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TRIP OVERVIEW

8 days
Liveaboard
5km/day
Moderate

Trip Dates

2024
02 Nov - 09 Nov
Full
09 Nov - 16 Nov
Full
2025
15 Mar - 22 Mar
Available
22 Mar - 29 Mar
Available
29 Mar - 05 Apr
Available
05 Apr - 12 Apr
Available
2026

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Tour Highlights

  • Swim in some of the world's clearest waters and discover the incredible reefs that exist just below the surface.

  • Take in the stunning array of marine life that the Maldives is so famous for, from sea turtles and eagle rays to some of the most colourful and exotic fish on the planet.

  • Explore a spectacular old shipwreck before completing a near perfect semi-circle swim around the beautiful Giraa Falhu Reef.

  • Stay aboard a modern spacious safari boat, with your own onboard chef. Relax among the breathtaking atolls and pristine beaches of the Maldives.

  • Discover the charming Maldivian culture with local island visits.

Join us on this unforgettable open water swimming holiday in the island paradise of The Maldives. Our beautiful liveaboard boat is the perfect base from which to explore one of the most spectacular and idyllic destinations on the planet with a small and intimate group of swimmers.

With 26 coral atolls and well over a thousand palm-fringed islands, The Maldives is known around the world as the ultimate holiday paradise. The blue skies, crystal clear waters and a mesmerizing array of coral and marine life of remote Vaavu atoll (aka Felidhoo) make it a peaceful sanctuary for eight days of swimming and cruising. From circumnavigations of local islands to challenging crossing between islets and spectacular views of the area’s world-renowned reefs, this is the ultimate way to explore this stunning equatorial archipelago.

Between swims, our Liveaboard vessel journeys between stunning islets and islands. The trip is fully catered with all meals prepared for us by our very own onboard chef. On top of organised swims, included in the trip itinerary, there is also plenty of time to take part in additional activities throughout the trip, including snorkeling, scuba diving (extra cost), night fishing and cultural dancing.


Who is this trip for?

This trip is for swimmers who want to explore the many wonders that the stunning Maldives islands, atolls, and reefs have to offer. From the clear waters to some of the most vibrant marine life on the planet, The Maldives is the perfect location to take part in a swimming adventure holiday that you will never forget.

Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average swim distance and average daily swim distance (over the course of two swims) prior to the start of the trip.

The average swim distance is around 2.5km. The average daily swim distance is around 5km.

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.


What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday (swimmers only)
  • Professional swim guides and full safety escort on all swims (swimmers only)
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches
  • All dinners
  • Full ABTOT Financial Protection
  • Seven nights' accommodation
  • Meet and greet at the airport with transfer to our boat on Day 1
  • Transfer back to the airport on Day 8
  • Local island visits
  • Technique advice with video playback

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Tipping for onboard crew
  • Alcoholic drinks which can be purchased onboard
  • Snorkelling and diving (equipment hire at extra cost)

Sample Trip Itinerary

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during your trip, however, actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and swim conditions. Your SwimTrek guides and local boat pilots will determine the most suitable swim locations each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Malé International Airport

Start Time: 11:00 on First Day

Finish Point: Malé International Airport

Finish Time: 09:00 on Last Day

Day 1

Our SwimTrek representative will meet you at the Airport Information Desk located in front of the pharmacy and left luggage room in between the arrival and departure gates at Malé International Airport on Day 1 of your trip. A short boat transfer takes you to our liveaboard vessel where we meet on the ship’s sun deck.

As we journey towards the South Malé Atoll, you will enjoy a welcome drink and meet your fellow swimmers, your SwimTrek guides and our local boat crew. On arrival into Guraidhoo Reef, we discuss the plans for the week and have our safety briefing before a tour of our liveaboard vessel which will be our home for the next seven nights. Following this we get into the tranquil waters of the Indian Ocean for the first time for our acclimatization swim. Back on board, we enjoy the first of our tasty dinners, prepared by our very own on-board chef.

