Top 5 Best Maldives Resort for Whale Sharks: Where to Stay in 2023!

Looking for an exhilarating and stressless vacation experience? How about an island or a quaint little town? If you picked the island option, you’re likely now stuck on the Maldives vs Bora Bora dilemma. Although we can’t deny the breathtaking views Bora Bora offers, the Maldives is beyond heaven on earth. We’re talking about pristine beaches, breathtaking waters, friendly locals, and the best Maldives resort for whale sharks.

These words can’t really encompass the Maldives’ splendour, but once you get there, it’ll all be as clear as day. 

This cluster of islands nation is home to a paradise of magnificent creatures, one of which is the whale shark. If you fancy them, you’ll already know they are gentle giants. Nevertheless, you’ll need to be brave if you want to catch a closer look at the magnificent creatures in their underwater habitat.

So, put on your adventure pants and get ready to tick the Maldives and whale shark-watching off your bucket list. Pick out the best Maldives resort for whale sharks right below. These options will undoubtedly offer a unique and unforgettable experience.

Where is the Maldives? 

Top 5 Best Maldives resort for whale sharks: Where to stay in 2022!
Image Credit: Asad Photo

Officially referred to as the Republic of Maldives, and traditionally the King’s Island, Maldives is a small nation of islands in southern Asia located in the Arabian Sea of the great Indian ocean. The neighbouring countries are Sri Lanka and India and the nation is widely referred to as an archipelago because it’s naturally a cluster of islands. Best believe the islands are majestic, rising to just a little below two meters above the sea level.

Furthermore, the Maldives comprises chains of 26 atolls, starting with the Ihavandhippolhu Atoll located in the north and ending with the Addu Atoll in the south.  

Altogether, its territory is one of the most geographically dispersed sovereign nations, spanning approximately 115 square miles. It’s also the smallest Asian country both in landmass and population. The republic is currently an independent nation with fishing and tourism as its primary economic activity. 

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Top 5 Best Maldives Resort for Whale Sharks 

Many tourists who visit the Maldives usually see or dive near whale sharks. If you’re booked and ready for a holiday in the Maldives, and the possibility of seeing whale sharks excites you, then let’s look at some of the best Maldives resorts for whale sharks.

1. The LUX* South Ari Atoll ( 5-star) 

Top 5 Best Maldives resort for whale sharks: Where to stay in 2022!
Image Credit: Julius Silver

South Ari Atoll itself is a marine-protected area that offers fun activities throughout the year. This includes diving, snorkelling, marine wildlife watching, etc. Located on DhidhooFinolhu of South Ari Atoll is the LUX South Ari Atoll, a five-star resort, a one-stop for both family and romantic getaways.

The area is called the natural paradise aquarium since it presents an exciting opportunity for divers. Everyone who visits loves the colourful reefs and rich marine life. The Whale sharks residing in these waters never fail to let tourists know they are around. It’s nothing short of a thrilling adventure when searching for these magnificent creatures. The experience lasts about three hours in the LUX resort. And if you are with your family, that’s great news because all age groups can jump in.

The south of the reef is fantastic for sighting whale sharks. And because the water depth is between 5 to 10 meters, viewing the magnificent creatures is easy around this reef.  Furthermore, the Rangali island reef also presents an opportunity to spot the whale sharks. If you are a fan of Manta rays, you can’t miss them in this area.

There is also a professional team of divers who will assist you if you are bold enough to go underwater (PADI-certified diving centre) to take a closer look at the gentle giants. 

2. Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa (5-star)

Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

The Vilamendhoo island resort and spa is known for two main things, among others. You’ll get affordable accommodation and a four-day per week dedicated whale shark excursion. It is one of the best Maldives spots for this. More so, the resort is in South Ari Atoll; you can reach there by seaplane, which you’ll board at the Velana airport. 

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The Vilamendhoo Island resort can only be described as breathtaking. It’s characterized by beautiful lagoons, lush tropical vegetation, an excellent house reef, and an impressive stretch of white sandy beaches.

It equally features a 184-room accommodation, 30 jacuzzi beach, and water villas, 13 garden rooms, and 111 beach villas. There’s more; the resort houses several swimming pools, sports fields, spas, and restaurants that offer stellar services. 

All the above features are scattered all over the 900-meter long island and it’s divided into two sections; the families and adults only. If you came for the whale sharks, the resort equally offers dedicated whale sharks excursion. You’ll be able to see them swim as you walk up by. Because the South Ari Atoll channels are famous for being a fantastic site for diving, professional dive operators are available to assist you while you dive alongside magnificent creatures.

You can also find whale shark and manta ray cleaning stations just a couple of minutes away from the resort if you are down for more excitement. The whale sharks congregate at these stations so that smaller aquatic creatures, such as shrimps, can rid them of parasites and toxins.

Trust us; this sight is magnificent if you’re a sucker for natures’ display.

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3. Vakarufalhi Island Resort & Spa (4-Star)

Vakarufalhi Island Resort & Spa

If you are visiting the Maldives anytime soon, then the Vakarufalhi Island Resort is one place that will make your stay worth it. It stands as one of the best Maldives resorts for whale sharks, offering easy access to view the creatures. The resort also provides tourists with diving courses taught by professionals.

