Central Atolls Diving Holidays: An Overview

You can land, hop on a speedboat and be on your tropical island paradise within an hour on a trip to the central Maldivian atolls.

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Louisa and Amy are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • A wonderful choice of world-class hotels.
  • Excellent coral and great whale shark and manta action in Ari Atoll.
  • Adrenaline-filled drift dives with lots of reef sharks.

Our Guide to Central Atolls Diving Holidays

A large proportion of the top hotels in the Maldives are concentrated around Malé and the central atolls of the Maldives, most notably the Malé atolls, Ari Atolls and Felidhoo. Some are so close to the airport (though no need to worry about the noise!) that you can hop on a speedboat and be in your hotel room within 30 minutes of leaving the airport. South Ari Atoll is one of the most famous for divers - it is here that at the right time of year you have a great chance of mantas and whale sharks.

But it's not just stunning islands and hotels that can be found in this part of the Maldives, there is also incredible diving. While there will be more people at the famous dive sites than you might find in the far north or south of the country, there are more than enough sites to go around. Sites such as Fish Head in North Ari Atoll where you often find grey reef sharks; Faafu where you should watch out for whale sharks; and Dhiyamigili Corner where you may come across hammerheads early in the morning, all offer something for divers no matter your experience level.

Whether you decide to explore by liveaboard or base yourself at a resort, diving holidays to this part of the Maldives are spectacular.


Original Highlight

A whale shark with diver and free-diver
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At the right time of year you are virtually guaranteed encounters with whale sharks. Some resorts actually 100% guarantee it!

Louisa, Original Diver

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 27°C / 80°F
  • Rainfall — 8cm / 3.3 inches
  • Water Temp. — 28°C / 82°F
Flight from London

10:15 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +6 hrs

Top picks for Central Atolls

Baros Maldives, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Baros Maldives


Baros Maldives is an immaculate resort on a private, palm-fringed island surrounded by a shallow lagoon.

Where to stay

Picture of Massage Treatment from Four Seasons Explorer

Four Seasons Explorer

Northern Atolls

Launched in 2002 the Four Seasons Explorer is a 128-ft catamaran – a floating Four Seasons basically. Cruising the central and northern atolls, this is one of the best liveaboards in the world.

Where to stay

Picture of a Water Villa at Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Central Atolls

Experience luxury and impeccable service with excellent diving at the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa that occupies a private coral island in the Central Maldives.

Where to stay

Aerial view of Constance Halaveli Resort, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Constance Halaveli, Maldives


The Constance Halaveli Resort in the Maldives has villas either on stilts over a beautiful lagoon or on the pristine beach.

Where to stay

Water villa at Huvafen Fushi, luxury hotel in the Maldives

Huvafen Fushi


One of the most luxurious resorts in the Maldives, Huvafen Fushi is located half an hour by speedboat from the international airport. This is a modern, trendy resort and not for those looking for the Robinson Crusoe experience.

Where to stay

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