Editor’s Choice: 6 Best Maldives water-villa resorts with excellent scuba diving

9364987096_4243bfa67a_zThe Maldives is one of the premier scuba diving locations in the world, partly due to the clear waters that are warm all year round, and partly because the Maldives is home to an incredible abundance of sea life surrounding its excellent private-island resorts. Here you'll find large schools of tropical, colorful fish, larger marine life and healthy coral. Honestly, you can choose nearly any Maldives water villa resort and you'll have some of the finest diving on your life, but of course some offer better experiences than others.

First off, if you are a fanatical scuba diver and you aren't too interested in staying in a lovely resort then you should certainly choose a Maldives liveaboard, which are special diving boats of varying luxury that go out to the best diving spots for days at a time. The Maldives holiday diving scene is very popular so it's important to choose a specialist company wisely. If you are interested in spending at least part of your holiday in a luxurious water villa then check the recommendations below.

Choosing a private-island Maldives resort for diving

161631_14031913380018762951As mentioned above, pretty much every Maldives resort offers a full diving program including PADI training and certification, gear rental, and regular (usually daily) excursions to the best nearby spots with a qualified dive master.

All the resorts offer excellent snorkeling as well, usually on their house reef and sometimes very good snorkeling right below the water villas. Some offer daily boat excursions to the better snorkeling spots nearby, and these are often included in the room price, or at least much cheaper than scuba diving.

We've gone through all the options to find the absolute best resorts where guests also rave about the scuba diving and dive center. The diving opportunities are similar enough at all resorts that you are much better off picking a highly-rated resort with great diving rather than focusing only on the diving and perhaps having a miserable time when not in the water.

The 6 recommended resorts are all:

  • Among the highest in overall guest reviews
  • Have scuba diving and dive centers that get great reviews
  • Offer good value

6 Best Maldives water-villa resorts with excellent scuba diving

1 – COMO Cocoa Island Resort

  • Water villas: 33
  • Total rooms/suites: 36

65498_15060814270028875850Fantastic scuba diving is only one of the interesting features at the COMO Cocoa Island Resort. It has 33 unique water villas that are shaped like traditional Maldivian fishing boats, plus 3 beach villas, making it one of the smallest and most exclusive resorts in the area. Importantly, this resort also literally gets the best reviews of any Maldives resort, so it's likely to only get more and more popular throughout the coming years.

This boutique resort only has 1 restaurant but there's also room service, a bar and an excellent spa. If you've come to the area for it's ocean life, you'll find plenty when you snorkel or scuba dive. Those looking for a unique and luxurious small private-island resort should put this at the top of their list, though it's obviously not for everyone.

  • Low season online specials from US$977 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,251 per night

>>>More information about the COMO Cocoa Island Resort
>>>Check rates

2 – Baros Resort Maldives

  • Water villas: 30
  • Total rooms/suites: 75

41474_15041919080026960045With a location only a short speedboat ride away from the international airport, the Baros Island Resort is one of the first and most famous overwater villa resorts in the region. The excellent diving here is in addition to a marine biology center and a coral planting workshop, so this is a perfect choice for nature lovers who dive. If you have an underwater camera of some sort, you'll want to make sure to have it fully charged each and every trip into the water.

The 30 water villas are all quite large and loaded with luxury amenities, as you'd expect in this price category. There are four restaurants and 2 bars, which is quite impressive considering there are only 75 total rooms here. Each water villa comes with its own wine-chiller, just as an example of what you can expect should you take the plunge.

  • Low season online specials from US$1,540 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,826 per night

>>>More information about the Baros Resort Maldives
>>>Check rates

3 – Constance Moofushi Resort Maldives

  • Water villas: 86
  • Total rooms/suites: 110

237780_14020520140018258891An all-inclusive resort with a temptingly reasonable price, the Constance Moofushi Maldives only opened in late 2010, so everything is still new as well. The scuba diving here does get very high marks from guests so far, which makes this one of the best value resorts on this list.

There are 86 water villas spread over a stunning lagoon, in addition to 24 island rooms and suites. There are almost no facilities for young people, making this unofficially an adults resort, for better or worse. There are 2 restaurants and 3 bars, so plenty of choice for a limited number of total guests.

  • Low season online specials from US$1,097 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,244 per night

>>>More information about the Constance Moofushi Resort Maldives
>>>Check rates

4 – Kuramathi Maldives

  • Water villas: 129
  • Total rooms/suites: 360

Another that mostly specializes in all-inclusive meal plans, the Kuramathi Maldives resort is one of the largest in the Maldives, with 129 water villas among its 360 total rooms. The diving is said to be very good here, as well as the snorkeling, which again is a pleasant bit of news considering everything else included and a moderate price for the all-inclusive plans.

