North Ari Atoll Liveaboard Diving

Location: Maldives, Ari Atoll Maldives, Ari Atoll

North Ari Atoll is a very popular diving area in The Maldives, and for good reason. Its location, and the make-up & quantity of islands & thilas ensures plenty of exciting dive sites. In 1984 Ari Atoll was separated into two administrative zones, North & South Ari. The capital/main city of North Ari is Rasdhoo, a mini-atoll just to the north of Ari Atoll, and almost directly west of the country's main international airport, which is just 60 km. away. In addition to Rasdhoo, the northernmost part of North Ari Atoll is Thoddoo. This very small island was among the last of The Maldives' societies to move from Buddhism to Islam. The southernmost island of North Ari Atoll is Himandhoo. Any islands south of Himandhoo are in South Ari Atoll.

north ari atoll

North Ari Atoll is also known as Alif alif Atoll & Ari Atholu Uthuruburi). Due to its close proximity to the airport and Malé Atoll, as well as the make up of the islands, it is one of the most-developed atolls in The Maldives, and one which gets the most tourists visiting its resorts.

Diving in this area is excellent, and possible for all levels of diver certification and experience. However, some dive sites are only suitable for more experienced divers, due to depth and potential currents. In addition to 'house reefs' at most resorts, there are plenty of other dive sites, which include a couple of wrecks, sloping reefs and drop-offs, but most of the dives are drifting along the kandus (channels between thilas, which are underwater islands). The large quantity of excellent diving sites around North Ari Atoll enables liveaboard boats to find somewhere for the guests to enjoy great scuba diving but without too many people in the water.

It's generally regarded that the best dive sites of North Ari Atoll include Maaya Thila, Fish Head, Ukulhas Thila and Radhoo Madivaru. But the list of dive sites is very long, and includes the following and more! Fesdu Wreck, Miyaruga Thila, Havza Thila, Maalhoss Thila, Rasdhoo Atoll, Bathala(a), (Kari) Beyru, Bodu Gah, Kuramathi Wreck, Halaveli Wreck and many more.


Conditions at North Ari Atoll

Depths
5 - 30+ metres
16.4 - 98.4+ ft
Temperature
26.6 - 31.3 °C
79.9 - 88.3 °F
Currents
Weak - very strong
Visibility
15 - 30 metres
49.2 - 98.4 ft
Surface
Generally calm during high season

When to dive at North Ari Atoll

Best Times: January to April

You can dive all year round at North Ari Atoll, but the driest months with the calmest sea & best visibility is January to late April / early May. June & July are the wettest period but diving is still possible, and there's sunshine and long dry periods between storms. August to November has limited visibility, but is also the best time to dive with Manta Rays.

Type of dive site

Wreck Diving, Blue-water diving, Deep diving, Mid-water, Reef, Coral reef, Wall diving, Swim-through, Overhang, Drop Offs, Snorkeling

Most of the dives are drift dives in the channels (kandus) between the islands (thilas). But there are a few wrecks, and plenty of reefs, including house reefs.


Where is North Ari Atoll?

North Ari is the northern half of Ari Atoll, with Himandhoo its southernmost island, and includes Rasdhoo (mini) Atoll and Thoddoo, which is furthest north.


How to get to North Ari Atoll

Liveaboard Boat

Visit The Maldives by international flight, arriving at Male Airport, then join a liveaboard cruise. these normally leave in the evenings at the weekend.

Many of the dive sites are 'house reefs' where you can go from the beach in front of your resort straight into the sea. But the best dive sites are more remote, and the best way to enjoy diving at North Ari Atoll is by liveaboard cruise. On these trips, you spend most of your time on the main ship, but dive from the support vessels, known locally as dhonis.


Who can dive at North Ari Atoll

All levels. Minimum 10 logged dives.

Any certified scuba diver can dive at North Ari Atoll. In fact, you can even learn to dive there. However, many dive sites require you to be certified to Advanced level (30m.) with 50 or more logged dives. 



Summary of North Ari Atoll

Diving in The Maldives is on many divers' bucket lists. North Ari Atoll, is included in many liveaboard's itineraries. Being located on the west side of the country, the marine life and make-up of the islands are slightly different from other atolls, including Male. It is one of the best places to dive in The Maldives. There are a few diving wrecks there, and Maaya Thila is regarded by many as the best dive site in Ari Atoll, or even the whole country.


Free Scuba Diver!
T-shirt & wrist band
+ Drybag or Beach towel
all liveaboard guests

Latest Reviews Average Rating 10.0/10 Based on 2 Diver Reviews for Liveaboards - North Ari Atoll

MV Emperor Leo MV Emperor Leo
Mad Harper
British
Review score: 10/10
Dived: 25 Jan 2020
Absolutely wonderful trip on the Emperor Leo doing Best of Maldives. Great variety of dives - from exhilarating hook-ins in strong currents to potteri...
MV Emperor Atoll MV Emperor Atoll
Raajesh
Indian
Review score: 10/10
Dived: 20 Oct 2019
Upgraded to emperor serenity. Never the less....excellent diving.....excellent food...excellent staff....very helpful. And excellent support from no t...
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