Day 2

This morning our boat weighs anchor and heads for Vaavu Atoll, which we will traverse in its entirety over the next few days. On entering the atoll, we arrive at Fulidhoo Island where the boat anchors off. As we jump in the water for our first swim of the day, we hug the outer edge of the reef and experience the abundance of coral and marine life just beneath the surface and admire the sudden drop to the depths below. It is an excellent first swim as the local island makes an ideal sighting point.

This afternoon we hop between reefs and swim along Kunavashi Reef. Watch as the flawless white sand changes to delicate corals and then to deep blues in the intersecting channels. We pause at the reef to video your swimming stroke for playback analysis and technique advice later in the evening.

Day 3

Awake to the sun rising over the Indian Ocean and casting its warm light on the Vaavu Atoll.

Today’s swims take place on the Raggadu Kandu Reef, which features several sandbars which make excellent stop-off points. The reef here is only a few metres below the surface, so the wildlife is right in front of our eyes. During the swim, we cross over to another reef using our liveaboard as our sighting point. This swim flows into breaks in the reef, enabling us to enter the sandy lagoon inside. It really is an outstanding swim. We pass alongside a hummock of sand with its resident reef fish and sea turtles before setting foot on a sandbank the finish this morning’s adventure.

After our well-earned lunch, we head to circumnavigate the house reef of Anbarra Island where both soft and hard coral thrive against a vertical drop off creating the ideal home for colourful reef fish. Also, do not be surprised if you see a squadron of eagle rays sweep across the sand beneath you.

In the evening, we disembark to enjoy a spectacular BBQ on the uninhabited Anbaraa Island, as the sun sets over the Vaavu Atoll which is laid out before us.

Day 4

This morning we head east towards Rakheedo Island by swimming a section of Bodumohora Falhu - the largest reef in the Vaavu Atoll. Tuna, turtles, and Napoleon wrasse are some of the marine life who may join us on today’s drift with the current.

After a hearty lunch, we swim in the most easterly point not just of Vaavu Atoll but the entire Maldives. We start off above a sandy floor, using the drop off to the reef as a natural lane marker and swimming past the uninhabited Fontheyo Bodu Mohora Island. Dolphins have been spotted here previously, as well as plenty of other interesting marine life.

After dinner, if you have energy in reserve, you have the chance to join in some night fishing.

Day 5

This morning we travel to Gira Fahu Reef where we will be completing our biggest swim of the week and one of the highlights of the trip.

We start at the shipwreck of an old fishing boat that got too close to the reef during a storm. The views underneath the water here are simply spectacular. From here, we swim around the near perfect semi-circle that Gira Fahu Reef forms, before a final crossing to Keyodhoo Island. This swim offers a kaleidoscope of marine species and lively corals, enough to motivate any tired shoulders. You will be amazed by the coral formations and large boulders found in this reef.

After our big morning swim, the afternoon is set aside for either a chance to try scuba diving, to put your feet on the sand for an afternoon island visit to Fulidhoo Island or a snorkel from the house reef.

Day 6

This morning, we head up the eastern side of South Malé Atoll until we reach Guraidhoo’s House Reef. From here, we jump in following the colourful reef. Near the end we paddle through the shallows and swim up onto a private beach.

Following lunch, we move higher up South Malé Atoll. Our next swim is along the Villivaru Reef, finishing at the uninhabited Villivaru Island where Eagle Rays and turtles have been spotted previously.

There is a chance for a Guraidhoo Island visit where the crew can show you around their home island.

Day 7

Our morning swim is one of contrasts as we swim close to Fushi Dhiggaru. The swimming here is varied and we can normally benefit from a current pushing us along the reef. There is a rich biodiversity within this atoll. Our liveaboard is our target point for this swim and you truly can swim as far or as little as you want.

