The Maldives has long been known as one of the top diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. More than a thousand healthy coral reefs surround the 1,192 islands that make up the Maldives.
The coral reefs here have an abundance of marine life, even right off shore, offering an underwater paradise that is easily accessible. You don’t have to be a diver to enjoy the Maldives underwater. The blue azure waters are so clear that you can see fish from boardwalks, piers and sometimes even just walking along the shore.
Stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking will allow you to coast above the rich coral sea without hardly getting wet. Many Maldivian resorts, such as Baros Resort, where I’m staying right now, have kayaks with clear bottoms and even small boats that are completely see through, allowing you to see everything below.
Snorkeling in the Maldives
While I love to dive, snorkeling here is almost as good, whether you’re a beginner or an avid snorkeler. Yesterday when I went snorkeling just off-shore from my villa here at Baros, I encountered coral rich with fish just 20 yards off-shore. And when I snorkeled beyond the sea wall at Baros, I encountered an underwater world that was so rich with colorful coral formations and diverse sea life that it almost felt contrived, like a movie set for the Little Mermaid.
Baros takes a proactive role when it comes to caring for its rich coral seas. The small luxury resort has a Reef Rehabilitation Program where guests can sponsor a Coral Frame and help propagate the reef. After learning about the coral propagation process, guests are escorted out to the house reef. Participants collect broken coral fragments and re-attach them to especially designed structures.
This provides an artificial reef-structure for corals to grow, and creates a new home for many species of fish, including octopus, flounders, Damelfish, Goatfish and many more.
Such active care helps to ensure the reef’s survival. More than 70 different species of coral can be found along the islands of the Maldives, with some 700 species of fishes and other sea life. I saw sea cucumbers, huge coral fans that spanned more than 15 feet in length, parrot fish, butterfly fish, Moorish Idols, and more types of colorful fish than I had ever seen before. Most exciting was seeing blacktip sharks, which are harmless, coasting by not even giving me the time of day. Nurse sharks also can be found near the coral, as can many sea turtles.
Best of all, the water in April in the Maldives is around 86˚F, which is like swimming in a bathtub. For someone like me, who loves being in the water but often gets too cold to stay in very long, it was fantastic. I spent more than an hour floating above the dramatic cinematic scenes below. It’s amazing what you can see when you take time to look at the detail.
The Maldives are known for their luxury resorts, romantic sunsets and pristine beaches, but Maldives underwater is worth the trip alone.
If You Go