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Explore the different Atolls within the Maldives

Centara Grand Resort in South Ari Atoll

Posted by on 08 Apr 2021 , in Islands

The Maldives is a picture-perfect archipelago, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with over 1,190 tiny coral islands. Famous for its beauty, it is celebrated as one of the best travel destinations in the world.

ADDU ATOLL

Known as the most southern point of the country, the heart-shaped Addu Atoll offers superb diving opportunities for both beginners and experienced divers. The atoll is believed to be the only area not affected by the global coral bleaching in 1998, and manta rays can be found in its waters year round. Don’t miss the 134-metre long "British Loyalty", the largest shipwreck in the Maldives, and the fabled “Shark Hotel” where 15 to 20 grey reef sharks swim around at any given time.

BAA ATOLL

The Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in the central west part of the Maldives. Located northwest of the Maldives atoll chain, the Baa Atoll is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, an indication of the rich biodiversity of Maldives. Baa Atoll consists of 75 islands of which 13 are inhabited while the remaining 57 islands are uninhabited.

Baa Atoll is known as one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in Maldives. It is home to the famous Hanifaru Bay, a must-visit if you love snorkeling with manta rays and whale sharks.

When to visit

The Maldives enjoys a warm tropical climate making it a year-round destination. Temperature ranges between 23° to 32°C. Monsoon season (southwest) is between May to December.

Our Must-Dos in Baa Atoll

  • See the largest gatherings of manta rays worldwide in Hanifaru Bay.
  • Feel the beach vibe and party it up on Finolhu Island.
  • Take on an exciting and challenging dive at Baiypolhi Mas and meet the resident batfish and sharks.
  • Explore the submerged pinnacles and overhangs of the mysterious Rainbow Caves.
  • Conquer the narrow swim-through at Dhonfanu Thila.
  • Hunt for exquisite lacquered wooden boxes in Thulhaadhoo.

DHAALU ATOLL

Dhaalu Atoll is a tempting destination for those who want to experience excellent snorkelling and diving in a quiet corner of the country. The northern islands of Ribudhoo and Hulhudheli are also famous for their goldsmiths and silversmiths who, rumour has it, learned the craft centuries ago from a sultan’s banished royal jeweller.

GAAFU DHAALU & GAAFU ALIFU ATOLL

Visit the more uncrowded slices of paradise Gaafu Dhaalu & Gaafu Alifu Atoll. Although it sits remotely from Malé, the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll attracts its own kind of visitors. Surfers seek out this isolated slice of paradise for its uncrowded waves that break around the entrances to the channel.

LAAMU ATOLL 

The Barrier-rimmed Laamu Atoll is as historic as it is breathtaking. Home to the world-class Six Senses Laamu Resort, the barrier-rimmed Laamu Atoll is as historic as it is breathtaking. Several islands on its eastern reef contain important archaeological sites such as the remains of stupas, viharas and monasteries as well as copperplates of the most ancient Maldivian writings, holding accounts related to the conversion to Islam, the destruction of Buddhist temples and monuments and the construction of mosques.

MALE

The small Maldivian capital is the throbbing, heart of the nation, a densely crowded and fascinating place which is a huge contrast to the laid-back pace of island life elsewhere in the country.

NOONU ATOLL

Noonu Atoll is one of the most undisturbed atolls in the Maldives. Noonu Atoll boasts four exceptional resorts in its 13 inhabited islands, all with virtually exclusive access to dive sites located within the propose Edu Faru National Marine Park.

NORTH ARI ATOLL 

North Ari Atoll is one of the best places on the planet to see hammerhead sharks. Sitting west of the capital and roughly 30 minutes away by seaplane, the near-rectangular Ari Atoll offers stellar beaches and superb diving experience in its 105 islands. It is bisected into North and South Ari Atolls, and both are world-class destinations that belong to any bucket list.

North Ari Atoll is one of the best places on the planet to see hammerhead sharks. Some of the most luxurious resorts in the Maldives are located in the Ari Atoll, but vibrant guest houses also await travellers in the charming Rasdhoo and Thoddoo islands. 

NORTH MALE ATOLL

The North Malé Atoll is the most visited of the 26 stunning atolls that make up the Maldives. Male, the island capital of the Maldives, is situated on the southern end of the North Male atoll, a short Dhoni or speedboat ride from the Male International Airport (Velana International Airport). Beautiful white sand beaches, superb dive sites highlighted by colourful corals and deep wrecks, and the high concentration of resorts, hotels and restaurants make North Male Atoll a favourite among first time visitors.

Surfing is also a major draw, specially from April to August when the atoll’s waves are at their best. Intermediate and advanced surfers take their pick from the great range of left and right breaks found in the atoll, including the well-known Pasta Point and Lohis.

RAA ATOLL

Raa Atoll is a pristine paradise with only a handful of resorts. Raa Atoll is a pristine paradise with only a handful of resorts. Ugoofaru, the capital island, is home to the largest fishing fleets in the Maldives while Alifushi island is where one can find the best traditional dhoni builders in the archipelago. There’s also Hani Kandu, the channel between Raa and Baa Atolls, which offers great diving spots on both sides and where magnificent manta rays are an everyday sight in October and November.

SOUTH ARI ATOLL

South Ari Atoll is a protected Marine Protected Area that attracts Whale Sharks year round. Sitting west of the capital and roughly 30 minutes away by seaplane, the near-rectangular Ari Atoll offers stellar beaches and superb diving experience in its 105 islands. It is bisected into North and South Ari Atolls, and both are world-class destinations that belong to any bucket list. South Ari Atoll is a protected marine area that attracts a magnificent number of whale sharks year-round.

Some of the most luxurious resorts in the Maldives are located in the Ari Atoll, but vibrant guest houses also await travellers in the charming Rasdhoo and Thoddoo islands.

SOUTH MALE ATOLL

South Male has a more tranquil feel from its busy northern neighbour! Like its northern counterpart, the South Male Atoll is replete with diving points, surf breaks and sugary beaches that are a delight all year. What pulls in people to the southern half of the Male Atoll though is its relatively more tranquil atmosphere. Cross the channel of Vaadhoo Kandu to the South Male Atoll and see how it is different from its busy neighbour. Only three of its islands are inhabited and the populations are relatively small, but that is not to say adventure and fun do not wait at South Male at every turn. Maafushi Island, the capital of South Male Atoll, offers plenty of dining choices and a wide range of accommodation options, from 5-star luxury resort hotels to charming local guest houses.