- Free Nitrox
The Emperor Virgo is a luxury floating resort. She has eight comfortable cabins with en-suite bathrooms & individual climate control. The Virgo Maldives schedules diving cruises from August through May.
The Carpe Vita is a 38m yacht with 10 cabins accommodating 20 guests. She visits Kudarah Thila, Manta Point, Maaya Thila, Fish Head, and Machafushi wreck.
- Free Nitrox
Emperor Serenity offers 13 en-suite, air-conditioned cabins, accommodating 26 guests. Scuba Diving takes place from the large, fully equipped diving Dhoni, Nitrox is FREE & non-divers are catered forEmperor Serenity
Liveaboard Dive Sites
Scuba divers plunge into the waters of Ari Atoll for the promise of spectacular pelagic encounters. Ari Atoll is the most reliable Maldives location for whale sharks and manta rays, as well as for tons of reef sharks and turtles. The area's general topography is dominated by kandus and thilas. Thilas are volcano-shaped pinnacles rising from the depths of the sea and attracting lots of sea life; kandus are current-filled channels from the open ocean, where big fish ride the ripping highway to their next meals.
Ari Atoll's thilas are colonized by sea life like all Maldives pinnacles, but this area is not the best Maldives site for corals and color. Instead, Ari's main draw is the large wildlife in the water column. Various marine protected areas within Ari Atoll ensure the conservation of its incredible underwater creatures, so diving within Ari Atoll sanctuaries at sites like Fish Head and Kudarah Thila should not be missed.
The crowning jewel of Ari Atoll is Maaya Thila, considered one of the top Maldives dive sites for both day and night dives. This pinnacle is famous for the wild abundance and diversity of its reef life, from nudibranchs and octopus to schools of pelagic fish. As you descend to the deeper areas, caves and overhangs add variety to the topography.
Maaya's neighbor Donkalo Thila holds its own crown as a premier cleaning station for mantas and sharks in the western section of the atoll. Kudarah Thila and Rangali Madivaru, both in the southern section of Ari Atoll, host high-volume manta cleaning stations as well, while Ukulhas Thila is the premier manta cleaning station in the north. Hammerhead Point in Rasdhoo Atoll, northeast of Ari, tops it all off. The deep water drop-off near this site gives divers a special opportunity to see hammerheads, the highlight of many divers' Maldives liveaboard adventures.
Within Ari Atoll's 40 km length and 105 small islands, site after site vies for divers' wonder and appreciation. However, if it's sharks you're looking for, Fish Head pinnacle is the best place for an adrenalin pumping dive- here, throngs of bustling grey and white tip reef sharks scour the reef for their dinner under huge schools of dancing fusilier. Fish Head lies in the eastern section of Ari Atoll and enjoys marine protected area status. It is known as one of the top ten Maldives dive sites, partly because of its shark abundance and reliability of sightings.
Those who want to swim with the giant of the ocean turn to Maamgili, where plankton-rich waters nourish whale sharks gliding over wrecks that also host large marble rays and nurse sharks. For wrecks, Ari Atoll offers Fesdu and Halaveli. Fesdu Wreck in the north is popular with macro critter lovers for its resident ghost pipefish and plethora of nudibranchs and flatworms. This fishing trawler was sunk to become an artificial reef more than ten years ago. Halaveli is a 33 meter long freighter where huge blotched fantail rays provide an impressive counterpoint to the macro-life tucked into the wreck's holes and corners, and can be dived day or night.
For divers who need color, Ari can also deliver. Rahdhigga Thila is crowned in its shallows with healthy branching corals and festooned on its sides with soft corals in every shade of the rainbow, not to mention other benthic organisms like sponges of many shapes and sizes. Pelagics lovers won't even feel left out here because Rahdhigga hosts shark action from silver tips, white tips and grey reef sharks.
Getting to Ari Atoll
The length of liveaboard itineraries in Ari Atoll ranges from 7 to 12 nights, with a budget of between 200 and 400 euros per night. Very often, a liveaboard bound for Ari Atoll and Rasdhoo Atoll will include North or South Male, Baa Atoll, or the southern atolls of Meemu and Vaavu in its tour. Usually, the south-focused itineraries which include Male, Meemu, and Vaavu, visit south Ari Atoll. North-focused itineraries visiting Male, Baa, and Raa, visit more of Ari Atoll, and include Rasdhoo Atoll as well.
However, Maldives liveaboard itineraries present great variety of choices and variations, like Carpe Diem's tour including Baa, Rasdhoo, Ari, Male, and Vaavu, and Orion's ìManta Madnessî itinerary. Most Ari Atoll liveaboards depart from Male, the capital city of the Maldives, but Carpe Diem's north-south trip departs from Baa. Most of these liveaboards are M/V luxury yachts, though the M/V Aggressor also has gorgeous sails.
