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This area of the Maldives is the most popular area for both dive resorts and liveaboards offering the 'Best of Maldives' itineraries.

The Central region comprises Malé and Ari atolls, Felidhoo, Faafu and the smaller Rasdhoo Atoll. Many resorts have exceptional shore diving opportunities from their house reefs, while drift diving in the current swept channels rewards divers with opportunities to encounter large pelagics.

North Malé Atoll features some of the Maldives most quintessential and enduringly popular dive sites, while Ari Atoll is considered by many to have some of the Maldives most consistent big fish sightings, including manta rays and whale sharks

The smaller Rasdhoo Atoll is well known for some of the Maldives’ finest hammerhead shark encounters.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: whale shark, grey reef shark, napoleon wrasse, spotted eagle ray, reef manta ray

Dive trips

This dive location is featured in the following itineraries:

Ari Atoll Diving Experience

Divers return again and again to the popular dive sites of the South Ari Atoll, Maldives, for photo opportunities of healthy reefs, prolific marine life and large pelagic encounters including turtles, sharks and rays.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,545 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Best of Maldives Liveaboard

Exclusive 2018 departures

The Best of Maldives itineraries are a firm favourite amongst divers of all abilities, with a choice of vessels and durations. Highlights include manta cleaning stations, whale shark encounters and mesmerising drift dives.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,075 pp
  • Trip type: Liveaboard trip

Maldives Dive Safari

Explore world-class dive sites from the comfort of a liveaboard, followed by a few days relaxation in a resort on North Malé Atoll. Highlights include manta ray and whale shark encounters in the central atolls.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,595 pp
  • Trip type: Liveaboard trip

Ari Atoll Snorkelling Experience

Step off the beach and into the crystal waters of this Indian Ocean paradise. Famous for its house reef, vibrant marine life, and wonderful accommodation, The Maldives’ Ari Atoll is a snorkelling gem.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,045 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

BIG in the Maldives

Renowned for big animal encounters, the South Ari Atoll is one of the most popular locations for divers to visit throughout the year and boasts some of the most famous dive sites in the Maldives.

  • When to go: Oct-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,445 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Discover Maldives & Sri Lanka

Designed to ensure a captivating mix of underwater highlights and enchanting topside experiences, discover the Maldives and Sri Lanka on a twin-centre holiday like no other, available throughout the year.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,625 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Learn to Dive Maldives

A world-class destination, the Maldives offer the perfect conditions to learn to dive, with crystal clear blue waters, protected lagoons and prolific reef life. Choose from a number of resorts, guesthouses and dive centres.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,345 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Maldives Island Hopping Adventure

Staying at guesthouses on local islands allows you to dive the same sites for less, while experiencing more of the local life of the Maldives, adding a new dimension to your holiday.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £1,995 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Visit the Maldives

This trip idea is a great option for those looking to get away and unwind. The tropical paradise of North Malé Atoll is easily accessible and offers diving for all abilities, with coral gardens, wrecks and plenty of marine life.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,145 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Whales, Dolphins & Mantas in the Indian Ocean

Explore the beauty and wildlife of the Maldives on board an exclusive chartered liveaboard. Accompanied by marine biologist Dr Charles Anderson, go in search of whales, dolphins, manta rays and other marine life.

  • When to go: Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,845 pp
  • Trip type: Liveaboard Group trip
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Filitheyo Island Resort

Located on the unspoilt Faafu Atoll, and with an on site dive centre, the 4-star Filitheyo Resort is a popular choice for divers and snorkellers looking for big marine encounters and a relaxing time in paradise.

Vilamendhoo Island Resort

Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, swaying palm trees, a 900 metre long white sand beach and a turquoise lagoon, this resort in the South Ari Atoll is popular amongst the diving community.

Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi

This award-winning all inclusive 4 star resort is located on Hudhuranfushi Island on the eastern edge of the North Male’ Atoll, and offers plenty of facilities for divers after their liveaboard holiday.

Angaga Island Resort & Spa

Located on the South Ari Atoll, surrounded by white sand, a crystal clear lagoon and a house reef for snorkelling and diving, this relaxed island paradise is the perfect choice for a romantic break.

