The Maldives is an underwater treasure trove! Here are five must-dive and unique snorkel spots.

Dreamy overwater bungalows and leaning palm trees may be what jumps to mind when you think of a Maldives holiday, but it’s what surrounds those Maldives islands that’s the real treat! It can be hard to sit back and relax on a Maldives beach when the warm tropical waters are calling. 

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Given the Maldives is made up of 99% water, an underwater playground is just waiting to be discovered full of colourful coral reefs and exotic marine life. Not to mention, one of the best places in the world to swim with two giants of the ocean, the manta ray and the whale shark!

So let’s dive right in, (no pun intended) with some of the most unique snorkel experiences in the Maldives!

Read more: The Maldives – Finding Unique Adventures in Paradise

1. Keyodhoo Shipwreck

Location: Keyodhoo Island, Vaavu Atoll

Let your imagination run wild at this sunken treasure! Thought to be an Indonesian ship that drifted empty into the atoll, you can grab your ‘grammable swimming shot around this submerged ship, located to the south of the Maldives in the Vaavu Atoll, the perfect place to conjure up wild stories about the ship’s history. 



This is an ever-changing snorkel spot as the coral continues to claim the wreck, creating a thriving habitat for fish that now call it home.

The best time to visit is between January and April when the water’s a great temperature, there’s the least amount of rainfall and best visibility.

2. Paree Fengandu

Location: Gan, Laamu Atoll

If you want to visit somewhere a little more mysterious, then the hidden freshwater pond on the island of Gan should be on your list.

Tucked away amongst the beautiful greenery in the Laamu Atoll is ‘Paree’ Fengandu, translating to ‘fairy’ pond. Other locals refer to it in a slightly more sinister manner… ‘Naraka’ Fengandu, which pretty much means ‘hell’ pond.

Perhaps it’s the red-coloured waters or stories of mythical-looking creatures that’ve created such nicknames. But one thing’s for sure, snorkelling at this spot is definitely not for the faint-hearted! 

If you’re bold enough to take a dip, perhaps take a buddy and brave the waters as much of the fairy pond remains unexplored… or hell pond – decide for yourself after a dip! 

The best time to visit the Gan in Laamu Atoll is between December and April, with February being (on average) the least humid month to visit.

3. Swim with Whale Sharks

Location: South Ari Atoll and Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll

If swimming with Whale sharks is on your ‘Things to do before I kick the bucket list’, then you’re going to want to head to the Maldives for a truly memorable experience! 

The incredible Whale shark is a slow moving, gentle giant that cruises through the warm waters feeding on the plankton in the ocean. The South Ari Atoll is pretty much known as the ‘Whale Shark Highway’ as they swim through this channel almost all year-round. 



This area has now been declared by the Maldivian government as a Protected Marine Area, making it one of the best places in the world to swim with the whale shark in their natural habitat.

Another location to jump in the waters with them is the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Hanifaru Bay. During the monsoon season there’s a build-up of plankton drawing in both Whale sharks and Manta rays. Snorkelling is controlled here with a limit on boats at any given time, ensuring safety for the shark but also a better experience for you. Always remember to keep your distance and be respectful of these magnificent beings!  

The best time of year to visit and swim with whale sharks is between August and November, however it’s possible to see them year-round in the Maldives.

4. The Shipyard

Location: Lhaviyani Atoll

The Lhaviyani Atoll is home to some of the most diverse snorkelling and diving in the Maldives. The Shipyard certainly delivers bang for your buck, as there’s not just one, but two sunken wrecks to explore!

You can see the bow of ‘Skipjack 1’ for miles as it sits above the waterline, with the second wreck ‘Skipjack 2’ sitting around 50 metres away on the bottom of the ocean floor. This is an amazing opportunity to witness how marine ecosystems have adapted to the wrecks and is also a popular hangout for Nurse and Reef sharks.

The best time of year to visit this area is between January and April, where the water’s at its calmest and has the best underwater visibility.


5. Swim With Turtles & Manta Rays

Location: House Reefs & Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll

If swimming with turtles and Manta rays doesn’t have you manically reaching for your GoPro then nothing will! Luckily for you, the Maldives is the perfect place to experience both.

Nothing will quite prepare you for just how big the Manta rays are, they aren’t called the giant of the ocean for nothing! With their wing span up to four metres (or bigger!), Manta rays like to swim against the current and so keeping up with them can be a bit of a challenge. They’re known to be curious and playful, and will often hang around when they find something interesting. 

The best place to swim with the graceful giants is at the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Hanifaru Bay, where it’s possible to see hundreds at one time if you visit during the right season.

As for turtles, five of the seven different species of sea turtle call Maldives home. You can usually find them around the House Reef, and if you wait around long enough, you might find them floating up to take a breath before heading back down to feed along the coral.

The best time to swim with Manta rays is May to November, however, it’s possible to swim with turtles year-round.


Grab Your Snorkel, We’re Going to The Maldives

The variety of snorkelling available in the Maldives is enough to fill a whole week of adventures. So grab your snorkel, don’t forget your flippers and goggles, and book an underwater holiday in the Maldives.