Ari Atoll (Alif or Alifu Atoll) in the west of Maldives is one of the largest atolls in the archipelago. Ari Atoll is around 30-kilometer-wide and 90 kilometer long.
A circular or oval-shaped reef structure with a lagoon in the center is defined as an atoll. These structures develop around a volcanic island after the island subsides, and the coral grows. The Maldives is on top of an ancient volcanic mountain range.
The turquoise water on Ari Atoll contrasts with the dark waters of the Indian Ocean. It is one of the world's lowest-lying countries with 80% of the Maldives' land one meter above average sea level. Resultantly, this low elevation makes its inhabitants vulnerable to sea-level rise.
Ari Atoll is replete with manta rays, whale sharks, hammerheads shark, guitar sharks, turtles, grey reef sharks, and eagle rays are the attractions in Ari Atoll. You can behold hammerheads and whale sharks in Ari Atoll throughout the year.
For administrative convenience, it has two sections – North Ari Atoll and South Ari Atoll comprising 105 islands. Ari Atoll has been designated for tourism development in the Maldives.
As the most well-developed tourist zone, tourists flock the atoll for its aquatic life, diving areas, and natural beauty. The atoll is home to hundreds of dive sites for water-enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
Diving experience at Ari Atoll is distinct from the experience in other regions in the Maldives. It has underwater islands(thilas) instead of long stretches of the barrier reef. The diving area around atoll is kandu, which has many thilas.
The natives of atoll have superb diving skills, and their occupation is sail weaving, coral collecting, carving, and hospitality service.
The visibility of Mantas around Ari is the highest between August and November. South Ari Atoll preserves the whale shark and marine life in the area asa marine protected area. Immerse yourself in Maldivian culture while exploring the islands.
You can reach Ari Atoll in a 30-minute seaplane flight from the capital Male.
Address: The Maldives
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.
Things to Do
Tourist resorts are there in more than 20 islands designated for tourism development. All the resorts have recreational facilities such as tennis courts.
In the Maldives, scuba diving is the most popular tourist activity. Air Atoll is a dream place for snorkelers and scuba divers. Diving and swimming alongside big playful species of fish such as manta rays, whale sharks, and hammerheads. It is an underwater dream for tourists.
Frogfish, blueline snappers, nudibranchs, zebra morays, and other colorful fish make it a top dive site for swimmers and divers. You might come across a guitar shark or eagle rays while traveling underwater.
Besides swimming and diving, you can explore a deserted sandbank to enjoy a barbecue and sandcastle building. You can also enjoy windsurfing on a wind board in the morning or afternoon.
Whale shark scientists impart educational information before snorkel experience.
Dhigurah is a long island in southern Ari Atoll with the stunning white-sand beach. Its giant sandbank sometimes connects Dhigurah to the Lux* Maldives resort to the south. Bikini beach, cafes, and souvenir shops are the main attractions. It is suitable for diving and beach holiday.
This island in North Ari Atoll is favorite among backpackers with a super bikini beach on the south and direct speedboat connections to Male. It is environment friendly with daily beach cleaning, biodiversity protection programs, and waste management, and its population is 900 people. Tourists can find a dozen hotels and guesthouses here.
Maamigili is a large island, which is home to 2300 people in South Ari Atoll. This busy fishing island with two harbors is a popular base for divers because of easy accessibility to Dhidhdhoo Beyru and its whale sharks. Tourists will get ATM, three restaurants, and guesthouses.
In North Ari Atoll, Mathiveri is home to 'Picnic Island' where people reach by swimming. Of three beaches, one is now a bikini beach. This serene and traditional island has some guesthouses and a population of around 600 people.
Mahibadhoo is the capital of South Ari Atoll, with a population of over 2000 people. Boatbuilding workshops, fishing fleet, and an old mosque are the main attraction with a busy, workaday place and commercial activities. Tourists can find guesthouses and ATM here.
Top Attractions in North Ari Atoll
Top Attractions in South Ari Atoll