One of the main reasons to visit the Maldives — aside from its stunning natural beauty and the superb service at its resorts — is the incredible wildlife. The South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area is teeming with fish, sharks, turtles, and manta rays. You can have many up-close encounters with the local marine life simply by donning a snorkel mask and fins and exploring the waters around your resort. However, it’s well worth booking a specialty tour to see some of the unique animals in the region. A highlight of my recent vacation in late 2021 was a trip to swim with the nurse sharks in the Maldives.
Naladhu Private Island is near a prime spot for swimming with nurse sharks from May through December. The luxury resort’s resident naturalist offers tours snorkeling with these non-aggressive sharks. You’ll board a private, custom-outfitted boat and take a 45-minute trip to the best place to swim with nurse sharks in the Maldives. During the boat ride, the naturalist will teach you about these majestic creatures, so you’ll feel fully prepared by the time you arrive.
When you reach their habitat, you’ll hop into the water while seemingly dozens of nurse sharks swim around you. Floating in the water and watching them swim beneath you is a completely entrancing experience. At first, I was quite nervous seeing so many sharks in the water. However, they were supremely uninterested in me. It was fascinating to watch them swimming around each other. After a while, I felt brave enough to swim underwater to get a better view of them. It was truly surreal.
The Naladhu tour team travels with a waterproof camera and can take pictures of you among the nurse sharks. They can also snap pictures of you using your camera from the boat. Of course, if you’ve brought a GoPro video camera on your trip, you’ll want to have it with you to capture some unforgettable footage.
What to Pack to Swim With Nurse Sharks in the Maldives
You won’t need to bring much with you. Your resort will provide you with the essential snorkeling equipment and towels. You are of course welcome to use your own mask, snorkel, and fins. In addition to basic snorkeling equipment, we recommend wearing a rash guard, a swim shirt, or a long-sleeved swimsuit to protect yourself from the strong sun in the Maldives. If you find that your hair gets caught in snorkel masks, you can wear a neoprene hood or a diving headband. Of course, wearing reef-friendly sunscreen is a must. Finally, if you have a GoPro or a waterproof camera, bring it with you.
What to Eat or Drink Before
Be careful not to eat very much before heading out on your snorkeling adventure. The trip to swim with nurse sharks in the Maldives involves water that can be rough and could lead to seasickness. These trips typically depart early in the morning, so skip eating entirely, or have a light breakfast before boarding the boat. Keep your water consumption low too. Having too much water in your stomach can also make you feel sick. If you know you get seasick easily, taking medicine for motion sickness can help.