Ari Atoll, Maldives Cruise Port

Anyone who loves island-hopping, snorkeling, and scuba diving will glory in a stay in Ari Atoll in the Maldives; an “atoll” is a chain of islands formed from coral, and coral reefs are in abundance here. Surfing, magnificent beaches, and tennis will also thrill those looking for outdoor sports, while history buffs will appreciate its significance as an important religious center during pre-Islamic times. Charles Darwin’s research on the islands caused him to surmise that they were formed by a great volcano that sunk into the sea, millions of years ago. While cruising to Ari Atoll, you’ll find plenty of amenities, although development has been minimal; this lessens environmental stress and keeps local culture intact. Whether you’re looking to experience romance, great fishing, or plenty of sunshine (located on the equator, the island gets plenty of daylight and warm temperatures), here are some of our favorite experiences for the cruise port of Ari Atoll:
 
  • This is one of the best spots in the world to swim with whale sharks, and the optimal time to encounter them is from May to December. Many cruise lines offer shore excursions, so you don’t have to go it on your own.
     
  • Visit the Halaveli Wreck, once known as the "Highly 18," where curious stingrays frequent because of regular feedings. The sunken ship is also home to schools of mackerels, morays, and an occasional turtle.
     
  • Divers will enjoy Pantone (or Panettone), a reef on the north side of Kalhuhadhihuraa Faru, where caves and overhangs have an abundance of soft coral. It's also a great place to find more fish, such as giant trevally, sharks, and barracuda. If you want to swim with sharks, visit in March to November; if mantas are your thing, visit from December to April.
     
  • When your inner archaeologist calls, visit some of the other small islands within the atoll to check out the ruins and artifacts of ancient Buddhist and Hindu settlements.
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