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Fuvahmulah Atoll, located in the Maldives’ far south, is a unique and unchartered adventure that promises pristine reefs, oceanic mantas and rare sharks – thresher, tiger and oceanic whitetip.

Diving in Fuvahmulah Atoll

Quick facts

As Fuvahmulah is an island, its shores are often barraged by large waves. This makes mooring challenging. The dive sites require calmer seas, and the choppy surface conditions and strong currents are less suitable for beginners.

Much of the atoll’s diving remains unchartered, so it’s an excellent opportunity to trust your divemaster and explore.

Diving around Fuvahmulah offers the opportunity to see thresher, oceanic whitetip and tiger sharks around the reefs. Thresher sharks have large black eyes and an elongated, upper lobe on their tail fin. They prefer deeper water so seeing one on a recreational dive is rare. You might see the whip-like strike of their tail fin as they herd and stun their prey. Tiger sharks are the second largest predatory shark and they have a sensory organ to detect vibrations. Attacks on humans are rare, but divers are encouraged to swim away slowly after an encounter. Also unique to Fuvahmulah is the oceanic manta ray, which is thirty percent bigger than the reef mantas found around the Maldives.

Expect great visibility, average depths of 60 feet (20 meters), walls, drift dives, big fish and pristine reefs. Just don’t watch Jaws before you go.

When to go

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What to see

The Fuvahmulah Atoll's sharks – thresher, tiger, oceanic whitetip and hammerhead – are what makes this atoll's diving unique.

Ask any diver why they visit the Maldives, and many will say ‘mantas’. If you were playing Top Trumps the oceanic manta would win that hand.

The reefs around Fuvahmulah are unspoiled and waiting to be explored. Maybe it’s time to get into underwater photography and help charter the area for other divers.


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Fuvahmulah is located south of the equator and is one of the Maldives' most southerly atolls. It’s a single island atoll, and coral boulders have landlocked its lagoon. Freshwater lakes have formed where the water has lost its salinity. It’s the only island to have a native bird – the common moorhen – and the inhabitants keep them as pets.

The tropical climate brings a dry north-east monsoon from December to March and a wet south-west monsoon from May to November. The waters in the south of the Maldives are cooler, but at a minimum of 75° F (24° C) you won’t be needing a dry suit.

The atoll is one of the archipelago’s most culturally diverse, and this solitary island is only 2.8 miles (4.5km) long. You can easily explore it on a bike.

Due to its distance from Malé the atoll’s dive sites are still being explored. There are two established sites where you can encounter the archipelago’s rarer sharks. On land, you can walk on a beach and collect black pebbles (unique to Fuvahmulah), surf on dramatic waves and explore a mosque made from coral stone.

More liveaboards are visiting the atoll, but it's not as popular a destination as other areas. Accommodation on the atoll is limited and mainly mid-range, but during the low season discounted rates are available. The limited diving on the atoll is mainly suited to advanced divers, so a split location trip may be needed.

For an authentic experience you can set sail before sunrise and try to catch tuna; then head to the fish market with the fishermen and watch the locals arriving for the day’s catch.

Other attractions

The atoll's large wave break makes it a great place for surfers. If you’re learning to surf, be prepared for a bumpy ride. In the north-east of the island are the ruins of a Buddhist stupa but little remains after unsupervised excavations for hidden treasure.  Cycle to Dhadimagu Lake and swim in the freshwater, or look for herons, flamingos and the white-breasted waterhen. Enjoy a sunset meal on the beach, and celebrate your first tiger shark encounter.

Getting there

Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is well served by direct charter flights from Western Europe, but direct scheduled flights are rarer - and you need to transfer in the Middle East first.

If you’re staying on the Fuvahmulah Atoll then you will transfer by domestic flight (one hour) to the island’s airport.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.