written in collaboration with aurelie (3 spots)
The island of Velidhu lies 50 miles (80km) from Malé, the capital of the Maldives. It takes 1 hour 30 minutes to get there by boat (or 20 minutes by seaplane) from Malé.
Velidhu is one of the Atoll Ari's 26 "resort islands". It is the site of the Velidhu Island Resort, a three-star hotel with beach bungalows on stilts. If you are staying at the hotel, you will have direct access to the snorkeling spot. If you are not staying at the hotel, you can spend a day on the island for a flat fee.
We recommend entering the water from the main beach, near the diving club. Opt for the southern part (to the left of the diving club when you are facing the sea), as you will be closer to the reef.
You can explore almost all of the atoll, but the most interesting areas, and richest in underwater life, are on the outer part of the reef.
To reach this area, swim towards the channel that has been opened up to let boats into the atoll. Go through the channel (making sure there are no boats in the vicinity) to reach the other side of the reef.
Titan triggerfish at Velidhu
You will then be free to move along the outer side of the atoll, towards the east or west. The reef awaiting you there is a pure delight. It is covered with hard coral (finger, table coral, etc.), and forms sloping ledges of varying widths, before gently descending into the ocean depths. In the presence of the density and variety of the underwater life here, sometimes you will not know which way to look: shoals of powder blue tang go by above the coral, scarcely troubled by the superb angelfish and parrotfish meandering on the reef alone. Swim over the sea bed and, here and there, a triggerfish, a small group of bluefin trevally or an oriental sweetlips. And as you find yourself face to face with the clownfish playing in their anemone, you may be surprised by a blacktip reef shark darting between the coral beds.
Stingrays or spotted eagle rays are common on the reef drop-off. But if you are really lucky, you may get a glimpse of the silhouette of a manta ray in the deep blue ocean, before joining it for a few moments in its majestic ballet.
Restaurants & accommodation
The residents of the Velidhu Island Resort all have full board. Non-residents can choose between bringing their own lunch or dining at the hotel restaurant. Drinking water is available everywhere on the island.
Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.
Type of spot
Level of difficultyIntermediary level
Maximum depth30ft (9m)
Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
Potential DangersUsual precautions
Restaurants nearbyYes, expensive
Public toilets & showersYes