The hundreds of islands and atolls dispersed over the four corners of the Maldives make it an archipelago that is unique in the world. Their coral reefs, where manta rays and sharks co-exist in the midst of multi-colored fish, are truly exceptional. With over 200 inhabited islands, you are spoiled for choice. We all have our own definition of paradise on earth, but if one exists under the sea, then it must be in the Maldives.

The Maldives stand head and shoulders above any other destination on earth when it comes to snorkeling. Most islands feature a so-called ‘house reef’ close to their shores, where the shallow lagoon precipitously drops off into the deeper ocean waters.

The house reef is that area close to the vertical drop off where the coral begins to aggregate in a kind of coral garden teeming with marine life and colorful fish. The shallow water enclosed by the house reef also serves as a large natural swimming pool and protects swimmers from the ocean waves and strong tidal currents outside the reef. Snorkeling in the waters off the Maldivian islands can bring you face to face with everything from surgeon fish, tuna, and parrot fish, to eagle rays, turtles and even hammerhead sharks. However, the quality of the house reef differs from one reef to an other, some reefs can be found simply in the middle of the sea with no island around, they are often the most populated with fish, scools of fish, turtles, octopus, coral and anemones with their clown fish !