Exclusive resorts, white sand beaches, and an endless turquoise sea – the Maldives is a dive destination synonymous with stunning scenery, luxury and adventure. But there's even more magic here than meets the eye, as nearly every private island in the Maldives boasts its own incredible house reef!

Covered in colourful coral and home to the occasional wreck, these habitats harbour all kinds of cool creatures – from macro marine life to sea turtles, juvenile reef sharks, and sometimes even manta rays – guaranteeing hours of excitement and self-guided exploration for adventurous buddy teams.

Read on to discover the best house reefs in the Maldives, chosen by ZuBlu’s team of scuba diving experts. 


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Which resorts will have the best house reefs?

When it comes to identifying which resort islands will have the best house reefs, there’s one easy rule which is worth remembering. The outer edges of each atoll are made up of a ring-like barrier reef which breaks the surface in places and forms islands. These outer reefs take the brunt of powerful open-ocean forces, meaning only the hardiest corals can survive. Conversely, coral reefs can thrive within the protected, nutrient-rich lagoons, meaning resort islands inside the atoll often boast better and more biodiverse house reefs.

Kuredu Island Resort and Spa - Lhaviyani Atoll

At a glance…

  • Family-friendly resort blending luxury and adventure
  • Massive house reef with calm conditions and excellent visibility
  • Kilometres of coral, two small shipwrecks, and vast schools of tropical reef fish
  • Unlimited self-guided exploration and free nitrox fills

This family-friendly resort offers the perfect blend of luxury and adventure, with a focus on exciting watersports like diving and snorkelling. Kuredu Island's massive house reef is ideal for scuba students and new divers, thanks to its calm conditions and excellent visibility. But, it's also a great place to go exploring unguided, just you and your dive buddy. You'll find kilometres of coral, two small shipwrecks, and vast schools of tropical reef fish. Diver oriented details like free nitrox and packages for unlimited tanks on the house reef make this one of the atolls very best values, perfect for making the most of your time underwater.

Kuredu Island's massive house reef is ideal for scuba students
Kuredu Island's massive house reef is ideal for scuba students

Anantara Kihavah - Baa Atoll

At a glance…

  • Ultra-luxurious resort within the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve
  • World-class spa service and underwater fine dining restaurant
  • Enchanting house reef that hosts around 300 species of fish
  • Encounters with sea turtles and juvenile reef sharks on the house reef

This private island takes luxury to a whole new level with sumptuous offerings including world-class spa service and underwater fine dining restaurant. Plus, some of the best diving and snorkelling in the Maldives right at its doorstep. No trip to Baa Atoll is complete without visiting Hanifaru Bay, where lucky guests can witness reef manta rays gathering by the hundreds, and performing their rare cyclone feeding behaviour. But, the house reef at Anantara Kihavah is so nice that you will likely spend most of your time diving from shore. This pristine coral garden is home to hundreds of colourful fish species, and well-known for encounters with sea turtles and juvenile reef sharks.

Aerial view of Anantara's house reef, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Aerial view of Anantara's house reef, Baa Atoll, Maldives

Dhawa Ihuru - North Male Atoll

At a glance…

  • Picture-perfect property managed by a leading brand of luxury resorts
  • Home to the Rannamaari wreck which is large enough for penetration
  • Encounter colourful fish, nurse and reef sharks, stingrays and turtles
  • Onsite dining, spa, watersports, and access to Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

This eco-friendly resort offers a luxury private island experience, perfect for environmentally conscious and adventurous guests. You'll love Dhawa Ihuru's marine centre, dedicated to ocean conservation, and protecting the region's most famous residents – reef manta rays. This island also plays host to one of the most beautiful house reefs in the Maldives, complete with a shipwreck large enough for penetration. The Rannamaari dredger was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef in 1999, and today it's a great place to earn your wreck diving certification, search for cool macro creatures like frogfish and nudibranchs, or try a spooky night wreck dive. And, it's easily accessed from the shore!

Dhawa Ihuru's house reef is home to the Rannamaari Dredger wreck, which is big enough to penetrate
Dhawa Ihuru's house reef is home to the Rannamaari Dredger wreck, which is big enough to penetrate

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - North Male

At a glance…

  • Award-winning luxury resort with a commitment to sustainable initiatives
  • Gorgeous house reef and access to the Rannamaari dredger wreck
  • Explore the house reef via many entrances around the island
  • Onsite marine laboratory where guests can learn about conservation

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is an award-winning private island resort located just a stone’s throw from Dhawa Ihuru in North Male Atoll. Much like its neighbour, this resort is passionate about conservation, delivering sophisticated yet sustainable getaways within easy reach of the airport. The house reef at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is a focal point of the resort, with afternoon activities often revolving around the warm, crystal-clear waters and the many wonders that lie beneath. Snorkelling gear is free of charge and guests can explore the house reef via many entrances around the island. And, as Banyan Tree lies so close to Dhawa Ihuru, the Rannamaari dredger wreck is also easily accessed.

Afternoons at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru usually centre around snorkelling or diving on the house reef
Afternoons at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru usually centre around snorkelling or diving on the house reef

Ellaidhoo by Cinnamon - North Ari Atoll

At a glance…

  • Secluded sanctuary in a quiet corner of North Ari Atoll
  • House reef with with a 750-metre wall, several caves, and a wreck
  • Explore the house reef during sunrise, daytime, evening, or at night
  • Extensive recreational facilities including a playground for children

Located in a quiet corner of North Ari Atoll, Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon offers a secluded sanctuary for divers seeking plenty of peace and quiet. One of this island resort’s marquee features is the vibrant house reef which wraps around the island. This impressive coral reef can be found just a few metres from the beach and is open to experienced dive buddies at almost any time of the day or night. Home to a 750-metre long wall and several small caves, the house reef can be explored time and time again without losing interest, while the wreck of a small inter-island ferry adds an extra curiosity.

