Thursday, June 11, 2009

Maldives: good for beginner divers?

I would like my two teenage sons to learn to dive. Are the Maldives a good place for this? And if so, could you suggest a hotel that would be good for us? Jim Marshall, Harrow

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.



Kobi said...

You could try Medhufushi as recommended here.

Kobi said...

You could try Medhufushi Dive Centre as recommended here