Snorkeling in the Maldives is great in any season. Though, the best time is from January through April. You can experience comfortable weather and the most transparent water. Here are the 10 top best snorkeling places that you can explore and fall in love with forever.
The Maldives consists of 22 atolls and about 1,200 coral islands. So, no wonder that the best things to do here while on vacation are snorkeling and diving on the destinations of almost 2,500 reefs. Nearly 900 of them are house reefs that are easily accessible from the chosen resort.
The Maldives are called the “Endless Horizon” for a reason. And one of the best ways to take in all that endlessness is to spend your day snorkeling in house reefs of Maldives resorts. As you tread water with a mask and snorkel, viewing schools of brightly colored fish as they slip through coral gardens, you will gain a richer understanding of what makes these atolls so special.
Snorkeling in Maldives waters can bring you close to tuna, and parrot fish, eagle rays, turtles and even whale sharks. The abundance of vibrant marine life makes snorkeling in the Maldives an unforgettable experience.
House reefs are close to resort islands and are accessible from the beach; they are usually within swimming distance from the shore and directly offshore. The Maldives are the perfect place for house reefs, as the islands are composed not of rock but of the tips of coral formations that have grown tall enough to break the surface of the water.
In general, every Maldivian island has a house reef, but an island with a house reef that is accessible to divers and snorkellers rather than a large lagoon or little coral growth is considered to have one. An “island with a nice house reef” in the forum vernacular is one where you can swim or dive from the jetty or beach.
However, the quality of house reefs varies from island to island, so we’ve compiled a list of the best Maldives resort for snorkeling.
Price range (Beach Villa): 640 – 815 $/night/villa with breakfast
Transfer: 30 min by seaplane. Cost – 385$/person, round trip
Kandolhu Maldives Resort is located in North Ari Atoll on a tiny island.
The island is very small – just 200 x150 meters. Though, it looks splendid with its white sandy beaches and the most colorful house reef in the Maldives. The reef surrounds the island and houses many kinds of marine species. That is why it is so interesting to go snorkeling there.
Snorkeling is available here right from the beach. You can see the local hawksbill turtles waving their flippers welcoming you, beautiful and lively clownfish and coral pipefish, or you may chance to meet a flying eagle ray or gracious moray. The entire underwater world will open its windows for your curious and excited look. Do not forget to take your camera and you will take great pictures of underwater inhabitants. The marine biologist working at the resort will give you advice on what to see and how to feel safe. You can also opt for the night-guided snorkeling tour.
In fact, Kandolhu Maldives is one of the most stunning and convenient water activity spots and the best resort for snorkeling in the Maldives. You can also go diving, boating, and kayaking here. When the evening comes, magic fluo night snorkeling will become your most vivid memory for many years.
Price range (Beach Villa): 650 – 780 $/night/villa with breakfast
Transfer: 30 min by seaplane. Cost – 480$/person, round trip
Mirihi Island Resort is located in South Ari Atoll on a tiny island that allows its guests to get a unique feeling of having a rest in a private spot. The island is really very small – just 350×50 meters. It looks fascinating with its powdery white sand, palm beaches, and celestial quietness.
The location provides access to more than 40 snorkeling and diving spots where you can encounter manta rays and whale sharks. However, you can go snorkeling right from the beach because the house reef extending for 6 km around the island is home to all kinds of creatures of the sea and a shipwreck to explore.
You can start your underwater trip right from the beach or choose organized and guided snorkeling safaris. You will see numerous turtles playing on the bottom sand, eagle rays, a school of batfish, and a great variety of other rainbow-colored fish species. Facing the beauty of marine life, you may have a chance to encounter an octopus or a black-tipped reef shark. Opt for the night-guided snorkeling tour and the sea residents of the deep will show up and that will be quite a different world and another breathtaking story.
Keep in mind that when you want some calmness and relaxation combined with an unforgettable underwater experience, Mirihi Island Resort will provide you with the best snorkeling in the Maldives to stay in your memory for a long.
Price range (Fabulous Overwater Oasis): 900 – 1800 $/night/villa with breakfast
Transfer: 25 min by seaplane. Cost – 430$/person, round trip
W Maldives Resort is located in North Ari Atoll on a very small island completely encircled by one of the best house reefs.
Though the island is quite tiny, it makes up a luxurious venue for your relaxation and marine adventures. The most fabulous of them is snorkeling. If you are new to it, take a beginner course in the sports center and then choose a guided tour along the house reef with a local marine biologist.
Snorkeling is available here either right from the beach or you can opt for the night snorkeling trip by speedboat or a glamorous snorkeling experience on ‘Escape’, a 24-meter long private yacht that will take you to the very south of Ari Atoll, where you can encounter the whale shark. All the snorkeling gear is free, and you can take it at ‘Wave’, the local sports center.