The experience level required by Ari Atoll liveaboards varies from Open Water with no logged dives to Advanced Open Water with 100 dives. Currents are strong at Ari except at slack tides, but calm water also means no fish, so it's experienced divers who will be best able to take advantage of diving Ari Atoll.
Many Ari Atoll liveaboards depart from Male, reachable by short flights from nearby Singapore, Dubai, and Colombo. Longer international flights from Europe, America, China, India, and Australia are all readily available, often connecting through the airports mentioned above. When Ari Atoll itineraries depart from other ports like Baa, a sea plane from Male is the best way to get there.
Best time to travel
Ari Atoll can be dived by liveaboard all year round. December to May hold the calmest seas; however, August through November is the best time for manta rays. Never fear though- manta rays can still be seen reliably during the calm season at certain sites. Shorty wetsuits usually keep divers comfortable at 26-29 C, and visibility is usually 15-30 meters. When visibility varies between sites, it's usually because of the seasons and the particular characteristics of each site location. Some of the best manta and whale shark sights are green with plankton, but catching a glimpse of these giants makes up for it.
Ari Atoll Diving Reviews
Every dive in Ari Atoll was amazing we got to see many pmanta rays, sharks, and beautifull reefsDiving Ari Atoll in November on the Fun Azul
Great, loads of sharks, Manta's etc.Diving Ari Atoll in November on the Emperor Voyager
Lots of fish and sharks beautiful reefsDiving Ari Atoll in November on the Scubaspa Yang
AWESOME!Diving Ari Atoll in October on the Leo Liveaboard
Extraordinary: Whaleshark!!! Super visibility!Diving Ari Atoll in November on the Emperor Serenity
good - we have seen the rays but not the whale sharksDiving Ari Atoll in November on the Emperor Serenity
good to see a lots of shark and manta , just like live in the movieDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Scubaspa Yang
Great sites, plenty of underwater life, sometimes strong currentsDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Blue Force One
Ari Atoll was excellent. It is a pity I did not get to see the whale shark, which was one of the goals of the tripDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard
Nice coral, beautiful shark action with lots of grey reef sharks and silver tips!Diving Ari Atoll in October on the Sachika Liveaboard
Great, no complaints... Water temp 28 degrees, visibility a bit less because if a passing storm ( some dives), but overall a great experienceDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Scubaspa Ying
ExcellentDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Scubaspa Ying
a lot of shark manta ray and other kind of marine lifeDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Emperor Atoll
Incredibly beautiful!Diving Ari Atoll in September on the Emperor Serenity
AmazingDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Moonima Liveaboard
Awesome - lots to see, from big stuff to micro, whale sharks, mantas, turtles. A bit strong currents on certain dives, but overall really great stuff.Diving Ari Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Ying
Great dive sitesDiving Ari Atoll in September on the Scubaspa Yang
Unbelievable...this is where we saw whale sharks!Diving Ari Atoll in September on the Blue Force One
Ari atoll was nice, with plenty of options depending on the weather conditions. Very nice dives, specially fish head and Maya ThilaDiving Ari Atoll in August on the Sachika Liveaboard
Fantastic sites, with a good mix of micro and macro life. Abundant marine flaura and rock formations. A handful of dives had murky water (5-15m visibilitity) which is expected this time of the year. Each dives had its unique features and the national parks are a must.Diving Ari Atoll in August on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard
Excellent diving, medium current, great diversityDiving Ari Atoll in July on the Emperor Atoll
Fantastic fish life, much "big stuff". Unfortunately corals have not recovered (El-Ninho, coral bleachng), but nevertheless many great sights.Diving Ari Atoll in August on the MV Ari Queen
Great placeDiving Ari Atoll in October on the Orion Liveaboard
Great, good current, plenty of sharksDiving Ari Atoll in May on the Orion Liveaboard
Perfect!Diving Ari Atoll in July on the Emperor Atoll
It had good fish life.Diving Ari Atoll in July on the Carpe Novo Liveaboard
Very nice dive sites, great choices of location and beautiful scenery. Managed to see lots of sharks, a couple of mantas and a whaleshark. Could tick everything off the list even though it wasn't peak season for anything.Diving Ari Atoll in June on the Emperor Atoll
Beautiful, have seen lots of sharks, turtles, also eagle rays, murrays, and beautiful corals.Diving Ari Atoll in July on the MV Ari Queen
Awesome! Only word to describe it! Every dive offered something new.Diving Ari Atoll in June on the Emperor Voyager
We were expecting poor weather and reduced visibility because of we were not diving in the peak season, but it was wonderfulDiving Ari Atoll in June on the Carpe Vita Liveaboard