Many people’s idea of things to do in the Maldives involves lying on a beautiful white sand beach sipping cocktails. However, there are so many activities to do in the Maldives, mainly water activities and marine adventures! Here is my list of the best activities to do in the Maldives followed by some tourists’ favourite experiences here in paradise islands.
- Snorkel with turtles
- Scuba dive with sharks
- Swim in crystal clear water
- Explore local islands
- Wreck diving
- Freedive with manta rays
- See wild dolphins on a dolphin cruise
- Go on a liveaboard boat
- Stay at a luxury resort (even if you’re on a budget!)
- Visit a sandbank
- Eat local Maldivian food – kottu roshi is my favourite!
- Go on an excursion, usually includes several snorkelling trips and a sandbank visit
- Experience a resort spa
- Jet ski
- Kite surf
- See bioluminescence plankton lighting up
- Kayak around islands
- Watch boduberu – a Maldivian drum and dance show
- Fly on a seaplane
- Have a drink on a party boat
- Snorkel with whale sharks
- Take photos with graffiti art
- Buy lacquerware souvenirs made in the traditional Maldivian way
- Go surfing
- Go fishing (all fishing is done in a sustainable way in the Maldives)
- Stroll or cycle around the whole island
- Smoke sheisha on the beach
- Do Stand Up Paddle Boarding
- Fly a drone and take amazing photos
- Try parasailing
Cal from Mar Pages loved his manta ray experience
Soneva Fushi is known to be one of the top barefoot luxe hotels in the Maldives. Situated on the mostly untouched and jungle-esque Kunfunadhoo island, it’s a locally owned hotel chain with a focus on exploring the uniqueness of the area – over any glitz and glam. After flying in the Maldivian seaplane, you’re welcomed to a world of luxury among the foliage. Water-based experiences are second-to-none at Soneva Fushi, as it’s based in the UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve Baa Atoll, which is in close proximity to some of the country’s most epic dive sites. It also has one of the most popular manta areas, where you can jump in the water and swim with the soaring creatures in season. As Soneva has its own dive centre with freediving lessons, you’re almost guaranteed a perfect experience. Personally, it was sensational to be surrounded by these gentle giants who seemed to want to get closer and closer. I had to make sure not to stretch out my legs and arms to avoid touching them and really enjoyed seeing them dance around in the ocean. Even if you’re not a swimmer, there are tons of dry water-based activities at Soneva Fushi. The most extravagant is hopping aboard the Soneva in Aqua Luxury Chartered Yacht which includes a glass-bottomed spa bath. There are day experiences or even surfaris available to Goidhoo, one of the country’s most premium breaks.
Suzanna from Meandering Wild loved Wreck Diving in Addu Atoll
When you think about diving in the Maldives, wreck diving is not the first thing to come to mind. However, in Addu Atoll it is possible to dive on a fairly intact shipwreck. In the Second World War, Addu Atoll was a secret British naval base. It is the most southerly of the Maldivian Atolls and is over 500 miles from Malé. The British Loyalty was an oil tanker that was hit by a torpedo in 1944 and spent the rest of the war in the atoll. In 1946 when the British Navy withdrew they scuttled her (intentionally made holes to make her sink). She sank on her starboard side into 33 metres of water just offshore inside Addu Atoll.
The dive is gentle and if you are not qualified to dive to 33metres the port side is a beautiful coral garden at 16metres. Dropping over the edge of the port side you can find the hole where the torpedo struck which allows you into the hold and engine rooms to explore. It is also possible to find the stern section with the propeller still in place, covered in black coral and surrounded by elegant batfish.
To dive the British Loyalty you will need to book onto a dive boat. The easiest to use is Aquaventure based out of Maradhoo. They are not linked to a resort and can provide all the kit and training you need.
For more about wreck diving in Addu read Suzanne’s post here
Claudia from My Adventures Across the World loved her sandbank visit
One of the most unique things to do in the Maldives is visiting a sand bank. These can be found scattered in the archipelago, there are various of different dimensions, and they are nothing more than just a line of incredibly white sand surrounded by the clearest waters you can imagine. Close to the sand bank you will also find a coral reef, which is perfect for snorkeling.
In order to reach a sand bank you need to hire a boat – most islands (local or privately owned by luxury resorts) will be able to provide this service and a captain that knows where to find the closest sand bank.
As the sand is bright white and there is absolutely no shade, you will need to apply a lot of sun block and preferably wear a t-shirt for the duration of your stay. Most boats will provide umbrellas or other forms of shelter from the sun. Some boats are too big to be able to get directly on the sand bank, so you may have to walk in the water to make your way there.
Jacs from Flashpacking Family loved seeing turtles
Our family holiday to the Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives is, hands down, one of the best holidays we’ve ever had. Not ones for sitting around on a beach all day, particularly our adventurous boys, we were slightly concerned about whether we would get bored, but as it turned out, those fears were completely unfounded.
On arrival, we were given a run-through of all the activities on offer and suddenly realised that we may not have enough time to do all of them. We decided that we absolutely had to go on a snorkelling trip and try some diving as the Maldives is one of the best destinations in the world to do this. If you have never been diving before, the Centara Grand offers dive courses ranging from introductory to full PADI courses.
Thankfully, the resort had the best kids’ club which the kids loved going to, so we were able to take a few trips. Although the corals are mostly bleached, we saw so much marine life, but a turtle gliding by within a metre of us was a big tick on our bucket list. They are the most graceful and ancient creatures and to have one swim by us of its own choice and in its own home, was mesmerising.
For more about the Maldives read my other blog posts to discover more about this amazing country!
For a suggested Maldives itinerary
For a Maldives packing list on what to wear and bring to the Maldives
Pin Me for Later
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase/booking after clicking on one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.