by Romy (London, UK)
We just got back from our June 2018 snorkeling trip to the Maldives. We took a gamble on wet season, as it was very cheap! We did have a couple of days with on off rain, and a few isolated showers, but there was plenty of blue sky as well. We stayed at Reethi Beach Resort in South Baa Atoll.
The main reef on the west side of the island has current changes with the tides, but it is a great drift snorkel along the edge at about 1000 yards long. The east side has the boat traffic but is calmer and has good snorkeling with deeper reef and submerged wrecks and anemones. The resort has also put structures in to encourage coral growth.On this side we saw moray eels, a Hawksbill Sea Turtle, an eagle ray and at evening feeding time, the stingrays and sharks, including a Guitar Shark – a most unusual shape.
As South Baa is part of the UNESCO biosphere, many of the fish are huge. They are also plentiful. There was no recent coral bleaching but lots of different regrowth of many colors. Dead Staghorn Coral hasn’t regrown and litters the sea floor on the east side.
Visibility some days wasn’t great due to the masses of plankton, but that meant many fish! This was the most fish I have seen anywhere while snorkeling. But after the rain, the water settles and some days had excellent visibility.
Hanifaru Bay is just 40 minutes away by boat so we did a tour there and were lucky to see the first manta rays of the season and to snorkel over them as they ate plankton. The dive school runs other snorkel trips but reviews suggested the house reef was as good as anywhere they go!
As I can’t get any real reef safe sunscreen in the UK, I wore a burkini though did burn through it one day – admittedly I had spent over three hours snorkeling!
This was my third trip to the Maldives, and Reethi Beach Resort compared very well to Vilamendhoo and also liveaboard snorkeling on Voyages Maldives. Their lease is up for renewal in 2020 with doubts as to whether they can keep it so they have opened Reethi Faru elsewhere. Don’t confuse them as the staff told us that Faru doesn’t have the same snorkeling standards.
I would recommend Reethi Beach Resort for snorkeling, and also for the great pricing due to it being wet season. Seaplane is about 35 minutes from Male.
We stayed for 10 nights with flights from London UK (via Sri Lanka) plus seaplane and half board (buffet breakfast & dinner) was just £1300 (US$1560) each, booked via a UK travel agent.
The resort has 120 rooms but there were only 100 guests staying. The food and service were superb, and the lowest grade beach room was perfect for us. We had stayed in a water villa at Vilamendhoo on a previous trip, and were not fussed about doing that again. Most of the rooms are on the west side, with trees between them and the beach but all offer a glimpse of the sea and sky. The trees break the breeze which also cools things down. The island is very casual with bare feet the norm, and no sign of fancy evening wear, etc.
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Nicole and Galen – Jul 8, 2018 – Thank You!
Hi Romy, thanks so much for taking the time to write your snorkeling report of Reethi Beach Resort in the Maldives. We are glad rainy season worked out for your trip! Sometimes with money savings like that it can be worth the risk.
Sounds like there is some good snorkeling on that Maldives island. Hopefully whatever happens with the lease in 2020 the snorkeling is preserved.
Here is our page about snorkeling Vilamendhoo Resort island in Maldives.