Maldives. Atolls. Islands.

Maldives. Atolls. Islands.

Maldive Islands is a unique piece of nature and an amazing place for tourist discoveries. This state is situated in the Indian Ocean. It is not far away from India and its religion is Muslim. However, respect of tourists is so important here, that even main christian feasts are paid due attention. The Republic of the Maldives is composed of several atolls that in their turn comprise numerous islands. Only 10 groups of atolls from 20 are open to tourists. And, with that, almost every single hotel on Maldives is situated on a separate island, letting tourists feel calm and quiet. Though, there are also many activities for adventure travelers, as the islands give multiple possibilities, such as diving, that attracts numerous divers from all over the world to these islands without equal. Despite high level of exoticism, vacations on Maldives are characterized by the highest level services.

On this site we’re going to tell you about the structure of the Republic of the Maldives, that is about atolls and islands, provide their description and detailed information on them.

KAAFU ATOLL (NORTHERN MALE)

Kaafu Atoll, or the Northern Male, consists of 8 fishermen and 27 tourist islands, and it is the main and the most tourist visited island of the Maldives Republic. The islands that are most approximate to the capital are allocated for an airport, a poultry farm, a coca-cola plant, a fuel stock and other special needs.

Male is one of the tiniest world capitals, for its surface is of 1.8 square km. Despite its small size, Male keeps the role of political, economical and cultural center of the Maldives. Because of the beauty of palaces built for the Republic rulers, the city is called “Sultan Island”. Despite rapid economy development and high population density it looks like an exotic village, a paradise lost in waters of the Indian Ocean.

Sandy back streets of the capital, so-called “goali”, managed to save their primary appearance. Only broad streets, “magu”, are cobbled. City life is the most agitated on the northern side, along the Bоdu Thakurufaanu Magu quay, that tourists call Marine Drive, and also around markets and the harbour.

Besides the quay, in Male there are two more main streets, crossing their way. They are Chаndаneе Magu and Madjeedi Magu. They form 4 inhabited districts: north-western Mafannu, with the embassy, fish and fruit market, harbour and family resorts in it; north-eastern Henveiru, that is the richest district with luxury buildings in Ameer Ahmed Magu as well as banks and ministries in Bodu Thakurufaanu Magu; southern Galolu is a calm residential area; Machangoli is a restaurant and caffee center concentrated in Madjeedi Magu street.

Life of the local population is hidden from curious eyes behind the coral walls, protecting quiet atmosphere of the houses and backyard gardens decorated with palms. Maldivians give their dwellings very poetical names: “shining of the dream”, “remember me”, “night flower”… The city of Male is so small that there is no place for the airport, so it was situated on the Island Hulule not far away. Particularity of the resort is a unique landing runway at the water line – it seams that the plane lands straight into the ocean. Once you’ve landed you will be transferred to the capital or to an island hotel.

Besides shopping, sport activities and sightseeing, it is also worth to have a look at the local beach spread along the lagoon. Walks around Male are very informative, life is vivid here even at night: fishermen prepare ships for departure, men of important age play cards till late hours in Marine Drive, family couples with children walk along the president’s quay and tourists move slowly by shop windows of Madjeedi-Magu. You can also come to the Star Cinema to watch some Indian movie.

ISLANDS AT CLOSE DISTANCE FROM MALE

Hulule – here is situated an airport that occupies the whole surface of the island. At plane arrival times, there opens the Maldives Tourism Promotion Board, tel.: +960 332-32-28, www.visitmaldives.com, mtpb@visitmaldives.com.mv. You can find it opposite the boat landing dhoni, in the end of Bodu Thakurufaanu Magu street. Here you will be given a list of tourist islands, the map of atolls and of the capital.

Villingili – incomparable beaches and crystal clean water are greatly appreciated by Maldivians who come here at the week-end. Get on a dhoni in a new port to the south-west of Male and leave for a daily trip! Yet remember that strict rules of local population (the country is Muslim) do not allow ladies sunburn in swimsuit.

 Aarah – a tiny island where president residency is situated.

Kuda Bandos – a small uninhabited island, national reservation.

Funadhoo – here are located stocks of fuel.

Dhoonidhoo – a prison island.

Thilafushi – an island of dumping ground.

 Kaafu atoll (South Male)

Atoll is separated from the Northern Male by Vadoo channel and stretches 19 km west to east and 36 km north to south. Only three islands from the pearl chain are occupied by local inhabitants, the rest of 19 paradise places are changed into resorts and rejoice tourists from all over the world by lovesome lagoons and marvelous beaches.

