The Maldives is a low-lying nation with dreamy white sand beaches and excellent reefs with an abundance of marine life. Scuba diving is done at a leisurely drift pace as the Indian monsoon current sweeps along the island chains, moving nutrients and divers along. This rich water flows up along the walls, feeding the soft coral clinging to the rock sides.
Inside the atoll lagoons, rock pinnacles – thila – rise up from the depths to scratch the water’s surface. In the channels there are swim-throughs, caverns and overhangs festooned with colorful sponges, invertebrates and gorgonians. At cleaning stations, wrasse and shrimp service manta rays, with giant turtle and whale shark sightings common.
With a tropical climate and warm temperatures year round, Maldives can be dived at any time. Water temperatures range from 80°F/26°C-86°F/30°C.
August-November is considered the best time of year to see manta rays and whale sharks. Jan-April offers great visibility and welcomes the driest/warmest months.
Velana International Airport is located on Hulhule Island in North Male Atoll, near the capital island Male. International travellers will need to fly into Velana International Airport as it's the only airport in the Maldives that receives international flights from multiple destinations.
Many carriers offer direct flights to Velana International Airport, although bear in mind that schedules may change during peak season. Hanimaadhoo International Airport on Haa Dhaalu Atoll has direct flights to Thiruvananthapuram in India, while Gan International Airport on the island of Gan in Addu Atoll has a direct flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka.