Coral reefs and wildlife of the Maldives

With the abundance of coral reefs in the Maldives, diving is easily the most popular activity here. Dip below the surface and you’ll be treated to underwater worlds heavy with aquatic life and vibrant reefs. To get your feet wet, here’s a beginner’s guide to the coral reef culture in the Maldives.

Snorkelling tips

Water visibility is best during the dry season in the Maldives, which runs from June to December.

Because diving in the Maldives is so popular, most resorts will rent out snorkelling gear on a daily rate. If you’re going to be snorkelling throughout the duration of your trip, it’s worth considering buying your own equipment to cut back on costs.

Always wear sunscreen when diving, especially on your back. But take care to wear eco-friendly sunscreen, as certain components in regular sunscreen can be harmful to the reefs.

Wildlife

Where and how to see the reefs

Your diving experience in the Maldives will largely depend on which island you choose. Some uninhabited islands offer unmatched opportunities, though not all of the islands are guaranteed to offer incredible diving, so it’s important to do some research in advance. Diving along the beach means you might be subjected to currents or bigger waves, while diving in a lagoon will largely shelter the water. Whatever you choose, diving in the Maldives is the perfect spot for beginners.

Several types of snorkelling experiences exist for visitors to the Maldives. You can snorkel off the coast of your island just by wading along the beach – some luxury resorts offer private access from your hotel room while others require a special boat trip. You’ll most likely need to join a snorkelling excursion or hire someone to take you by boat to visit blue lagoons, which house colourful coral reefs inside.

Coral reef background

The island nation of the Maldives consists of 26 atolls that stretch through the Indian Ocean. An atoll is a ring-shaped island or reef formed of coral, meaning the Maldives is essentially made of spectacular coral reefs.

With more than a thousand islands in total, the coral reef in the Maldives makes up around 3% of all the coral reefs in the world. At times, whole islands are ringed completely by reefs that are reachable just at the water’s edge – these coral plates are known as house reefs. In recent years, changes in water temperature have led to extensive bleaching of these coral reefs, but scientists and locals hope and expect that the rainy season will help the coral get its health back.

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