A Central Maldives liveaboard route is also known as the best of the Maldives or the classic route. It Covers South Male Atoll, North Male Atoll, and the Ari Atolls on a week or 10-day cruise where you can expect all the marine life the Indian Ocean has to offer.
The Maldives central atolls are an excellent dive safari route for all levels of scuba divers.
Diving safaris around the Central atoll are also known as the classic route or “the best of Maldives.” The liveaboard cruises start at North Male and also cover South Male and the Ari Atolls. Some dive trips go a little further to the Baa Atoll’s Hanifaru Bay and Vaavu Atoll.
Nowadays, the North and South of the Maldives are getting more popular with scuba divers. Liveaboard operators make extended diving holidays that cover the central atolls and the Northern Atolls or Southern Atolls.
Almost on every dive, you can encounter something special, from a turtle to Napoleon wrasse, and very often, the reef sharks patrolling the dive sites.
There are cleaning stations where the manta rays hang around for bigger marine life, and you can snorkel and dive with whale sharks. Hammerheads or often seen at the early morning dive in the Ari Atoll, whereas a night dive brings manta rays searching for plankton in the lights.
Probably one of the most popular night dives in the central atolls in the jetty where nurse sharks start to hunt for food, and you are most likely to be surrounded by 50 plus of them. The current can be strong on some dives, but the central atolls are suitable for any experience level.
Lankan manta point has three cleaning stations on the gentle sloping reef where you can see manta rays getting inline for the wrasses to clean them. With a bit of luck, scuba divers can stay at one point for the entire dive and see mantas come over and over again to attend the cleaning service. You can see other marine life here: hawksbill turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, humphead wrasse, and octopus.
Most dive safaris in the Maldives that depart from the airport jetty will have the checkout dive on this dive site. The banana-shaped area gives plenty of protection to sort out all dive equipment and weights, so you don’t have to worried for the remainder of the trip. Underwater you have some stunning corals in beautiful shades of yellow, pink, and red. For marine life, you can see barracuda, groupers, and sharks.
One of the top dive sites in the central Maldives is Girifushi Thila, also known as Rainbow reef for its stunning corals and abundance of fish activity around the pinnacle. The top of the Thila starts at 12 meters what makes it a challenging start of the dive as currents are pretty strong.
Once on the dive site, there are plenty of spaces where you can hide from the current. You can explore then the crack and overhangs for some smaller critters such as shrimps. Don’t forget to look out into the blue as eagle rays, schools of jacks, tuna, and reef sharks love the currents.
Embudhoo Kandu is a channel dive with a beautiful reef wall. You will start your dive at the Southside at 30m/98feet with caverns and caves that you can explore and shelter from the currents.
While the current push you to the other side of the channel that slowly slopes up to 15meters/49 feet, there is an excellent opportunity to see grey reef sharks, marbled groupers, soldierfish, and napoleon wrasses.
Cocoa Thila one of the top-rated dive sites in the South Male atoll. The Pinnacle is in the middle of the Cocoa channel what will bring along a strong current.
At the start of the dive, make sure you are decent quick to be protected from the current. On the Thila, you can see beautiful table corals that colorful reef fish surround. Green turtles are often seen resting in the overhangs and caverns that are worth exploring.
There is often an excellent chance to see big fish with fast currents, which is here the same. Keep an eye out for eagle rays, reef sharks, and tuna.
One of the many spectacular night dives in the Maldives is Alimatha Jetty. You don’t have to move too much to see the action; once you found the right spot, hang around and enjoy the action.
More than 80 nurse sharks like to hang around under and become pretty curious. Also, rays are frequent visitors during the night dives. This dive site is suitable for all scuba divers levels as the depth is a maximum of 15 meters/50 feet.
Miyaru Kandu is a protected marine area that provides scuba divers with a fantastic place to dive. The dive site is covered with beautiful corals and has an abundance of marine life.
With the name “Miyaru,” which is shark in Dhihevi, you can expect several reef sharks species during your dive, such as white tip, blacktip, and grey. Besides the shark, encounters look for numerous pelagic fish, blue faced angelfish, pufferfish, and sweetlips.
On this dive, you can also enter a cave that is 30-meters deep and is full of marine life.
A fantastic dive on your Maldives liveaboard holiday
Fish Head is a stunning thila in the Ari Atoll with an abundance of marine life and some stunning corals. The Northeast side of the Dive Site is pretty much a wall that goes down to 30 meters/98 feet. In contrast, the Southern area has a plateau at 15 meters/49 feet full of blue-striped snappers.
The Westside of “Fish Head” has a drop off with huge gorgonian sea fans and loads of whip corals where you can take some beautiful underwater photos.
As the Thila is near a channel, you can count that there is a strong current. This will bring along plenty of action during your dive fusiliers will try to hide under the overhangs and avoiding the predators such as tunas and jackfish.
On top of the thila, you can often see grey reef sharks patrolling and green turtles looking for food.
A famous dive site in the Central Maldives is Hammerhead point on the edge of Rashdoo Atoll. This steep wall has a quick descent to more than 200 meters. Large pelagics can be seen here in the early mornings just after sunrises, such as Hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and other large pelagic fish. With a bit of luck, you can dive with dolphins.
Central Maldives liveaboards go year-round, with the best season to be December until May. During this time, the seas are the calmest, and mostly you will have clear blue skies. From June until November, the monsoon season starts and the sea can be rougher, and the chance of rain is higher.
The visibility seems to be better on the Eastern side of the Maldives at 20-30 meters, whereas the visibility is on the West coast between 15-20 meters. Water temperature is between 26℃-29℃ and is pretty constant all year. Only during the North Eastern monsoon, the water temperature can drop down to 24℃.
To Join a central Maldives liveaboard, you have to fly to the only international airport in the Maldives on North Male. From here, all liveaboards start and end their cruise.
When you arrive in The Maldives on your liveaboard departure day, they will pick you up and send you with the dhoni from the pier to the liveaboard itself. Also, you will be dropped off at the end of the trip. Just keep in mind you need a 24-hour break from diving before you fly.
On our one-week dive cruise, we got to see everything we wished for and more.
From amazing shark dives, manta rays during the day and night dives and whale sharks for snorkeling and diving