Ari Atoll, Maldives

Ari Atoll (Ari; or Alifu, as it is also called) is located about 100 km from Male Airport and is divided into northern and southern parts – Alif Alif and Alif Dhaal. This is one of the largest atolls in the archipelago, stretching for 33 km from west to east and 96 km from north to south. It includes about 70 islands and sandbanks, but only 18 of them are inhabited, and 28 have been turned into resorts.

In the northern part of Ari, in addition to the main atoll, there is a small atoll of Radsu and Todo atoll (Thoddoo), and in the south – the capital Mahibadhoo. Tourists are groomed, cherished and entertained here: windsurfing, snorkeling, water skiing, canoes and catamarans. There are boat rentals, banana and scooter rides, and parasailing. Not to mention diving.

Special bridges are thrown between some of the islands of the atoll, so that you can ride bicycles around the atoll without any problems. For Maldives climate and geography, please check TopPharmacySchools.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Ari Atoll is by seaplane from Male in 20-30 minutes. Another option is by boat, the journey takes about 2 hours.

Ari Atoll Hotels

Ari is famous for its luxurious hotels, and each of them has its own, personal merits. For example, on the island of Kuramathi, where the famous traveler Thor Heyerdahl conducted archaeological excavations, divers and windsurfers should stay at the Kuramathi Island Resort.

At Dhoni Mighili, each room comes with a personal dhoni ready to serve as a 24-hour water taxi. Lily Beach, despite good diving, works on an all-inclusive basis, as a result, there are few professional divers, more beginners. For peace and quiet, you should go to Nika, where each bungalow comes with a private beach.

The Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa on Rangali Finolhu Island has a dive center that can be recommended to beginner quicksand divers.

And in Sun Island, on the island of Nalaguraidu, on the contrary, life boils and boils by local standards: there are several restaurants at once, playgrounds for all kinds of sports, slot machines, billiards. They even managed to make a golf course there – with imported American grass.

Other resort islands: Veligandu, Vilamendu, Tundufushi, Dhiffushi, Kudara, Aturuga, Velidu, Diddu Finolhu, Fesdu, Mayafushi, Mirihi, Vakarufali and Madugali.

Entertainment and attractions

Thoddoo Atoll is located just ~15 km north of Veligandu Island and is ~1.5 km in diameter. There are no hotels here, the locals are mainly engaged in fishing and growing watermelons. In addition, this atoll has a strong school of traditional Maldivian dances, which periodically arrange concerts in Ari hotels. Even 50 years ago, an ancient Buddhist temple (90 BC) was found on the island, but today, due to a disregard for attitude, nothing remains of it.

You can also swim to the islet of Dhangethi, where the cultural center of Southern Ari is located. Or go in search of the island of Ariadhoo, where, according to eyewitnesses, an ancient Buddhist stupa is still preserved.

  • Ari Atoll

Diving in Ari Atoll

Here you can meet reef sharks, tuna, lionfish, moray eels, parrot fish, giant Napoleon fish 2.5 m long, turtles, gorgonians, sea lilies and boxfish.

Reserves: Maaya Thila, Orimas Thila, Fish Head (Fidh Head), Kudarah Thila, located near the islands of Alaveli, Machchafushi, Viligilivaru, Ellaidu and Batala.

Beginner divers can recommend the dive center at the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa on Rangali Finolhu Island.

Dive sites:

  • Brocken Rock is an almost round coral reef with a diameter of 50 m, located in the southern part of Ari Atoll. A large crack runs through the center of the atoll, on both sides there are many depressions, gorgonians, and sponges.
  • Fish Head (Fish Head) is a marine reserve with a highly indented relief, stretching for 100 m. On the northern and western sides, the reef is surrounded by coral blocks, the top is at a depth of 10 m, the base is 30 m. There are sharks, the current is not strong.
  • The Halaveli wreck sank in 1991 and now lives at a depth of 20-28 m. It is interesting with open holds where you can look, as well as a lot of stingrays that divers feed.
  • Maaya Thila (Maya Thila) is a coral reef of 80 m, the upper part of which is at a depth of 8 m, the lower one is 30 m. This dive site is considered one of the most beautiful places in the northern part of Ari Atoll due to its rugged relief, diverse wildlife. Strong currents.
  • Manta Reef or Madivaru is famous for its strong current and depth of 5-30 m. During the northeast monsoon, from December to April, manta rays come here to feed on plankton. Napoleon fish and betta fish are also found.
  • Panetone is the northern part of the reef of Kalhahandhi Hura Island. The reef stretches for 250 m, the top is at a depth of 3 m, the base is 30 m. There are many cornices, grottoes, barracudas are found and sharks can be seen in strong currents.
  • The Fesdu Wreck is a 3m trailer covered in coral and comfortably tripled at a depth of 18m. Eels and groupers have taken root inside the vessel, which can be easily accessed while exploring soft corals and sponges along the way.
  • Caves, canyons and all sorts of picturesque cracks can be seen in the Orimas Thila Reserve (Orimas-Thila). The marine life here is rich in soft corals, exotic fish, anemones and clown fish. The top of the reef is located at a depth of only 3 m and is also suitable for those who like to swim with a mask and snorkel.

Diving in Rasdu Atoll

Rasdhu Atoll, located northeast of Ari Atoll, is only 9 km in diameter. On the territory of the atoll, several luxury hotels, a couple of davy centers, a school, a clinic, four mosques and a souvenir shop have managed to fit in.

There are no strong undercurrents here, so this place is perfect for beginners. You can dive both in Rasdhoo itself and in the northern part of Ari Atoll. There are no soft corals in these parts, but hammerhead fish are found in abundance (at a depth of 20-30 m), but only until 6 in the morning. At sunrise, the fish dive into the dark underwater depths and do not return until the early morning of the next day.

Hammerhead Point (or Rasdhoo Madivaru): manta rays, large predatory fish, sharks. Just outside the reef, the depth drops to an impressive 200m and the water is incredibly clear. In addition, this site is considered a great place for snorkelling.

There is a dive center at the Kuramathi Blue Lagoon 4 * – Rasdhoo Atoll Divers (, which serves tourists from the entire Kuramathi complex. Diving with rent of a boat and all equipment will cost 62 USD, for 420 USD you can take an open-water course. Another dive center operates at the Veligandu Island 4 * hotel – Ocean-Pro Dive Base. The nearest sites are farther away than from the center of Rasdhoo Atoll Divers, and snorkeling is not in the price here (there is nothing special to see), but this is not particularly upsetting for Veligandu guests: diving is not the main thing on this island.

Ari Atoll, Maldives