Small Ship Cruises in Baa Atoll

During your Maldives small ship cruise, head a little north of the capital, Malé, and you will reach Baa Atoll. Baa Atoll consists of 75 islets, of which 13 are inhabited. It is world-famous for being a UNESCO-protected area. Possibly even better known is Hanifaru Bay, where you can snorkel with manta rays and whale sharks

The Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is located in the Indian Ocean in the central-western part of the Maldives. The atoll is situated just north of the Kashidhoo Kandhoo channel, which geographically divides the northern chain of atolls. It is home to one of the largest groups of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean and acts as a stepping stone for transporting planktonic larvae of reef organisms from the western and eastern Indian Ocean. Baa Atoll’s coral reefs hold globally significant marine biodiversity that can be seen while snorkeling or diving.

The various islets that make up the atoll boast long stretches of white sand surrounded by turquoise crystal-clear water and lined with waving green palm trees. Whether swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving on your adventure cruise in Baa Atoll, you can observe plenty of marine life on the reefs. This includes various kinds of coral, whale sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles. Other water activities are also possible in Baa Atoll: kayaking, surfing, etc.

Top Things to Do in Baa Atoll

Hanifaru Bay

Do not miss a visit to Hanifaru Bay. It is one of the best locations in the world to snorkel with manta rays and whale sharks. This bay is a stunningly preserved tropical paradise with remarkable biodiversity in its coral reefs and marine life. It is, however, most famous for hosting manta rays in huge numbers during the season. Snorkelers can witness barrel-rolling chains of mantas and gulping whale sharks, all feeding on the plankton that is concentrated in the narrow bay. You may also spot manta rays and whale sharks in other areas of Baa Atoll as they tend to travel around.

Other activities in Baa Atoll

Aside from relaxing on Baa Atoll’s beautiful beaches, other water activities are also possible, such as kayaking, surfing, etc. Snorkel in one of the stunning island lagoons and admire the coral reefs and plethora of different marine life.

Best time to cruise Baa Atoll

The best time to visit Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is May to November. During these months, the southwest monsoon pushes in massive quantities of plankton, attracting large numbers of manta rays and whale sharks into the bay. Marvel at the manta rays ‘flying’ in formation through the dense plankton - a behavior known as cyclone feeding.

Where do Baa Atoll cruises depart from?

Eydhafushi is the main island of Baa Atoll, where you will find an airport, hospital, and various government offices. It also features some shops and restaurants, and the harbor will be a safe spot to anchor up for the night.