In the afternoon we head to Kurumba Island to partially circumnavigate it. Keep an eye out for the resident reef shark population as well as countless fish species. It is a wonderful way to finish off the swimming leg of our journey before our final onboard dinner.

Day 8

Following a relaxed breakfast onboard, our boat will drop you back at Malé International Airport around the trip finish time.

Accommodation

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Maldives Liveaboard Fleet

The Maldives Liveaboard fleet consists of a number of vessels all similar in style. All cabins are air-conditioned and en suite toilet and shower room. The main salon area contains the dining room and bar plus there are multiple sun deck spaces. There is a spacious stern deck area for preparing yourself to swim prior to boarding the large 'dhoni' which carries us to the swim spots.

Location Summaries

The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 21 coral atolls, which are made up of hundreds of islands. It is known for its beaches, blue lagoons, and extensive reefs.

Vaavu Atoll

Vaavu Atoll has a very irregular outline made up of continuous barrier reefs and small coral patches separated by narrow passages with a large inner lagoon. There are only 10 islands in the atoll although it is quite large. The atoll’s western horn has no islands and is almost entirely enclosed. Its eastern cape is the easternmost geographical point of the Maldives.

Trip Grading

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.

Swimming Distances (March/April 2024)

Swim Distances
Fulidhoo House Reef 3km
Kunavashi Long Reef 2km
Digufalhu Reef 4km
Kuda Anvuvari Falhu 2km
Raggadu Kandu 3.5km
Fontheyo Bodu Mohora 2km
Bodumohora to Rakeedhoo Kandu 4.5km
Bedhunu Kandu 3km
Giraa Falhu 3km
Giraa Falhu & Keyodhoo Island 2km
Vaihhaa Giri 3km
Kahanbu thila 2km

*Please note that these swims are an example of what may take place during your trip and should be used as a guide only. Actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and swim conditions.

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience but you need to be aware that marine life is abundant in the Maldives. Stonefish, scorpionfish, lionfish, jellyfish, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims. In all cases we will reduce your contact with these creatures, however if you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.

Guests prone to sea sickness might wish to bring along sea sickness tablets. Some easy ways to ward off nausea are: ensuring you are well rested; avoid screen time; get plenty of fresh air; look off at the horizon; move closer to the middle of the boat, where the motion of the sea will be reduced.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
March 28-29°C / 82-84°F 28-30°C / 82-86°F
April 29-31°C / 85-87°F 28-32°C / 82-89°F
December 27-30°C / 81-85°F 26-30°C / 79-86°F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Trip Information

Group Size

We generally have up to 16 swimmers split into two groups based on speed, each group accompanied by a safety support vessel/escort. SwimTrek charter the entire liveaboard boat for the duration of your trip. Guests numbers onboard may be to the maximum licensed capacity of the vessel.

Safety Support

Safety support on this trip may vary each day depending on the type of swim but is generally two watercraft piloted by your crew and SwimTrek guides. These arrangements are subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Extra Activities

Throughout the course of your trip, you will have the opportunity to snorkel and/or take part in an introductory or a standard dive from a local island. Diving will be fitted around the swim itinerary as and when we're over a suitable dive spot with suitable conditions. Participation in these activities is optional and does not need to be booked in advance but is subject to availability.

During this trip, it is possible to take part in an introductory or a standard dive from one of the many islands we visit, approx. following rates:

  • US$65-$85 per dive, including equipment
  • US$65-$105 per night dive, including equipment
  • US$80-$135 per person Try Dive aka Discover Scuba Dive (DSD), including equipment

Guests are recommended to bring their own snorkel kit if they have any. If hiring we would require information prior to the trip, in order to reserve your equipment. To reserve your equipment, please contact our customer team with your EU shoe size (if snorkelling or diving) and Jacket size (S/M/L/XL) - (if diving), at least 28 days before departure via info@swimtrek.com.

If you intend to participate in scuba diving (other than the Discover Scuba Dive), you must be a qualified diver in possession of a dive certification card and logbook. Dives are arranged and paid for locally and a medical form plus liability waiver will need to be signed prior to diving.

