- Enjoy a pristine, off-the-beaten track Maldivian atoll
- Encounter majestic manta rays year-round
- Explore the Buddhist ruins of Isdhoo and Gan
- Easy access to dive and snorkel sites on healthy tropical reefs
The peaceful paradise of Laamu Atoll is unlike any other in the Maldives. It has its pristine white beaches, thriving underwater world and year-round encounters with manta rays. But Laamu’s undeniable character - an interesting mix of history and modern culture - as well as local islands and luxury resort experiences, are what attracts visitors. These delightful contrasts provide a truly unique stay in one of the most untouched parts of the Maldives.
Diving in Laamu Atoll
Schooling reef fish
With only a few channels breaking the atoll’s outer reef, the tidal flows in and out of the central lagoon can be intense - attracting plenty of marine life and ensuring great visibility. Beginners and photographers can explore the stunning coral reefs within the lagoon, while more advanced divers should head to the adrenaline-pumping drift diving to be had in the northern channels. The strong currents attract jaw-dropping pelagic action, including sharks and eagle rays. Inner reefs house plenty of small macro critters and an abundance of colourful tropical fish, as well as larger favourites like sea turtles.
Fushi Kandu is the top channel dive, with whitetip reef sharks, barracuda, schools of jacks, tuna, eagle rays and napoleon wrasse. Maamendhoo Giri boasts enormous table coral formations, along with schools of colourful parrotfish, turtles and more. At Munnafushi Kandu, eagle rays glide on currents while tuna and sharks compete among unlucky schools of fish. At the southern tip of Laamu, there’s Manta Point - also known as Hithadhoo Corner - where divers can watch manta rays put on a show at cleaning stations. The mantas are here year-round, though numbers are highest during the two mating seasons from October to November and then again from April to May. To the atoll’s west, it’s sometimes possible to see whale sharks, though this isn’t something the dive centres guarantee!
Reef and channel diving
Year-round, best weather December to April
5 - 30m+
20 - 30m+
27 - 30C
- Laamu is a spectacular place to learn to dive with colorful reefs and easy diving conditions within the lagoon.
- Even if you’re not a diver, bring an underwater camera to capture the beauty of Laamu’s reefs.
- Be mindful of conservative Maldivian culture and avoid wearing revealing clothing in public places. Check if your resort has a private bikini beach, where guests can swim and sunbathe without causing offense.
About Laamu Atoll
Located in the deep south of the Maldives’ central group of atolls, this picture-perfect paradise offers a quiet getaway far from the hustle and bustle of busier atolls. Low-lying coral islands and sand banks atop barrier reefs are surrounded by bright blue lagoons that give way to impressive coral reefs. The atoll’s islands feature lush greenery that adds to the beauty of the white sandy beaches. But this isn’t what makes Laamu special - it’s the local islands, where visitors can experience the local way of life that often goes unseen on five-star resort islands.
Laamu Atoll boasts a mix of the historic and modern, from the sets used in the movie Star Wars: Rogue One, to its rich history of Buddhism. Travellers can learn about the nation’s Buddhist past by exploring the religious ruins and artefacts on the islands of Dhanbidhoo, Mundoo, Gan and Isdhoo, including the largest stupa in the country. The atoll also boasts one of the best surfing spots in the Maldives. The best time to surf is in the middle of the monsoon season from June to August, when adrenaline-pumping waves are at their most energetic.
How to get there
Most visitors will arrive at Male's Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, which is well connected to many major flight hubs, including Singapore and Dubai. Once you have arrived in Male, it is just a 35-minute domestic flight to Laamu’s airport located on Kadhdhoo Island.
Dive seasons and weather
The islands enjoy a hot, sunny and humid tropical climate with highs of 30°C and lows around 25°C. Diving is excellent year-round, with water temperatures ranging between 27°C and 30°C. The dry season runs from December to April, which is when divers and snorkelers can expect the clearest visibility and best diving conditions. The islands see mostly hot and sunny dry days during this time, although rainfall is still possible. The monsoon season runs from May to November, but that doesn’t mean constant rain, as downpours are often sporadic and pass quickly, followed by charming sunshine.
So if you are looking for great weather and exciting channel dives close to Gan, then we recommend visiting from December to April - the dry season and the busiest time of year. Diving during the wet season can also be very good on the western side of the atoll and dive sites and resorts will generally be a lot quieter. And of course, the manta rays can be seen year round!
Where to stay
There are only a few resorts and hotels on Laamu Atoll’s inhabited islands. They cater to all budgets, from lower-priced guesthouses, to five-star luxury spa resorts. Most affordable accommodation is based on Gan Island, the largest in the atoll and in fact, the whole of the Maldives.
If you would like to do a little more other than just dive - maybe surfing, a land tour or simply enjoy a lazy beach holiday - it would be better to choose one of the hotels or resorts. Alternatively, if you want to live and breathe diving throughout your stay, then you can opt for a liveaboard, where you’ll get to experience many of the atoll’s top dive sites from the comfort of your vessel.
Underwater images courtesy of Six Senses Laamu.