Enjoy 5* luxury at every turn
With a selection of secluded island resorts to choose from, it’s no surprise that South Ari Atoll is such a sought-after holiday destination. Vilamendhoo Island, for example, is well known for its over-the-water villas and selection of fine dining restaurants. Ideal for those who like the finer things in life, these high-end hotels have a real away-from-it-all vibe with top-notch features such as infinity pools, private beaches, hot tubs and exclusive beach clubs.
Those looking to pamper themselves will undoubtedly be tempted by the Maldives resort spas offering a range of wellness treatments, including traditional Maldivian coconut massages. Many of the South Ari Atoll hotels also offer daily yoga and meditation classes on the beach, allowing you to make the most of the stunning setting and serene atmosphere.
Excellent diving and snorkelling
Watersports-enthusiasts flock to South Ari Atoll for its superb diving and snorkelling opportunities. With over 40 diving spots waiting to be explored, there’s plenty of opportunity to swim among colourful marine life and spooky shipwrecks.
While most resorts have their own ‘house reefs’ which can easily be accessed from the shores, regular boat trips transport divers to the more challenging diving channels. One of the most popular places is Hukuru Elhi Faru, where manta ray cleaning stations are open from January until April.
Maamagili is another must-visit site, where you can spot moray eels, lion fish and mobula mantas. South Ari Atoll is also known as being the go-to place in the Maldives to see hammerhead and whale sharks.
A holiday to the Maldives is much more than infinity pools and gourmet dining. Exploring the island’s local communities and ancient Buddhist and Hindu ruins is also part of the package. Most resorts have their own safari boats that can take you to various islands throughout the day.
If you fancy a change from the slow-paced island life, head to the capital city of Male by boat or seaplane to wander around the bustling markets and people-watch from streetside cafes. Other popular day excursions include Ariadhoo Island and Fenfushi Island, where you can easily spend a day exploring the Buddhist shrines and mosques. South Ari Atoll’s deserted islands are also well worth visiting, where nothing but stretches of ivory sands and mangrove forests await.
A laid-back evening scene
Evenings in the Maldives mainly centre around the island’s resorts. Most of the hotels offer a variety of upmarket restaurants where fresh fish and coconut-based dishes dominate the menus. You’ll also find plenty of international options including Italian and Asian-infused dishes if you want to mix it up. Those staying in the luxurious over-water villas can take advantage of the dinner service and have a meal and drinks delivered straight to the room with mealtime views out over the ocean.
After dusk, most visitors choose to enjoy a quiet drink at the hotel bar or take a stroll along the beach to watch the sun set across the lagoon.