Huvadhoo Atoll In The South Of Maldives
Though the Maldives is regarded as a very small country with only a total land area of 297.8 sqm the archipelago has many worlds within itself. In fact, there are some atolls that are quite remote and unexplored. If you’re the type of traveler that sees remote as a positive, head to the far south of the archipelago to Huvadhoo Atoll within the Maldivian Archipelago to unlock your inner explorer.
The southernmost atolls in Maldives have their own unique geography and distinct properties. Moreover, it is one of the second largest atolls in Maldives as well as one of the ten largest natural atolls internationally. There are amazing dive sites for the experienced divers, some of the best surf spots for both beginner and veteran surfers as well as untouched ancient Buddhist temples.
Huvadhoo is one large natural atoll. Maldives government keeps it divided into two, namely Gaafu Alifu Atoll and Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. Collectively it is also known as Gaafu Atoll, too many names may little confusing for tourists but that's how the names are given. This map of Maldives atolls
clearly shows it is one massive atoll in the Maldives archipelago. The whole atoll is surrounded by a ring of reefs that form an intermittent barrier from the open waters of the Indian Ocean as well as a deep central lagoon reaching depths of 85 meters. Unlike the central and northern atolls in the Maldives that’s been in the tourism business since the beginning, this southern atoll is a hidden gem with only around seven luxury resorts and not even a dozen guesthouses. If one wishes to travel to this remote atoll, they have the option of taking an hour-long journey on a seaplane or a domestic flight. The seaplanes are what to opt for when traveling to a luxury resort as it’s direct transport to the hotel. The domestic flights can either be to the Kooddoo Domestic Airport (Gaafu Alifu Atoll) or Kaadedhdhoo Domestic Airport (Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll) where you can take a speedboat to your destination upon landing. Though the atoll is remote there a few luxury resorts, so in this article we have picked the best two budget friendly islands that provide the best value for money.
Diving at Huvadhoo
The Gaafu Atoll is a hidden gem for the experienced divers as there are world-class, renowned diving spots with a combination of crystal-clear waters, mesmerizing underwater topography and biodiversity that is often overlooked. The outer reef that acts as a barrier from the vast open Indian Ocean waters consist of around 40 little reef segments separate by channels. These channels are one of the key features of the atoll and they can either be really narrow or really large. Therefore, they contribute in making the underwater world of Gaafu Atoll a wonderful diving playground with very exciting features such as caves, steep overhangs and landscapes. They play an important role in connecting the inner lagoon to the outside ocean where you can find numerous schools of fish, Manta Rays, sharks and other large pelagic species.
In fact, in this atoll, the large marine life is king where the pelagic species can be spotted very frequently. It’s said that most divers visit the atoll to see the variety of sharks, such as the white tip and black tip, grey reef and even nurse sharks. If one is lucky, they might encounter a tiger shark or thresher shark along with a sailfish or a large hammerhead shark. It’s even possible to spot to whale sharks as well as head to the Manta Point to get a guaranteed Manta Ray sighting. For the very enthusiastic divers, liveaboards and diving safari cruises are recommended as they travel through all the internationally famous dive spots as well as the hidden, undiscovered dive sites.
Surfing at Huvadhoo
The Huvadhoo atoll is considered by the international surfing community to generally have the best conditions for surfing in Maldives due the breaks picking up more swell as well as the quantity and variety of spots. It is also regarded as the last frontier for surf trips and have a more extended season that starts from February and ends in November. One can find a break or two for almost each island but though a few are beginner level, most are for the experienced with the breaks smashing onto reefs. Five of the best spots for surfers is Antique, Voodoos, Beacons, Five Islands and Shangri-La.
Let’s start off the list with options that are more friendly for the travelers on a budget, the luxury resort of AYADA Maldives
. Located at Magudhuvaa island in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, the hotel really hits the jackpot in picking the location, situated amidst a large, isolated pristine reef on a beautiful private isle within the southern rim of the southern Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. This five-star facility, based on the tranquil natural island of Magudhdhuvaa, offers a truly luxurious retreat with a genuine Maldivian charm. From the reviews of those who’ve traveled there, it can be said that AYADA Maldives is the perfect for couples with children as there’s a wonderful kidds’ club, numerous activities and amazing service. Additionally, the Ayspa is an award-winning spa and there’s lots of activities, watersports and diving opportunities for the active tourists.
The house reef of the island is undamaged even after the construction of the water villas and there’s no noticeable erosion. There’s lots of snorkeling spots all around the island and both the water and beach villas are positioned so guests can access as many spots as easily as possible. This is why most of the water villas are placed on a jetty that extends northwestwards. This five-star hotel is designed to cater to both the romance-chasing honeymooners as well as adventurous vacationing families and large enough to give a feeling of seclusion for all tourists.
There are a total 122 spacious villas and suites, each one featuring private pools, butler and thoughtful five-star detailing. The beach villas offer absolute privacy amid tropical greenery alongside and outline most of the beach of the island. There are 10 Garden Villas tucked away in the greenery of the resort and 33 Beach Villas covering most of the eastern side of the island, along with 4 Beach Suites which are slightly larger. The main restaurant of the resort is right next to the beginning of these villas and suites. There are 14 SunsetBeach Suites; the largest land beach villas are at western side facing the sunset and two restaurants, Ocean Breeze and Kai to either side ofthe villas. For the beach-loving couples who might have a kid or two, these suites are just perfect. There are also 11 Sunset Lagoon Villas that are literally placed on the beach and extends into the lagoon, unlike the beach villas that are placed on the beachfront with the beach right across.