Vakarufalhi has undergone some renovations over the years, reinforced with coconut palm trees and green life. So, it’s truly a sight to behold. The shores are filled with thick white sand while lagoon and bright green vegetation add to the island’s beauty. 

Both the resort and island are located in the south Ari Atoll. You can access the resort from the Malè airport via seaplane, followed by a speed boat. As for size, the resort comprises of 75 room villas with breathtaking views.

There is also direct beach access and the villas that are highly spacious and equipped with facilities to pamper yourself. If you dropped in with the family, then the pool villas, which offer dual-bedroom units, will be perfect for your stay. The highlight of the Vakarufalhi Island resort is its proximity to 35 sites for diving and snorkelling.  

4. Sun Island Resort & Spa

Sun Island Resort & Spa

The Sun island resort lies in the Nalaguraidhoo island of South Ari Atoll. At this point, you may be wondering why the South of Ari Atoll is one of the most popular destinations. Well, it is one of the largest of the 26 Atolls of the Maldives. So, it’s no surprise it’s packed with resorts and sights.

While there are other beautiful locations of the Ari Atoll like the south, many are uninhabited while the locals mainly occupy others.

The Sun island resort is approximately 107km away from Velana Airport. You’ll access the sun resort by air transfer from the airport, followed by a 15-minute fun speedboat ride.

The resort offers an option of about 462 exquisitely furnished rooms with a magnificent view. You have the sun villa option at the centre of the island or the beach bungalow that offers easy access and a breathtaking view of the ocean.

There are also the water villas, which you can’t help but love because it sits a couple of feet above the sea magnificently. The facility has a PADI-dive shop, gigantic pool, and spa if you want to give yourself some pampering.

We have to also mention that the Sun island resort reef has a depth of 5-10 meters; hence, it offers one of the most amazing spots to watch whale sharks. Snorkelling and diving are also allowed at the resort. Because lots of tourists come to see the whale sharks, the Sun island resort organizes dedicated whale shark excursions so you can get an up-close meeting with the oceans’ gentle giants.

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The resort’s reefs are also home to other creatures such as tuna, eagle rays, stingrays.

5. Maamigili

Maamigili resort Maldives

It may look like a tongue twister, but this is one of the best spots if you’re in it for the sharks. Widely known as the whale shark island, the Maamigili island is where tourists head to when they don’t want to miss whale sharks. It’s also the top choice for tourists who desire more than just a resort but want to connect with the Maldives culture.

It certainly does qualify as the best Maldives resort for whale sharks. If you are looking to dive and snorkel, this island is perfect as well. Many people who visit the Maldives choose the island for its fantastic snorkelling and diving sites. 

Also, because whale sharks can be seen either during deep-diving or snorkelling trips, Maamigili reefs offer nearly 75% success rate of spotting these ocean giants.

The guest houses on the small island are not many, but they are excellent, especially if you are looking for budget accommodation. More so, the rooms in the hotel all have an en suite facility, WiFi, etc.

All in all, the Shamar guest house and dive will offer you all the whale watching experiences you desire. Asides the whale shark snorkelling trips, you can also enjoy an excursion to picnic island, as well as reef exploring, sandbank trips, etc.

Furthermore, there’s a holiday island resort and spa a couple of minutes away by speedboat if you want to indulge yourself some more.

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Whale Sharks in the Maldives: Best Season to Travel

Top 5 Best Maldives resort for whale sharks: Where to stay in 2022!
Image Credit: Fabian Viktor

By now, you already know the Maldives is a fantastic destination to visit if you want to see whale sharks. Well, let’s look at the best season to plan your vacation.

Out of all the 26 Atolls of the Maldives, the South Ari Atoll is one of the more unique locations for all year round whale shark spotting. However, the peak period is between August to November. 

Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is also an excellent location. Still, you’ll have to fix your trip between July and October as the monsoon usually causes a large assemble of planktons, which equally attracts a large gathering of whale sharks and manta rays.

Unlike the South Ari Atoll, Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is uninhabited, and as such, diving isn’t permitted. However, diving operators can still take you there. Snorkelling is allowed but under tight regulations, to a minimum of 5 boats and for a maximum of 45 minutes.

Ideally, the best time to dive in the Maldives is during the dry season (November to April) with the peak around December to March because the sea is calm. Also, the monsoon winds would have cooled their jets by that period. According to statistics, the time between December to May is great for catching the ocean giants, mostly 3 to 5 hours before high tide.

Visiting in the wet season ( May to October) is not a bad idea either. That’s when you’ll see more of the whale sharks. However, the ocean’s visibility may be excellent on some days and not-so-great on other days because of the weather’s unpredictability. 

Best Maldives Resort for Whale Sharks: Conclusion 

Top 5 Best Maldives resort for whale sharks: Where to stay in 2022!
Image Credit: Belle Co.

South Ari Atoll is your stop if you intend to catch a good glimpse of the magnificent whale sharks. While there’s are so many island resorts, the LUX* is one of the best. But note that it can be expensive depending on the season.

You can also choose to stay at the Maamigili island. It offers accommodation on a budget with all the whale shark watching experience you desire.

Have you had any experiences with whale sharks? Let us know below in the comment section. Also, if you enjoyed and found the article helpful, kindly share it.

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James Ardimento has spent the last 12 years journeying around the globe ! With its precious experiences and tips he gained around Asia, South America, Europe and the US he is a precious asset for this blog and for its readers