The Maldives is one of the most extraordinary places that you’ll ever visit. Its captivating sea with all the shades of green and blue with picturesque palm trees makes this a vacation hotspot and a bucket lister for tourists.
With Maldives’ 1,200 islands forming 26 different atolls, which part of Maldives has the most to do?
Well according to me and many others it’s:
Ari Atoll is the island in the Maldives that has the most things to do. That includes beautiful water and beaches, swimming with sharks, lots of different water sports, boat visits and trips etc etc.
That’s the short answer and off course, it all depends on what you plan to do once you’re in the Maldives. Is it diving and snorkeling? Lounging on the beachside? Perhaps a cruise party?
Nevertheless, as much as possible you would want to do this on one atoll since frequent island hopping will break your bank.
The good thing is all of these awaits you on Ari Atoll.
Everything that you can think to do in the Maldives, you can do it in Ari Atoll. It’s one of the most developed regions of Maldives and arguably, you can’t find any atoll that offers water adventure like the Ari.
So if you want a place where nature and luxury blend well together, Ari Atoll is the perfect place for you.
Here are are more information about the many things that the Ari Atoll has to offer:
1. Check-in at an overwater villa
Your Maldives experience is not complete without a stay in one of the overwater villas and many of the best ones are in Ari Atoll.
Home to more than 20 resorts, you’ll find a great overwater villa that will suit any budget.
What’s great about checking in an overwater villa instead of a regular hotel is that grandiose feeling of being one with the water. You’ll sleep and wake up to the soft sound of the waves and that salty fresh air.
The views are unbeatable too — sunsets and sunrises are even more magical when it’s overlooking the water right outside of your doorstep.
The W Maldives resort in North Ari Atoll is one of the best 5-star hotels in the Maldives. Located at a small private island, every luxurious thing that you’ll ever imagine is in this resort.
You have the unparalleled beauty of the white sand beach, fully equipped water sports center, magnificent overwater villas, and the list goes on.
2. Swim with the Sharks
A true bucket lister, swimming with sharks should be one of the must-do in the Maldives especially when you’re in Ari Atoll.
Depending on where you are on this island, you can swim with different species of sharks.
If you’re in South Ari Atoll, you’re most likely to encounter whale sharks and if you’re in North Ari Atoll, there’s an abundant presence of hammerhead sharks.
But you don’t have to be scared, shark trips offered in the Maldives make sure that the species you’re swimming with are perfectly harmless unless you’re provoking them.
If you want to swim with the sharks, joining a tour will be your best bet since you really can’t see them swimming around on your resort beach. Check with your timing as well.
Shark visibility in Ari Atoll is very high from August to November. On other months, it may take some time for your tour guide to look for one but once they do, you’re about to experience one of the best water adventures you’ll ever do.
3. Diving at the Best Spots in the Maldives
The South Ari Atoll is a marine protected area where the underwater life is thriving at its best.
So scuba diving here is a whole other experience compared to other places. You’ll be greeted with pristine coral reefs, a wide variety of first, sharks, moray eels, stingrays, and turtles.
Timing, again, is important. While diving here at any month of the year is still an amazing experience to behold, you’ll get the most out of your diving trip when you’re scuba diving between January and April.
The sea is calm, so you have more options on where to dive without risking being thrown by the current. Plus, a lot of sea animals come out during this season.
Most of the diving spots in Ari Atoll are drift dives and it’s definitely the closest feeling you’ll get to flying.
But fair warning, always check with your divemaster about the condition of your diving site.
Make sure that your experience level in diving matches the site you’re going to.
If diving is not your thing or you’re not comfortable with your driving skills, snorkeling is the best way to go.
In many of the islets in Ari Atoll, corals will literally rise to the surface of the water and would drop towards the ocean depths.
There are over 70 species of coral and 700 species of fish in Ari Atoll. Snorkeling is mostly offered by resorts so it’s best to book one in advance. Sightings are excellent year-round but it’s best to snorkel from December to May.
It’s even recommended to save one full day when going out snorkeling, so you’ll get to see the transition of the underwater wildlife and if you’re on the right place at the right time, you’ll even see the water get illuminated at night from the sea planktons producing light.
5. Try a Variety of Watersports
Being one with nature and swimming with the fishes are fun and all but why don’t you tap on your adventurous side and try watersports?
Speed across the sea while waterskiing and jet skiing or have a calm afternoon kayaking while watching the sun go down.
Try stand-up paddleboarding if you’re up for it. Resorts will offer you a wide selection of equipment for different kinds of watersports.
Watersports is perfect if you want to spend a day trying out different things and crossing all of your Maldives bucket lists at once. Plus, you get to select which ones you want to do — it’s all up to you really.
If you want that adrenaline rush, go for tow-sports like fun-tube and banana boats but if you want something that will help you meditate in the middle of the sea, canoeing is a great idea.
6. Cruise away on a liveaboard
Liveaboards are a great way to spend your vacation in the Maldives, especially in Ari Atoll.
If you’re into exploring the seas of Maldives, then an accommodation on a liveaboard will be the perfect spot for you.
It’s also the best way for you to explore different diving and snorkeling sites that can’t be traveled on a day trip.
Sitting out on the deck with a tropical cocktail after a long day of underwater exploring and watching the sun go down the sparkling water is an experience to behold.
Liveaboards are also a perfect way to spot dolphins and whales swimming beside your boat!
Still craving for the sea even at night? Then make sure to not miss your liveaboard’s night dive.
Ari Toll is perfect for night diving and you’ll have a wide selection of diving sites that will definitely not disappoint you.
Head on to Maaya Thila at North Ari Atoll for a high adrenaline dive to fuel up your nighttime adventures. This dive spot is known as “the white-tip capital” of Maldives and for a good reason.
Dozens of sharks and other large fishes come alive at night so you can watch them hunt. Hunters like barracudas and jackfish even use your lights from your diving gear to their advantage when chasing food.
7. Relax and enjoy the tropical paradise
Don’t be shy to just lay back on the shores and enjoy the warm feel of the sun and sprinkling of the seawater.
There are a lot of things to do in the Maldives especially in Ari Atoll so it’s not surprising that you’ll feel overwhelmed.
So just relax and enjoy the tropical paradise that is the Maldives. Why not even hit the spa and get that luxury treatment that you deserve?
Even spend a day on a food trip trying out different local food. The Maldives were made for adventure and watersports but romance, whether you’re with someone else or going solo, can be found by taking all the beauty of Maldives in.