6 Amazing Underwater Adventures in the Maldives

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The total land area of the Maldives is just 115 square miles with 35,000 square miles of ocean and many islands over 300 hectares. In other words more than 99 percent of the entire country is ocean so if you are planning a vacation here you will definitely want the water.

The beautiful islands of the Maldives are a popular place for serious relaxation and recreation. Think sandy beaches swaying from palm trees in hammocks getting massages and spa treatments and sipping apple cocktails at sunset. But there is more to offer. The Maldives is part of a vast underwater mountain range with corals that live on the edges of ancient volcanoes. Known as one of the world’s most desirable year-round destinations for diving and snorkeling, the Maldives is every ocean lover’s dream. The waters surrounding the house are home to an incredible variety of marine life including nearly 200 species of hard coral, over 1,100 species of fish, 400 species of molluscs and 350 species of crustaceans. In terms of biodiversity the waters of the Maldives are the original rainforest version.

So come with me and explore the magical underwater world of the Maldives.

1. Snorkel Your Resort’s House Reef

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

Snorkeling is a must-do activity in the Maldives as it allows you to explore the archipelago’s amazing underwater world without entering very deep water. If you want to experience the Maldives underwater but aren’t sure enough to dive try snorkeling. Many resorts in the Maldives have coral reefs along the coast. You simply take your flippers and mask and often swim in the shallow water just steps from your room like I did at Anantara Kewah Maldives Villa. You don’t have to be a strong swimmer. I have friends who aren’t sure about water but still want to see as much as possible. All we got was a float with a rope. When he was tired he would take the ring and breathe and when it was time to get back to shore I swam out and pulled him up.
There is no sign of live coral in this extremely fragile ecosystem.

2. Swim With Manta Rays

Hanifaru Bay

Leaving Anantara Kihawah Maldivian Villas on Kihawah Hurawalhi Island and heading out to sea our speedboat emits white foam into the water. To swim with manta rays on the reef we headed to Hanifaru Bay which is a forty minute boat ride away. The Maldives has the largest known population of manta rays in the world and Hanifaru Bay is definitely the best place to swim with them in the Maldives.
There is nothing more magical than the first sighting of a manta ray in the sea. We arrived with our snorkel masks and flippers and jumped off the side of the boat and into the water. For a few minutes we saw nothing and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a large shadow. First one then two then more. Manta rays swam so close to my path that they nearly hit me as they passed. Manta rays are filter feeders – these plankton feed on microorganisms such as shrimp and jellyfish. As they move through the water they feed by filtering large amounts of water through their wide open mouths.
Swimming among the manta rays in Hanifaru Bay was one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever done. The coral manta ray is the second largest ray species in the world. They are usually 9-11 feet wide but some very large ones can grow to 18 feet wide. There are only a few places in the world where visitors can snorkel alongside many manta rays up close and while feeding.
The spawning season for manta rays is from May to November. But the best time to visit Hanifaru Bay is from late June to October when the rainy season produces large plankton blooms that attract hundreds of manta rays and whale sharks to the bay.
Note that diving is not allowed in the bay. Reduce turbulence and remember that you can only dive here. There are strict guidelines for visitors. Divers must maintain a distance of at least 9 feet from any animal and refrain from approaching touching or petting. Photography is allowed but without flash.

3. Meet Whale Sharks

South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area Or Hanifaru Bay

Maldives Hot Spots Whale sharks live here all year round. The whale sharks found in the Maldives are much smaller than those found elsewhere although they can easily measure up to 26 feet in length – although swimming is harmless with these creatures not for the faint of heart.
The South Erie Atoll Marine Sanctuary is one of the best places to see these whale sharks and year-round snorkelling tours offer spectacular views. Hanifaru Bay is a good choice for those visiting the Maldives during the rainy season (May to September and October) when the monsoon brings together plankton and hundreds of whale sharks. Stingray. The narrow end of Hanifuru Bay is known as the world’s largest foraging area.
Swimming with whale sharks is an experience of a lifetime and the Maldives is one of the few destinations in the world where whale shark sightings are almost guaranteed during the season. If you have a whale shark on your wish list I recommend staying at a resort near South Gold Atoll or Hanifaru Bay. Then going out to sea from your resort is an easy activity.

