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Last updated on September 4, 2023
Helengeli, a typical Maldives resort island located in Male Atoll, is surrounded by a great house reef and plenty of good places to snorkel. On the reef flat or drifting along the drop-off, you’ll encounter big creatures, such as sharks, rays and turtles, as well as a kaleidoscopic array of reef fish, including anemonefish, butterflyfish and triggerfish.
Helengeli Island is located on the north side of Male Atoll. The ultimate way to explore its house reef is to stay at the 4* OBLU NATURE Helengeli, the island’s only resort. To reach the island, just fly to Male and the resort will arrange the 50-minutes boat trip.
Staying in a beach house, you can step into the shallow waters and start exploring the reef whenever you want.
If you don’t stay in Helengeli, day boat trips to the island from the neighboring resorts are also offered.
Depending on the area you want to explore (see below), you will enter the water from the beach, from a jetty, or from a small harbor. Beach entrance is tide dependent, as at low tide, there’s not enough water on the reef flat to snorkel.
Always get the advice of the lifeguard present at the jetty before entering the water. He will give you the last update about currents and other dangers, as well as indications about the good spots for wildlife.
The reef is accessible from most parts of the beach, but we especially recommend two itineraries with different entry-exit points.
Itinerary 1 starts from the harbor. Depending on the boat traffic and the tide times, you can enter the water from the harbor itself or from the adjacent beach area. From there, swim around the reef’s south corner and exit the water at the jetty.
The south point is considered hosting the highest numbers of fish, but there are stronger currents in this area and you need to be a confident snorkeler to explore it.
Itinerary 2 starts from the jetty. It is the best and safest water entrance, as it brings you straight to the reef drop-off. From there, follow the reef edge to the north, and snorkel back over the shallow waters to the shore, near The Spice restaurant.
Do not let you drift too far, as strong currents occur a bit up north (see map).
In the recommended snorkeling area, water depth ranges from 1-30ft/0.5-10m, and more after the reef edge. From the beach, there are great corals to explore on the flat, with a depth of 1-6ft/0.5-2m.
This part of the reef is better explored at high tide, as at low tide some parts are not reachable. At the reef drop-off, you will discover amazing cliffs covered with corals.
Helengeli is a great spot for spotting big ocean creatures, with lots of blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, hawksbill sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, cowtail stingrays and giant morays.
The diversity of reef fish is also striking, with two species of clownfish, dozens of butterflyfish, triggerfish, pufferfish, parrotfish, wrasse, sweetlips, and a lot more. The enormous numbers of species but also the density of fish make this place a great snorkeling spot.
If you have never tried night snorkeling, Helengeli is the right place to live this experience which offers a fully different view of the reef. Lobsters, nurse sharks, lionfish, and a lot more species generally hiding during the day can be spotted.
The resort can also arrange snorkeling trips away from the island.
OBLU NATURE Helengeli resort has several bars and restaurants.
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 with reef drop off, sharks, rays and turtles
Resort island fringed by coral reefs with rays, turtles and reef fish
Resort island with seagrass beds and reef drop off, sharks and turtles
Reef drop off with colorful fish