A Guide to the Islands of The Maldives
The Maldives – known for its beaches, turquoise waters, and rich marine life, is a paradise that every traveller should visit.
The Maldives is made of up to 26 atolls and hundreds of islands that offer a unique, luxurious, and peaceful experience. With so many islands to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which ones to visit and what to do on these islands.
In this guide to the Maldives, we aim to provide you with the essential information you need to discover and explore the different islands of the Maldives.
What Is An Atoll?
One term you'll frequently come across when exploring the Maldives is "atolls." An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef that surrounds a lagoon, and the Maldives is famous for its many atolls. Each atoll has its own unique characteristics and attractions, and some of the most popular atolls include the North and South Male Atoll, Ari Atoll, and Baa Atoll. These atolls are known for their incredible marine life, with some of the best diving and snorkelling sites in the world.
Now that we have that sorted, let’s jump into a few of the most popular islands and atolls you can’t miss out on when visiting the Maldives.
1. Maafushi: The Island For Everyone
The Maldives is home to over 1,200 islands, out of which 200 are inhabited. Among the inhabited islands, the capital island of Malé is the most populated, with over 200,000 people. The most popular island to visit in the Maldives is undoubtedly the picturesque island of Maafushi. It is the most developed and the most accessible to budget travellers. Maafushi is known for its charming beaches, water sports activities, and local restaurants. It is an excellent starting point for travellers who want to explore the Maldives without breaking the bank.
2. Baa Atoll: Discover Incredible Marine Life
Another island worth exploring is the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that is home to some of the most extraordinary marine life in the Maldives. If you're a fan of diving and snorkelling, Baa Atoll is a must-visit. The island's Hanifaru Bay is particularly famous for its breathtaking manta ray and whale shark sightings.
3. Veligandu Island: The Perfect Honeymoon Escape
If you're looking for a more luxurious experience, head over to the white sandy beaches of Veligandu Island. This resort island is perfect for couples who want to spend some quality time together. Its idyllic location and luxurious amenities make it a top pick for honeymooners. The island is surrounded by turquoise waters that provide a perfect backdrop for the stunning sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
4. Ari Atoll: A Bucket List Diving Experience
Ari Atoll is another popular choice for travellers looking for incredible marine experiences. It's famous for its large marine species, such as whale sharks and hammerhead sharks. Diving and snorkelling in Ari Atoll gives you the opportunity to encounter these magnificent creatures, along with other marine life like mantas, turtles, and various colourful fish species. Ari Atoll also features a range of luxury resorts and picturesque beaches, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing and unforgettable holiday.
What Is The Best Way To Get Around The Maldives?
The most common mode of transportation in the Maldives is via seaplanes, speedboats, or ferry services. The seaplane experience is truly remarkable, offering travellers a bird's eye view of the stunning landscape from above. Speedboats are the most affordable mode of transportation between islands and resorts, but if you prefer a more comfortable ride, opt for a private speedboat or a yacht.
The Maldives is a land of breathtaking beauty and should undoubtedly be on every South African traveller's bucket list. From exploring the vibrant underwater world to indulging in luxury resorts, the different islands of the Maldives offer something for every type of traveller. Take the time to plan your itinerary and choose the islands that cater to your preferences. Whatever your choice, be sure to embrace all that the Maldives has to offer, and you'll be creating memories that will last a lifetime.
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