Three curved jetties extend from the northern end of the island, two of which connect at the end and the other connected to one the nearest by a bridge that house the quintessential overwater thatch roofed water huts. On the east side of both the east-curved jetties are a total of 33 Ocean Villas overlooking vast Indian Ocean. In the middle of one jetty, is the resort's Wine and Cheese Island. On the west-facing jetty, are the very lavish 16 Sunset Ocean Suites, where two of them can be converted into a Sunset Family Suite where the daybeds in the living room is turned into a bedroom. Finally, at the end of where the two jetties meet, is the Ayada Royal Ocean Suite, the ultimate accommodation option for the high rollers or those looking to splurge.
Although located in a remote atoll, this luxury resort manages to give their guests a stellar dining experience with charming, top notch restaurants and bars with service that is second-to-none. The main restaurant of the resort is Magu and is located on the eastern front of the island facing the ocean, to the right of the arrival pavilion and next to the reception. The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner in an international buffet-style with an ever-changing theme and spread. Head in the opposite direction to get to Ocean Breeze is an overwater, open-air dining venue which extends into the lagoon where you can relish seafood or modern European dishes.
On the southwestern side of the island Moreover is the restaurant Kai, which serves an exquisite range of far-eastern and Asian delicacies. Next to Kai is the Zero Degree Pool Bar, which is the entertainment hub of the resort. On the meeting point of the bridge that connects two jetties, Ile De Joie is a tiny overwater cheese and wine bar with a fine wine cellar. The Ottoman Lounge is located on the northern tip of the island along with the shopping arcade, where guests can experience authentic Turkish Coffee, yeas and even a shisha like a traditional Turkish café. Zero Degree is the entertainment hub of the resort and sea salt is for the barbeque fanatics. Mizu features a live kitchen station and finally, there’s in villa dining.
Amari Havodda Maldives
Another budget friendly option in the Huvadhoo atoll is Amari Havodda Maldives, situated on a charming little isle, with more beach than vegetation and the lagoon and housereef teeming with marine life. This resort is mainly aimed at couples and although children are allowed, there isn’t much around to keep the young ones entertained. So, honeymooners and couples, if you are looking for a dreamy vacation in your own private villas with the view of the ocean or the beach you know where to go! Guests have described as having the feeling that they had the Indian Ocean all to themselves. The resort is situated on an island that’s 400 km south from the airport, so the overall trip from the middle east or Indian subcontinent might feel very long and tiring, but it’s worth it for sure! A an hour long domestic flight from the international airport to the domestic airport in Kaadedhoo (Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll) and then a short speedboat ride to the resort.
The resort has a 120 villas and bungalows, each divided evenly between beach villas and overwater villas. The entry level villas are not the biggest you’ll find in Maldives, at just 95 sqm but the interiors are coz, colorful and luxurious to make guests will feel right at home. They’re the 27 Beach Villas and the 21 Sunset Beach Villas. The most recommended beach bungalows are the more spacious Beach Garden Pool Villas and the Sunset Pool, and there are only 6 of each category. However, guests who’ve recently visited the resort have noted on their reviews that the western side of the island is suffering from erosion although they also mentioned that it wasn’t so bad that it would the holiday.
There are also 58 lovely pool on the two jetties extending from either side of the island, with a lovely view and beautiful deck, but a bit underwhelming when compared to the beach villas as they’re a bit too small. However, the best accommodation option that the resort offers is the Water Pool Suite, and there are only two of them. Stunning interior design and exclusive privacy as well as an extensive outdoor deck with lots of lounging options and a private pool, what more could one ask for? To add to that, there are snorkeling channels and areas that surround the island, just a skip away from whatever room you stay at!
The dining facilities at this remote location are up to the tropical island retreat standards, with around 5 restaurants and bars to dine at. The best option at this resort is to stay on a fully inclusive rate like most guests do. According to reviews, the standard is always consistently excellent. So head to the southern tip of the island to reach the Amaya Food Gallery, the resort's signature all-day dining pavilion where you can select dishes from a buffet with a spread that’s international and includes Thai delights. Right next to the restaurant is the Pizza Kaage, which features takeaway pizzas, snacks and light meals throughout the day. The Thari Bar is situated at the large swimming pool that faces the ocean and serves chilled beverages. The island has one à la carte restaurant, Ember Grill, specializing in high-end barbecue food and located on the northern tip of the island. The ribeye steaks and lobster bisques you can get there are customer favorites there. There’s also the Iru Bar, facing the sunset on the western side of the island.
Like every 5-star tropical island retreat, the resort features a top-notch Euro-Divers dive center and watersports center for the thrill seekers along with a wonderful spa for the ones here to relax. There’s something to do for everyone at Amari Havodda. Take a dip in the resort pool with a signature cocktail, or go an excursion and visit a sandbank!
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