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Liveaboard Diving in the Maldives

Liveaboard diving in the Maldives offers unparalleled access to the region’s top dive sites. The remote atolls and deserted islands provide a secluded setting to explore the crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. Nutrient-rich currents sustain abundant species, including mantas, whale sharks, reef sharks, and unique creatures like flatworms and ghost pipefish, offering divers an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

Maldives liveaboard itineraries cover renowned diving destinations such as North Male Atoll, Ari Atoll, Baa Atoll, Hanifaru Bay, and Rasdhoo. These trips also venture to far-flung northern and southern atolls, where encounters with other liveaboards are rare, ensuring a tranquil and exclusive experience that only a few can enjoy.

The Maldives’ diverse underwater landscapes cater to all diving interests, from vibrant coral gardens and wrecks to channels and pinnacles. Liveaboards allow one to fully immerse oneself in this tropical paradise, maximizing time spent exploring the region’s world-class dive sites.

Liveaboards in Ari Atoll

Situated in the central Maldives, Ari Atoll is a prime destination for liveaboard diving. It is renowned for its submerged, volcano-shaped pinnacles, which attract an abundance of marine megafauna. At Rasdhoo Atoll, you can discover the marine life of the Maldives and encounter manta rays, pelagic fish, and hammerhead sharks.

Premier dive sites lie within Ari Atoll’s 40 km length and 105 minor islands. Explore vibrant reef life at sites like Maaya Thila and discover one of the many manta-cleaning stations at Donkalo Thila. These sites, accessible only by liveaboard, offer a rare and exclusive opportunity to dive into some of the Maldives’ best spots.

The waters around Ari Atoll are among the most dependable in the Maldives for sighting whale sharks and manta rays. However, strong currents that attract these giants also require experienced divers to navigate safely. Rest assured; liveaboards offer the ideal platform to explore this incredible atoll and its resident marine life, with experienced guides and safety measures in place to ensure your diving adventure is both thrilling and secure.

What You Need To Know Before Coming To Ari Atoll

Liveaboard itineraries to Ari Atoll typically range from 7 to 12 nights, allowing ample time to explore the atoll’s renowned dive sites. The best time to visit is during the calm-sea season from December to May when water temperatures hover between 26-29°C and visibility averages 15-20 meters.

Ari Atoll liveaboards’ budget can vary, depending on the vessel and amenities. On average, a 7-night liveaboard trip in Ari Atoll can cost between [USD 2000-5000], offering a range of options to suit different budgets. Liveaboards depart from Male, which is easily accessible via short flights from nearby hubs like Singapore, Dubai, and Colombo, as well as longer flights worldwide.

 Other Destinations in the Maldives

Liveaboard trips will either focus on a central, southern or northern itinerary or offer a combination in addition to Ari Atoll. This allows divers to experience the best of the Maldives’ diverse underwater landscapes and marine life in a single trip.

 Baa Atoll

Baa Atoll, located in the Maldives’ Northern Atolls area, is renowned for its breathtaking underwater landscapes and abundant marine life. Sites like Maavaru Kandu offer the opportunity to dive beneath massive rocky overhangs adorned with vibrant pastel coral gardens. Dhonfanu Thila and Dhigali Haa are pinnacles famous for their whip corals, black corals, sea fans, and schools of snapper, with regular manta ray sightings.

The highlight of Baa Atoll is Hanifaru Bay, which hosts world-famous aggregations of manta rays and whale sharks during the plankton-rich months from August to November.

While some dive sites in Baa Atoll are suitable for beginners with moderate currents, others require more experience. Liveaboards in the area range from MV yachts to luxury vessels, providing the ideal platform to explore this incredible atoll’s diverse offerings.

Nilandhe Atoll

Nilandhe Atoll, situated on the western border of the Maldives’ Southern Atolls, is a premier liveaboard diving destination. The northern atoll is renowned for its vast schools of fish, sharks, Napoleon wrasse, and eagle rays, offering incredible underwater encounters.

The southern atoll of Nilandhe is home to numerous protected areas teeming with diverse marine life. In the waters of Ari Atoll, divers can anticipate encounters with various captivating marine life and magnificent species like tuna, turtles, and mantas. With its rich biodiversity, Nilandhe Atoll caters to various diving interests and experiences.


Fuvahmulah, the southernmost atoll in the Maldives, offers some unparalleled dive experiences. Its crystal-clear waters reveal vibrant coral reefs and some uncommon marine life, especially the chance to observe tiger sharks and oceanic manta rays.

Of note is a spot called Tiger Zoo. Over the years, several dive operations have been set up in the area, each with differing levels of sustainability. In the area, you are guaranteed almost a 100 per cent chance of diving with these majestic creatures, although care should be taken in deciding your dive operator for your safety and that of the sharks. We highly recommend a liveaboard to the area to make the most of this incredible place.