VAAVU ATOLL (alternative name: Felidhu)

 It is situated 65 km from Male, the capital of Madivian islands (90 minutes on a high-speed boat or 5 hours on a regular boat). Atoll represents an interesting geographic phenomena, as it is composed of two atolls: the main one, Vaavu and a round one, which is 9 km in diameter, placed near the main atoll. It is administratively the smallest atoll of Maldives with five inhabited islands with population of about 2300 people. Beside these five islands, there are 14 more, but most of them are almost not explored by tourists compared to other atolls. Vaavu atoll is considered one of the best diving places in Maldives.

A diving place at Fotteyo Kandu is considered the best one of the country and enters the best 5 of the world. Vaavu atoll was open for tourists in 1975 and became popular with many cruises and safari trips managers in Maldives. Eastern cays of the atoll are kept untouched and suit greatly not only for diving fans, but also for snorkeling. There can be meet many sharks, you have a chance to see a sword fish and other interesting species.

Meemu atoll (alternative name: Mulaku)

The atoll stretches 50 km north to south and 30 km large, it is composed of 8 fishermen islands and two resorts. Here you can find wonderful places for rest and diving, as judging by a number of trips. More about Meemu atoll.

Seenu atoll (alternative name: Addu)

The southernmost Seenu atoll, situated right near the equator, sstretches 15 km north to south and 18 km west to east. It consists of 5 islands: Northern Meedhoo and western Hulhudhoo, Gan, Feydhoo and Maradhoo, joined by bridges. In Gan island there are an airport and a resort hotel, and big Hulhudhoo is second most populated island after Male with its 12 000 inhabitants. Green picturesque Feydhoo and Maradhoo rustle with coconut palm plantations, attract with tiny bays that nest fishermen villages. Tourists residing in the Gan hotel will be pleasantly surprised with the possibility to visit nearby islands and get to know local life any time they like.

Faafu (Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi) atoll

It is a small atoll with oval shape and second name of Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi. It stretches 21 km west to east and 45 km north to south, and includes 5 fishermen islands and only one tourist resort. It was open for travelers quite recently. More about Faafu atoll.

Dhaalu (Atoll Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi) atoll

 Dhaalu atoll is 150 km north from Male and 5 km from Faafu atoll. It is also known as Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi (Southern Nilandhe Atoll). It is separated from Northern Nilandhe by Dheburidheytherey Kandu channel. You can get to the airport or to other atolls by hydroplane or by high-speed boat.

 Dhaalu atoll, stretching 38 km long and 23 km large, counts about 46 islands, many of them are uninhabited. Hydroplane transfer takes about 40 minutes. Dhaalu atoll was open for tourists only recently. Islands that are open for tourists are situated in the northern part of the atoll and provide great possibilities for diving. The main island here is Kudahuvadhoo. It’s quite a big island with developed infrastructure and population of about 1500 people.

Main cays, that are interesting and accessible for diving, are located along northern and north-eastern parts of the island. There are hardly any shallow cays inside the atoll.

Atoll lake, that is mostly clear from corals, makes boat excursion of the islands possible. Dhaalu atoll still keeps ruins of ancient abbeys and mosk. Islands inhabited by local people provide souvenirs on much lower price than the capital.

Alif atoll (alternative name: Ari, northern and southern parts are also called Alif Alif and Alif Dhaal).

 Atoll stretches 33 km west to east and 96 km north to south. Atoll is separated in two parts: Alif Alif (northern) and Alif Dhaal (southern). Northern part, beside main atoll, comprises also small Radshoo atoll; the capital Mahibadhoo is located in the southern part. Alif atoll consists of 70 islands, but only 18 of them are inhabited, and 25 are turned into resorts. Earlier local population was fishing sharks and tortoises here, but since sea hunting is prohibited, they are busy serving tourist islands.

Baa atoll (alternative name Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi)

This administrative unit of Maldivian Republic has common capital Eydhafushi with Horsburgh atoll. The atoll stretches 32 km west to east and 42 km north to south and comprises 10 inhabited islands. Local population earn their living with fishing, they also master more profitable tourist professions. Undersea world of Baa atoll is unbelievably rich and it attracts with the most interesting diving places. Beautiful corals, untouched by divers and dozens kinds of fish are waiting for ocean treasure hunters!

Raa atoll (alternative name: Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi)

 Raa atoll is a northern neighbor of Baa atoll and they constitute one administrative unit, Maalhosmadulu atoll. There’s only one tourist island on Raa atoll, it is Meedhupparu, with Adaaran Select Meedhupparu hotel, located on it.

Lhaviyani atoll (alternative name: Faadhippolhu)

 

Lhaviyani atoll is 120 km away from the capital, that’s why tourists reach it on a hydroplane. Atoll stretches 35 km north to south and 37 km west to east. Products and goods are brought here on dhonis, that cover this significant distance in 8 hours. Faadhippolhu comprises 6 fishermen and 4 resort islands.

Categories: Maldives