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The Vaavu atoll has superb channel diving for beginners and advanced levels. The corals are vibrant, and you might see mantas, hammerheads and whale sharks.

Diving in Vaavu Atoll

Quick facts

The diving in Vaavu is popular for its channels, but the strong currents aren’t always suitable for beginners.

Located to the south of the Vattaru Reef is an easy dive. It’s protected from strong currents and begins in the channel. You'll drift along the reef’s edge with butterflyfish and oriental sweet lips that have a leopard-skin pattern on their fins. Whitetip reef sharks, Napoleon wrasses and eagle rays will be about. Advanced divers can explore the overhangs between 82-98 feet (25-30 meters).

A dive on the inner reef explores four thilas (submerged islands) which drop off to 65 feet (20 meters). Large schools of lunar fusiliers flash as they swim amongst the well-formed corals; reef sharks and turtles can also be seen. During the wet season you might also find mantas.

Located in the north-east of the atoll is the Miyaru Kandu. Due to the currents this dive may be challenging for beginners, and only advanced divers can explore the caves at the corner of the channel (72 feet (22 meters)). You’ll find wire corals and groupers in these caves. However, this dive’s main attraction is the chance of a rare encounter with a hammerhead shark at the channel’s edge.

Vaavu is the perfect location to master the technique of diving in strong currents.

When to go

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USD 1,120Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 1,022Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 952Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers

What to see

This atoll is the Maldives’ most easterly and isn’t protected from the currents during the north-east monsoon. This helps attract sharks and mantas. There is also the possibility of seeing the ocean’s placid giant – a whale shark.

The upper parts of the channels’ outer reefs tend to have better corals. Some of the hard corals burst with color as though Jackson Pollock flicked paint on them.

The variety of marine life around the Vaavu atoll is extensive. Your dive log will fill up faster than you drift through the atoll’s channels.


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

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


The Vaavu Atoll is located in the south of the Indian Ocean’s Maldives. It’s the least densely populated of the country’s atolls, and its islands are inhabited by fishermen and boat builders. It is comprised of the Felidhu Atoll, and a second, smaller atoll known as the Vattaru Reef.

Its tropical waters are at least 75° F (24° C) all year, and the dry north-east monsoon runs from December to March. Wetter and less stable weather arrives in May and lasts until November (south-west monsoon). The diving is suitable for both beginners and advanced divers, and the Fotteyo Falhu, the most easterly point of the Maldives, is also the archipelago’s largest, unbroken barrier reef.

As one of the Maldives’ least developed atolls the islands offer an authentic insight into traditional Maldivian life. When you’re walking along the white beaches you’re just as likely to see locals fishing as you are a tourist reading a book. The atoll is a popular stop for liveaboards, and they are good value if you’re just looking to dive. Both mid-range and luxury resorts are available on the atoll, and during low season, when visibility decreases, discounts can be found.

After the excitement of diving the atoll’s channels you can arrange a sunset fishing trip, and try to impress the local fishermen by catching a Mahi Mahi. Its Hawaiian name means ‘very strong’ – learn a magic trick just in case.

Other attractions

Other than planning your next dive, or checking each morning to see if the local fisherman have spotted any whale sharks, the relaxed and less developed Vaavu atoll allows you to embrace a Maldivian way of life. Arrange a tour to watch fisherman at work, or arrange a private trip to one of the islands and imagine what it would be like to win the lottery and name your own island. You can learn how to windsurf and kitesurf, but if you want to expend less energy, paddle a canoe around the lagoons.

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 Vaavu Atoll then you will transfer by speedboat, which will take approximately 90 minutes.


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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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