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Chris Burton

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Covered in lush vegetation and fringed entirely by a coral reef, the small resort island of Biyadhoo is a great option for snorkeling in South Male Atoll. Around the island, you can swim with turtles feeding on seagrass beds, discover the surprising life of the mangrove, but also and above all marvel at the vibrant reef drop off, where angelfish, clownfish, octopus, starfish, groupers and sharks live.

Redtoothed triggerfish at Biyadhoo
Huge redtoothed triggerfish are frequently seen in Biyadhoo.

How to get to Biyadhoo Island snorkeling spot?

Biyadhoo is a small island in South Male Atoll, located in Kandoomaa pass’ entrance. It is a resort island, where the Biyadhoo Island Resort is established.

There are two options for snorkeling around the island. The first is to book a stay at Biyadhoo Island Resort; this will give you unlimited access to the entire reef. The second is to stay on one of the nearby islands (like the inhabited islands of Guraidhoo and Maafushi), and to book a snorkeling tour to Biyadhoo. In this case, you will generally be dropped into the water on the western reef (the most sheltered) and will not be allowed to step on the island.

Biyadhoo Island snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Biyadhoo Island

If you are staying on the island, get into the water by using the passages (numbered 1 to 7 on the map) which have been dug in the reef flat. They allow direct access to the reef drop off, avoiding injuries by kicking on the reef, where the water level is often very low.

Of the 7 passages, avoid passages 1 and 2, which are rocky and face the strong incoming current which arrives from Kandoomaa pass. To explore the west coast of the island, the most sheltered, we’d recommend to take passages 3 or 4. Another possibility is to enter the water by passages 6 or 7, then to let you slowly drift by the current (which is very light here) towards passage 5 and the north-western tip of the reef.

During high tide, when the water level is sufficient on the reef, you can also enter the water directly from the beach. It is a good option for exploring the seagrass beds in the northwest of the island (see map). If you participate to a tour, you will jump into the water from your boat, usually on the western reef (around passage 4).

Biyadhoo Island snorkeling exploration

The island is completely fringed by a coral reef. A shallow flat, 50 to 200m wide depending of place, leads to a fantastic reef drop off.

Green sea turtle in Biyadhoo
In the seagrass beds, you may spot green sea turtles, which like to come to feed here.

When the water level is high enough, snorkeling is worthwhile in the flats off the beach, especially in the seagrass beds in the west of the island (↕0.5-1.5m). Green turtles are frequently seen feeding in this area, plus you get to see some fish that prefer the flats, such as juvenile triggerfish, wrasses and snubnose pompano.

If you are a snorkeling first-timer, these shallow areas are ideal for familiarizing yourself with your equipment and getting more confident in the water.

Regal angelfish
The regal angelfish is one of the prettiest fish you’ll spot at Biyadhoo’s drop-off.

If the reef flat offers its share of sights, it is definitely on the drop-off that you will discover all the underwater treasures of the Maldives. The coral reef (although very damaged in places) plunges here to the depths (↕10-25ft/3-8m), and shelters at all floors an exceptional underwater life.

As you snorkel, you will come across dozens of species of small, colorful reef fish (angelfish, butterflyfish, clownfish, tangs), groupers (notably the superb yellow-edged lyretail and bluespotted grouper), as well as octopus and squid. In the blue or on the reef flat, expect to encounter blacktip and whitetip reef sharks. You are more likely to see them at passage 6 at the start and end of the day.

Restaurants and accommodation

Biyadhoo Island Resort, nestled in lush vegetation, is the only hotel on the island.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth6ft/1.5m on the reef flat, 25ft/8m on the drop off
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow to medium
  • Access costsStay at Biyadhoo Island resort or snorkeling tour from nearby islands
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.