Other excursions include local island visit with afternoon tea and a sightseeing visit to Malé. - Evening Tea chargeable $5 per person - Malé Tour chargeable $25 per person

Equipment Checklist

For your basic, essential packing list, please visit our Packing List page on the website. For additional, location specific items, please see the information below.

SwimTrek will provide water and electrolytes at every location and refill your bottles.

Item Item
Waterproof and reef friendly Sun Cream (Factor 50+ or higher or zinc) Tinted Goggles
Rash Vest and Leggings/Jammers for Swimming Sarong
Lightweight Conservative Outfit High SPF Lip balm

To ensure we are considerate of local culture, please note your normal swimwear will be perfectly suitable for the liveaboard boat and most of our swims. When swimming near inhabited islands, swimming costumes and rash vests are more appropriate than a bikini. Your guide will let you know when this is applicable. When on land and visiting Muslim communities, please ensure have a lightweight conservative outfit which covers your shoulders and thighs.

A towel will be provided on board, however, please do feel free to bring your own along if preferred.

Shoes are removed when you board the liveaboard and you won't need them again until you disembark for shore excursions or at the end of your SwimTrek.

Luggage: Due to limited space on the liveaboard, we recommend bringing a soft-sided suitcase or duffle bag.

Suncare

Due to the equatorial nature of the weather in The Maldives, the sun can be extremely strong, so please take the necessary steps to ensure you are well protected. Plenty of very high factor, waterproof sun cream, zinc, long-sleeved rash vests and leggings/jammers and a good sun hat are essential for protection from the sun, particularly during morning swims.

Getting There

Flights to the Maldives are widely available from most international destinations, however, due to its isolated location in the Indian Ocean, multi-leg journeys are usually required to reach the islands.

As SwimTrekkers come from all over the world, and join our swimming holidays in numerous destinations, we don't currently offer flights as part of our SwimTrek packages. We do however want to do as much as we can to ensure that our guests get the best deals when travelling to one of our trips so check out SwimTrek's tips to help you get the best deals for your flights page on the website.

Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your flights and other travel arrangements as early as possible to avoid price rises and availability issues.

Travel to Malé International Airport (MLE)

The only airport in the Maldives which services international flights is Malé International Airport, which is also known as Velana International Airport and is located on Hulhule island, just a 20-minute ferry ride from the capital, Malé.#

Once you have booked your flights and any pre-trip accommodation in the Maldives, please ensure that you forward this information to info@swimtrek.com as soon as possible.

Malé International Airport to Liveaboard Vessel

Once you arrive at Malé International Airport, one of your SwimTrek guides will meet you the Airport Information Desk located in front of the pharmacy and left luggage room in between the arrival and departure gates, at the designated trip start time. From here, you will be transferred from the airport to your liveaboard accommodation. Please note that this transfer is included as part of your package price.

Arriving Early

Guests who arrive in the Maldives prior to the start of their SwimTrek trip must organise with their hotel to be transferred back to Malé International Airport in time to meet the SwimTrek group on Day 1 of the trip.

This transfer should be organised with your hotel during the check-in process to ensure you arrive at the airport in time for the start of your SwimTrek trip. Please note that confirmation of the exact departure time from your hotel will usually not be available until the night before the transfer.

IMPORTANT: Please note that it is not possible to meet your SwimTrek group anywhere other than the airport at the start of your trip. Therefore, it is critical that your travel plans are arranged to ensure that you arrive at Malé International Airport in time for the start time on Day 1.

Leaving the Maldives

At the end of your trip, you will be transferred from our boat back to Malé International Airport at the trip finish time, depending on your outbound flight time or your onwards travel plans.

