June 22, 2023

Best Maldives Resorts for Snorkelling

Thanks for being here! I’m Sarah & I’m the Creative behind SALTY LUXE. I hope these words inspire you to live your best life & see the beauty in every day. And I hope you never stop searching for a life of infinite happiness. Stay Salty, Sarah xxx

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We have visited over 40 resorts in the Maldives and it’s the underwater world that keep bringing us back to this beautiful place every year. With 22 atolls and almost 1,200 coral islands, there is so much opportunity to have the snorkel of your life in Maldives. So we decided to share our favourite places to see stunning reef and marine life, in this blog listing the Best Maldives Resorts for Snorkelling

You can also check out our other Maldives blogs if you’re looking for more information on where to stay and what to do. We have a Top Maldives Resorts blog for the best luxury stays, as well as Affordable Maldives Resorts blog for travelling on a budget.

Please note that some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission on any purchase made (at no additional cost to you). Of course this blog captures all my own personal thoughts and feelings and if you’d love to know more about anything, please reach out to me!

Here’s our favourite places in Maldives for snorkelling – enjoy!

Turtle swimming in clear water over coral reefs

Six Senses Resort

(Laamu Atoll)


  • Located in a remote atoll, meaning things are more wild and untouched by tourism 
  • Great house reef drop-off for snorkelling (and diving)
  • Pinnacle outcrops to snorkel 
  • Plentiful seagrass in the lagoon for turtles
Coral reef with fish

Six Senses is the ideal environment to enjoy the underwater world. The resort is located in the atoll of Laamu. Slightly further to reach from the capital fo Male, this means that there’s hardly any tourist developments down here. Less people, less noise and less disturbance. Considering snorkelling is all about immersing yourself in the natural world, we think this is very important to make for the best snorkelling conditions! 

There is an abundance of amazing marine life around Six Senses Laamu. We got to check out the house reef with a snorkel, swimming with turtles and sharks, before heading out to the tall cylindrical pinnacle reefs, just off the island. We were also lucky enough to squeeze in a house dive. Eagle rays, lion fish and a Moray eel were just a few of the encounters we had here. And we saw plenty of dolphins in the channel too!

Six Senses has also just recently opened a dedicated hub for environmental learning, boasting one of the biggest marine biologist teams in the country. Because the team works so hard with the community within the atoll, local NGOs and international researchers, you know that the environment is being well protected and cared for!

Other reasons to visit Six Senses:

  • Private sand bank experience
  • Surfing available with no crowds
  • Perfect approach to barefoot luxury 
  • Check out more in our Maldives resort blog

Bliss Hotel

(Dhigurah Local Island, South Ari Atoll)


  • Located in South Ari atoll – best for whale sharks
  • Affordable excursion costs 
  • Day trip to Vaavu Atoll for nurse sharks and shipwreck
  • Authentic local island experience
  • Naturally beautiful island 
Aerial view showing Dhigurah island, with palm trees right to the beach and a blue lagoon.

Dhigurah in South Ari atoll is one of the most stunning local islands in the country. The island is a long, thin, palm-laced island developed only at one end, with kilometres of empty beach and massive sandbar extending off its tip. Being a local island (not resort owned), there is affordable accomodation and amazing access to marine excursions. We stayed at Bliss Hotel, which is in a great spot and the team helped with amazing excursions every day.

Whale sharks are the major drawcard for this atoll, and Dhigurah is perfectly located for this. We did several whale shark tours aboard a traditional wooden dhoni boat and were fortunate enough to see whale sharks. Full disclosure, the whale sharks are currently unregulated. So if there’s non-ideal conditions and limited sightings on the day of your trip, be prepared for 20+ boats all hanging around a single whale shark. We’ve had this experience and decided not to join the chaos. But if you choose a reputable company and you’re lucky enough to spot a whale shark on their own, then you can expect a totally memorable experience with these gentle giants! We also had the chance to swim with Mantas here, as there’s a ‘cleaning station’ not too far away from Dhigurah.

