Exploring the seas around Faarufushi in the Maldives

Swap sandals for snorkels and dive into the incredible underwater world of the Maldives. While the sea here is so clear that you can see rays and fish skimming the coral from the deck of your overwater villa, nothing beats scuba. Make Faarufushi, one of the Maldives' most beautiful boutique hotels, your base and you'll be at the heart of the spectacular seascape that's the Raa Atoll Isles.

Faarufushi

DIVE INTO RAA ATOLL

With over 90 islets to explore, Raa Atoll is the place to go for unspoiled dive sites with exceptional marine life. The warm seas and tropical climate make it an excellent destination for year-round diving. The diving visibility around Faarufushi in particular is excellent, averaging between 10 and 30m. And while the currents can be strong towards the channels, the Northern Atolls offer dives suitable for all levels, with mostly calm seas throughout the year (though June can be a little choppy).

Arrive in signature Maldives style as a scenic seaplane journey takes you from Malé Airport to Faarufushi – where you can drop off your bags and take a dip in the infinity pool.

Then, when you're ready to explore your surroundings, it's time to go underwater. Begin with a dive on Faarufushi's house reef. Resident PADI Centre operator Lonu is on-hand to offer advice and run dive courses for absolute beginners, seasoned pros, and everyone in-between. You can expect to see all manner of tropical fish among the coral just off the island, as well as tuna, rays and reef sharks. The sharks in the shallows tend to be babies and, left alone, are usually timid and harmless to humans.

On dry land: Between dives, enjoy Faarufushi's stunning setting on dry land – with bars and beach restaurants such as Athiri which overlooks the lagoon. Bar Iru is perfect for an alfresco lunch under coconut palms when the sun is at its highest.

Faarufushi

SEE THE STARS OF THE SEA

Drift gently into island life: greet the sun each morning with a Faarufushi yoga session on the beachfront pavilion and stretch out those swimming muscles for the day ahead. If you don’t fancy a deep dive right away, pick up a snorkel and mask from the dive centre, and head out into the shallows to float above the coral. Here you’ll rub fins with triggerfish and banner fish, and may even glimpse turtles as you swim across the reef.

With a range of daytime activities and excursions on offer from Faarufushi, there’s plenty to see from above the surface of the water too. Get up close and personal with dolphins on a catamaran tour, have a sailing lesson under blue skies or hire a kayak and seek out the sea life as you paddle the pure waters.

Beach Retreat Pool

WORK UP AN APPETITE

When it comes fine dining at Faarufushi, you’re never far from the ocean. Eclipse is the place to be in the early evening for fresh, modern European cuisine with an Asian twist, served on the side of the lagoon. And if you haven’t had your fill of diving – or over-indulged with the hand-picked wine list in Boli – you can follow up an evening meal with guided night snorkelling. It’s an atmospheric way to experience the reef – and a truly unforgettable experience.

Tropical treats: To best enjoy Faarufushi’s Nika Spa, dedicate at least a day to explore all this waterside wellness retreat has to offer. Wander the banks of the tranquil water garden as you wind your way through palms and greenery, before dipping into the plunge pools and steam-treating yourself in the steam room. Embark on a guided yoga session shore side. Or opt for one of the island’s tailored treatments.

Nika Spa