Bandos Island Resort & Spa

Located on the North Malé Atoll, this popular resort in the Maldives is a short boat transfer from Malé yet a million miles away from busy everyday life. Accommodation varies from cosy classic rooms to luxurious water villas.

Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Chaaya Reef is an activity packed resort with accommodation designed to pamper guests. It is located on Ellaidhoo Reef on the eastern fringe of North Ari, the largest of the Maldives’ atolls.

Eriyadu Island Resort

A tiny island located on the northwest side of the North Malé Atoll, Eriyadu is surrounded by a fine white sand beach and a crystal clear lagoon, and is ideal for those seeking a ‘get-away-from-it-all’ holiday.

Kandooma Island Resort

Kandooma Island Resort, on the South Malé Atoll, offers a range of accommodation built at the water’s edge, together with plenty of facilities and activities, including a kids’ club, a surf break and great cuisine.

LUX* Maldives

This 5-star luxury resort is located on Dhidhoofinolhu Island, on the South Ari Atoll. The island is surrounded by a magnificent sheltered lagoon, with an infinite wealth of marine life.

Sun Island Resort & Spa

Nestled on the charming island of Nalaguraidhoo in the South Ari Atoll, this fun, relaxed, family friendly resort is ideal for divers who like their marine life big and their holidays in paradise.

Thulhagiri Island Resort

Located on the North Malé Atoll, this small resort offers a peaceful getaway and a great house reef. Accommodation is in thatched beach bungalows or modern water bungalows built over the turquoise lagoon.

Veligandu Island Resort

Located on the Rasdhoo Atoll, surrounded by a beautiful lagoon and long stretches of white sandy beach, Veligandu Island Resort is the perfect getaway for those seeking something special.

Suggested liveaboards are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Carpe Vita Explorer

The flagship vessel of its small fleet offers unique itineraries based on the best pelagic migration patterns around the central atolls in the Maldives, accompanied by a custom built diving dhoni.

Theia

Built and designed for divers, the Theia is a comfortable and practical choice for any divers wanting to discover the best sites of the Maldives in style. Week-long itineraries include up to 16 dives, including a night dive.

Carpe Diem

A home away from home, the comfortable Carpe Diem liveaboard offers superb week long diving and snorkelling experiences in the central atolls of the Maldives throughout the year.

Carpe Novo Explorer

The latest edition to the fleet, the luxurious Carpe Novo cruises the very best sites of the central and southern atolls of the Maldives throughout the year, offering exceptional service and diving experiences.

Emperor Serenity

This contemporary, spacious liveaboard has been purpose built, offering exceptional standards and facilities, bringing a class of her own to Maldivian waters. Dive the best sites throughout the year from here.

M/V Emperor Atoll

This popular liveaboard and her crew give a personalised welcome to small groups of no more than 12 guests as the boat visits several atolls in the Maldives throughout the year, with three different itineraries.

M/V Emperor Leo

Part of the Emperor Fleet, this stylish, modern liveaboard offers weekly itineraries year round to the some of the best diving spots in the Maldives, including the southern atolls in season.

M/V Emperor Orion

Suited to divers and snorkellers, this spacious liveaboard is a popular choice for those seeking luxury and an exceptional Maldivian holiday experience. Week long trips operate throughout the year.

M/V Emperor Voyager

Departing weekly from Malé, this modern purpose-built liveaboard explores some of the best dive sites in the Maldives. Diving is from the accompanying 20 metre long, customised dhoni.

M/Y Duke of York

Sophisticated and exclusive, the M/Y Duke of York liveaboard cruises the central and southern atolls of the Maldives throughout the year, as well as offering Manta conservation trips.

MV Ari Queen

The Ari Queen is a comfortable liveaboard accommodating up to 16 passengers. She make a perfect base for snorkelling, relaxing and enjoying the fascinating marine life around the islands.

Ocean Divine

Travel and dive with the owners on board this luxurious 5-star boat as she cruises throughout the Maldives on unique trips to explore unspoilt dive sites and encounter mantas, turtles and whale sharks.

Scubaspa Liveaboards

The luxurious twin vessels of Scubaspa Ying and Yang offer a unique liveaboard experience, visiting the popular sites of the Maldives. Enjoy a week of fantastic diving or relaxing spa treatments, or a mix of both.