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The Best Atolls For Snorkelling In The Maldives

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By Author: Anna Paquin
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The Maldives is an archipelago, with atolls which are made up of more than 1,000 individual islands. It is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty, pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and abundant marine life. It is a beautiful and exotic island destination, and many couples choose their luxury honeymoon in Maldives.

Here are some key highlights about the Maldives as a tourist destination:
• Island Paradise: The islands are made up of 26 coral atolls, which are comprised of more than 1,000 individual islands. These islands offer a secluded and idyllic getaway, with many resorts occupying their own private islands. Each resort typically has its own pristine beach, providing a tranquil and exclusive experience.
• Overwater Bungalows: It is renowned for its luxurious overwater bungalows and villas. These accommodations are built on stilts above the lagoon and offer direct access to the water. Staying in an overwater bungalow allows you to enjoy breath-taking views, private plunge pools, and easy access to snorkelling or diving spots.
• Snorkelling ...
... and Diving: The country boasts some of the world's best snorkelling and diving sites. The crystal-clear waters are teeming with vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, including colourful fish, sea turtles, manta rays, and even whale sharks. Many of the Maldives luxury resorts offer snorkelling and diving excursions, providing opportunities for both beginners and experienced divers.
• Water Sports: It is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. You can try activities like jet skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and sailing. The calm and warm waters of the Maldives make it an ideal destination for these activities.
• Spa and Wellness: It is known for its luxurious spa and wellness facilities. Many resorts offer world-class spas where you can indulge in rejuvenating treatments, yoga classes, and meditation sessions. The serene environment and natural beauty of the Maldives make it an excellent place to unwind and pamper yourself.
• Cultural Experiences: While the Maldives is primarily known for its natural beauty, it also has a rich cultural heritage. The capital city of Malé offers a glimpse into the local Maldivian culture, with its colourful buildings, mosques, markets, and museums. You can explore traditional Maldivian cuisine, visit local islands, and interact with the friendly locals to learn more about their way of life.
• Sustainable Tourism: The government and people have been proactive in promoting sustainable tourism practices. Many resorts have implemented eco-friendly initiatives to protect the delicate marine ecosystems and minimise their impact on the environment. This makes it an appealing destination for travellers who are conscious of their carbon footprint.

The Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls. It is a ring-shaped coral reef that surrounds a lagoon partially or completely. These are formed by coral reefs growing on the slopes of underwater volcanic mountains. Over time, these coral reefs continue to grow and accumulate, eventually forming land masses in the shape of circular or oval ones.

Each atoll consists of numerous small coral islands, known as "islets" or "keyolhu" in the local Maldivian language, Dhivehi. These islets are usually covered with sandy beaches, palm trees, and lush vegetation. Some have a few large islands, while others may have numerous small islands.

These are spread across a vast area of the Indian Ocean, and they contribute to the archipelago's stunning natural beauty and diverse marine ecosystems. The presence of these atolls creates sheltered lagoons and offers excellent opportunities for snorkelling, diving, and exploring the rich marine life that thrives in the surrounding coral reefs.

What are the best atolls in Maldives for snorkelling?
The Maldives is renowned for its exceptional snorkelling opportunities, and there are several locations that offer fantastic snorkelling experiences. Here are some of the best atolls in the Maldives for snorkelling:
• North Malé Atoll: Located close to the capital city of Malé, this is easily accessible and offers excellent snorkelling spots. It is home to numerous resorts and has beautiful coral reefs teeming with colourful fish, turtles, and other marine life. Some popular snorkelling sites in North Malé Atoll include Banana Reef, HP Reef, and Coral Garden.
• South Ari Atoll: This is also known as Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, is famous for its abundant marine life and crystal-clear waters. It is a hotspot for snorkelers and divers due to its proximity to several marine protected areas and the chance to encounter whale sharks and manta rays. Maaya Thila, Fish Head, and Rangali Madivaru are popular snorkelling sites here.
• Baa Atoll: Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known for its rich biodiversity and vibrant coral reefs. Hanifaru Bay, located here, is a renowned gathering spot for manta rays and whale sharks during certain months, providing an unforgettable snorkelling experience. Other snorkelling sites here include Kihaadhuffaru Thila and Dhigali Haa.
• Ari Atoll: This is also called Alifu Alifu Atoll, is another fantastic destination for snorkelling enthusiasts. It offers a range of snorkelling sites suitable for different skill levels. You can explore beautiful coral gardens, encounter a variety of fish species, and even spot sea turtles. Some popular snorkelling sites include Fish Head, Maalhos Thila, and Miyaru Kandu.
• Vaavu Atoll: This region is also known as Felidhoo Atoll, is known for its diverse marine life and pristine coral reefs. Snorkelers can enjoy encounters with sharks, rays, and a variety of tropical fish. The Alimatha Jetty is one of the most popular snorkelling sites, offering the chance to see nurse sharks and stingrays up close.

These are just a few examples of atolls in the Maldives that offer exceptional snorkelling experiences. Each one has its own unique underwater landscapes and marine ecosystems, providing ample opportunities for snorkelers to explore and appreciate the beauty of the underwater world. Don’t forget to speak to your tour operator to find out if there are any good Maldives offers that include good rates on accommodation and activities, before travelling there.


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