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Disclosure: I was invited by Island Luxury for a 4-day trip to Fulhadhoo.
When you think about the cheapest places to scuba dive, Maldives usually doesn’t come to mind. But if you are looking for the best places to scuba dive, the Maldivian atolls will definitely be up there.
Diving in Maldives you usually have the choice between liveaboards, diving at your resort island, or at a local island like Fulhadhoo. If you are doing Maldives on a budget, the latter is the way to go – let me introduce you to the great diving in Fulhadhoo!
THE INS & OUTS OF Diving in Fulhadhoo, Maldives
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What makes Fulhadhoo Diving so special?
Fulhadhoo is located in the Baa Atoll, also home to the world-famous Hanifaru Bay and its mantas. In the reefs around the island, you will see an incredible array of marine life parred with easy conditions for new divers and warm water, all year long. The easy conditions are a big draw for new divers as a lot of Maldives dive sites require you to have a decent amount of experience and currents are part of the appeal for many.
The island itself is easy to reach from Male and is home to about 250 people. In addition, a couple of dive centers and resorts, three shops, a cafe, a mosque, a beautiful sandbank, and lots of crystal clear water with countless rays and baby sharks you can even see from shore.
If you are looking for a local island paradise to go diving in the Maldives, this might just be the place for you.
Best time to dive Maldives
You can dive around Fulhadhoo all year long and will find warm water at 28-30 °C. The off-season runs from May to September and can bring some more rain but that shouldn’t deter you. Especially if you are diving in Maldives on a budget, this is the time to come because many hotels and guest houses give huge discounts during these months.
And while the visibility may suffer a bit, it is still pretty good – this is the Maldives after all! A big plus: this is the season for mantas and whale sharks that love lots of plankton in the water. While Fulhadhoo is not a top spot to see them, you still have a decent chance especially when visiting during the summer months.
Great dive spots in Fulhadhoo
Maldives diving is world-renowned thanks to its amazing atolls and the reefs they have shaped.
When diving from Fulhadhoo you will usually dive in the inner and outer reefs around the island as well as the neighboring islands Fehendhoo and Goidhoo.
Diving is usually done from a small boat that will take you to the dive spots depending on the conditions on a given day. There are some beautiful walls and reefs to explore, full of life big and small.
If you get lucky you will see eagle rays and reef sharks, there is an incredible amount of turtles around Fulhadhoo as well as a huge school of batfish. As with anywhere in the Maldives, you will see plenty of funny-looking red-tooth triggerfish and an array of reef fish as well as bigger fish like barracuda and tuna.
And while this isn’t Amed, you can still find some tiny shrimp, nudis, and other interesting macro life.
You can only dive up to 30 m in Maldives but there are plenty of dive sites that are also suitable for Open Water Divers. And to be honest, I always prefer shallower reefs as they tend to be more colorful.
You will usually spend your surface interval on one of the other islands or cruising around looking for mantas. While I didn’t get lucky during this trip, we did have our own entourage of dolphins when heading out in the morning. Considering how much people pay for a dolphin cruise in Maldives, this was a special treat.
Another great spot, more for snorkeling than diving, is right next to Fulhadhoo: the island’s very own coral nursery. I definitely recommend you book a tour to learn all about coral bleaching and see the tiny but mighty baby corals grow.
Where to stay & who to dive with in Fulhadhoo
There are plenty of great diving resorts in Maldives so you are usually spoilt for choice. My dive trip to Fulhadhoo was organized by Island Luxury and Secret Paradise an awesome hotel brand and tour operator that focuses on sustainable, local tours in the Maldives. Depending on what you want to see and your budget they can propose an itinerary that is just right for you. For me, this was a trip to Fulhadhoo.
They also organized by speed boat ticket from Male to Fulhadhoo, a trip that takes about 2 hours.
I stayed at the Island Luxury Dive Hotel. Right next to the hotel you will find the dive center with the greatest name of all times – Underwater Institute. It is part of Maldives Passions and is brand new. Marc who runs it was previously in charge of their dive center in Maafushi and has now opened doors in Fulhadhoo. For divers, this means new equipment, shiny new tanks, and an incredibly motivated, lovely local crew!
Island Luxury has two properties on the island – a boutique hotel and a dive hotel which is located right next to the dive center. The latter is the perfect choice if all you want to do is dive, eat, sleep & repeat.
The rooms are spacious with aircon, good wifi, a TV, and a small balcony. You can book half board as well and will be spoilt with a yummy 3-course dinner every night.
The great thing about staying with Island Luxury – you can either book your nights and dives individually or book a complete diving package. Or even better, chat to them and have them organize it all for you.
How much does diving in Fulhadhoo cost?
Both, staying with Island Luxury and diving in Fulhadhoo is very affordable. For Maldives that is. As I mentioned before, the scuba diving in Maldives price cannot be compared with Thailand or Indonesia.
One thing to keep in mind: the dives only include the guide, boat, tank, and weights, any other equipment will be extra. If you have your own equipment you may consider if it is worth taking with, or at least pack the basics – mask, computer, fins.
They also offer a variety of courses and specialties for PADI and SSI. In the future, they will also have Nitrox available for certified divers.
Tips for your Fulhadhoo diving trip
Honestly, when Island Luxury is organizing a trip for you, you won’t have to worry about a thing – even as a female solo traveler I always felt safe and well taken care of.
Some things to consider though when visiting Fulhadhoo:
- This is a local island and the Maldives are a Muslim country, meaning you won’t find any alcohol or pork products here.
- Except at the designated bikini beach, you cannot swim or tan in your bikini or bathing suit. While probably nobody would say something, I reckon the same goes for diving. If you don’t want to wear a full wetsuit, please wear at least a rashguard and some leggings – it is the respectful thing to do and you will protect your skin from sun and sea.
- Fulhadhoo is still working on its freshwater plant. For now, the tap water is salty-sweet which my hair did not like. Pack plenty of your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
- Also, pack all your fancy sunscreen and beauty products you may need, you can only get the very basics at the little shops in Fulhadhoo.
- The official currency of the Maldives is Rufiyaa though US dollars are widely accepted. I recommend you bring both. Note that there are no ATMs on Fulhadhoo so you will need to stock up.
- The wifi at the Island Luxury Dive Hotel was awesome. If you need a local SIM card as well you should get it at Male airport before you come over.
- The medical support in Maldives is limited, especially when you are on a remote island. That said, the country does have quite a variety of decompression chambers as it is such a beloved scuba destination. While conditions in Fulhadhoo are usually easy and there are no dives beyond 30 m, make sure you have good dive insurance like DAN in place.
- Carry any doctor’s note you may need for diving – there is no doctor on Fulhadhoo where you can just pop in.
Have you dived on a local island in Maldives before?