Sunday Times travel expert Richard Green responds: The Maldives is one of the world’s top dive spots, where a stunning variety of fish swirl around thousands of sheltered reefs, where the water is clear and warm year-round, and there’s a very high standard of dive centre and tuition. Plus its shallow reef-protected lagoons are great places for a beginners’ first dive.
And the hotels aren’t bad either. Take the Kandooma island resort for example. It occupies a 32-acre island surrounded by reefs and has a strong reputation for its dive school. Accommodation is villa style, nicely spaced out, and there are four restaurants to choose from.
Hayes & Jarvis has a week here from £1,399pp in July, with flights from Heathrow to Male with SriLankan Airlines, speedboat transfer, and B&B accommodation in two garden villas. Diving is paid for locally, at the smart Euro Divers facility, where the PADI Open Water Diver course is £330pp. British Airways starts direct flights to Male from Gatwick in October, when a week at the Kandooma will cost from £1,239pp.
If you prefer an all-inclusive package, then try Lily Beach in the South Ari Atoll, from £2,249pp in July, also through Hayes & Jarvis, with flights and transfers as above. Ocean-Pro run the dive centre and charge £455pp for PADI Open Water Diver course.
Or a seven-night stay at the super-luxury Constance Halaveli Resort in a Beach Villa, costs from £1,958pp, with SriLankan flights and B&B accommodation in a Beach Villa, and seaplane transfers, through Turquoise Holidays. The PADI dive course £521pp.
Other companies featuring learn-to-dive holidays in the Maldives include Scuba Travel, Regal Dive, or Tropic Breeze.Source: timesonline.co.uk