The snorkeling off Vilamendhoo Island is know for its beach-accessed, marked snorkeling trails through staghorn coral formations. There are 10 trails through the shallow lagoon through gaps in the reefs, each of which are marked by orange buoys. Since the water on the shore-side of the barrier reef is very shallow, you will need to follow one of the marked routes to get to water deep enough for good snorkeling, especially at low tide. The best Vilamendhoo Island snorkeling is found on the north side of the island.
For beginners, start in the lagoon off the east end of the island to the north of Asian Wok Restaurant at high tide. It is very protected and at high tide it is deep enough to practice. It’s mostly sand, so don’t expect to see too much. Off the west end of the island near the over-water bungalows, there is a baitball that attracts juvenile black-tipped reef sharks, which can be very fun to watch. To the northeast of the over-water bungalows, there is a marked gap in the coral that leads through the barrier reef to the wall. There are healthy corals with anemones and anemonefish, but beware of going to far out due to strong currents. Between this gap and the next gap to the east, you may encounter both white-tipped reef sharks and black-tipped reef sharks. Off the northeast coast, there is another popular gap where you may encounter giant clams, octopus and sea turtles, but the coral is not quite as healthy here. If you are a strong snorkeler and get beyound the barrier reef, keep a watch out for crusing groups of eagle rays.
The snorkeling in the Maldives is one of the most popular dive regions in the world. The Maldives are a series of ancient coral reefs that grew up around the sides of towering prehistoric volcanoes. The reefs that encircle the islands and the Atolls are popular with snorkelers for their diverse coral formations, abundant marine life and water clarity. The best snorkeling in the Maldives is from February to April when there is little rain and low humidity. During that time, the visibility is at its highest since rain on these islands is known to quickly and dramatically reduce water clarity. From May to November, it is known to be rainy and humid. Generally though, the snorkeling off the Maldives is good year-round. During December to April, the snorkeling is better on the east side of each atoll. During May to November, the better Maldives snorkeling is on the west side of the atolls. During Maldives snorkeling, you may encounter butterflyfish, bannerfish, octopus, eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, giant clams, white-tipped reef sharks and black-tipped reef sharks. There are a variety of hard corals including staghorn, brain, finger and lobe corals, but there has been significant coral-bleaching over the past decade.
To reach the Maldives by air, fly into Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, also known as Male International Airport (MLE), which is located on Hulhule Island adjacent to the capital island of Male. Typically, your resort or live-aboard boat staff will collect you directly from the arrival passport control section of the airport. From the international airport, you can either take a domestic inter-island flight, seaplane or boat to your destination.
Overall, Vilamendhoo Island is the 8th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 10 snorkeling dives in Maldives.