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Laamu Atoll’s scuba is suited to beginners as well as advanced divers. Mantas are common in its channels, and Buddhist ruins can be found on Gan - which also has 4 miles (7km) of beach.

Diving in Laamu Atoll

Quick facts

Laamu has fewer channels than many atolls which reduces currents and improves visibility. The scuba is suited to beginners as well as advanced divers.

The inside walls of Laamu are shallow (82 feet / 25 meters), and with reduced currents are easier for less experienced divers to manage. You can enjoy the soft corals and drifting ornate ghost pipefish - an oceanic centipede with wings. You can also explore the mini thilas (submerged islands) which offer overhangs and the possibility of reef sharks or schooling mobula rays.

The Fushi Kandi offers a shallower drift dive at 50 feet (15 meters). It stretches for 820 feet (250 meters) through the channel and you’ll drift with schooling barracuda on currents of varying strength. As the channel approaches the atoll’s edge, the reef slopes to a sandy terrace at 115 feet (35 meters) where whitetip reef sharks may be resting. You won’t need to ‘look’ for a Napoleon wrasse – this large fish will find you. Their inquisitive eyes move like a chameleon’s as they watch your movements.

Towards the atoll’s southern tip is the Hithadhoo Corner. It’s suitable for all levels, but strong currents may be present. The pointed edge of the reef gently slopes into the channel, descending from 26 to 72 feet (8-22 meters). At a depth of 49-72 feet (15-22 meters) you will find coral bommies and large, inquisitive potato groupers, Jenkins' whiprays, and the Maldives’ main attraction - mantas - which arrive to use the cleaning stations.

Whale sharks have been seen to the west, but it may involve a long boat trip.

When to go

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USD 5,581Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers

What to see

Amongst the reefs hawksbill turtles rest, and honeycomb moray eels (patterned like a leopard) appear from holes. Banded cleaner shrimp, colored like a traffic cone, tiptoe over rocks. Whitetip and grey reef sharks also patrol.

The soft corals are mostly brown in Laamu, but the brightly colored nudibranchs will provide plenty of contrast.

You may get writer’s cramp when you write your dive logs, assuming that you’re not still shaking after witnessing schooling mantas. They can be seen all year in Laamu.


For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

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Laamu Atoll, or Haddhunmathi Atoll, is located in the south of the Maldives. Its tropical climate keeps the water at a minimum of 24° C (75° F) all year. The dry season runs from December to March (north-east monsoon), and the wetter weather arrives in May, lasting until November (south-west monsoon). Whilst visibility reduces during this period, it’s also possible to find good discounts.

Laamu’s island of Gan is the largest in the Maldives with over 4 miles (7km) of continuous beach. It also has the remains of a large Buddhist stupa. However, due to vandalism and looting you shouldn’t expect Angkor Wat - but it will give you a glimpse of how religion spread across the Indian Ocean. A freshwater lake called Red Lake can be found in the middle of the island. The water is reddened by the leaves that fall into it.

Like many of the southern atolls accommodation is limited, and ranges from locally owned hotels to luxury spa resorts. Visiting the atoll on a liveaboard will often offer you the best value for money.

After the adrenalin of drift diving one of the atoll’s channels, or snorkeling the shallow, pristine inner reefs, you can walk along the lengthy shores at sunset, only stopping to photobomb honeymooners.

Other attractions

When you’re not diving or relaxing in the lagoon’s shallow waters, you can rent a bike and explore the Buddhist ruins on the island of Gan, or you can try deep sea fishing. The challenging Ying Yang break is waiting for any surfers, or you could learn how to windsurf or sail a catamaran. Place your dive log in a dry bag and paddle a sea kayak to an uninhabited island for a sense of solitude. Paddle back in time for a night dive.

Getting there

Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is well served by direct charter flights from Western Europe, but direct scheduled flights are rarer – it may require a lay-over in the Middle East first.

Laamu’s domestic airport is located on Kadhdhoo Island, a 35 minute flight from Male.


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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.

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