TRAVEL: Scuba Diving in the Maldives

What was it like to live aboard 8 DAYS in MV Maldives Princess? What’s inside that awesome #lakasmakayaman yacht? How beautiful is it to scuba dive in Maldives? Isn’t Maldives for honeymooners? (Hehe, no.) How to be u po?

Bear with me a bit here, this is going to be the quickest 11-minutes of your life but definitely worth your time. (Hopefully!) I made the effort to squeeze all the beauty of my stay across the Indian Ocean to something more bite-sized for you. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed making it.

Video credits: Production & Editing c/o Cat | Drone shots c/o Oliver Ang 


Now, about the trip…

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How do I become a certified diver for Maldives? 

Great question! Jump off a boat with a tank of air and fins and hope for the best. 🙂

Kidding aside, there are many Open Water Certification offerings in Manila. I took mine under PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) through Scuba Studio with Roger. Their regular rates are at P28,000 for the whole open water course (inclusive of dive gear rental, instructor’s fee, stay/check-out dives in Acacia Resort and Dive Center). Pool sessions are held in their shop at P. Guevarra, San Juan, Manila.

May or may not include drinks after dives.

Are there direct flights from the Philippines to Maldives? How much do flights usually cost? What are the VISA requirements?

There are no direct flights yet from the Philippines to Maldives. The usual route is Manila to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, then to Male, Maldives.

Our round-trip tickets MNL KLE MLE cost P25,000 with 30kg. check-in baggage (booked two months before). My friend Eka booked a week before and it cost her a little over P30,000. Not so bad, IMO.

And for Filipinos, no VISA requirements. Yay!

How much is the budget for a trip to the Maldives?

The Scuba Studio Philippines package price for the Maldives Central Route we took for April 1-8, 2017 aboard the MV Maldives Princess was at $2,200 (includes food/accommodation, max. 18 dives with free nitrox, excluding flight, taxes, and tip).

Other costs include:

  1. $40 Green Tax
  2. $70 – 100 Tip for the boat crew
  3. $21 for 5GB Internet (sim only, suggested for 1 pax use only)
  4. $50 – 100 for additional food / beverage orders, emergency dive gear rental onboard (should you still be hungry or thirsty after a heap of spicy meals, and should any of your dive gear fail or go missing)

What are the dive spots in the Maldives’ Central Route?

DAY 1

  • Maagiri N-Ari
  • Maaya Thila N-Ari

DAY 2

  • Bathalaa Kan Thila N-Ari
  • Hafza Thila N-Ari
  • Bathalaa Kan Thila N-Ari
  • Maaya Lagoon N-Ari (Manta Ray feeding)

DAY 3

  • Moofushi N-Ari
  • Moofushi N-Ari

DAY 4

  • Maamigili S-Ari (Whale sharks spotted here)
  • Kuda Rah Thila S-Ari

DAY 5

  • Miyaru Kandu Vaavu Atoll (Miyaru means ‘shark’, Kandu means ‘channel’)
  • Alimatha Vaavu Atoll (Nursing Shark and Sting Ray feeding)

DAY 6

  • Miyaru Kandu Vaavu Atoll
  • Fish Tank, Hulhumale, Male (Sting Ray Channel)

Where can I get the awesome scuba gear you’re all wearing?

For our dives, the squad sports FOURTH ELEMENT. (It’s available in the Philippines also via Scuba Studio)

What I particularly love about the swimwear of Fourth Element, specifically its Ocean Positive line is that it’s made out of regenerated nylon (from fishing nets recovered from the sea)!

Every year, thousands of tons of fishing gear are lost when nets and lines get snagged on shipwrecks and reef. As part of the global initiatives to clean up our oceans, scuba divers remove these nets to be recycled and made into the fabric (that are even better at UV and chlorine resistance than competitive fabrics)!

As part of the global initiatives to clean up our oceans, scuba divers remove these nets to be recycled and made into the fabric (that are even better at UV and chlorine resistance than competitive fabrics)!

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I’m wearing the Ocean Positive Maluku Bikini in Navy/Aqua from Fourth Element (Maluku sya, hindi aku. HAHA.)
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FHM babe and resident mermaid Essa Santos is in a hot reversible Belize two-piece from Ocean Positive Fourth Element
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Body goals! My friend Gail Santos can attest to the Fourth Element Hydroskin Suit’s compatibility in tropical waters

If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. 🙂

Shoutout to the #SSDiveTravel Maldives 2017 crew, the amazing hosts Oliver Ang, Cat Castro-Ang, Tofer Morales (Chrissy, thank you for lending your gear!), Eka Gomez (my dive buddy who promises to never leave me), Gail Nicolas, Marion and Gio Raagas, Ed Hernandez and Raymond Mabasa, Vonkee Henson, BFFs Essa Santos and Jacq Tan-Sainz, Vinson Yap, Gabby Estrella, our patient dive masters, and our favorite Saman.

PS. Eka wrote about our 6-hr. lay-over in Kuala Lumpur >> https://ekagomez.com/2017/04/16/kuala-lumpur/

xx C

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5 thoughts on “TRAVEL: Scuba Diving in the Maldives

  1. Hello Cat,

    Amazing blog and nice content, also the Maldives destination is dreamy and your post made me dream even more.

    I have been mulling over a trip to the Maldives (not for honeymooning neither haha), a backpack style of traveling, and the prices you mentioned above are quite higher than what I was expecting but they justify all the activities and the fun you had.

    Say I’m interested in following your footsteps and do the same tour, is it mandatory to book the whole package with The Scuba Studio Philippines? or I can book my own flights and accommodations and only take the Scuba part?

    Keep the amazing work.

    Yours
    Ayoub

    1. Hello Ayoub!

      Thank you so much! Maldives isn’t exactly the usual go-to for backpackers so, YES they’re quite high. But liveaboard prices are dramatically cheaper compared to living in Atolls that easily run $300 – $1000 USD a night! It’s ideal you go through Scuba Studio Philippines for the same kind of experience I had as I am not sure if other scuba diving liveaboards offer the same. The package of $2,200 does not include airfare (you book that separately). As for accommodations (part of the $2,200 fee), you will be living in the same yacht as the rest of the divers so all bookings will have to go through Scuba Studio PH. 🙂

      Hope you can check it out, it’s worth it!

      C

      1. Hello again Cat,

        Thank you, your reply is very much appreciated.
        I will give it a try and I will for sure share a feedback with you.

        I have seen also that you have been to Siri Lanka, not sure but I guess I have seen it on your IG. If so, I would love to ask you some questions too about that destination.

        Greetings 🙂

        Ayoub K

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