Diving in the Northern Atolls

The Maldives are laid out north to south and the 26 atolls that make up the country can generally be broken up into three sections, the Northern Atolls, the Central Atolls and the Southern Atolls. The Northern Atolls’ best diving locations include Haa Alif, Haa Dhaalu, Shaviyani, Noonu, Raa, and Lhaviyani atolls. This is the least developed region of the Maldives and because of this, is little known to outsiders, making it ideal if you want to get off the beaten track. The diving and underwater life is the most pristine and untouched in the country and it is also the best place to see and experience the traditional ways and lifestyle of the Maldives. While diving in the Northern Atolls, it is not uncommon for a boat or group to be the only ones at a dive site at a given time. The Maldives’ highest point is in the northern Atolls and the region is made up of smaller islands than the Central and Southern Atolls region. The north also as has a huge number of underwater ring reefs. Diving season in the Northern Atolls is best during the Northeast Monsoon season which runs from December to April and September to November can produce great conditions too. It is possible to dive in any month except for June in this area.

Dive Sites in Northern Atolls

Featured places to go in Northern Atolls

North West Haa Alif Atoll

The North West Haa Alif atoll offers some great dive sites for beginners and less experienced divers.

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South East Haa Alif Atoll

As you go further south in the Haa Alif Atoll you will come across a great shipwreck to explore that is not that deep.

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Haa Dhaalu Atoll

The Haa Dhaalu Atoll offers a great dive area with wide channels and shallower drop offs and also beautiful underwater caves.

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Haa Dhaalu Makunudhoo

The Makundhoo island is the westernmost island in the Maldives and populated by humans and filled with wonderful dive sites.

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Shaviyani Atoll

If you are looking for a spot in the Maldives that is isolated, and relatively unknown and unexplored, then the Shaviyani Atoll is the area for you.

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Noonu Atoll

Noonu Atoll is known for its huge population of spinner dolphins as well as having the the largest concentration swarming fish in the Maldives.

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Raa Atoll

Raa Atoll is a very popular dive spot in the Northern Atolls due to its pristine thilas.

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Lhaviyani Atoll

The Lhaviyani Atoll features more than 50 dive sites including the Aquarium and Madimaru Kandu.

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Aquatic Life in Northern Atolls

The Maldives offers an unbelievable quantity and diversity of underwater life. What you will come across while diving can vary greatly depending on both the time of year and location. The distinguishing feature of the Northern Atolls is a large number of shallower reefs. Here you will be able to see many of the Maldives 2,000 plus species of fish including colorful schools of reef fish such as parrotfish, butterfly fish, lionfish, and more. Reef sharks are one of the 14 species known to the Maldives and the Northern Atolls are one of the best places to see these sharks.