The house reef is rich in marine life. You can spot hawk-fish, parrotfish, or angelfish swimming slowly among the colorful corals. Or you can go farther to the very edge of the reef and have a chance to encounter turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, or dolphins. While snorkeling at night, you will see the schools of tuna while they are hunting for food or other creatures of the night that change the scene of the reef completely.
Actually, W Maldives is the true paradise for snorkelers and divers with its turquoise lagoons and white sand beaches, easy access to the house reef, and the variety of sea life. It is considered one of the best resorts for snorkeling in the Maldives and visiting it is a must if you love the majestic views of the underwater world and adventures.
Price range (Beach Villa): 935 – 2750 $/night/villa with breakfast
Transfer: 25 min by seaplane. Cost – 600$/person, round trip
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort is nestled in South Ari Atoll. The tiny island is a reflection of all the dreams of what the tropical island can look like – peaceful, deserted, pristine, and extraordinary.
The house reef is located on the mainland, not far from beach villas so you can start your snorkeling experience immediately from your room. However, if you go further to the edge of the reef, you will see a greater variety of species. Triggerfish, parrotfish, clownfish, pipefish, surgeonfish, unicornfish, and other interesting samples are floating in and out the sea anemones or congregating in the shallows. At the edge of the reef, you can encounter a manta ray, an eagle ray, eels, black-tip, and nurse sharks. You can also catch a view of sea cucumber, giant clams, and sea stars.
Snorkeling is a must when you ever visit this beautiful island. All the gear is free at the dive shop. There are also guided tours for beginners and starting courses from the instructors and a marine biologist. The richness of flora and fauna combined with excellent service and a lot of adventures will make your holiday an unforgettable memory.
Price range (Beach Villa): 340 – 605 $/night/villa with full board
Transfer: 60 min by speedboat. Cost – 100$/person, round trip
Kuramathi Maldives Resort is situated in Rasdhoo Atoll on the island which is 1.8 km long, showing the pristine white sands and spectacular ocean views.
The most fabulous activity here is snorkeling. You can take the special gear for free from the local sports center. If you are a newbie to this activity, you will have some lessons and lectures from a marine biologist. They will deal will snorkeling techniques and underwater etiquette. It is also recommended to take a guided excursion and safari, and later on you will feel more confident about snorkeling on your own.
The house reef is one of the most picturesque ones in the Maldives. This paradisiacal haven for snorkelers and divers is abundant with numerous marine species. You can have great sightings of parrotfish, butterfly-fish, Portuguese Man o’War, tuna, Napoleons, schools of trevally and jacks, leaf fish, and barracuda. You can also encounter moray eels, sea turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, and (if you come from November to April) magnificent manta rays or even the occasional whale shark.
Such fascinating experiences are provided by Kuramathi, one of the best resorts for snorkeling in the Maldives. All of them are worth trying because if you have never snorkeled at Kuramathi, you have seen just a little of the Maldives.
Price range (Beach Villa): 500 – 820 $/night/villa with Half Board
Transfer: 70 mins by speedboat. Cost – 190$/person, round trip
Cinnamon Velifushi is situated in the Vaavu Atoll. It is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago and it can be walked around within 20 minutes or snorkeled around in about 1,5 hours.
This is the place for one of the largest and the best house reefs in the Maldives. The current can be rather strong here but the visibility is great and the corals are terrific. The reef also has its shipwreck, the Rannamaari, an abandoned sand-dredging ship for a breathtaking adventure. All this offers an excellent snorkeling experience that can start immediately from the shore.
The equipment is free of charge and you can have some options from the Water Sport Center team, such as a Golden Wall reef tour, a snorkeling safari by boat, and fantastic night snorkeling. Here you can observe the nocturnal creatures emerging from their crannies and the bioluminescence caused by underwater plankton. If you are new to this marine activity, private snorkeling lessons will be offered as well as the help of a marine biologist who will show you the best snorkeling spots on the reef.
The marine life on the reef features about 140 species of flora and fauna. The schools of colorful fish, reef sharks, various kinds of rays, sea turtles will be a great aim for your photo camera.
With its lush vegetation and ever-changing sea breeze, the island of Cinnamon Velifushiu is a true snorkeler’s dream providing the best snorkeling in the Maldives. Enjoy your marine adventure and you will see how happy you may become.
Price range (Treetop Pool Villa): 1085 – 2590 $/night/villa with breakfast
Transfer: 35 min by seaplane. Cost – 620$/person, round trip
Amilla Fushi Maldives Resort and Residences is located in Baa Atoll, which is world-famous for its 30 snorkeling and diving sites, including the fabulous Blue Hole. It is very close to Hanifaru Bay which is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve protecting manta rays and whale sharks that come here for mating and feeding on the whole world.
The island stretches for 23.5 hectares of lush tropical vegetation and is surrounded by the wonderful house reef. The island creates the stunning feeling of ‘your island home and its name is translated from the Maldivian language like that.
