«Waterworld»: popular and unusual water activities and recreation in the Maldives

The Maldives is a world of water activities, and this applies not only to diving. Surfing, snorkeling in unusual places, dolphin safari, SPA-cruises on liveboards, night fishing, floating breakfast – all these are also hits of the island holiday. We learned from experts about all the pleasures of the Maldives on the water and under water, and also prepared an overview of this year's new products.


Snorkeling is the most popular and most affordable form of entertainment in the Maldives. Probably, there is not a single tourist who has not at least once plunged into the water with a mask and fins at his resort. Even children are engaged in snorkeling here, especially since in most cases you can dive on the “home” coral reef, just by wade to the right place, or diving along the coast.

Snorkeling in the Maldives is available to everyone. Photo: Visit Maldives

For more advanced divers who want to see all the diversity of the underwater world of the Maldives, such as angelfish, parrotfish, clownfish and especially stingrays, many hotels organize trips to distant reefs.

Such a trip can take several hours or all day, and the boat or other vessel can move along the reef so that tourists dive in different places.

To see all the diversity of the ocean, you have to sail far from the coast. Photo: Visit Maldives

Particularly vivid impressions in the Maldives will be given by night snorkeling, when people enter the water in the light of the moon with special underwater lanterns in their hands. The duration of such a dive is 2 hours.

However, night snorkeling is not available at all resorts, since it always takes place with an instructor, in a small group and only after a preliminary briefing.

Tourists, for example, will be strictly forbidden to touch anything underwater and will have to be extra careful. It should be remembered that at night the marine fauna changes, and larger fish can swim up to the shore to hunt.

By the way, snorkeling in the Maldives can be practiced in very exotic places. For example, at the famous Shipyard on the Lhaviyani Atoll. There are two sunken ships covered with corals.

The bow of one of them protrudes above the water, and the ship can be seen without even diving deep into the water. So, despite the fact that the Shipyard is popular primarily among divers, if you wish, you can go there just with a mask and fins.

The main ammunition for snorkeling in the Maldives – fins, a mask and a snorkel, tourists easily buy or rent at the diving center of their resort. But if we are talking about a wetsuit or equipment for underwater shooting, then it is better to bring everything with you or order it at the hotel before the start of the trip.


Surfing is the second most popular water activity in the Maldives. Its peak season is from April to October, when the waves are considered the most active by surfers.

«Water World»: popular and unusual water activities and recreation in the Maldives

Surfing in the Maldives will not leave anyone indifferent. Photo: Visit Maldives

Popular and relatively calm surf spots are located on the North Male Atoll. It is here that such famous places as Chickens, Cokes, Jailbreaks, Sultans and many others are located. Both beginners and professionals can ride the atoll – both on classic and short boards.

On Huvadhoo atoll in the southern group of the atoll chain, the waves are completely different. Professional surfers are well aware of the local spots: Beacons, Tiger Stripes, Five Islands and others. Here, beginners should not take risks – the waves on this atoll are considered the steepest and highest in the Maldives.

You can read more about surf spots in our Academy of the Maldives.

In order not to wait for a wave on the shore, you can go on a special tour – “surf safari”, where every day there will be a new place most suitable for skiing at this moment.

By the way, sometimes you can surf without leaving the hotel. For example, this year's ResortHideaway Beach Resort & Spa, located on the Haa Alifu Atoll, offered guests a real E-Surfing.

Training on this simulator is very popular among tourists. Photo: Visit Maldives

This is a kind of simulator that simulates the movement through the water on a motorized electric surfboard. Taking into account the fact that there are few suitable surf spots in this northern part of the Maldives, and only windsurfing is available to hotel guests “live”, such training is rapidly gaining popularity among tourists.

Relevant training is also available for beginners in the Maldives, like the new Kuda Villingili Maldives hotel in North Male Atoll. A hotel located close to Chickens Break reef opened a surf school this year offering lessons for beginners (ISA certified).


Another way to have a great time in the Maldives is to take a liveboard cruise.

«Water World»: popular and unusual water activities and recreation in the Maldives

You can take an unforgettable cruise on a liveboard . Photo: Visit Maldives

A liveboard is a yacht that, depending on the class, can have from 3-4 to 12 or more cabins. The routes are also different – traditional for divers or surfers or individual only for family members or business partners.

Cruises last 7 days and, as a rule, start from Male. Meals on board include full board with soft drinks, and the chef cooks on the yacht according to his own unique recipes.

 «Water World»: popular and unusual water activities and holidays in the Maldives

Gastronomy on a liveboard is always of a high level. Photo: Visit Maldives

During the trip, the liveboard regularly stops at interesting places for diving and snorkeling, fishing from the yacht, picnics and barbecues on desert islands. In the mornings on the yacht you can do yoga, and in the evening visit the jacuzzi and do treatments in the SPA.

Travel packages on such cruises can also be very diverse. For example, the Breeze Line tour operator, which organizes cruises on the SCUBA SPA mega-yacht, offers 3 options to choose from – a SPA package (8 procedures), a SPA + diving package (6 dives + 4 SPA procedures) and a large diving package (minimum 15 dives). All equipment can be taken on board the yacht.

