Introduction

South Ari is famous for its year-round population of whale sharks, which cruise the outer atoll channel gorging themselves on plankton just south of Maamigili. These gentle giants attract dozens of diving and snorkelling boats from nearby resorts and guesthouses each day. While you won't be alone, swimming with one of these creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should not be missed.

Mahibadhoo, with around 2000 inhabitants, is the atoll capital and has a growing guesthouse scene. Maamigili, on the atoll's southern tip, is the most populous island here with 2300 people, many of whom work in nearby resorts. The island also has the only airport in Ari Atoll and is a popular base for divers. Between the two, Dhigurah, with a population of around 600, is a charming local island with a massive sandbank and a growing number of guesthouses.