The Baa Atoll is located in the Maldives’ northern region. It was awarded UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve status in 2011 due to the diversity of its marine life, particularly around Hanifaru Huraa. This is a common spot for manta and whale shark sightings.
The atoll’s tropical climate has daytime temperatures averaging 84° F (29° C), and its water temperatures are 75° F (24° C) and above. From December to March, drier weather arrives during the north-east monsoon, and from May to November, the weather is wetter during the south-west monsoon.
Whilst only thirteen of its seventy-five islands are inhabited, due to the lure of its marine life, the atoll is well developed for tourism, and it's a popular destination for good value liveaboards. They also offer snorkeling trips around Hanifaru Huraa to try and spot whale sharks – diving is restricted in this area. The number of snorkelers is also restricted, which shows how popular the area is. During the low season discounts can be negotiated in the luxury resorts.
The atoll is well known for its wooden, lacquered handicrafts and woven feyli – a cotton sarong. You can visit the islands where they’re produced, which will provide a break after the intensity of snorkeling with half of the atoll’s tourists. The dive sites won’t be as crowded.
Snorkeling with whale sharks is one of the atoll’s popular activities, but it may feel like a piranha frenzy. Ask your resort/divemaster about the best place to see them.
A more relaxing way to spend your time is to take a traditional dhoni to the islands and watch how the lacquered handicrafts are produced. On the way back, you can stop at an uninhabited island and reflect upon the feeling of solitude. In the evening, explore the corals during a night dive.
Or you can relax on the beach before learning how to surf in the afternoon. Feeling tired but exhilarated, watch the sunset as the sand between your toes starts to cool.
Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is well served by direct charter flights from Western Europe, but direct scheduled flights are rarer – it may require a lay-over in the Middle East first.
The transfer to Baa Atoll will take 40 minutes by seaplane.