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Updated by Joanna James on May 17, 2020
Headline for Top 05 Atolls to Explore in the Maldives – Destinations of Breathtaking Beauty
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 05 Atolls to Explore in the Maldives – Destinations of Breathtaking Beauty

Spread out across the Indian Ocean and covering around 90,000 square kilometres, the Maldives with its countless islands offers much to discover for intrepid travellers. These islands are part of 26 atolls some of which are worth exploring be it for beachside bliss or underwater adventures.


Ari Atoll

Found west of the archipelago, the Ari Atoll is one of the largest of its kind in the Maldives and offers plenty of captivating experiences for those who visit. This natural atoll is known for its stunning coral reef that is especially popular amongst snorkelers and divers. Amongst the highlights here are the inhabited islands of Ukulhas and Thoddoo both of which are home to some pristine beaches. Also of note is Rasdhoo Island, an ideal base for underwater excursions which give you a chance to see mantas, hammerhead sharks, turtles and more.


North Male Atoll

Home to many inhabited islands and offering easy access to the capital, Male, and the main airport, the North Male Atoll is a popular tourist destination too. In fact, it is also where you will find some of the best resorts in Maldives which provide all the fun in the sun, sand and surf travellers crave for. It is a great place for some island hopping and one can visit local islands such as Himmafushi and Thulusdhoo, the latter of which is a favourite amongst surfers. Divers will also love it here especially at sites such as Banana Reef, Girifushi Thila and Manta Point which teem with coral and marine life.


South Male Atoll

Covering around 30 islands in total, the South Male Atoll is known for its azure lagoon and relatively uncrowded setting which makes it another popular destination to travel to. Located within easy reach of Male, it is where you will find some key private island resorts including those belonging to the likes of Adaaran Maldives. There is an amazing array of marine life to be seen when here be it Napoleon wrasses at Guraidhoo Kandu or grey reef sharks at Embudhoo Kandu.


Baa Atoll

A UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the Baa Atoll is also well worth heading to. One of the most famed attractions in Maldives is to be found here as well; Hanifaru Bay is popular amongst snorkelers the world over since every year, from May to December, one has the chance of seeing a stunning number of manta rays and even some whale sharks too. Maavaru Kandu known for its corals and Dhonfanu Thila home to a range of fish are amongst the other underwater wonders in the Baa Atoll.


Vaavu Atoll

Divers who are experienced handling strong currents have much to discover at Vaavu Atoll. It features two geographical atolls namely Vattaru Reef and Felidhu Atoll, the former providing a key point of interest. Well-known spots for diving include Miyaru Kandu and Fotteyo Kandu, while those exploring the waters surrounding this atoll can look forward to seeing eagle rays, butterflyfish, whitetip reef sharks, Napoleon wrasses and more.