The other memorable snorkelling trip we accessed from Dhigurah was Vaavu atoll. This was a whole day trip, since it’s the neighbouring atoll, but it was well worth it. We swam in crazy blue water on a sunken shipwreck, then dropped anchor near a reef that SO many nurse sharks!

We actually hosted Group Retreats on Dhigurah this year and loved the place so much, that we are taking back another group next year. Subscribe on our website if you are interested in joining!

Other reasons to visit Dhigurah:

Palm trees lining an empty beach

Liveaboard Dive Boat

(Four Seasons Explorer)


  • Exploring remote atolls & reefs away from the resorts
  • Three dives per day to maximise your time snorkelling or diving
  • A curated diving / snorkel itinerary to an abundance of unique sites
  • Luxury liveaboard vessel with all the comforts
Four Seasons Liveaboard boat moored up within the Maldives

Staying on a liveaboard boat is a must-do bucketlist experience for ocean lovers, divers and snorkellers. These were some of our best days spent underwater in the Maldives, ever! We never saw other people at any of our sites, and that’s the beauty of doing a trip like this. Just your small group and endless, abundant, untouched reefs to explore.

The Four Seasons Explorer is an intimate floating hotel for up to 22 guests, pampered with air-conditioned suites, dining room and sun deck. Cruising through Maldives’ turquoise waters, you have everything you need onboard, with the added benefit of Four Seasons service. The Explorer is ideal for certified divers, as well as snorkellers of all experience levels. You’ll have the opportunity to dive/snorkel up to 3 times a day, with each trip offering diverse dive sites & marine encounters. 

We enjoyed a beautiful table top reef dive, as well as technical dives with drifts, anchoring, and underwater caves. My favourite was the night dive. Facing my fears and plunging into the darkness was nerve-racking and something I won’t ever forget. 

The itinerary is so full and you sleep soundly every night after delicious dinners and sharing stories with the small group of fellow ocean lovers. For those wondering about other activities during the cruise, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll get to enjoy private sandbanks for indulgent massages, beach activities, sunset cocktails & a group dinner.

If you love the Four Seasons brand and want to extend your trip to land, check out more on our One Week Four Seasons blog here.

Kandolhu Resort

(North Ari Atoll)


  • Tiny island with only 30 villas
  • House reef alive with marine life
  • Baby white tip reef sharks in the shallows
The small island of Kandolhu

Probably the smallest island we’ve visited and we LOVED it! There’s only 30 villas at Kandolhu and that means you have such an intimate experience. Everyone (guests and staff included) are extremely friendly in a community sense. It’s a very wholesome vibe.

There is some amazing snorkelling here, straight off the beach. There’s so much marine life that we were literally trying to avoid turtles bumping into us. And you can explore the corner of the reef which is full of anemones & clown fish. And so many baby reef sharks in the shallows too.

We couldn’t believe how easy it was to see so much variety in the water. And thanks to the small size and shape of Kandolhu, the currents around the island help for insane visibility underwater. We also did a private Manta excursion from Kandolhu where we swam with 3 massive Mantas, and not another boat in sight.

Other reasons to visit Kandolhu:

  • Overwater villas with stunning glass-walled bathrooms
  • Mexican shack on the jetty that serve the BEST tacos
  • Relatively affordable stay for the elements of luxury 
  • Check out more in our Affordable Maldives blog

Baglioni Resort

(Dhaalu Atoll)


  • Insane snorkelling trip at the neighbouring island 
  • Beautiful clear lagoon along the whole island

We loved our Baglioni stay. The infusion of Italian culture into this perfect Maldivian island was such a unique way to enjoy this paradise. Think great coffee & pizza, clear blue waters, and friendly greetings of “Bongiorno”.

But our highlight here by far was the snorkelling experience. This was honestly one of the best I have ever had in Maldives, and totally unexpected. We took a boat to the most picturesque uninhabited island right near Baglioni. Plunging below the surface, we saw incredible plate corals and seeing the reef so healthy here made me cry into my snorkel! Turtles, sharks and eagle rays in perfect conditions. I was in heaven.