If you wish, you can also rent a boat directly at the hotel. For example, private island W Maldives, located on the North Ari Atoll, offers this year its own ESCAPE yacht, where you can celebrate a wedding, birthday or just travel for a few days.

Many resorts in the Maldives that have their own sailboats or yachts organize for their tourists group one-day trips. Guests can go boat trips, snorkel, visit the nearby desert islands or join the short dolphin cruise, which is highly recommended for children.

Finally, you can almost always book a romantic trip on a traditional Maldivian dhoni boat with a curved bow. Such a trip will be especially beautiful in the evening, when tourists will have a view of the darkening ocean and the famous Maldivian sunsets.

A walk on a traditional dhoni boat is available at almost every resort. Photo: Visit Maldives


Fishing is a traditional activity in the Maldives, which is still essential to the country's economy. The fishing industry, by the way, is the second source of income for the island republic, after tourism. And the famous skipjack or yellowfin tuna is the basis of the main dishes of the Maldivian cuisine and an important export item.

Tourist fishing is not much different from traditional fishing, and everything is very environmentally friendly here and there. Even on an industrial scale, fish in the Maldives are mainly caught with a rod or line and individually, so as not to damage nature.

«Water World»: popular and unusual water activities and recreation in the Maldives

Fishing in the Maldives is allowed only under the condition of respect for nature. Photo: Visit Maldives

Underwater hunting in the Maldives is strictly prohibited, as is fishing in reserves, near reefs and in lagoons. In most resorts, fishing from the shore is also not possible.

The best season for fishing is from September to March, and the most popular types of fishing are night fishing and catching big fish. As a rule, tourists go fishing in boats (in some cases, on yachts or special vessels) and cast a fishing line or rod into the water directly from the side.

Fish can only be caught with a fishing line. Photo: Visit Maldives

If you're lucky, you can catch tuna, barracuda, dorado, sailfish and wahoo fish. And at night there is also a choice of rarer species: snappers, emperor fish and squirrel fish.

Fishing can last from several hours to several days, tourists are given all the necessary equipment, and the catch is prepared right on board the ship, on the shore of a desert island or in a restaurant in the resort.

The Maldives has its own “fishing places” . Among them is Ukulas Island on the North Ari Atoll. Among fishermen, it is famous for its best fishing spots for yellowfin tuna and blue marlin.

Getting to Ukulas is best from Male – there is a public ferry, a public speedboat and a private transfer is always available. If you wish, you can stay on the island in one of the hotels or guest houses, especially since Ukulas is famous for both the beauty of nature and very good service.


Maldives, without a doubt, the best place to swim with manta rays. It is here that their largest population lives, where more than 4900 individuals have been identified, including endangered ones.

Stingrays are the most important natural attraction of the Maldives. Photo: Visit Maldives

The most popular spot for manta rays diving or snorkelling is Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, the first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. More than 1,800 of the designated 4,900 swim there annually.

Those tourists who choose Westin Maldives Miriandhoo resort on Baa Atoll will enjoy a big advantage. Its experts actively collaborate with local biologists, promote ideas about the need to protect manta rays and know exactly when and how to organize swimming with them.

So, the season for the arrival of manta rays this year officially began on May 6, 2022 and is expected to last until early November. There are now over 100 species feeding there, as well as several whale sharks, which are especially abundant during the full moon.

By the way, Westin Maldives Miriandhoo resort has prepared a special package this year for diving enthusiasts and all those who want to Get up close and personal with the underwater world.

This is an exclusive offer #PlayWellwithMantaRays, which includes the opportunity to swim with manta rays in Hanifaru Bay, swim with turtles, and two snorkeling sessions, one on the house reef and the other in open water.

Swimming with turtles will be a great addition to a visit to the marine reserve. Photo: photographer Vladimir Gudzev, courtesy of Visit Maldives


In fact, in the Maldives there are a huge number of other water activities and excursions that can always be booked in hotels or resorts.

Among them are parasailing (parasailing over the ocean), flyboarding (flying on a jet board behind a jet ski), kiting (gliding through the water with a controlled kite), riding a banana and various scooters and jet skis. Almost everywhere in the resorts of the Maldives, you can rent a canoe for several passengers and windsurf boards.

Flyboarding will entertain tourists of all ages. Photo: Visit Maldives

You can also try SUP surfing, which is also very popular.

Of sea excursions, among other things, tourists are always interested in riding glass-bottom boats, as well as flying a seaplane over the islands – for the sake of the most beautiful photographs.

In the Maldives, you can literally live on the water – in the famous water villas that go into the ocean, or have an underwater part.

For example, in the Muraka villa of the Conrad Maldives resort on Alifu Dhaalu Atoll. This is the first two-level residence with a master bedroom submerged 5 meters below sea level. From the “windows” of the bedroom you can see the living underwater coral reef, and a variety of fish swim past tourists around the clock.

Floating breakfast is a great start days in a private pool. Photo: Visit Maldives

Usually this service is included in the honeymoon package, but it can be ordered for all other guests. Judging by the reviews, tourists really like this way to start their day, and almost every one of them tried a floating breakfast at least once during their stay at the hotel.

True, there is one caveat – the pool should still be personal, not public. However, in each hotel there will always be suitable options so that tourists are satisfied with their choice.

Olga Pegasova

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