A small article that will tell you everything you need to know about diving in the Maldives. Where to look, how much it costs, whether you can rent equipment for independent dives, and all about the PADI certification. I’ll give you some tips that will save you time and even money.

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Diving in the Maldives: general information

The underwater world in the Maldives is very rich and diverse, and it amazes everyone.

Fun fact:

I often hear something like, “I did diving in Egypt, and there’s nothing like it anywhere else.” This is a stereotype that the Egyptians themselves impose and is also said by those who have never been to the Maldives. The underwater world of the Maldives is three times cooler than any world diving center. Only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia can compete.

People go diving in the Maldives for the following reasons:

  • To get a PADI certification, which will be discussed below
  • To meet not only fish and turtles in their natural environment, as in Egypt, but also 6 species of sharks, manta rays, and stingrays.
Diving in the Maldives price
Mantas can be found on any atoll in the Maldives, and instructors know the spots where you can see them.

In the article about snorkeling in the Maldives, you will find more information about the island’s home reefs, who you can meet right on the beach, and what to be careful of.

Where to look and how much diving in the Maldives costs

Let’s start with “where to look.” Diving centers in the Maldives can be found absolutely everywhere. On any local island, at any resort. Only in Male (the capital and the only city) you won’t find a diving center just like that, but almost no one goes there for vacation. All tourists from Male travel to the islands.

It’s important to understand:

The specifics of the Maldives is that the islands are very tiny, and there aren’t many activities on them. The main activities for tourists, aside from the beach, are snorkeling and diving in the Maldives. All about excursions and activities can be found on the link.

If you’re flying to a resort hotel, there will definitely be a diving center at the hotel. And if you’re going to a local island, even a small island with 600 residents will have 2-3 diving centers. There’s absolutely no problem finding a diving center in the Maldives; there are usually more of them on any island than shops.

diving tour maldives
A typical diving center can be found on every island in the Maldives, where you can arrange any excursion you desire.

Prices are approximately the same across the board. There are only two price categories: one for local islands, and the other for resort package tourists. As the tourists on resorts tend to be wealthier and there is little competition, the prices there are correspondingly higher. Moreover, tourists staying at resorts do not have the option of traveling to a local island to buy a cheaper diving tour, as they are confined to their private and luxurious islands.

Diving prices in the Maldives are as follows:

  • One dive costs around $50.
  • A package of 4-5 dives costs around $180-200. Such a package is usually designed for 2-3 days.
  • These are the prices for local islands. Prices at resort islands are usually twice as high. Therefore, if you plan to dive in the Maldives, be sure to budget for these expenses.

Good to know:

These prices are all-inclusive and cover all equipment, guide, boat rental, some drinks, and sometimes light snacks.
padi maldives
Diving in the Maldives involves meeting whale sharks.

Diving in the Maldives is possible year-round, but the ideal months are from October to March. This is high season, when the waves are smaller, the winds are calmer, and the water is much clearer. In general, the clarity of the water in the Maldives is stunning, with visibility typically ranging from 20 to 30 meters during the high season.

All About PADI Certification in the Maldives

Brief theory:

PADI is the global association of diving instructors for those who love diving and consider it a hobby or sport. There are various PADI certifications available for beginners to professional instructors who can dive deep at night and beyond.

The Maldives is an ideal place to obtain the basic PADI certification. This certification allows you to dive during daylight hours up to a depth of 12 meters. After completing the full course, you can dive independently and rent diving equipment worldwide without an instructor.

For those who want to try diving, the basic certification is sufficient. It doesn’t allow diving without an instructor, but for beginners, it’s not necessary.

maldives diving
Diving centers in the Maldives on local islands look like this

Important to note:

Higher-level PADI certifications are necessary for those planning to work in the field or have their own yacht with all the necessary diving equipment and compressors for filling oxygen tanks, etc. For everyone else, the basic PADI certification is enough, which can be obtained after 3-4 dives.

All diving centers in the Maldives offer courses to obtain the PADI certification. After completing the course, you receive the certification.

The prices in the Maldives are reasonable compared to other resorts worldwide. For example, a PADI course on Mauritius costs around 800 euros, while in the Maldives, the PADI certification course costs around 200-300 USD, including theory and practice. The course usually takes 3 days with 1-2 dives per day.

Travel tips

If you already have a PADI certification allowing you to rent equipment and dive independently, it may not make sense in the Maldives. You’ll still need to find a boat (which is expensive) and an instructor who knows the local reefs and dive spots. It’s easier to book an advanced diving program with any diving center that offers night dives, dives to depths of 30 meters or more, and the chance to see amazing marine life without diving too deep on your first dive.

padi in maldives
You can count on seeing such sights on your very first dive, and you don’t need to dive deep for it.
  • Since everything necessary for diving is provided, there’s no need to bring anything with you. However, we recommend bringing your own GoPro for underwater filming with a wrist or chest mount. You’ll capture such amazing footage that everyone will envy you.
  • One more thing to broaden your horizons. Many tourists tell me that diving in the Maldives is their first experience of diving in the Indian Ocean. However, there’s one subtlety: the Maldives are not the Indian Ocean, but rather its waters. You can read about which sea the Maldives are located in by following the link in the article.

In conclusion, diving in the Maldives offers numerous advantages compared to diving in other parts of the planet. It’s affordable and cheaper than in most countries. There’s a rich underwater world right next to the islands: sharks, manta rays, stingrays, turtles – you’re guaranteed to see all of these on every dive, but that’s not all :). And there aren’t many activities to do in the Maldives besides diving, making it the main activity for tourists.

If you enjoyed the article and the content in this guide, you can buy me a coffee ^_^

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives

  • Flight tickets and the best deals
  • Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
  • Hotels and guesthouses on any island:
    • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
    • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
    • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • 12go is the largest Asian transfer service. It gathers all Maldivian carriers, even the small ones that operate between local islands.
  • Tours and excursions: Viator – a limited selection of excursions, but convenient and reliable.
  • Comprehensive insurance: EKTA
  • eSIM at the same price as in telecom office in Male.