The 1,200 dazzlingly beautiful islands and 26 atolls of the Maldives in Southeast Asia are growing magnets for superyachts. These exotic atolls stretch across the equator oozing luxury and elegance on shores dotted with exclusive resorts.
The Maldives is characterized by its unique underwater life and ecology, a paradise for dive & snorkeling aficionados. The warm waters are home to a diverse array of exotic marine life, each creature more colorful than the next.
Visiting yachts can drop anchor and relax on one of their powder-fine white coralline shores and enjoy a meal or some pampering at one of the 150+ truly world-class island resorts, each with its own resort. A number of resorts feature their own house reefs – easily accessible coral reefs within swimming distance.
99% of the Maldives territory is made up of seawater, and around 240 varieties of corals can be found in the archipelago’s crystal clear waters. An example is Hanhushi’s coral reef, showcasing 1000 species of fish and 20 species of whales and dolphins. A dive & snorkeling paradise, the corals are home to some of the most diverse sea life on the planet.
Around 240 varieties of corals have been found in the crystal clear waters of the archipelago, and what really sets the area part from other dive destinations is the sheer abundance of marine life on display. The great thing is, whether an experienced diver or a casual snorkeler, there will be a dive site for you, making the Maldives one of the most exciting and accessible places to visit underwater. Even better, most of these amazing spots are most easily accessed by boat, reserving some of the most special underwater sites on the planet for yacht visitors.
Populated by large and friendly manta rays, masked banana fish, spangled emperor fish and even some approachable sharks, you will find over 2,000 species of fish lurking beneath the Indian Ocean. In fact the Maldives are one of the few places on Earth where whale sharks can be encountered all year round and home to 14 species of sharks, the largest being the whale shark. There is no need to fear these gentle giants as they live on a diet of plankton and tiny fish, cruising close to the water’s surface with their mouths open to get their feed. The months of December through February offer an opportunity to snorkel at night with the giant whale shark, up to 40 feet long and weighing 20 tons.
Each of the three areas – Northern, Central and Southern Areas- have their own characteristics. The Northern Atolls are less busy and covered with soft corals, colorful sponges and an abundance of fish life. If you want to dive amongst larger species head to the central Rasdhoo Atoll, where you will find dolphins, hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, large manta rays, parrotfish and more.
The Southern Atolls are the most popular dive sites and the diving here is incredibly reliable, with a plethora of species such as whale sharks, eagle rays, white tip sharks, blacktail barracuda, batfish and much more.
Some of the top dive sites include Ulkulhas Thila in the North Ari Atoll, a great place to see majestic manta rays; Kuda Tah Thila in the South Ari Atoll, a beautiful dive teeming with reef fish; and Kandooma Thila in the South Malé Atoll, a 300m long teardrop shaped pinnacle with a whole mix of marine life from white-tip reef sharks to schools of eagle rays.
There are 23 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) recorded in the Maldives, all protected under Maldivian law. As you relax on the sundeck of your yacht you will almost certainly see the spinner dolphin following its distinctive daily pattern of traveling to the atolls in the morning to rest and then back out at sunset to hunt.
More and more international luxury yachts are visiting the Maldives in 2023, reports the Maldives Association of Yacht Agents, with superyachts mostly docking in the Malé area, Ari area, and Baa area.
“The most number of superyachts flock to the Maldives from Nov to May”, reports MAYA VP & founding Member Mohamed Hameed, heading up Asia Pacific Superyachts Maldives, adding, “99% of the Maldives territory is made up of seawater, and around 240 varieties of corals can be found in the crystal clear waters of the archipelago. A dive and snorkeling paradise, the Maldives is home to some of the most diverse sea life on the planet.