Accommodation

Our accommodation for your trip in the Maldives is aboard one of the Maldives Liveaboard Fleet. There are twin/double cabins on the lower deck some with a double bed below and some with a single above. There are also double cabins on the upper deck, most with one bed. All cabins have air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. There are a limited number of cabins available for single occupancy or non-swimmers, which can be reserved during the booking process, subject to availability. The liveaboard also features large communal lounge areas and several sun decks which are the perfect place to relax between swims or to watch the sun go down at the end of each day. If the vessel name is not stated on the date that you are looking at this will be detailed closer to the departure and you will have a full description of the vessel's layout and faciltiies.

*Please note sleeping at sea is an entirely different experience to dry land as lapping waves may affect sleeping patterns. Most people will adjust quite quickly but we would advise light-sleepers to bring earbuds.

**Please also note that the exact details of the liveaboard and facilities may vary without notice.

Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodation and Trip Extension Options

If you would like to extend your trip, our agent in the Maldives, Secret Paradise, can organise accommodation before or after your SwimTrek tour. This will ensure that you will be offered better rates than what are available online, you will be staying in locally recommended properties and someone from Secret Paradise will meet you at the airport and arrange the transfer to your hotel as part of your booking. Please email sales@secretparadise.mv for additional accommodation and transport advice to meet your SwimTrek transfer.

Food and Drink

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after-swim snacks are included as part of your package and are prepared on board by our very own chef. Menus include a mix of freshly prepared international and local specialties. Our chefs will do their best to accommodate special dietary requirements - however, if you have any strict dietary restrictions/requirements, please contact the SwimTrek office prior to booking.

The traditional food of the Maldivians is based around fish (tuna), chili and coconuts. White rice and 'roshi' (a flour based flat bread) are staple items. Fish is normally smoked, fired, barbequed or roasted. Pork products are prohibited. Typical ingredients used widely in dishes and served on board include onion, ginger, garlic, lemon, and spices.

Drinking water is included. To avoid generating waste plastic there is a water dispenser, guests will need to bring a water bottle. Soft drinks, wine, beer, and spirits can be purchased on board our vessel, with an individual tab to be set up for each guest at the start of your trip. Your tab must be settled prior to the end of your trip and can be paid in either US Dollars or the local currency, MVR. As a guide, soft drinks are priced from US$2.50, beers from US$4.00, wine from US$8.00 and 300ml bottles of spirits from US$35.00. Please note that these prices exclude a 10% service charge and 12% government tax which will be added to your final bill.

Please note that, although alcoholic drinks are available for purchase on board our vessel and on ‘Resort Islands’ (not including ‘local islands’), it is prohibited, by law, to bring alcohol into the Maldives or to take it off your liveaboard onto a ‘local island.’

When taking onshore trips to local islands, it is worth noting that Maldivians traditionally eat with their fingers and, therefore, food is not always served ‘piping hot.’ Tap water is perfectly safe for brushing your teeth, however, we advise drinking bottled or boiled water. All food on local islands is halal.

For more information, please visit our food and drink page on the website.

Travel Advice

For more information on any of the following sections please visit the Travel Advice page of our website.

Money, Extra Expenses and Tipping

You should bring extra money with you to cover items such as meals not already included in your package, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs, etc.

In some countries, tipping (gratuities) is not part of the culture - in others it has become an expected norm. We believe that tipping is done entirely at your own discretion. If you have been provided with excellent service it may be something you wish to do. Your SwimTrek Guides can advise on local norms for service providers like boat crew, waiters or taxis. Nothing is expected for your SwimTrek Guides but many groups like to present something to the Guides at the end of the trip.

All your meals and accommodation are included in your package price and you will be spending most of your time on board our liveaboard vessel, therefore extra expenses throughout the duration of your trip will be limited.

The US dollar is accepted as legal tender throughout the Maldives - however, the country also has a local currency, Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), which is non-convertible and cannot be purchased before your arrival in the Maldives. It is possible to change most major currencies for Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) at Malé International Airport upon arrival.

