Best Resort House Reefs
Best Resort House Reefs in the Maldives are very varied. The list below is as recommended to us by divers and snorkelers who have visited several of the Maldives island resort house reefs.
Firstly, what is a house reef? The Maldives islands are an archipelago of coral islands. They have an unusual topography, this consists of a coral shelf surrounded by a shallow lagoon. At a distance from the beach, this shelf drops off steeply into the deeper waters of the Indian Ocean.
The house reef is the area that is close to this vertical drop off where the coral begins to combine in to a kind of coral garden. It’s this part of the reef that you will find filled with amazingly colourful fish. The more natural the house reef is the more diverse the marine life, and the better the quality of snorkeling and diving.
A small circular island with superb all round beach. It has the only actually intact thriving house reef in the Maldives. It is generally considered the number one best resort house reefs because of that. It is full of huge table corals as well as many clown fish living in sea anemones. It is easily accessible as it is just a few metres away from the beach. Turtles are often spotted here. Visitors come from all over the world just to snorkel here.
This is another island always at the top of the Best Resort House Reefs list. Due to its remote location on the west side of the atoll, it offers you ideal diving conditions. The house reef surrounds the entire island and has five entry points. Eriyadu is a small quiet laid back island, where people come and visit for the excellent snorkeling and diving. When here you will not want to get out of the water. There are over 35 dive sites close to this island, including Finger Point, Akiri Channel and Boduhiti Thila. Finger Point is a famous shark dive in the Maldives where up to 50 grey reef sharks have been seen on a single dive.
This small island is more often than not included in everyone’s list of best resort house reefs. There is strong coral re-growth at the steep drop off as well as inside the lagoon. It is neither too big or too small, and makes this resort a snorkeler’s dream.
There are dive sites found on both sides of the Atoll. Here you can spot manta rays at Lankan Manta Point, a world renowned site for manta rays or get up close and to a school of grey reef, silver tip and white tip sharks circling in the deep waters at Hulhangu Kandu, where there are also eagle rays swimming along side tuna and barracudas.
If you want to see the smaller marine life head on over to the Dhon Bibi Haa reef and gaze over the top of the coral blocks to watch frogfish, stonefish, lionfish and ribbon eels.
The biggest draw of this modern resort has to be the house reef and the nearness to some of the most spectacular dive spots found in the Maldives. With a good drop off, corals and amazing fish life. You are able to snorkel all the way around this island. There are 6 cut through channels, if you want to come in earlier. Manta rays, sharks and even whale sharks have been seen here. This is a small island, but popular because of its best resort house reef listing.
A small simple entry level island that is often picked by holidaymakers because of its best resort house reef status. You can enter the lagoon from 7 channels found around the island. Biyadhoo not only offers sharks, rays, turtles and dolphins, but there is also a great choice of macro dive sites, where you can see lots of secretive and rare species, as well as nudibranchs. There is also a cave where you can find ghost pipe fish, nudibranchs, harlequin shrimp and much much more. You will find there are more than 35 dive spots around Biyadhoo!
This is the only island resort in the unspoilt Faafu Atoll and it is surrounded by a stunning house reef. The remote location makes it superb for snorkelers and divers to explore. The island has 2 wrecks which attract a fascinating wealth of sea life. 3 to 4 dhonis leave daily in the morning and afternoon to various different dive spots, that can be reached in anywhere between 5 to 60 minutes, with varying dive difficulties. The resort has been developed taking careful consideration of the environment, so it is completely unspoiled.
Another island that is on almost everyone’s best resort house reefs list. The reef runs close to the beach around two thirds of the island. Snorkeling trips to the nearby thilas and sandbank are arranged with the water sports centre. You can also take guided tours of the house reef. Attractions for divers include Fish Head Dive Site and Himendhoo Thila.
Divers and snorkelers have eight channels cut through for their use. Diving here is first class, with world renowned thilas and channels to the north and south of the island. In the summer manta rays are often spotted nearby, and in winter you can take a 2 hour trip to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island to see them.
Lily Beach house reef is very beautiful, and reef diving and snorkeling is very well organised. There is a snorkeling path which is very clearly marked. Even in the shallow water of the lagoon there are plenty of fish such as, baby black tip sharks, stingrays and all sorts of young colourful fish. Lily Beach is ideal for families and a great way to introduce the kids to snorkeling.
This oval island lies in the centre of some of the most thrilling dive sites in the Maldives. Situated between 2 channels Vilamendhoo boasts an exceptional house reef that attracts both divers and snorkelers. The reef encircles the resort and is one of the largest accessible house reefs in the Maldives.
There are 10 channels cut in for entry and exit points. The reef is beautifully formed with several shallow caves and overhangs. Owing to its location, gentle currents sweep down either side of the island attracting many fish in to the reef. There are more than forty dive within a sixty minute Dhoni ride. It is no wonder this island is on the best resort house reefs.
The above is not an exhaustive list of the best resort house reefs, it is meant to be a guide. It may be that one diver or snorkeler visits a reef and see’s nothing, when the next day a different diver or snorkeler will see an amazing array of marine life. Many island resorts have good reefs and for most snorkelers these are brilliant for spending an hour or two hours in the water.
Images courtesy of David Johnson