Snorkeling in Maldives: Where and When to Go

Snorkeling in Maldives: Where and When to Go
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Snorkeling in Maldives is one of the most unique and memorable experiences you could hope to have. The Maldives is a group of atolls located in the Indian Ocean just south of India. They’re an excellent place to go for a snorkeling adventure. However, it isn’t as easy to get there as you might think.

While some islands allow you to rent a car while there, the best way to get to the Maldives for snorkeling include staying at a resort with a decent house reef or booking a liveaboard trip, which can be hard to find. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find both options and can choose the one that best fits your needs.

Snorkeling in Maldives

Many people claim that the Maldives is one of the best places to go for snorkeling anywhere in the world. However, if you live in the United States, it can get expensive to go there because of the vast distance.

While it is true that snorkeling in this area is amazing, you do have to worry about bleaching events. This is where the water temperature is too warm, so the corals expel algae living in the tissue, which causes the reef to turn white. Many times, the coral reef dies as a result.

Still, you are sure to see a variety of fish and creatures as long as the reef you visit isn’t bleached. If you do book at a resort, it is best to call ahead and make sure that there are no bleaching events before heading on your trip. Just remember that things can change.

What’s the Best Way to Snorkel in the Maldives?

We found that there are only two ways to go snorkeling in the Maldives. The first option is to stay at a resort with a good house reef. This means that the resort is near to the ocean and is located near a reef. Of course, the term “near” can vary significantly. Sometimes, a house reef is miles away, which means you’d need to ride a boat to get there.

Most people are likely to choose a Maldives resort island that offers snorkeling services during their trip. If possible, check the website of the resort and call ahead to ask questions about the reef. Many times, these tourist locations will offer boat snorkeling tour options to other local reefs. You’re sure to find many resorts with excellent reefs to explore with a little research.

The next way to snorkel in the Maldives is to book yourself on a liveaboard boat for snorkelers only. With this feature, you get unlimited snorkeling at many of the most popular snorkeling spots along the way. You’ll travel the atolls on a comfortable, spacious yacht, taking out a smaller boat to the best snorkel spots. However, it can be a challenge to find boats/yachts willing to do this.

What’s It Like to Snorkel in the Maldives?

Many times, the Maldives reefs consist of hard corals, though you might also find finger, table, boulder, staghorn, brain, and lobe corals. You might also see soft corals, including leather coral, but you’re not going to see rods or sea fans like you might in the Caribbean.

You’ll be able to snorkel along the walls of the coral, over patch reefs with sandy bottoms, around/on top of the pinnacle reefs, and more. As coral bleaching is possible, you may experience warmer waters while snorkeling.

It’s amazing to see all the marine life under the water in their natural habitats. You’re likely to see beautiful anemonefish flitting around and hiding in their anemones, Blacktip/Whitetip reef sharks, colorful, gorgeous giant clams, whale sharks, Hawksbill turtles, eagle rays, clown triggerfish, brilliant fusiliers, bannerfish, butterflyfish, and octopus.

It’s going to seem that each reef you visit (and you should visit multiple reefs) are going to have amazing snorkeling depths. Of course, it will depend on the tide, but some of the resort lagoon reefs might have atoll reefs and pinnacles that are too shallow. You can still explore the edges or choose to wait until high tide. Currents can vary depending on the reef geography and tide.

Travel Tips for Maldives Snorkeling

The Maldives are actually a group of 26 different atolls in the Indian Ocean. The country has about 1,200 islands, and 200 of those are inhabited by people. The Maldives has the lowest elevation levels throughout the world, as the highest point is just shy of eight feet above sea level.

From the United States, you will have to fly to the Maldives through the Middle East or Asia. Once you get to the airport, you’ll need to take a domestic flight, seaplane, or boat, and many people choose to take a combination of the three to reach their resort. You can talk to the resort owners about travel options to get more ideas or get advice.

Best Time of Year for Snorkeling in the Maldives

The Maldives has two different seasons, which are called monsoons. The dry season is called the northeast monsoon while the wet season is called the southwest monsoon. The seasons don’t change at particular times, and it can vary greatly.

If the weather is good above-land, you’re sure to have great visibility in the water. However, rainy or stormy days can lower visibility underwater.

If you look at rainfall statistics, the driest months tend to be January through April while the wettest months tend to be May through December. March and April usually have the lowest wind speeds.


If you’d like to experience snorkeling in Maldives, it is an amazing adventure and an experience you should have. If it’s a bucket-list dream, it might be best to do it sooner rather than later, as the bleaching of the corals is likely to continue and get worse.

You’re likely to stay at a resort that offers snorkeling, and you’ll probably want to book your trip for March or April. Regardless of the travel logistics and planning issues, you’ll fully enjoy your time snorkeling in the beautiful waters of the Maldives.

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