White sand beaches, exclusive resorts, and an endless turquoise sea renowned for close encounters with spectacular marine wildlife – the Maldives is a dive destination synonymous with stunning scenery, luxury and adventure.
But there's more going on beneath the surface, as nearly every private island in the Maldives boasts its own incredible house reef! Covered in colourful coral and home to cool macro creatures, exciting marine life like sea turtles and juvenile reef sharks, and even manta rays, these underwater theme parks offer hours of excitement and self-guided exploration for adventurous buddy teams.
Read on to discover the best house reefs in the Maldives, hand picked by ZuBlu’s team of diving experts.
Complete guide to the best diving in the Maldives. Explore the atolls, seasons, and pro tips in this free 37 page destination guide.
Kuredu Island Resort and Spa - Lhaviyani Atoll
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.
Anantara Kihavah - Baa Atoll
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.
Dhawa Ihuru - North Male Atoll
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!
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - North Male
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.
Ellaidhoo by Cinnamon - North Ari Atoll
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.
Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa - South Ari Atoll
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.
Mirihi Island Resort - South Ari Atoll
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 snorkellers 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!
Diamonds Thudufushi - South Ari Atoll
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 snorkellers to explore. Nearby Thudufushi Thila also delivers seasonal manta ray encounters, with the possibility of individuals passing closer to the house reef on occasion.
Filitheyo - Faafu Atoll
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.
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa - Huvadhoo Atoll
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 snorkellers alike will be blown away by this reef’s kaleidoscope of reef fish and complex structures of boulder, branching and table corals.
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