Introducing Ari Atoll
The geographic entity of Ari Atoll (as opposed to the administrative regions of North and South Ari) is about 80km from north to south and 30km wide and contains 18 inhabited islands out of a total of 81. The most populous island is Mahibadhoo, the capital of South Ari, with some 2000 people. Fishing and fish processing are the main industries – there’s a cold storage and processing plant here. There is now a guesthouse on Mahibadhoo and several more in the planning and building stages.
Other inhabited islands, typically with a population of a few hundred, are dotted around the edges of the atoll. Quite a few islands have ruins or artefacts of ancient Buddhist and Hindu settlements.
Maamigili, in the south of the atoll, has over 1600 people, many of whom work in nearby resorts, or in tourist shops that cater to island-hopping visitors. There’s a new airstrip here and Villa Air runs daily flights from Male several times a day.
The island of Fenfushi (population 825), on the southwest corner of the atoll, is noted for coral carving.