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Last updated on January 15, 2024
Dhonveli, also known as Kanuhuura, is a small resort island located only 16 kilometers north of Male. The shallow lagoon fringing the eastern side of the island and the house reef edging its western side provide two very different snorkeling experiences. It allows both beginners and experienced snorkelers to encounter an extraordinary marine life, including several species of sharks, sea turtles, clownfish and stingray above a nice coral reef.
Dhonveli is a small resort island only a 25-minute speedboat ride away from Male International Airport. The island is private, and the only way to snorkel it is to book a stay at the Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives.
To snorkel the house reef, water entrance is south of the harbor, from the sandy beach located just in front of the Dive Shop. It is also possible to enter the water north to the harbor, next to the Rehendi Restaurant & Bar (see map). To access the lagoon, just swim from the main beach.
There are two recommended snorkeling areas in Dhonveli:
It offers a shallow and sheltered area (↨5ft/1.5m), well suited for beginners. The exploration of the lagoon is tide-dependent: during low tide, the water is too shallow and you will not be able to snorkel it. You can check tide times at the dive shop.
Snorkeling the lagoon, you will enjoy beautiful coral formations and a wide array of marine life, including reef fish and moray eels. You can localize on the map above a small area containing the most vivid coral and reef life. If you are lucky, you may spot an eagle ray feeding in the central part of the lagoon, or hawksbill sea turtles, especially around the water bungalows.
This area is made of a reef flat (↨6 ft/2 m) and a spectacular reef drop-off facing the open sea (↨50ft/15m). Strong currents may occur along the drop-off, and only experienced snorkelers and strong swimmers should explore it. Be careful and check boat traffic when crossing the entrances of the harbor.
The central part of the reef flat (↨6-10ft/2-3m), in front of the Raiyvilla Bar and Coffee Shop and the swimming pool, is where you’ll have the best chances to spot blacktip reef sharks. They are almost always present in the area.
Snorkeling above the drop-off, you will spot a wide array of marine life, from reef fish (lagoon, titan and clown triggerfish, Maldive clownfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, lionfish…) to bigger creatures such as stingrays (mainly spotted and cowtail stingrays), hawksbill sea turtles, moray eels, eagle ray, and even whitetip sharks.
Cinnamon Island Resort features several bars and restaurants. Most of the guests opt for half or full-board plans.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Patch reefs with colorful fish
Fringing coral reef with colorful fish
Free shore access
Resort island fringed by coral reefs with rays, turtles and reef fish
Reef flat and drop off with sharks, turtles and colorful fish
Resort island with seagrass beds and reef drop off, sharks and turtles
Reef drop off with colorful fish