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Raa Atoll’s scuba is popular for its unspoiled thilas (submerged islands) and is suitable for beginners and advanced divers. Expect pink soft corals, turtles, Napoleon wrasses, reef sharks and mantas.

Diving in Raa Atoll

Quick facts

Raa’s diving is popular due to the high density of thilas (submerged islands) located inside its lagoon. The marine life amongst the caves, overhangs and drop-offs is diverse.

Fenfushi Thila is in the south of the atoll. The top of the pinnacle starts at 10 feet (3 meters). As you descend, you’ll see anemone coral and masked bannerfish with zebra stripes and yellow fins. At 46 feet (14 meters), you’ll find impressive overhangs that continue to 92 feet (28 meters) where big tuna, Napoleon wrasses, turtles and groupers can be found. You’ll find tubastrea corals on the walls and schools of orange basslets swimming by.

On the eastern side of the atoll is a site known as The Wall. The top of the reef is found at 33 feet (10 meters), and you’ll dive with Napoleon wrasses, eagle rays and turtles. During the south-west monsoon there are plenty of mantas, and you can spend time watching the birds of the ocean glide around you. The reef then drops off, and as you descend you’ll find caves, large sea fans and yellow and pink soft corals. The wall descends to 197 feet (60 meters) where you’ll find huge tuna and schools of longfin bannerfish. They have a long, curved dorsal fin that protrudes like a white antenna.

The Labirinth is another thila dive with interesting topography and marine life, and it's one of the atoll’s most popular dive sites. The reef has soft and hard corals, canyons, tunnels and lots of fish. Batfish will try to make friends with you but the grey and whitetip reef sharks probably won’t. In the crevices, you’ll see moray eels and groupers swimming amongst the corals. Depending on the season, you might see juvenile emperor angelfish. Their blue and white markings look like a drawing of an earthquake’s epicenter.

When to go

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5 Reviews
USD 1,406Per trip

What to see

The Raa Atoll is popular for the reefs on its thilas. The marine life is a diverse range of reef fish and corals, but you’ll still find sharks, Napoleon wrasses, rays and turtles.

There are many species of wrasse amongst the reefs. Dragon, lemon meringue, spotted and bird, which has a long nose, are just a few of them. On the sandy bottoms, you’ll find bearded scorpionfish resting like an elderly, bearded man slowly digesting the news.

Amongst the soft and hard corals you’ll find nudibranchs, colorful sponges, elaborate sea fans, crustaceans and octopus.

It’s time to buy that underwater camera that you’ve been promising yourself.


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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.

Other attractions

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.

Getting there

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.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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