

Diving is possible in Male Atoll all year round, but the northeast monsoon from December to May allows the calmest surface conditions and the least rain. However, even during the wetter part of the year, from June to November, Male Atoll receives less downpour than areas farther south in the country. Mantas are present throughout the year. The water temperature usually stays between 26 and 29 C, and visibility between 15 and 30 meters.


Male Atoll Diving Reviews

  • 9.3 Superb
  • 127 Verified Reviews
  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Michael W
  • United States United States

Excellent - highly recommended.

Diving Male Atoll in July on the Carpe Vita

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Sara Skou A
  • Denmark Denmark

Amazing with hundreds of sharks and many eagle rays

Diving Male Atoll in June on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Niklas L
  • Sweden Sweden

Mantas, eagle rays, lack of coral

Diving Male Atoll in June on the Emperor Voyager

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Cihan B
  • Germany Germany

We were suprised that at all there are so many sharks to see.

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Seafari Explorer

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Beatriz G
  • Mexico Mexico

Amazing. I love the fish tank our last diving ... full of life and color

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Moonima

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Thorkild P
  • Denmark Denmark

Good, but knowledge of drift diving and experience of handling strong currents a must.

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Lennay C
  • United States United States

We dove in Male North near a Tuna Factory (sounds weird but it was great!) This is where we saw dozens of moray eels. Some were enormous. There were all different kinds. We also saw the guitar fish here, and a sea turtle.

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Theia

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Becky Y
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

I saw black-tipped reef sharks at 'Kurumba Corner' in North Male (1st time in Maldives!). There were green moray eel and sea lamprey (?) with suckers and lots of clown fish everywhere (anemone city?). At ‘Kura Giri’ wreck, I saw a huge cuttlefish, lion fish, a pregnant puffer fish with a big belly, there were one barracuda coming very close to us as well. It was at ‘Kandoma Thila’ in South Male that I saw up to 40 reef sharks of all sizes, swimming around., (Thank goodness that they were not interested in our small group of human divers as there were definitely more of them than us!) There were spotted eagle ray and lots of green turtles and small hawksbill turtles there too. On other dives, we saw octopus and Napoleon wrasses, and at a reef, a very green moray eel sharing its cave with a white spotted one moray eel. They were such a contrast in coloring that it was a very pretty sight indeed! Again, typically in Maldives, there would be at least one shark one could see in every dive, whether it is near or in the distance! Definitely shark country!

Diving Male Atoll in November on the Ari Queen

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Kota I
  • Australia Australia

Wreck dive was quite different from other dives and good to see different thing than coral and fish.

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Carpe Novo

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • ELENA K
  • Russia Russia

With good guides, diving in the Maldives will be unforgettable

Diving Male Atoll in November on the Blue Force One

  • 7.2 Good
  • Zoé G
  • Switzerland Switzerland

First dive with plenty of nice things te see

Diving Male Atoll in September on the Ari Queen

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Urica L
  • United States United States

Wonderful. Some of the best diving including sites dove in Australia, Vanuatu, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Diving Male Atoll in August on the Ari Queen

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Mohammad Murad Kasim K
  • Denmark Denmark

Full of marin life, colorful corals , big pelagic

Diving Male Atoll in September on the Sachika Liveaboard

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Michael G
  • United States United States

Same as above. Perhaps we were lucky, but the ocean was very warm, the seas always calm, and the undersea current very manageable.

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Blue Force One

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Daniele S
  • Italy Italy

Superb, we saw plenty of sharks!

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Sachika

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Ngung Chia S
  • Singapore Singapore

Good dive. Lots of things to see although corals are only average

Diving Male Atoll in March on the Emperor Atoll

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Carl E
  • United States United States

All the atolls were special in their own way.

Diving Male Atoll in February on the Orion

  • 9.2 Superb
  • James D
  • Australia Australia

Good-Vaavu and Meemu better.

Diving Male Atoll in February on the Emperor Atoll

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Nikolai S
  • Russia Russia

Lots of different fish and octopus

Diving Male Atoll in February on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Birgit K
  • Germany Germany

Current, sharks, drifting along beautiful softcoral and rock formations

Diving Male Atoll in February on the Soleil 2

  • 8.4 Very good
  • david S
  • France France

good visibility. Embuhdoo express limited to hook and watch

Diving Male Atoll in January on the Soleil 2

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Júlio K
  • Brazil Brazil

The fish factory is fantastic. I think one more night dive should be done.

Diving Male Atoll in January on the Soleil 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Dmitrii A
  • Russia Russia

Route was very good. Every dive was nice, but a little bit different from other ones. Diving team are really professional - my girlfriend just got AOWD, but instructor was patient enough, so neither me, nor our dive buddies didn't notice any inconvenience.

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Fraser O
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

World class from third day onwards (due to bad weather)

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Paul E
  • Finland Finland

Good also. Fist night dive there was unbelievable with so many nurse sharks around you.

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Sachika

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Catriona G
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing, not too strong currents, plenty of life, etc.

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • shuge Q
  • China China

the dive with current , make you feel like walk in space ,

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Bader A
  • Kuwait Kuwait

Great with lots of Mantas!

Diving Male Atoll in November on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Tommaso D
  • Italy Italy

Great sites, plenty of underwater life, sometimes strong currents

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Blue Force One

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Wojciech K
  • Poland Poland

Diving in Male was very good. Lots of manta encounters.

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • steven V
  • Belgium Belgium

bad weather but perfect manta dives

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Carpe Diem Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Daniel K
  • Germany Germany

Due to off-Season the visibility was not always perfect but still very good. On the plus-side ... less boats and less divers. Wildlife was great.