4. Swim Or Scuba With Sea Turtles

South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area

The Maldives Archipelago is home to five of the world’s seven species of sea turtle: lembricata caretta caretta green lolivo and pike. The two species you will see most often are the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle; Both are on the endangered list.
Snorkeling with turtles in their natural habitat is a magical experience and the chances of seeing turtles in the waters around the resort are high. Swimming with turtles is just as fun and it’s not hard to find yourself with more than one as they often show up at the most unexpected times. Don’t try to follow them. If they want to get away from you they can use their paddle fins to get you to 22 mph. with himher!
Another way to see turtles up close is by diving. Diving is a wonderful way to see a completely different world and one of the techniques every traveler recommends to include on their playlist. The sparkling warm waters of the Indian Ocean create the perfect conditions for an underwater world teeming with marine life including sea turtles. The water is clear and you can expect visibility in the 70-130ft range. An incredible sense of peace envelops you as you pass turtles 10 or 15 feet underwater or spy on turtles sleeping beneath the pearl reef rim.
Most major Maldives resorts have their own PADI certification centers where you can sign up for diving and courses. Even if you’ve never taken a class before it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner! Some resorts have training pools where you can learn skills and practice breathing underwater before diving. We went snorkeling and diving with LUX* South Ari Atoll.
Turtle shells have historically been the main export of the Maldives. Indian Arabs traded with China. The turtle chest bracelet is made of hair combs and other jewelry. Eli’s products are still popular with buyers around the world. The thriving tourism industry in the Maldives that collects turtles for their shells has drastically reduced turtle numbers. Visitors should be aware that buying turtle jewelry or gifts is a threat to the turtle population.

5. Dolphin Watching

South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area

A group of tornado dolphins appeared in the waves as Lux* left South Erie Atoll in search of whale sharks. Spider dolphins are the most common dolphins found here due to their predictable daily migration. They eat on the beach every night and go to the atoll every morning to rest. There are more than 20 species of dolphins that call the seas around the Maldives home so most visitors will encounter dolphins at some point during their stay. The most common dolphins around the atoll are the Riso’s rough-toothed and striped dolphin. Watching a group of dolphins emerge from the water is an unforgettable sight.
It is possible to see dolphins but it is not easy to get close to them. Dolphins are very fast and wild and are not very interested in socializing with humans. Dolphin swimming is not offered at Maldives resorts and the only place you can be around dolphins is in the ocean.
If you are a scuba diving enthusiast or want to spend more time watching whales you can choose to stay during your vacation on board. Most lifeguard tours on Erie Atoll last 7-12 nights and you’re sure to see lots of dolphins. Dolphin watching in the Maldives is a year-round activity but December to March is generally considered the best time with the most possibilities.

6. Underwater Dining And Wine Tasting

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

If you don’t want to swim but still want to see the fantastic underwater world of the Maldives how about drinking and eating under the sea? Breakfast or dinner at SEA Restaurant Anatara Kihawah Maldives Villa is an unparalleled dining experience. Imagine eating eggs Benedict while watching clownfish from the window or maybe lobster followed by first-class wagyu beef as the blacktip shark dives into the deep blue.
You may be on a tropical island but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the luxuries of life. 275 labels from 15 countries including wines from Argentina Australia Rhône Valley and Bordeaux at Anantara Kihawa Maldives Anantara Kihawa Maldives Underwater Villa Wine Cave SEA. This is the first underwater wine cellar and one of the few underwater restaurants in the country. The food is great and the wine is good but I must admit how great it is to have wine and eat or watch your partner’s endless conversation fishing for peaceful turtles or eagle rays. Swimming in the past should distract you!
While the overwater villas in the Maldives may be the highlight of your stay here don’t miss the opportunity to dive underwater into the amazing world of creatures that are astonishing colorful fish and beautiful coral reefs. Danger!

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