On Earth Day 2023, we launched our newest accreditation, PADI Eco Center, to recognize the most sustainable dive operators around the world. A year later, we have awarded approximately 100 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts worldwide with the PADI Eco Center designation, giving divers plenty of options to choose ecotourism in their destination of choice or when diving locally.

PADI Five-Star Dive Center Pullman Suvadiva at the Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort is the third PADI Eco Center in the Maldives. For their recent Aqua Week, an annual celebration, I flew to Gaafu Alifu Atoll in the south of the Maldives to visit this stunning, eco-friendly resort and to get my first Eco Center experience. I was beyond impressed.

Surrounded by crystal-clear, blue waters and white beaches, the all-inclusive luxury resort is nestled in a green and beautiful jungle on Maamutaa Island. I felt completely removed from my day-to-day life as soon as I stepped foot on this remote island. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I was immediately in harmony with nature and myself. What I loved most is that the resort has the perfect mix of everything – sustainability, marine exploration, fitness, wellness and luxury.

The Pullman Maldives Maamutaa: A Sustainable Resort

From sustainably sourced materials, solar panels, water conservation and recycling to a comprehensive waste management plan, the Pullman Resort avoids, recycles and reuses as much as possible in order to reduce its impact on the environment, without it ever impacting the amazing five-star resort experience for which people come to the Maldives.

They have a lush, organic garden where they grow their own herbs and various vegetables. These are mainly served at the Phat Chameleon restaurant. It is the first organic, vegan and vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives with à la carte and live cooking. The Japanese-inspired food is to die for and impresses meat eaters as well.

The buildings and villas are made of natural materials, feature big open spaces and are beautifully decorated, fitting in with the natural and cultural heritage of the Maldives. As a result, the architecture gives guests an authentically local and sustainable experience.

The Pullman Suvadiva: An Eco-Friendly Dive Center

Pullman Suvadiva Dive Center is located right at the end of the resort’s pier. This is the perfect location to jump right onto a boat for a dive or snorkel trip. The open design of the dive center gives you the chance to see reef sharks, rays and fish swim below the dock. The dive center staff is super nice, helpful and fun – a mix of bubbly Italians and knowledgeable Maldivian locals. They make every guest welcome to participate in the water-based and conservation activities. Everyone is so passionate about the ocean and can tell you all about the dive sites in the area. It was so nice to see how proud they are to be a PADI Eco Center now, even though they have always cared for and protected the ocean, advocating this to their guests.

The resort and dive center are ideal for scuba divers that are looking for both, sustainable travel as well as regenerative travel options.

Below we’ll look at three unique eco-friendly initiatives run by the dive center.

PADI 5 Star and Eco Center Pullman Suvadiva

1. A Sustainability Focus With an In-House Marine Biologist

The dive center’s in-house marine biologist, Sara, is a PADI Divemaster. She joins snorkel excursions and dive trips explaining marine habitats, wildlife, threats, and ways to protect it. She regularly gives presentations and island walks for guests, dedicated to promoting ocean conservation and safe, sustainable practices. Together with the dive center manager, Mara, Sara was the one driving the Eco Center application process. It is clear to see that she brings a lot of value to the mission.

2. Dive Against Debris & Clean Ups

Even though the dive center and resort are plastic free and very clean on their own island, there is, unfortunately, a deserted island nearby where you can find a lot of rubbish. It gets washed up on land and stuck in the reef below. Therefore, the dive center organizes Dive Against Debris events at the coral wall dive site and clean ups on the beach.

For divers that are not yet certified, they can do their PADI Dive Against Debris course right there. This was my first Dive Against Debris and island clean up, and I loved it. It created a really nice community spirit and made me feel so good and happy afterwards. We were 14 divers, divided into two groups freeing the reef surrounding the small round island from plastic and fishing lines. A big group of snorkelers helped by collecting trash from the ocean’s surface and the island. The youngest volunteer was a six-year-old boy from Hamburg, very proud to have helped in an ocean clean-up event. The amount of trash we collected was remarkable, mainly plastic bottles, fishing nets and lines.

Group with rubbish form the Dive Against Debris activity organised by PADI Eco Center Pullman Suvadiva

3. A Coral Restoration Project

Furthermore, the Pullman Resort supports a local coral restoration project on Kolamaafushi Island, which started last year. A team of young men from the local community started the project and installed metal structures in the shallow waters near a reef to grow new corals. The plan is to make this available to guests as a citizen science experience to raise awareness and money for the project.

I was able to visit this project, and I was impressed how quickly the corals had grown in the few months of being planted. It must be the love and care they get. The coral reef right next to the metal structures was beautiful and breaming with lots of life. Therefore, I hope the baby corals grow to a healthy size and can be integrated into the reef when ready.

Pullman Aqua Week

As mentioned above, this Maldives resort has it all – sustainability, marine exploration, fitness, wellness and luxury. All of this is embodied in the resort’s annual Aqua Week, an integral part of the Pullman’s annual Pillar Weeks. This year, I joined them for their 4th Aqua Week.

The event offers guests a chance to delve into a series of ocean conservation and water-based activities. The dive center and water sports team organize free activities, like the PADI Basic Freediver course, PADI Mermaid encounters and mono-fin classes. All of these were a lot of fun. However, ocean conservation and sustainable practices are at the forefront of everything they do. Many guests got inspired by marine biology talks and helped at the ocean clean-up event. It was great to see how many enjoyed the fact they chose an eco-friendly place for their holiday.

Mono-fin class in the pool of sustainable resort Pullman Maldives

The Aqua Week is a unique concept and showcases the resort’s dedication to providing guests with unforgettable experiences while promoting marine conservation through PADI-certified activities. It gives the opportunity for guests to become ocean lovers and therefore want to seek adventure and save the ocean.

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