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.0 Very good
  • thomas K
  • Australia Australia

Amazing at fish head, with the variety of eels - mind blowing!

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Sachika Liveaboard

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Matthew M
  • Australia Australia

Paradise Manta Point is the highlight. Crowded dive sites.

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Maldiviana Liveaboard

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Songluan L
  • China China

Water was not as clear as I thought, but lots of big stuffs here, quite fantastic.

Diving Male Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Gregg C
  • United States United States

All of our dives were fabulous. Each one had its own highlight, but they all revealed something spectacular.

Diving Male Atoll in September on the Blue Force One

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Houssam E
  • Lebanon Lebanon

I would rate it as very good and definitely there are presence of marine life that are not your everyday.

Diving Male Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Gary W
  • Australia Australia

Diving in Male Atoll was interesting and varied. A variety of sea life and sites which gave so many options that suited a variety of experience levels.

Diving Male Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Richard C
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

5 star - nurse shark and mantas

Diving Male Atoll in August on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Enrique B
  • Spain Spain

Male Atoll may not be the best know, but it surprised us wth some of the best dives.

Diving Male Atoll in August on the Sachika Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Marcos D
  • United States United States

Our first and last encounter with manta rays. The only issue vs Ari is the number of dive boats on the best sites. You will still have a great time.

Diving Male Atoll in August on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Anna D
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

The diving was remarkable and worth going.

Diving Male Atoll in August on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Sarah N
  • Sweden Sweden

The diving was just superb! In a week we saw all things people dream of seeing a whole lifetime: whalesharks, mantas and sharks, sharks and more sharks! Simply amazing!

Diving Male Atoll in August on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Melissa D
  • Italy Italy

Fantastic!! Just very strong currents but really nice

Diving Male Atoll in July on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Timothy L
  • Singapore Singapore

Great visibility, healthy marine life, beautiful corals. Sharks, rays, turtles, and huge schools on almost every dive, Currents can be really strong though. Remember to bring a current hook. On many of the dives, we are required to hook ourselves onto a rock, and wait for some time, while waiting for big fishes. without the hook, you'd be struggling in such strong currents.

Diving Male Atoll in July on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Graziella E
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Nice, I would say less to see than South Ari but also nice.

Diving Male Atoll in July on the MV Ari Queen

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • John C
  • Australia Australia

we were there in the off peak season so the vis was at some times not the best, but it was not as bad as we thought it would be

Diving Male Atoll in June on the Carpe Vita Liveaboard

  • 8.4 Very good
  • giorgio C
  • Italy Italy

good but not as good as ARI ATOLL

Diving Male Atoll in March on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Irene G
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Only did the check dive in South Male Atoll on Embudu Express. Not spectacular but nice for the first dive.

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Blue Shark 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Endre G
  • Hungary Hungary

Also very good dives in the Male Atoll, though less interesting, than Ari Atoll

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Phillip M
  • United States United States

Diving was generally very good, with visibility generally 60-80 feet, occasionally better, and on one or two dives maybe 40-50 feet. Water temp was consistently 84-85 degrees F. I used a 1 mm wetsuit, and even did several dives without a wetsuit, and was perfectly comfortable throughout the trip. Reefs are showing stress, but fish life was very good, and large critters were there in abundance.

Diving Male Atoll in March on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Brett M
  • South Africa South Africa

Some of the reefs are a bit disappointing in that they really lack good coral structure. Excellent sightings including whale shark, manta ray, sharks and rays while night diving, turtle to name a few

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Sean E
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

We dived a couple of memorable sites in the Male Atoll

Diving Male Atoll in March on the Moonima Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Stuart Y
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Great diving. Lots to see. Swam with manta rays, reef shark, whale sharks, Ray's, the list goes on and on

Diving Male Atoll in March on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Marko V
  • Slovenia Slovenia

Don't remember. I don't have a log book with me

Diving Male Atoll in March on the Manta Cruise Liveaboard

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Iris D
  • Switzerland Switzerland

As well the male atoll is really nice. We has many dives with sharks, a lot of turtles and differnt great animals

Diving Male Atoll in February on the Emperor Atoll

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Richa M
  • India India

Beautiful corals and sea life. Very good experience. Don't need to go very deep to see good sea life.

Diving Male Atoll in February on the Manta Cruise Liveaboard

  • 7.6 Good
  • Allan M
  • Canada Canada

very nice but poor visability

Diving Male Atoll in January on the Virgo Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • matthew E
  • Australia Australia

still good, but ari was the best

Diving Male Atoll in January on the Manta Cruise Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Dustin H
  • United States United States

Awesome. Lots of creatures.

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Charles L
  • United States United States

Only did 2-3 dives... was quite good.

Diving Male Atoll in December on the Orion Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Maxim Y
  • Bulgaria Bulgaria

The second best (the house reef waswasn't so good)

Diving Male Atoll in October on the Leo Liveaboard

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Mark L
  • South Africa South Africa

Night dives on the Jetty were amazing, only spoiler being a reckless boat captain from another group riding through surfacing divers! Very disconcerting that there are too many people and very poor control.

Diving Male Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Yang

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Sergei T
  • Russia Russia

Very good one of the best experiences in my life!

Diving Male Atoll in August on the Leo Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Chrissie S
  • Malaysia Malaysia

The dive sites are very beautiful and get to see the big fishes e.g. sharks, manta etc.

Diving Male Atoll in May on the Scubaspa Ying

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Adrian S
  • Malta Malta

Very relaxing experience and a lot to see and enjoy.

Diving Male Atoll in April on the Scubaspa Ying