The Haa Alif Atoll is the most northerly administrative atoll in the Maldives, and is the archipelago’s third largest in terms of land area and population. Its tropical climate is drier during the north-east monsoon, which runs from December to March, and wetter during the south-west monsoon from May to November. The air temperature consistently averages 84° F (29° C), and the water temperature never drops below 75° F (24° C).
The far north of the Maldives is still relatively underdeveloped as a tourist destination. Although liveaboards visits are starting to increase, you won’t feel like you’re moored in a busy harbor during a dive. The hotels that exist on the atoll are targeting the luxury end of the market, but during the low season great deals can be found. Depending on your budget, a liveaboard may offer better value for money.
During your stay, you can visit Utheemu Ganduvaru on the island of Utheemu. This wooden palace is the birthplace of the Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu who, with his brothers, staged an uprising and fought for eight years to dispel the colonial Portuguese during the late 16th century.
The atoll is very popular with dolphins. You can head out on a traditional dhoni, spend the afternoon writing your dive log on its deck, and wait for playtime.
On a day off from diving, arrange a day trip to visit one of the fourteen inhabited islands. Understand the archipelago’s history and experience a Maldivian way of life. Or sail on a traditional dhoni to a small uninhabited island, walk around the white shoreline, and pretend you’ve been marooned.
The oceans offer the chance to sail a catamaran, or you can paddle a sea kayak and try to stand on a paddle board.
Spend the afternoon big game fishing, and barbeque your catch on the beach; experience the colorful corals during a night dive.
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.
A transfer to Haa Alif will take 75 minutes by seaplane.