There is no denying that the Maldives is a once in a lifetime, dream holiday location. With more than 1,000 islands boasting far-stretched white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, the Maldives is often described as “paradise” - especially for scuba divers. Although it is possible to dive in the Maldives all year round, for best diving conditions it is recommended to go between December and May.

Club Med has put together a list of the top 10 best diving sites in the Maldives:

1. Maaya Thila

One of the most popular dive sites in the Maldives is the stunning Maaya Thila (an underwater island), and for good reason. This fantastic pinnacle hosts an array of fascinating marine life. From turtles and frogfish to stingrays and whitetip reef sharks. This diving site reaches from 20 feet (6 meters) down to 100 feet (30 meters). Maaya Thila is also a fantastic dive site if you are a fan of night dives.

2. Nassimo Thila

Also known as Paradise Rock or Virgin Reef, is Nassimo Thila, another very popular diving site in the Maldives. This Thila has a number of interesting pinnacles scattered a few feet away from the main reef. It boasts some fantastic rock formations and caves covered in blue and yellow soft corals, as well as an abundance of sea life - all you could want for the perfect dive. The top of the thila is between 10 and 15 meters and there is plenty of soft coral just waiting to be admired. Here you are likely to see Midnight Snappers; Dog-toothed Tunas; Barracudas and even some White-tip Reef Sharks. This is a dive site that is suggested only for advanced divers as the currents at Nassimo Thila are usually strong.

3. Kandooma Thila

Approximately 300 meters in length, located between the islands of Cocoa and Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort, is the tear-drop shaped underwater island Kandooma Thila. This Thila is considered one of the best dives in North Male, however, it is much too long to navigate in simply one dive. Most divers rather focus on specific areas of the Thila. The most popular is the west side of the Thila, where you’ll find Jack’s Corner. Below Jack’s Corner is a small cave at around 23 meters. It is blanketed in soft coral and often is host to huge schools of red bass and trevally. You may even spot some green sea turtles here. The current here ranges between medium to very strong so it is important that you are a relatively advanced diver.

4. Rainbow Reef

Also known as HP Reef or "Girifushi Thila”, is Rainbow Reef - a Protected Marine Area. This is one of the best known and most beautiful dive sites in the Maldives. You can expect to see the top reef here coated in coral reefs, caves and crevices. Rainbow Reef has an unusual reef formation in terms of reef outcrops, caves and crevices so there is much to be explored and admired. Schools of Trevally, Snappers and Dog-toothed Tuna and Eagle Rays can be viewed here regularly.

5. Cocoa Thila

Another very popular dive site in the Maldives is Cocoa Thila, located in the middle of the Cocoa Channel within the South Male Atoll. Once you visit this diving site you will understand why it is so popular. With great schools of fusiliers, snappers and big eyed trevally awaiting divers on descent to the reef, there is much to be in awe of at this site. This superb pinnacle stretches to an impressive 400m and also slopes down to a drop-off of approximately 30m in depth. From coral reef tops and green turtles often resting here peacefully, as well as the additional opportunity to be surrounded by a multitude of colorful reef fish, this site is a diver’s paradise. Strong currents make this site better suited to advanced and experienced divers but those same currents are responsible for the wide variety of marine life found here.

6. Alimatha Jetty

Similarly to Maaya Thila, Alimatha Jerry is a great dive spot for night diving. It is recommended to complete this dive in the offseason as during peak season it is very likely that you will see just as many divers as you will fish and sharks. It is a relatively shallow dive, with a maximum depth of 15 meters, making this the perfect dive site for beginners.

7. Banana Reef

Now protected by a marine area, Banana reef was the Maldives first internationally famous site. From its colorful corals to caves and overhangs, it is no surprise that this dive site became so popular and recognised. It also hosts an abundance of marine life such as sharks and grouper as well as reef fish like Napoleon wrasse and jackfish, all gathering in these crystal clear waters. This reef and dive site in particular is suitable for beginner divers, and you can even snorkel here. The reef starts at just 5 meters and drops to a maximum of 35 meters. Divers can find and explore the many deep crevices, cracks, and excellent coral. The crevices and cracks here make particularly good hiding spots for moray eels, while sharks and groupers tend to linger closer to the reef.