Ellaidhoo Cinnamon's house reef features a 750-metre long wall and several small caves
Ellaidhoo Cinnamon's house reef features a 750-metre long wall and several small caves

Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa - South Ari Atoll

At a glance…

  • Laid-back atmosphere coupled with five-star facilities
  • House reef is home to the renowned Machchafushi wreck
  • Easy wreck penetration and wonderful wide-angle photography
  • Some of the country's best facilities for children and young adults

The private island paradise of Centara Grand is home to some of South Ari Atoll's most luxurious accommodations, with a rustic and unfussy ambience and pristine nature at every turn. Adventurous divers flock to this region for year-round encounters with massive pelagics like whale sharks and manta rays. But, there is plenty to discover here without ever leaving the island. The Machchafushi wreck was intentionally sunk in 1998 to create an artificial reef for the island. Today, it lies in 15 to 30-metres of water, making it ideal for exploration by divers of all skill and experience levels. This wreck is large enough for penetration, and a favourite among underwater photographers, thanks to its dense coral cover.

The house reef at Centara Grand, South Ari, plays host to the legendary Machchafushi Wreck
The house reef at Centara Grand, South Ari, plays host to the legendary Machchafushi Wreck

Mirihi Island Resort - South Ari Atoll

At a glance…

  • Feels more like a private getaway than a five-star resort
  • Fine dining, award-winning spa, and daily yoga and meditation
  • Accessible house reef complete with a small, deliberately scuttled wreck
  • On-demand tank fills for flexible house reef exploration

Plenty of guests visit Mirihi Island Resort for its luxurious overwater villas and bungalows, divine spa services, and day trips through the remote South Ari Atoll, known for encounters with whale sharks and manta rays. But, this private island's most stunning feature lies just a few fin kicks from its white sand beach. This tiny resort boasts what is commonly considered the very best house reef in the Maldives, ideal for scuba divers and snorkelers of all skill and comfort levels. Take part in a guided diving adventure by day or night, or grab your snorkelling gear and set off on a self-guided adventure!

Mirihi's house reef is widely regarded as the best in the Maldives
Mirihi's house reef is widely regarded as the best in the Maldives

Diamonds Thudufushi - South Ari Atoll

At a glance…

  • All-inclusive oasis nestled on the west coast of South Ari Atoll
  • Extensive array of games, watersports, and wellness on offer
  • Accessible house reef with thriving corals and interesting marine life
  • Manta rays occasionally visiting the house reef from Thudufushi Thila

Diamonds Thudufushi is an all-inclusive oasis nestled on the west coast of South Ari Atoll. This resort comes well equipped for those in need of some serious leisure time. Facilities such as pilates, yoga, water gymnastics, and a fitness room are available to help guests exercise and unwind, while those who fancy some friendly competition will find games such as beach volleyball, billiards, table tennis, table football, and Nintendo Wii. When it comes to water-based activities, Thudufushi’s house reef is among the best in the Maldives, offering easy access and plenty of interesting marine life for divers and snorkelers to explore. Nearby Thudufushi Thila also delivers seasonal manta ray encounters, with the possibility of individuals passing closer to the house reef on occasion.

The house reef at Diamonds Thudufushi is among the best in the Maldives
The house reef at Diamonds Thudufushi is among the best in the Maldives

Filitheyo - Faafu Atoll

At a glance…

  • Barefoot luxury in one of the least visited atolls in the Maldives
  • Explore powder-white beaches, mangrove forests, and jungle
  • Excellent shore diving with two house reefs and a small shipwreck
  • House reefs are in excellent health with seven marked access points

Filitheyo Island Resort balances luxury and adventure in an unfussy private island setting, perfect for dedicated divers and nature enthusiasts. Unlike many of the region's resorts, the real attraction here is the island itself, with tropical jungle, mangrove forest, and white sand beaches plus two of the best house reefs in the Maldives. Both of these massive coral gardens are easily accessed from shore, offering endless self-guided adventure by day and night. Plus, the Faafu Atoll is less often visited than neighbouring dive areas. So, you'll likely have the region's very best dive sites all to yourself.

Filitheyo features two spectacular house reefs
Filitheyo features two spectacular house reefs

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa - Huvadhoo Atoll

At a glance…

  • Far-flung resort embracing slow living in Huvadhoo Atoll
  • Holistic approach to wellness with spa, gym, yoga, and Ayurvedic doctor
  • Explore an impressive 360-degree house reef encircling the entire island
  • Kaleidoscope of reef fish and boulder, branching and table corals

Nestled in the distant atoll of Huvadhoo, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa promises a peaceful private island retreat surrounded by verdant tropical scenery. Park Hyatt resort aims to deliver a holistic wellness experience, drawing on its invigorating location, ancient Ayurvedic practices and first-class facilities for rest and recreation. The resort’s very own house reef is also all-encompassing, offering 360° intrigue as it circles around the entire circumference of the island. Divers and snorkelers alike will be blown away by this reef’s kaleidoscope of reef fish and complex structures of boulder, branching and table corals.

Park Hyatt's house reef surrounds the entire island, providing plenty for guests to explore
Park Hyatt's house reef surrounds the entire island, providing plenty for guests to explore

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Article written by
Adam Broadbent
Co-founder, dive travel expert

Adam spent over 3 years in the Maldives working as an underwater cameraman at luxury resorts including the Four Seasons, and is the author of ‘Maldives: The Underwater Kingdom’. He is our in-house expert at finding the perfect house reef, the right time of year to dive with manta rays, and the best sunset from an overwater villa.


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