Going diving in the Maldives is one of those experiences in life that stays with you long after you’ve left the country’s pristine islands, swaying palm trees and crystal-clear waters behind. One of the top destination of choice for divers from all over the world, this tiny Indian-Ocean Republic is made up of more than a thousand tropical islands crowning an intricate network of coral reefs, which spreads over some 900,000 square kilometers. Just beneath the water’s surface lie some of the planet’s best dive sites; home to an incredible variety of marine species. With stable politics, white sandy beaches, a balmy climate and friendly people the country’s overwater charms are also second to none.
In other words, choosing the Maldives as a diving destination is a no-brainer. But choosing between land-based or liveaboard diving can leave even the most seasoned scuba diver confused. Here is our guide to what makes liveaboard diving in the Maldives a firm favorite of the international dive community.
First things first: because they are mobile, liveaboards offer a level of freedom and ease that is unmatched by other kinds of diving in the Maldives. Imagine arriving at Male International Airport and, instead of facing a long transfer to a far-flung island, being personally welcomed and swiftly taken to your boat, which is already anchoring nearby. Then, imagine spending your days being chauffeured between the best dive sites in the Maldives, enjoying top notch onboard service and cuisine, visiting local islands and watching the exotic scenery pass by as you relax on deck.
Because of their unique geography, the Maldives are blessed with innumerable world-class dive sites, many of which are yet to be discovered. In terms of offering easy access to as many of the best diving sites in the Maldives as possible, liveaboard cruises are simply unbeatable: no long transfers, no bumpy speed boat rides. Whichever direction your route takes, at the end of the trip your logbook is sure to feature plenty of stunning, and in some cases legendary, dive sites.
- Big Fish
One of the main reasons the Maldives are so popular with divers is their abundance of large marine animals. After all, whale sharks, manta rays and various kinds of reef sharks are among the common fish of the Maldives. Encountering one of these giants of the ocean is a riveting experience, not unlike seeing an elephant or a lion in the wild, which is why liveaboard cruises also often referred to as “safaris”.
Overall, boat holidays in the Maldives offer an irresistible sense of adventure. As the boat makes its way through the atolls, it often stops off at local fishing villages, anchors near uninhabited islands and crosses channels between atolls. Scuba diving cruises allow you to discover several atolls, meet locals and discover authentic Maldivian culture in a relaxed way. Not to forget that, on many liveaboards in the Maldives, you can spend your time between dives doing other exciting water sports such as water skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, fishing and canoeing.
- Friendly Atmosphere
Whether you are a single traveler, on your honeymoon or coming with a bunch of friends, liveaboard cruises offer a wonderfully relaxed, flexible and social way to enjoy the best diving in the Maldives. Comfortable communal spaces offer plenty of opportunities to make friends and swap diving experiences over dinner, while the spacious layout of our ships allows you to find your favorite spot to read a book or watch the sunset.
With the wide spread of luxury hotels and high-end services, the cost of scuba diving in the Maldives can be prohibitive. Though luxury liveaboards offer a superb level of services and facilities, prices are well below those of an island holiday. Also, package prices for cheap diving holidays in the Maldives tend to include numerous extras such as airport transfers, dive transfers, meals plus snacks and select beverages, island visits, sports activities and so on.
- Conquering an Uninhabited Island
Most safari boat excursions in the Maldives include free visits to uninhabited islands and, if the weather allows it, dinner is served on the beach. Having an island (almost) all to yourself is an unforgettable experience: once you land on the island and venture away from the shore, you might well come across a variety of exotic birds, flowers and butterflies. On a few islands, you can even find remains of old settlements and temples.
- No Heavy Lifting, No Mosquitoes
As mentioned at the beginning, diving from a liveaboard in the Maldives is easy. During the trip, there is no need to carry back and forth diving equipment, because all diving equipment is stowed directly on the “Dive Dhoni”, a refitted traditional Maldivian fishing boat, which acts as a floating dive base and accompanies the mother ship. Another great aspect of liveaboard diving in the Maldives is that, because there is usually a refreshing breeze and the ships anchor at a certain distance from the nearest island, you don’t need to worry about mosquito bites.
- Sleeping Under the Stars
For many, no diving safari in the Maldives is complete without spending at least one night on deck. The stars over this part of the world are simply breathtaking and it is not unusual to see several shooting stars before being gently rocked to sleep by the waves.
- No Shoes, No News
This famous holiday mantra is often heard on dive safari boats in the Maldives. If you want to completely switch off and get away from it all, there is no better place for it than a Maldivian liveaboard.
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