The world's third-largest island is a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean. But now, thanks to efforts from its hosting nation and the private sector, South Ari Atoll has become an important part of the Maldives’ modern economy. The 800 sq mi (2,200 sq km) Coral Sea National Park on the atoll has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park, which is home to rare species such as the orca and jaela whale, also boasts one of the world's most beautiful natural side canyons with white sand beaches that are ideal for swimming or sailing. And with so much history behind it, you can explore more than just the ark itself. Check out some of our favorite things about South Ari Atol.
If you want to enjoy the serenity of the atoll in peace and quiet, you can head to the beaches for some recovering coral and its delicate marine ecosystems are the passions of many tourists. These sea-based ecosystems are also home to beautiful species like the blue-green algae that thrive on coral reefs, and they’re what make the coral atoll so beautiful.
How to get to SouthAri Atoll
You can get to South Ari Atoll from India and are therefore perhaps better served to book a cruise or transfer flight. But if you’re looking for an island walk in the Maldives, you’re out of luck. The South Ari Atoll is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, but the nearest mainland is a small island called Ratkhol. The island is also home to the only remaining working boat engine on the island and its crew are still using it to make boat repairs. The island is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has a rich cultural heritage.
What to do on an island in the Maldives
If you’re looking for a more in-depth experience, we have two island walks in the Maldives that you can try if you’re coming to the archipelago for the first time. And if you’re a market explorers type of person, you can also head to the nearby Indian Ocean to spot some of the more than 100 species of fish that make up the frigate fish reserve. If you’re more into trekking, you can also head to the famous spiritual island of Sacred Mountain to enjoy the serenity of the island, its stunning white sand beaches and the mesmerizing mist that billows around the mountain. Does your event plan include a wedding reception? You’re in luck because the Maldives wedding party is one of the most talked-about events on the island and is usually celebrated at the hotel where the wedding is held.
Dining in South Ari Atoll
At the end of the day, you probably just want to enjoy your vacation and not worry about all the other stuff in the atoll. So, if you’re looking for a more in-depth experience, we highly recommend heading to South Ari Atoll and trying some of the local cuisines. If you’re more into American food, you can also head to the nearby city of Central that’s also home to the famous Ganges Falls and where the world’s largest mangrove swamp is located. And if you’re more into Asian food, you can also try Nieves and the nearby coconut palm and misty tropical island of Goa. Both places are very close to the atoll and offer a very different experience than the exotically designed resorts on the island.
Best hotels in South Ari Atoll
Most importantly, you need to stay at the best hotels in South Ari Atoll. If you want to enjoy the serenity and tranquillity of the atoll, you’re going to have to stay at the hotel in the capital, Chanting. While Chanting is a touristy place that offers a more ‘island experience’ than the remote, more expensive hotels, it’s also an option for those who want to enjoy the serenity of the island with a little more intensity. If you want to stay in a more budget-friendly place, you can also check out the less-than-ideal-for-the-money hotels in the town of Rajahram.
Tips for getting out of a tight spot at South Ari Atoll
If you’re at all unsure about how to get yourself out of a tight spot at South Ari Atoll, we’ve got some tips for you. If you’re stuck inside the ark and can’t get out, there’s always the chance that the rest of the Maldives is considering making the same move and closing the entire archipelago to tourists. If you’re in the mood for a fun time, we would highly recommend heading to the nearby crystal clear Indian Ocean for a more social experience. And if you’re looking for a more remote experience, you can always head to the remote island of Poros. It’s a part of the Maldives that’s almost completely uninhabited and is a much more remote experience than the city-dwellers of Chanting.
The Maldives is a beautiful place to visit. While most people associate it with the amazing coral reefs and tropical weather, the Maldives also has a rich cultural and natural history that is worth considering as you visit the archipelago. The Maldives is affordable and incredibly relaxing, and you can even enjoy the tranquillity of the crystal clear Indian Ocean.