The very best tropical whale and dolphin watching

Spinner Dolphin, Maldives For many people the exquisite islands and coral reefs of the Maldives require little introduction. For once the holiday brochures do not need to exaggerate: these really are picture postcard islands, with swaying palm trees, white sand beaches and turquoise lagoons.

But the Maldives is also home to a particularly rich whale and dolphin fauna. We regularly see dolphins in their hundreds and thousands. Even more exciting is the great diversity of species found here: 23 species of whales and dolphins have now been recorded.


Spinner Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins and Short-fin Pilot Whales are all abundant. Spotted Uninhabited IslandDolphins, Striped Dolphins and Dwarf Sperm Whales also occur in good numbers. Indeed, Maldives is probably the best place in the world to see most of these species. We do not see large numbers of big whales, but nevertheless We regularly have superb views of Sperm Whales, Blue Whales and Bryde’s Whales. In addition, Maldives has an international reputation for its beaked whales, and during the last year we have had wonderful views of Cuvier’s Beaked Whales, Dense-beaked Whales and the elusive Longman’s Beaked Whale, long considered the rarest whale in the world.

Forthcoming cruises:


Tropical Whales and Dolphins

7-14 April 2019


Maldives Explorer

17-27 Nov 2019


Typical itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival in Maldives. Arrive at Malé International Airport and transfer to liveaboard boat. Depart. With a little luck we can expect our first cetacean sighting while still in sight of the airport! Tonight, and every night we will anchor in a sheltered location within one of the atolls. Depending on anchoring time there may be time for a swim, snorkel or island visit. This first evening there will be an orientation talk, and most other evenings there will be a slide show or video.

Days 2-6. Whale and dolphin watching in the central atolls. Some mornings we will search out schools of spinner dolphins, at locations where we know they regularly occur. We will then head out of the atolls, in search of pilot whales, other whales, dolphins and seabirds. Each evening we will anchor in the lagoon of an atoll, and there should be some opportunities to swim, snorkel or visit an island. On at least one day we will visit sites where manta rays regularly congregate.

Day 7. Whale and dolphin watching off Malé Atoll. A final full day of whale and dolphin watching. Return to Malé. Farewell dinner and last night on board.

Day 8. Malé. After breakfast transfer to international terminal for departure.

Maldives Explorer

From 2014 we will be running a series of longer cruises (typically 12 days) to more distant, little-visited atolls. Contact us for further details of these exploratory voyages.

What we see:

Cetaceans: Maldives is one of the very best places in the world to see an exciting range of tropical whales and dolphins. Delightful spinner dolphins are super-abundant, and on any trip you are also likely to see anything 8 to 12 of these species:

  • Spinner dolphin - Extremely abundant Unhihabited Island
  • Risso’s dolphin - Abundant
  • Common bottlenose dolphin - Abundant
  • Indo-pacific bottlenose - Abundant
  • Shortfin pilot whale - Abundant
  • Dwarf sperm whale - Abundant Bryde's Whale, Maldives
  • Pantropical spotted dolphin - Common
  • Striped dolphin - Common
  • Bryde’s whale - Common
  • Cuvier’s beaked whale - Common
  • False killer whale - Common
  • Melon-headed whale - Common in south
  • Fraser’s dolphin - Regular
  • Blue whale - Regular
  • Longman’s beaked - Regular
  • Blainville’s beaked - Regular
  • Sperm whale - Regular
  • Killer whale - Present
  • Rough-tooth dolphin - Present

Other Wildlife: Maldives has a good variety of seabirds. Terns, Tropicbirds, Frigatebirds, Shearwaters and Skuas are all present in numbers at different seasons. Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley Turtles are all regulars. But what makes a visit to the Maldives so memorable for many is the quality of the snorkelling, which is arguably some of the very best in the world. The warm clear waters hold an abundance of technicolor coral reef fishes; Manta Rays are common, and we also regularly see giant but harmless Whale Sharks.

Contact us:

For further information, including availability, prices and previous trip summaries, contact us on: