Laamu Atoll, or Haddhunmathi Atoll, is located in the south of the Maldives. Its tropical climate keeps the water at a minimum of 24° C (75° F) all year. The dry season runs from December to March (north-east monsoon), and the wetter weather arrives in May, lasting until November (south-west monsoon). Whilst visibility reduces during this period, it’s also possible to find good discounts.
Laamu’s island of Gan is the largest in the Maldives with over 4 miles (7km) of continuous beach. It also has the remains of a large Buddhist stupa. However, due to vandalism and looting you shouldn’t expect Angkor Wat - but it will give you a glimpse of how religion spread across the Indian Ocean. A freshwater lake called Red Lake can be found in the middle of the island. The water is reddened by the leaves that fall into it.
Like many of the southern atolls accommodation is limited, and ranges from locally owned hotels to luxury spa resorts. Visiting the atoll on a liveaboard will often offer you the best value for money.
After the adrenalin of drift diving one of the atoll’s channels, or snorkeling the shallow, pristine inner reefs, you can walk along the lengthy shores at sunset, only stopping to photobomb honeymooners.
When you’re not diving or relaxing in the lagoon’s shallow waters, you can rent a bike and explore the Buddhist ruins on the island of Gan, or you can try deep sea fishing.
The challenging Ying Yang break is waiting for any surfers, or you could learn how to windsurf or sail a catamaran.
Place your dive log in a dry bag and paddle a sea kayak to an uninhabited island for a sense of solitude. Paddle back in time for 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.
Laamu’s domestic airport is located on Kadhdhoo Island, a 35 minute flight from Male.