Among Fuvahmulah’s most popular dive sites are Gahaa Kandu and Thoondu Point, where colourful fish and coral formations often surround divers. The atoll’s remote location and pristine underwater environment make it a true paradise for those seeking an extraordinary diving adventure.

Addu Atoll

Addu Atoll, in Maldives, is a diver’s paradise. This atoll boasts diverse dive sites, from vibrant coral gardens to thrilling drift dives along channels. One of the highlights is the British Loyalty wreck, a well-preserved shipwreck teeming with marine life. Divers can also explore the famous Kandu Olhi Giri, a stunning underwater pinnacle known for its resident shark population and pelagic encounters.

Addu Atoll’s remote location and relatively undisturbed waters make it a prime destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path diving experience. With its rich biodiversity and unique underwater landscapes, this atoll offers something for divers of all levels, from beginners to experienced thrill-seekers.

Huvadhoo Atoll

Huvadhoo Atoll, situated in the southern Maldives, is a hidden gem for liveaboard diving. This atoll is renowned for its incredible channel dives, where divers can witness the mesmerizing spectacle of sharks, rays, and schools of pelagic fish gliding through the strong currents. The famous Vilingili Kandu is a must-visit site, offering the chance to encounter grey reef sharks and even the occasional whale shark.

Beyond the thrilling channel dives, Huvadhoo Atoll also boasts stunning coral gardens and overhangs teeming with colourful reef life. Liveaboards in this region provide access to remote and untouched dive sites, ensuring an exclusive and unforgettable diving experience in the heart of the Maldives.

Tips if You Are Travelling to The Maldives

-Weather in The Maldives

The Maldives offers excellent diving opportunities year-round. However, some divers prefer to avoid the monsoon season, which brings rain from April through October. Water temperatures are typically ideal, ranging from 26°C to 30°C (80°F to 86°F), with visibility spanning from 20 meters (65 feet) to seemingly endless.

The diverse underwater landscapes cater to divers of all levels, with shallow reefs, deep walls, and everything in between. Many areas feature slow currents for those seeking an adrenaline rush, while the atoll passes offer powerful currents for experienced thrill-seekers.

Outside weather conditions in the Maldives are generally mild, with temperatures from 24°C to 33°C (75°F to 91°F). Regardless of your diving preferences, the Maldives has something to suit every taste, providing an unforgettable underwater experience in a tropical paradise.

-Liveaboard Fees in The Maldives

When booking a Maldives liveaboard, be prepared for additional fees beyond the base trip price. Gear rental, typically around USD 40 per person per night, is a standard extra cost. All divers must also purchase separate dive insurance before entering the water. Other potential charges include alcoholic beverages, special gear like torches, and a new USD 6 per person per night Green Tax for tourists.

Certain islands and marine parks in the Maldives have entrance fees not included in liveaboard packages. For example, visiting the famous Hanifaru Bay requires a USD 20 per person park fee. Nitrox is widely available, sometimes complimentary and other times at an additional cost.

Depending on the liveaboard’s itinerary, a fuel surcharge ranging from $10 to USD 15 per person per night may apply. While these extra fees can add up, being aware of them upfront allows for proper budgeting and ensures an enjoyable, hassle-free liveaboard experience in the Maldives.

Most Maldives diving liveaboards require a minimum number of logged dives, ranging from 20 to 100, depending on the vessel. Safety briefings and check dives are typically conducted on the first day, with check dives often taking place close to Male. Awareness of these requirements adequately prepares divers for their Maldives liveaboard adventure.

To Wrap it Up

Liveaboard diving in the Maldives offers unparalleled access to spectacular dive sites and diverse marine life. From the renowned Ari Atoll to the remote and pristine atolls like Baa, Nilandhe, Fuvahmulah, Addu, Huvadhoo, and more, divers can explore vibrant coral gardens, encounter majestic creatures like mantas and whale sharks, and experience thrilling channel dives.

The calm sea season from December to May provides optimal conditions for diving, with pleasant water temperatures and excellent visibility. Liveaboard itineraries allow for immersive, exclusive, and unforgettable diving experiences in this tropical paradise.

Before travelling to the Maldives, it’s important to know additional fees beyond the base trip price, such as gear rental, dive insurance, park fees, and potential fuel surcharges. These costs can vary, so proper budgeting is essential.

Many liveaboards also have minimum dive requirements, while safety briefings and check dives usually occur on the trip’s first day. Understanding these details ahead of time ensures a smooth and enjoyable liveaboard experience in the Maldives.

We work with inclusive liveaboard operators in The Maldives to ensure our plant-based and vegan diver’s needs are well catered for.

For more information and a chinwag about diving in the Maldives, do not hesitate to get in touch.


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