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Dive Review of Euro Divers/Vilamendhoo Island Resort in
Maldives/Ari Atoll

Euro Divers/Vilamendhoo Island Resort, Apr, 2014,

by Henry O Ziller, CO, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 31 reports with 14 Helpful votes). Report 7618 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The Maldives is half-way around the planet from Denver, CO so it takes long flights to get there. We flew through LA, Narita, and Singapore before arriving in Male two days later. We had an 8 hour layover in Singapore and stayed in the Ambassador Transit Hotel inside airport security, thus no re-entry needed.
A sea-plane in Male took us the last ½ hour to Vilamendhoo Island Resort (www.vilamendhooisland.com).
Weight limits on the sea plane were 20 kilos for a checked bag and 5 kilos for carry on, all of which were stored inside at the rear of the plane. Excess weight was $4 US per kilo.
The island is 900 meters by 250 meters and is located in the SE portion of Ari Atoll. The resort has 184 rooms and cabanas which surround the island with most being beach cabanas but some are garden and there are a significant number of over the water type.
There are two restaurants; depending on what accommodation you buy determines which restaurants you use. Adults only in Jacuzzi Villas and Over the Water Villas are assigned the Ahima Restaurant. We chose a beach unit so we were assigned the main dining Funama Restaurant. The food was quite fantastic with international main dish selections of chicken, beef, pork and fish prepared a bit differently each day. Fresh fruit and vegetables were always served. The dessert table was impressive. None of the six of us in our group tired of the food selections. You are assigned the same table and same waiter from day one.
Both restaurants have the same food. There are two other restaurants (Asian Wok, and Hot Rock) but are not included in the cost of the resort stay.
We opted for the all-inclusive plus program which included: unlimited drinks from the bars, restaurants and mini bar (both alcoholic and non), afternoon tea, ½ bottle champagne, sunset cruise, snorkeling, windsurfing and tennis lessons, free use of kayak and wind surfing equipment, use of fitness center.
Shoes were optional although some of the sand was coarse and a tenderfoot like me wore flip flops part of the time.
Beach units 227 – 241 are closest to the dive center but none of them are very far. Our cabana was about 20’ X 20’ with the shower, double sink and toilet located outside in an enclosed area at the back of the unit under the cabana roof. Electricity is 220 volts/50hz. The room had A/C and a ceiling fan. We had a mini-bar, hot water pot for coffee and tea, flat screen TV/DVD/CD a day bed and a four poster king size bed with mosquito netting. We did not have many mosquitoes, but they do spray throughout the island. Outside the front door we had a covered patio with chairs and a table and chaise lounge chairs down by the beach about 30 feet from the room which were assigned to our room number.
Near the shoreline baitfish surrounded the entire island and were under almost constant attack by herons, baby black tip sharks and rays. It was quite entertaining.
Besides the diving there are kayaks, wind surfing, mini golf, tennis courts, beach volleyball, badminton, playing field, table tennis, billiards, snooker, darts and a fitness center – again, all included in the ‘plus’ package. There are two swimming pools one in the adults’ only area and the other in the family section which also had a wading pool for the young ones.
The staff were all friendly and professional. They were well trained for their specific job and took pride in doing that job well.
Euro Divers provides the diving for this island as well as other places throughout the world (www.eurodivers.com). The shop is on the south side of the island just past the Funama Restaurant. They have the normal waiver form to sign and if anything is checked yes you will need a doctor’s letter stating you’re are OK to dive. There are separate rinse tanks for wetsuits, cameras & regulators, fins and masks, and bcds. There is assigned storage for your gear. You are responsible for rinsing and hanging your wetsuit and retrieving it the next day to take to the boat. The rest of your gear is washed and stored for you and reloaded on the boat the next day. Some of the boat crew spoke and understood little English.
There is a real checkout dive at 10:30 AM with a dive-master that is required and is free.
After gearing up you walk into the water go down about 15-feet and perform mask clearing, regulator recovery, buoyancy control, and share air then you can go diving to finish off the free tank of air.
If you are shore diving your gear will be brought out to benches at the appropriate location and time. You sign up for shore dives, buddies for shore dives if needed.
If you are boat diving you sign-up on the clip boards that are posted about 24 hours before the dive. The dive site and level of dive (either All divers or Advanced) are noted. The shop will create a dive for your group if all the spaces are taken for the day. They told us that Advanced dives included very swift currents.
Some in our group don’t like currents so we went on dives for ALL divers. We had very little to no currents. I think we should have opted for some of the advanced dives to see the good stuff. Of course there were the typical reports of having seen something really cool ‘last week’.
There are four large dhonis, 50-feet long and very wide. Tanks are stored in racks in the middle of the boat with plenty of space between them and the benches. There is a head below the deck. Rinse hoses are located forward and aft and a 5 gallon bucket is provided for cameras. This may not be sufficient given the monster camera setups in use now. All the safety equipment such as life preservers, radio, oxygen kit, first aid kit etc. is provided. A diesel engine provides power.
Diving is done on thilas, which are islands that rise to just shy of the surface. The briefings are given on the sundeck on top of the boat in an effort to get away from the noise of the engine, but then there is the issue of the wind, regardless they were thorough briefings. Diving restrictions for experienced divers consist of depth 30 meters, time 60 minutes maximum, and be back on the boat with 50 bars. You are allowed and encouraged to dive your own profile. You are responsible for your own gear set up before taking that giant stride off either side of the boat, although they do assist you if needed. They are accustomed to European divers so they are set up with DIN and need to change the adaptors after each dive for yoke type. Ladders varied from nice with deep boards to round rungs (ugh).
We did see a 6-foot whale shark while snorkeling and a larger one while on the boat. There must have been 30 or more snorkelers chasing them so to me it was a futile exercise. It would have been great to see one hang around but what would you do if you had so many people coming at you?
There were lots of typical reef fish for this part of the world such as sweet lips, all types of anemone fish, clown triggers, white and black tip reef sharks, rays, turtles, eels, octopus and some nudi’s.
You pay $57 USD for a tank of air, and then pay $21 USD for a single boat dive, $34 USD for two boat dive and $40 USD for three or more boat dives, so a three tank boat dive costs $211 USD. They offer package deals and will give you the best deal at the end of your stay. The bill for everything not paid for in advance is paid at the resort lobby whether it is diving, gift shop, or excursion. It is all on their web site so read it carefully to be fully informed.
On the sunset cruise we were lucky enough to see several pods of dolphins as well as a beautiful sunset. A very nice end to the day.
We had a great time but for the money and time spent getting there we prefer Philippines or Indonesia.
Cost for the trip:
Flights - $1468.00 USD/pp from LAX to Male. Sea plane from Male to the resort was included in the resort fee.
Resort - $3880.00. All inclusive-plus for two for eight nights.
Diving – 12 boat dives plus a night shore dive about $750.00 USD/pp.
10% service charge is included in charges. Of course, tipping for outstanding service is encouraged.
Websites Euro Divers   Vilamendhoo Island Resort

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Mexico, Belize, Florida, Hawaii, Cayman, Bahamas, Curacao, Dominica, Tobago, Honduras, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, St. Croix, Bonaire, Palau, Pohnpei, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy, no currents
Water Temp 84-84°F / 29-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth 60 feet for open water certified, 90 feet for advanced certified. One hour maximum time. Be back on the boat with 750 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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