Why Baa Atoll is one of the Best Atolls in the Maldives….
The islands in Maldives are all fabulous. Palm trees, long shores of fine sand and seas with a thousand hues of blue and crystal-clear waters. So, which atoll should you choose, among so many gems?
One of our personal favorites is Baa Atoll located in the north-west of Male’, made up of many islands each with its own coral reef. Out of the total 75 islands comprising the atoll,13 islands are inhabited and 17 islands are developed into resorts ranging from Luxury to environmentally conscious brands. Most of the inhabited islands have Guest Houses for tourists. Baa has a particularly high density of the ring-shaped reef forms called “Faroes”, a peculiar reef structure unique to the Maldives, as well as other unique reef forms.
Baa Atoll is also home to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve famous for its spectacular gatherings of Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. The Atoll is also well known to one of the largest areas of mangroves in the central part of the Maldivian atoll chain, and one of only two roosting sites in the Maldives for the frigate bird.
This beautiful atoll also has its own domestic airport which can be reached by a 25-minute journey from Velana International Airport. Once you arrive at the domestic airport, you will be whisked away in a speedboat to your destination. Seaplane Transfers are also available a 35-minute journey from the International Airport. Speedboat transfers from Male’ will take around 3 hours.
Fantastic marine life, beautiful nature and un-spoilt islands of Baa atoll are the best choice for those who want to feel like the modern Robinson Crusoe. The world class diving elsewhere in the atoll is also a major draw. Don’t miss superb snorkeling with the Manta Rays in Hanifaru Bay, and if you are lucky you might even spot a Whale Shark. If you want a truly unforgettable vacation and perfect holiday in the Maldives – the Baa atoll will be a wise choice.
POPULAR REEFS IN BAA ATOLL
Hanifaru Bay is a protected underwater bay located in the UNESCO Biosphere reserve. It is located 5 minutes by boat from Dharavandhoo Island. The incredible biodiversity inside this bay was formed due to the huge masses of plankton accumulating there from May to November. During this period, huge masses of plankton get into the funnel attracting whales and manta schools to the feast. At this time there can be found more than a hundred mantas and several whale sharks. This is the famous largest feeding station in the world. Hundreds of these large, graceful, cartilaginous plate-lace fish gather for a feast in plankton-rich waters.
Dhonfanu thila is an oval-shaped beautiful reef with interesting topography and a pinnacle that faces out into the prevailing currents. The entire reef becomes a cleaning station during manta season and a canyon on the other side of the swim through reaches down to 25 meters where divers are greeted by flourishing marine life including grey reef sharks, eagle rays, barracudas and large schooling Jacks. Schooling fusiliers and snappers, nudibranchs, long nose hawk fish and angelfish along with the prolific marine life at the current point, can make for some beautiful dives.
Another popular Baa Atoll diving spot considered a conservation area is the unique Anga Faru, the birthplace of gray reef sharks, also known as the “aquarium”. Here you can find Turtles, Barracudas, snappers and tuna. The most common species will be dozens of gray sharks and two-meter nurse sharks that will hover past you. The shark season begins in mid-January and ends in March.
The nearby dive site, called Anga Thila, is five rough blocks rising from the bottom of the atoll that are covered with many different soft and hard corals at depths of 25-30 meters. Exciting drifting is designed for experienced divers.
RESORTS IN BAA ATOLL
Baa Atoll luxury hotels are unique retreats where you can relax and unwind during your adventures in this famous UNESCO-protected, biosphere paradise. The hotels come in 5*-star options and mostly are elegant boutique resorts that provide a convenient base to explore marine wonders of Baa atoll.
You can read about our featured resorts located in Baa Atoll from the below links;
- Amilla Maldives Resorts and Residences https://puremaldives.com/featured-resort/amilla-fushi/
- Seaside Finolhu Maldives https://puremaldives.com/featured-resort/finolhu/
LOCAL ISLANDS IN BAA ATOLL
If you want to experience Baa Atoll on a budget with authentic Maldivian food, culture and lifestyle all the while enjoying everything Baa has to offer, local islands are the best option.
The islands offer excellent accommodation services in small boutique hotels with excursions to Hanifaru and other snorkeling & diving spots in Baa. The locals on the island are super friendly and shows heartiness like nowhere else in the world.
Here are our top 3 Island picks in Baa Atoll;
Maalhos is as at 10 to15 minute speedboat ride from Dharavandhoo Domestic Airport, with its own private beach, named bikini beach where you can relax, soak up the sun and enjoy swim the crystal-clear waters of Maalhos Lagoon. The island is surrounded by a spectacular house reef with rich sea flora and fauna. The house is a short swim from the shore, and there are several places where you can access a drop off easily. There is a great chance to see some pelagic animals as well as the regular reef residents. Reef sharks, moray eels, rays and turtles are often found on the house reef.
Only 20 minutes by domestic flight from Velana International Airport, Dharavandhoo lies in the heart of the only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. It offers an impressive snorkeling with manta rays and whale sharks, diving, sparkling white beaches and authentic island experiences. Sandy roads form a net of streets with colorful bungalows and modest houses. Made of coral bricks, these picturesque cottages show the island’s close link with the ocean. Their lush gardens boast of different varieties from banana and bread trees, passion fruit vines, leafy green vegetables and bright peppers.
Goidhoo is 100 km from Velana International Airport (VIA), and 35 km from the domestic airport on the island of Dharavandhoo (DRV). The island is surrounded by numerous reefs that have unique marine life and fauna. It is also home for large amphibian crabs which can often be found near the freshwater lakes of the island. Goidhoo is easily accessible by public transport and is quite large by local standards, but the village itself is very small, it is home to no more than 500 people. The rest of the island is embraced with tropical vegetation, mainly palm trees and ficus.
Photo Credit to respective owners: Hanifarubay, sideytheshark, itsbetterinbaa, visitgoidhoo, maalhos, Sonevafushi, Anatara Kihavah, Dusit Thani Maldives