There are 12 restaurants and 7 bars, so not many people are going to struggle to find something or some place they like as far as dining is concerned. The advantages of a large resort include a much wider range of activity and dining choices, and for many people that is more important than the extra privacy you typically get at the smaller islands.

  • Low season online specials from US$1,037 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,208 per night

>>>More information about the Kuramathi Maldives
>>>Check rates

5 – Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives

  • Water villas: 60
  • Total rooms/suites: 142

149061_16051808000042426256Okay, this one is better avoided by anyone looking for a budget rate. This is an exclusive and remote resort with 60 water villas and 90 island rooms and suites, all at prices that are out of reach for most of us. The location just south of the equator puts it into rare waters, which help explain why the diving is so well regarded here and very impressive to even the most experienced of divers.

You can expect an enormous water villa here, plus the best of everything and impeccable service. The remote location does provide some solitude, though it's also conveniently located a short speedboat ride away from an airport that can handle private planes, so fuel up your jet and book a villa here.

  • Low season online specials from US$825 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,065 per night

>>>More information about the Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa Maldives
>>>Check rates

6 – Vakarufalhi Island Resort

  • Water villas: 25
  • Total rooms/suites: 75

41485_15111313340037714295Quite different from the others on this list, the Vakarufalhi Maldives resort is a small all-inclusive hotel with 25 new water villas recently added to the 50 island rooms and suites. The diving here gets very high marks, as does pretty much everything else, in spite of the fact that there isn't the usual long list of water sports. Though the rooms don't come with room service, guests will find a private terrace, Wi-Fi, an entertainment system and a beautiful semi-open bathroom with a garden.

This is a resort where many guests return every year, and they love the fact that they often go barefoot for days at a time. The low-season prices are quite tempting considering that's an all-inclusive rate for a couple. For a more traditional Maldives island holiday, this is one to book.

  • Low season online specials from US$544 per night
  • High season online specials from US$705 per night

>>>More information about the Vakarufalhi Island Resort – Maldives
>>>Check rates

Top photo courtesy of Wodgie on Flickr.

  • Lori says:

    We are looking for an OWB that has a pool for May. Would you have a recommendation for which would be best? We have heard you want to be in the Northwest in May to avoid bad weather

    • Roger Wade says:


      After having read literally thousands of Maldives resort reviews, I see very few that ever mention any weather disappointments. Still, the weather in the north might be less volatile during the summer season, and you can get a great deal at some of the resorts up there.

      Specifically, have a look at the Beach House at Iruveli Maldives, which is a 5-star resort that is as far north as you can go in the archipelago. In May they are offering their huge water villas (110 square meters) for only around US$550 including all taxes, and each has a plunge pool out on the terrace.

      If that one doesn’t work for you, let me know and I can probably find one or two others, but this is the best one that comes to mind. -Roger

  • ray says:

    Are the quoted transfer prices round trip or one way? thanks

  • Kelly Gibson says:

    First and foremost, your site it so awesome! I’ve been researching an overwater bungalow for my honeymoon for literally 2 weeks now and this site has helped so much! Although, I’m still struggling to find the best resort that offers the best sea life/snorkeling! That’s definitely the deciding factor for me and a lot of reviews I’ve read doesn’t mention the snorkeling. Would you possibly know which is the best resort to offer great snorkeling and seal life?

    • Roger Wade says:


      I’m glad this site has been helpful. Our list of scuba diving resorts will cover snorkeling as well. For the most part, snorkeling below water villas in the Maldives isn’t very exciting because there aren’t large reefs inside the lagoons where the resorts are located. In general the resorts all offer boat rides to nearby reefs, and many of those boats to go the same places. Most resorts seem to offer at least one if not two snorkeling boats per day, and they are usually included in your room price. There are probably some exceptions though. And of course the larger resorts are more likely to have more boats and departures than small resorts. So my advice would be to choose a resort based on everything else and then check to see if they offer snorkeling trips. If so then check the TripAdvisor reviews by searching for “snorkeling” and you’ll get the reviews that mention it. -Roger

  • Sam Burg says:

    We have a group that is looking for a resort with scuba diving for the end of July. It would be several couples and some teenagers. Are there any resorts where the diving is included?
    Thank you

    • Roger Wade says:


      I’m not aware of any Maldives resorts where scuba diving is included or even heavily discounted. The good news is that almost every island offers diving and most offer instruction. So your best bet is to find a resort that you like at a reasonable price, and the diving package will probably also be reasonably affordable. Best of luck with this. -Roger

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