The most popular and valued sea activity here is snorkeling. The equipment is free. Since the currents are strong here, you are recommended to take a guided boat tour. You can also opt for snorkeling at night.
The resort is a dream for all snorkelers who want to swim with manta rays and whale sharks as well as with a variety of schooling fish just above the entrance to the mysterious Blue Hole.
One of the best house reefs for snorkeling and diving on one side of the island and a pristine turquoise lagoon for other water sports on the other side make up a paradise for underwater world enthusiasts. That is why Amilla Fushi Maldives Resort and Residences are considered among the best resorts for snorkeling in the Maldives and a place where all dreams come true.
Price range (Over Water Villa): 1010 – 2990 $/night/villa with breakfast
Transfer: 35 min by seaplane. Cost – 720$/person, round trip
Vakkaru Maldives Resort is situated on Vakaru Island in the South Ari Atoll. Vakkaru is the place with the gorgeous house reef located just 15 meters from the beach.
The small island is surrounded by a pristine lagoon. The variety of marine life can keep you face-down on the bottom for most of your stay at the resort. The place is real shark heaven. During one snorkeling tour, you can see about 10 species of sharks, including white-tip and black-tip ones. You can also swim with schools of batfish and snapper, soldier-fish, blue surgeonfish, oriental sweetlips snappers, banner-fish, clownfish, and puffer-fish. There are different species of moray eels, for example, a zebra moray eel, a lot of squids, butterfly-fish, eagle rays, and colonies of beautiful purple and white anemones.
If you are new to snorkeling, you can take guided free tours from the local marine biologist who can point out the things that you do not spot, for example, a well-camouflaged scorpion fish. She will also tell you about different species of small sea life you can encounter, such as sponges, plankton, and corals. The proximity to the most concentrated populations of whale sharks and mantas makes Vakkaru special and the night snorkeling trip to Kudimhaa shipwreck will stand in your memories for a long.
If you want to experience the best snorkeling in the Maldives, your holiday destination is Vakaru Island.
Price range (Beach Villa): 790 – 1390 $/night/villa with Platinum All Inclusive
Transfer: 30 min by seaplane. Cost – 440$/person, round trip
Lily Beach Resort is situated in South Ari Atoll, the enchanting archipelago with a borderless horizon and a great variety of underwater adventures. The place features a vast diversity of living and colorful coral reefs and marine species within them.
The west side of the resort features a natural reef located close to the shore. The fantastic snorkeling tours are offered by the excursion team on a dhoni boat. With free equipment and professional guidance from the team instructors and a marine biologist, include the 2-hour exploration tour, the 30-minutes house reef snorkeling, the 3-hour extravaganza, and a 3-hour turtle quest snorkeling as well as the night tour.
The great options offered by the Lily Beach Resort feature a variety of chances to enjoy the rich marine life of the reef. Here you can encounter spinner dolphins and eagle rays, white-tip, black-tip, and zebra reef sharks, guitar-fish, eagle rays, clownfish, and lionfish, and many other marine inhabitants. The night tours will show you how different the view of the reef can become after dark.
These stunning views and impressions ensured by Lily Beach make it the best resort for snorkeling in the Maldives in terms of marine life abundance, perfect service, and luxury of the island’s magnificent nature.
Price range (Beach Pool Villa): 1350 – 4000 $/night/villa with breakfast
Transfer: 40 min by seaplane. Cost – 760$/person, round trip
Anantara Kihavah Villas Resort is located on Kihavah Huravalhi Island in the Baa Atoll. It is a typical colorful Maldivian island that provides the stunning feeling of being secluded in the middle of the Indian Ocean and surrounded by several deserted islands and a vast space of deep blue.
An island is a perfect place for snorkeling. It provides the best conditions of mild currents, high tides, great visibility, and a variety of marine life. The resort is located at the edge of the UNESCO Marine Biosphere Reserve of Hanifaru Bay, so it is a wonderful place for manta ray snorkeling. If you have ever dreamt of swimming together with these fascinating creatures, here is a perfect chance. Manta rays come here to feed on plankton, crustaceans, and small fish, and to mate. You can sometimes see over 100 mantas at a time when the moon is full. That is a gorgeous sighting of the immense several-meter wingspan of these glorious, gentle, and charismatic marine inhabitants that will stand out in your memory for your whole life.
The manta phenomenon is seasonal – from May to November. Though, you can see many other marine species on the fabulous house reef which can be reached in a few steps from the shore. Swim and take great pictures of red-toothed triggerfish, hump-headed snappers, small and large reef sharks, and sea turtles. Moreover, you can admire the exciting views of the reef with its caves and overhangs.
The best snorkeling in the Maldives is ensured to you by Anantara Kihavah Villas Resort and its team of professionals who are dedicated and enthusiastic about showing their guests all the wonders of the underwater world and preserving it for the next generations.
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