When it comes to snorkeling, Maldives is one of the best destinations. With more than 1000 islands, it is the ultimate destination for those who love white beaches, crystal clear waters, incredible coral reefs and amazing marine life.
In the Maldives there are more than 2500 coral reefs. Not all of them are easily available and accessible to snorkelers. Look for hotels with a house reef that can be entered from beach or jetty. If no house reef is available for your hotel you will have to rely on snorkeling safaris which need to be booked in advance, have limited availability and can also be pricey.
Best snorkeling can be enjoyed in the house reef as you can set your own pace and schedule for the snorkeling sessions.DIVETIP
My snorkeling experience:
Snorkeling was the main activity of our holiday. We went snorkeling every day in the house reef. In our 10 days holiday we explored the entire reef surrounding Eriyadu Island . At the beginning I was a little disappointed because the corals were different that what we were used to. A lot of corals were bleached due to unusual water temperature associated to El Niño cycle. The good news is that in some areas bleached corals seem to recover. Eriyadu is known for being one of the fastest recovering reefs. Also it is included in the short list for best house reef in the Maldives.
Even if the corals are not so pristine like other Asian destinations the marine life is so rich and amazing. For every session we spotted big numbers of butterflyfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish and always something new. I would highlight the big schools of blue powder surgeofish and convinct tangs that feed from very shallow coral in every afternoon. In shallow water you can also see large titan triggerfishes feeding and protecting their own territories.
If you are a fan of Nemo you are in luck as in the Maldives there is an endemic clownfish characterized by rusty orange colour with black on the belly.
Juvenile sealife can be easily spotted in the shallow waters near the beach. This is very interesting as many fishes look different while they are young and have distinct coloring. I had the chance to observe and identify the juvenile sweetlips, batfish, butterflyfish and coral shrimp.
I even had the chance to observe a lot of squids from close. Once I was so close that one squid almost sprayed me with ink.
Sharks encounter is a daily scenery in the Maldives. Every day we saw blacktip reef shark and whitetip reef shark swimming around the reef ready to find their next catch. We also encountered the large nurse shark. They are very peaceful and seem to be used with humans around. Nurse sharks are moving slowly and nesting together in shallow waters where they spend most of the time resting.
Find more options for snorkeling outside the house reef.
Check my snorkeling experience:
When to visit:
Maldives is beautiful all year around, but January to April are the best months for snorkeling and diving. This period is the high season in Maldives and you will experience the best weather and the clearest water with a fantastic visibility.
What you`ll see:
Nurse Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, Whitetip Reef Shark, Eagle Ray, Manta Ray, Stingray, Turtles, Giant Moray, Maldives Clownfish, Picasso Triggerfish, Orange-lined Triggerfish, Titan Triggerfish, Angelfish, Parrotfish, Longnose Butterflyfish, Meyer`s Butterflyfish, Blackwedge Butterflyfish, White Collar Butterflyfish, Humphead Bannerfish, Unicornfish, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus.