The Raa Atoll, also known as Northern Maalhosmadulu Atoll or Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi, is located in the Maldives’ northern region. You’ll explore its unspoiled reefs in water that never falls below 75° F (24° C), and the tropical climate’s temperature averages 84° F (29° C). The dry season runs from December to March (the north-east monsoon), and in May, the south-west monsoon arrives and brings wetter weather and reduced visibility until November. Good discounts can be found at the atoll’s resorts during this low season; October and November is also peak manta season.
Only two resorts exist on the atoll, but it’s a popular dive location for well valued liveaboards - many operators require a minimum of twenty logged dives.
Ugoofaaru Island, the capital, has a large fishing fleet, and traditional dhonis are built on the island of Alifushi - they are renowned for their quality. The channel separating Raa from Baa Atoll is also known as Moresby Channel. It's named after Robert Moresby who conducted a marine survey of the Maldives in the early 18th century on behalf of the Royal Navy.
Luckily, Raa’s connection to Britain ends here. The quiet, clean beaches, tropical weather and underwater scenery will make going home a challenge.
In the north of the atoll, on the island of Vaadhoo, you can visit the Sea of Stars. The shoreline's Phytoplankton creates a bioluminescent show in the evening.
Arrange a visit to see some of the archipelago’s best dhonis being produced and stop at an uninhabited island on the way back. As you let a handful of white sand fall through your fingers, you can pretend that you own it.
Paddle across the lagoons in a sea kayak and try night fishing as the red sun slowly disappears into the ocean.
Sitting under a palm tree and admiring the entries in your dive log is also a guilt free option.
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 Raa Atoll will take 45 minutes by seaplane.