Vakkaru Resort

(Baa Atoll) 


  • Located in Baa Atoll, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 
  • Protected for its reefs and marine life – mainly Manta Rays
  • Great house reef 

Vakkaru is a fairly new property built on a former coconut plantation and the abundance of coco palms made this heavenly for me. This island is naturally beautiful and has a very welcoming and relaxing feeling among the guests and staff. It’s a great place to have that quintessential Maldives stay – luxury and bucketlist experiences combined with stunning natural elements.

One of the benefits of being in Baa Atoll is the quantity of marine life. One of the major drawcards in this atoll is the Mantas, especially in Hanifaru Bay. Between June and November, the winds and currents are such that you can see literally hundreds of Mantas in this one spot. However if you prefer to stick to the drier months of January to April (like us), don’t worry, it’s still possible to spot Mantas all year round. We’ve been lucky to spot Mantas a few times now and had some amazing experiences – one time just Chesh and I were swimming with two Mantas feeding next to us!

Vakkaru also has amazing snorkelling on it’s house reef, accessed straight from the water villa jetty. We saw sharks, octopus and plenty of fish in the ‘Blue Hole’.

Other reasons to visit Vakkaru:

  • Overwater spa with luxury pools and sauna 
  • Bucketlist experiences – outdoor cinema, candlelit beach dinner, dropped at a secluded sand bar
  • The overwater Japanese restaurant has delicious sushi 
  • Check out more in our Maldives resort blog

Soneva Fushi

(Baa Atoll)


  • Located in Baa Atoll, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 
  • The resort is passionate about sustainability 
  • Turtle snorkel – we saw 10 turtles in one trip
  • Extremely natural island with jungle 
Aerial view showing luxury villas near the ocean and surrounded with thick vegetation.

We love Soneva. They are the OGs of sustainability here in the Maldives and have absolutely nailed the barefoot luxury vibe. Lose the shoes and expect only sand and wood on your soles during your stay. So much of the island is untouched and often you’ll be completely surrounded in jungle without any signs of mankind. 

Soneva has been genuinely caring for its island and surrounds for 20 years. Well before it was ‘cool’ or a marketing tool. It’s in the building materials, waste treatment, water usage and plastic reduction. And so your experience in the natural elements hosted by Soneva feels that extra bit more special and meaningful. 

There’s a great snorkel spot nearby where we enjoyed nice coral walls and saw plenty of turtles. We had a marine biologist join us too, which is always very interesting to learn and discover more during your snorkel. You’ll certainly walk away with a greater appreciation of the underwater world.

Other mentions:

  • Amazing delicious healthy food 
  • Overwater restaurant and villas with waterslides into the lagoon
  • Guests are a community of like-minded, health-inspired, eco wanderers 
  • Check out more in our Maldives resort blog

Como Cocoa

(South Male Atoll)


  • Small island with limited villas for an intimate stay
  • Popular dive site for sharks straight in front of the resort
  • Sustainability is a key element – coral planting and a no-plastic policy
Branching and plate corals

Como Cocoa is a beautiful, small island that embraces the barefoot luxury and wellness. There’s just one (amazing) restaurant and no bikes or buggies on the island. Como Cocoa is very intimate and calming in its stunning simplicity. The surrounding lagoon is shallow, calm & vivid. Explore the islands private, snaking sandbank & prepare to be mind blown! 

The snorkel trip we did was memorable for us. We loved the amazing plate coral, but also were lucky to see moray eels, eagle rays, reef sharks and turtles. There’s a popular dive site in the channel just off the island too if you’re a diver!

Other mentions:

  • One of the most incredible sandbanks we have ever explored, just at the end of the island
  • Our favourite menu in Maldives! Organic, nourishing food inspired by Maldives and Indonesia
  • Check out more in our Maldives resort blog

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best maldives resorts for snorkeling

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