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Dive Review of Bandos Island Resort in
Maldives/North Male Atoll

Bandos Island Resort: "Great Shore Based North Male Atoll Diving", Sep, 2016,

by Bill Kasischke, CO, US ( 2 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 9335 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my 19th trip to the Maldives, all to the shore based Bandos Island resort. I've traveled to the Maldives since 1995 while living in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Indonesia and Australia. Now making my trips from Colorado in the US.

Even with so many past trips and seeing almost every North Male (and some South Male) dive sites many times, I was surprised by the quality of the diving this year. This included my first ever underwater Dolphin encounter and the rarely seen Ornate Eagle Ray. We encountered several grey reef sharks this year in a new area of my favorite dive site at Lankan Reef.

The dive operation at Bandos is first class with free Nitrox 32 for certified divers. The primarily Maldivian divemasters are excellent with several having been with Bandos for 5 years or more. Most of the dive sites are within a 45 minute boat ride with many within 25. Even the average second dive sites can be special with a 4 nurse shark sighting at Lobster Station.

Bandos offers a 2 tank morning dive and a single tank afternoon dive. While we were there 2 or 3 boat night dives were also offered. This year all the dives were drift, a giant stride entry and being picked by the boat wherever you and your buddy happen to come up. The currents can be very strong, but the divemasters will normally avoid the monsters by diving at alternate sites when very strong currents are encountered. We had several shark dives arranged with our party where we sought out some strong current areas for better shark viewing. The Bandos house reef is one of the better in the North Male atoll and the variety of fish life there is excellent.

The hard corals have taken a beating over the years with the big bleaching event in 98 and another occurring presently. I find that the excellent soft corals and the fish life more than make up for the hard corals.

The accommodation is mid-range for the Maldives and is priced accordingly. I normally eat from the buffet and find the food of good quality, although after 10 or 11 days it does get a bit old. Luckily there are a few other options such as Thai and a weekly BBQ at the Sunset bar. I've always been happy with the rooms which are clean, well maintained and air conditioned.

As I write this I'm already looking forward to my 20th trip next year.

Websites Bandos Island Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Honduras, Texas lakes, Australia
Closest Airport Male Maldives Getting There DEN-SFO-SIN-MLE

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 78-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Maldives max depth 30 m, 60 minutes with safety stop
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Jerome Riemannin TX, US at Mar 24, 2017 12:33 EST  
Thanks for the thorough review Bill. I also dove at Bandos in January 2017. It was a short trip my current residence in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. We chose Bandos because it is close to Male, and requires only a 15-20 minute boat transfer ($100pp) as opposed to the sea plane transfers to resorts further out (~$300+pp). I was a bit disappointed with the house reef due to the bleaching you mentioned. Two years ago, I dove at Kuramathi and that house reef was much better. I wonder if all Maldivian reefs have decline in the past two years or if Bandos is in worse condition due to the location closer to Male. I may return to Bandos again sometime for a short (~4 day) trip. Otherwise, for a longer trip, I would go to a further-out location such as Kuramathi.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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