North and South Male atolls consists of more than 80 low coral islands, some 13 of which are inhabited and more than 40 are resort islands. Each island is a snorkeling spot on its own, most of them being fringed by house reefs, reef drop-off or lagoons, and readily accessible from the shore. With crystal-clear, blue waters, Male Atolls offer the chance to snorkel with a host of tropical reef fish and to get an up-close and personal look at manta rays, sharks and turtles just below the surface of the Indian Ocean.
It is widely considered that the resort islands scattered in the atolls offer the best snorkeling in the Maldives.
Nearly 50 resort islands, most of them with house reef and/or lagoon close by, can be found in the North and South Male atolls.
On these private islands, only accessible to guests, you will snorkel just a footstep from your room.
Baros, Vabbinfaru, and Angsana (all three located in North Male Atoll, and with stunning house reefs) are considered as the best resort islands in the area for snorkeling, but you can snorkel around almost all islands of the atoll.
Furanafushi, Kanuhuraa (Dhonveli), Kuda Huraa, Kanifinolhu, and Giraavaru are the closest to Male airport and are reachable in a less than 20 minutes boat ride from the capital city.
In South Male Atoll, Biyadhoo Island and Embudu Island are both great resort-island options for snorkelers.
The inhabited islands offer very few shore snorkeling opportunities, most of them being limited to Dhiffushi, Himmafushi, and Huraa islands, in North Male Atoll.
If you are staying in the main inhabited islands, some local companies offer snorkeling day tours departing by boat from Male or Hulhumale.
The cost of most of the day tours ranges between $60 and 100 per person and generally allows you to snorkel 2 to 3 spots only accessible by boat.
The Maldives hosts one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems, with reefs teeming with fish, turtles, invertebrate and colorful coral.
It is also one of the very best destinations for snorkeling with large marine creatures, such as manta rays, blacktip and whitetip sharks, and whale sharks.
In the Maldives, the year is divided into two seasons determined by the monsoons. The northeastern monsoon, from December to April, corresponds to the dry season.
This is the best period for snorkeling because the sunshine is exceptional, but it also corresponds to the peak tourist season (high visitor numbers and high prices).
The southwestern monsoon, from May to November, corresponds to the rainy season.
Rains and storms are brief but intense and are sometimes accompanied by very strong winds.
All through the year, average temperatures vary between 79 and 93°F (26 and 34°C), with more heat in the dry season.
With a water temperature permanently around 82°F (28°C), the Maldives has ideal conditions for snorkeling all year round.
300+ spots have been featured on Snorkeling Report with the help of people like you. Share your favorite snorkeling spot and help us cover the world map. Your contribution will help the snorkeling community find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
ADD A SPOT
On all spots; very common in Dhonveli
On all spots
On reef drop-offs, for example in Dhonveli
Resort island fringed by coral reefs with rays, turtles and reef fish
Level: Resort nearby
Resort island with reef drop off, sharks, rays and turtles
Reef flat and drop off with sharks, turtles and colorful fish
Resort island with seagrass beds and reef drop off, sharks and turtles
Fringing coral reef with colorful fish
Level: Free shore access
Patch reefs with colorful fish
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Ari, with its thin ring-shaped atolls rising from the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean, is recognized as one of the best atolls in the Maldives for snorkeling. Most of the 82 islands composing Ari atoll offer shallow turquoise lagoons and dramatic coral walls, accessible only a few swim fins kic (...)
Considered one of the top snorkeling destination in the Maldives, Lhaviyani Atoll’s underwater world is something you don't want to miss. Located just north to Malé Atolls, it hosts some stunning and pristine snorkeling spots. From reef sharks, eagle rays and sea turtles sightings, to displays of co (...)
Some of the most stunning beaches in the world, hawksbill sea turtles laying just under the surface of the Indian Ocean, and, just before your eyes, vibrant coral reefs where angelfish and spotted eagle rays abound… La Digue and its neighboring islands (Félicité, Coco, Grande Soeur…) are full of sur (...)
Dominated by granite boulders of all shapes, seagrass meadows and coral reefs, Praslin underwater landscapes host a wide variety of marine life. Only 7 miles long, Praslin is, however, the second largest of the granite islands in the Seychelles. It offers a dozen decent snorkeling spots, most of the (...)
Denis Island and Bird Island are the northernmost islands in the Seychelles, and the only two coral cays of the granitic bank of the archipelago. On these sanctuaries islands, where tens of thousands of marine birds comes to nest each year, nature reigns. Fringed by coral reefs, Bird and Denis are t (...)
Mahé is the most extensive of the granite islands in the Seychelles. The many beaches, coves and shallow lagoons scattered along its coastline make the main island a great destination for snorkeling, with dozens of spots freely accessible from the shore. Some of Mahé neighboring islands, protected b (...)
With more than 1700km of coastline along the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, Oman is filled with singular and yet undiscovered snorkeling spots. Although you will probably start by snorkeling from the shore around Muscat, you shouldn’t leave Oman without having explored some of the untouched islan (...)
Although tourist frequentation has strongly contributed to the deterioration of its coral reefs in its busiest islands, Thailand remains a world-class snorkeling destination. Its lush tropical coasts, reefs and islands offers a wide choice of snorkeling spots, in both Gulf of Thailand and the Andama (...)