Top three dive sites near Maafushivaru
Being set in a remote location of the Maldives — in the southern region of the Ari Atoll archipelago — diving experiences near Maafushivaru bring forth wonderful tales with a mere plunge into the aquatic realm below. Thirty dive sites accessible by Dhoni provide expansive options on varying tiers of difficulty and qualification, offering the best of the thriving marine ecosystems in the Maldives.
The dive team at Maafushivaru shares their top three recommendations (please note that for all three dive sites, a check dive is required).
A marine protected dive site for Advanced Open Water divers only, the Kudarah Thila is reachable in 25 minutes from Maafushivaru and comprises a small ‘thila’ (pinnacle) that could be circled twice in one dive. The reef top is 12 to 14 metres, declining into 30 plus meters on the side. Expect large overhangs with sea fans, massive schools of blue striped snappers and red snappers, grey reef sharks if lucky, and if very lucky even lemon sharks! It is a fantastic dive site for everyone who loves big fish sightings, but also for macro lovers as there are good chances of seeing small critters like nudibranchs or shrimps. The corals at this ‘thila’ are outstanding, as it has one of the best reef tops in South Ari atoll.
This is part of the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) and one of the main spots near the resort to see whale sharks. This dive site is for beginners and for experienced divers (minimum requirement of Open Water Certification) and can be reached in an hour. Briefly described as a simple wall dive beginning around seven to 12 metres on the reef top and dropping down in a slope to 30 plus meters, where divers from Maafushivaru usually dive it around 15 metres.
Fantastic coral life, mainly hard corals, can be found here, while there is a high chance of seeing whale sharks, the gentle giants of the ocean. There is always a chance to see schools of mobulas, eagle rays, napoleons, grey reef sharks and sometimes even dolphins. Besides that, it is also one of the main macro spots (ghost pipefish, nudibranchs, flatworms, etc.).
This dive site is a cleaning station for reef mantas and can be reached within 45 minutes. Maafushivaru’s dive centre does this dive site as part of its half-day manta trips (two tank dives). Open Water and Advanced Divers will both love this site, as when the mantas get cleaned at this dive site all you have to do is relax and watch them! Reef hooks are provided if there is current, so divers do not have to move at all for an hour and can just enjoy these huge rays swimming close over their head. If you are very lucky, there will be more manta rays on a close by reef; so after the dive you can directly go snorkelling with them before heading for the second dive of the day.
Set in the picturesque atoll of Ari and accessible by a scenic seaplane flying over the breathtaking archipelago of Maldives and its mysterious atoll formations, Maafushivaru is an island that charms guests with its dazzling turquoise lagoon, knitted with lush flora and wide sandy beaches. A stone’s throw away is Lonubo, its very own desert island, all set to provide couples with an intimate island experience.
The resort offers a choice of three distinct villas. Beach Villas sit on the postcard perfect beach with views out to the sea, while the chic Water Villas offer panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Families or friends travelling together will find the Pool Villas ideal as they come with two separate villas with a shared private pool. All villas are fine-tuned with hints of modern architecture and design.
Maafushivaru’s main restaurant overlooks the lagoon and offers a buffet of international and local flavours. 135° East is a contemporary Teppanyaki and Sushi restaurant with its own overwater pavilion. The Library Lounge coffee shop serves a range of tea and specialty coffees. There is also bar and a wine chiller.