This year, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives is encouraging guests to explore the unspoiled underwater beauty of Raa atoll by staying longer and experiencing more at the property. With the package, guests can save up to 15% with a minimum of 7 nights, inclusive of daily dinner at the beachside restaurant. In the meantime, fill your calendar with these novel experiences!
The pristine waters of Raa are gifted with nature’s best assets; expansive blues as far as the eye can see, world-class diving sites and the richness of marine biodiversity. Both amateur divers and pros can enjoy the awe-inspiring underwater scenes of this atoll, with something in store for every level.
Rookie divers can limit their exploration to magnificent reef dives, home to a thriving ecosystem of species. Beginner divers will be spellbound by the plethora of organisms that delve underneath with stingrays, reef sharks and occasionally hawksbill turtles gliding past your viewpoint. Let’s not forget the vibrant and healthy coral gardens too, housing colourful schools of fish making your maiden dive one to recall for ages.
Experienced divers can dive a little deeper to discover the famed ‘Thila dives’ of the Maldives which thankfully were preserved during the disastrous bleaching events. Thila refers to underwater pinnacles and stores a vast bounty of marine creatures including reef fishes and pelagic fishes as well as grey reef sharks, happily swimming in the surrounding current.
Some of the diving sites that are 10-15 minutes from the resort are Labyrinth and Sola Corner. The Labyrinth is a small thila suited for diving all year round and with marvellous topography, swim-throughs and overhangs. A blossoming reef lies on top of the thila and a myriad of species can be spotted here. This includes rays, peacock mantis shrimp, octopus and huge lobsters. The current will drift you towards shark corner, where shivers of sharks collude.
Sola Corner is appropriate for diving between November to April as it becomes a bustling manta cleaning station during the months. In the off-season, divers can still sight voluminous eagle rays, a rare turtle and reef sharks joined by the usual surroundings of reef and pelagic fish.
The Raa Atoll boasts a large population of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, the endangered green turtle and the seasonal manta rays, making snorkelling here a rare experience to catch all three.
The resort organizes two weekly trips to a dazzling reef in Raa where hawksbill turtles frequently gather to feed. Catching a glimpse of these gentle creatures is sure to make an everlasting impression due to the rapid decline in their populations. To spot the green turtles, guests need to venture a little far out to a healthy reef an hour away from Alila.
This site is known as a feeding ground for green turtles and if you’re lucky you may even catch pods of dolphins. As for the manta rays, they are seen more regularly during the period November to March, however, graces Raa throughout the year. Travel by speedboat to catch these gentle creatures before snorkelling alongside the enormous yet intelligent rays.
The Maldives features several species of dolphins and the Raa Atoll is popular for big pods of spinner dolphins and the smaller pods of bottlenose dolphins. These friendlier beings love to tour the sunset hour, so head on a 2-hour cruise to search for these ocean friends. Aboard a traditional Dhoni boat, guests can delight in pods of dolphins jumping alongside the boat (bottlenose) and right in front of it (spinner), as they dip their bodies out of the water in curiosity.
“Sea of Stars” phenomenon
A new inclusion to the Alila Experiences, guests can embark on a journey to Baadhoo Island where the ‘sea of stars’’ phenomenon occurs. When night falls, the shore lights up in tiny, glowing dots of azure blue, resembling the star-strewn canvas of the sky. From November to January, bioluminescent plankton blooms, aquatic creatures that glow-in-the-dark when stimulated. This is definitely a bucket list item for many!
General Manager Thomas Weber remarked “Guided by our in-house certified experts, Euro divers, we invite you to discover the richness of the Raa Atoll. With few inhabited islands, it offers a peaceful and natural underwater experience with epic bucket list adventures to tick in 2023."