On board your liveaboard and on smaller local islands, credit cards are not accepted, so cash is the only payment option. If you make a payment in US Dollars, change will usually be given in the local currency. All major credit cards can be used (and are preferred) at major resorts, hotels, shops, etc.

ATMs are available in Malé and at the airport but not on the islands we visit. Please note that ATMs only dispense cash in the local currency (MVR), not in US Dollars.

Responsible Travel

SwimTrek is conscious of the importance of protecting the world’s natural wonders. We are acutely aware of our responsibility to not only take care of the natural environments which we are lucky enough to explore, but also to educate our guests about the importance of conservation efforts and responsible tourism. It’s for this reason that we have worked so closely with our partners to ensure that our trips are conducted in the most responsible and sustainable way possible, working tirelessly to minimise the impact of our presence on local marine life and the natural habitat.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel page on the website.

Passports and Visas

You do not need to apply for a visa before you travel to the Maldives. All tourists, of all nationalities, can receive a 30-day visa free of charge on arrival in the Maldives.

To receive a tourist visa on arrival at Malé International Airport, you will need the following items:

  • A valid passport with at least six months validity beyond the expected length of stay
  • A return flight ticket, or a flight ticket to another destination, for departure within 30 days of arrival
  • Either confirmation of a hotel/resort booking, or evidence of sufficient funds to cover your expenses in Maldives (at least US$100 + US$50 per day demonstrated by cash or bank statement)

For further information about passport and visa requirements, please visit the Maldives High Commission website.

All travellers must complete the online declaration form IMUGA 96 hours before arrival in the Maldives. https://imuga.immigration.gov.mv/register Your will receive a QR code once the submission is competed successfully. If you do not receive a QR code, go back and review your answers to ensure you have entered everything correctly. This is also required before departing the Maldives.

Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and it is important that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Travel Insurance

We consider comprehensive travel insurance to be essential, and we strongly recommend that you purchase insurance which includes, but is not limited to, cover for illness, accident, emergency repatriation, ambulance, air ambulance, helicopter rescue services, cancellation, lost luggage and delays. Your travel insurance should also cover you for open water swimming and any other activity listed in your trip itinerary (including races and competitions, where applicable). Please read your policy details carefully and remember to take them with you on your trip for your own reference.

For further information, please visit our Travel Insurance page on the website.

Here at SwimTrek, we pride ourselves on our focus on safety and the well-being of all our guests. As we operate in some beautiful and remote locations medical facilities are not always easily accessible. SwimTrek Guides, and many staff working for our local partners, are first aid trained. However, we ask that you read our Travel Health page to ensure that you are informed about general Travel and Swim Health precautions.

Internet Access, Electricity and Travel Plugs

Please note that there is very limited access to WiFi during your time onboard (via a shared 4G modem). Should you need access to the internet during your trip, please ensure that you get your phone unlocked before your trip (or bring your own personal dongle) and that you purchase a SIM card from the airport on your arrival. If you purchase a SIM card with a 3G or 4G data plan, you should be able to access the internet for most of the trip (subject to your data allowance limits).

The power points on our liveaboard vessel use the standard 2- Pin European plugs (type C), however, please be aware that some hotels in the Maldives use alternative plug types. If you are staying in the Maldives before or after your SwimTrek trip, please contact your accommodation to enquire about this.

All electrical devices running on 110/120V must have power converters / step-up transformers.

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit www.worldstandards.eu.


Related Trips

  • Exceptionally clear blue water and wonderful sea life.

    Janet W, Australia - 2023
  • Outstanding location, excellent experience, great fun. The first of what I hope will be many SwimTreks to come

    Terry S, Australia - 2023
  • Swimtrek has the best guides!

    Katy B, US - 2022
  • The swims were extraordinary in challenge and beauty; the guides unparalleled in knowledge and fun; the camaraderie delightful and strong! No travel we've enjoyed comes close to this experience.

    Amanda Austin - 2021
  • You are all just great! Keep up the good work! And thank you!

    Lisa Reithmann - 2021