Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Last updated on February 2, 2023
Ukulhas is a small inhabited island located at Ari Atoll’s northern edge. It is a good option for those seeking free shore access snorkeling. The drop-off extending on more than 650m at the island’s western side offer nice snorkeling only a short swim from the shore. A wide variety of tropical fish, small sharks, and even sometimes sea turtles await just underneath the water surface.
Ukulhas is an inhabited island located at the northwestern edge of Ari Atoll, about 1:20 hour by speed boat from Male and the international airport. The whole island is surrounded by a coral reef, but the best snorkeling area is located off the southwestern coast. The island is so small (less than 1km large) that you can easily walk to this spot from anywhere.
Enter the water wherever you like from the beautiful sandy beach, in front of the exploration area (see map above).
The recommended snorkeling area extends over 650 m along the beach located on the island’s southwestern coast. Water is quieter along this shoreline oriented towards the lagoon, and the reef is particularly easy to access from the beach.
Be careful not to get too close to the southernmost point of the island, it is more exposed to waves and currents and close to the mangrove swamp. Expect a rougher sea and clouded water. The snorkel area is limited at its northern end by a small boat channel (see map) and the power generator providing electricity for the whole island (listen to its noise: you won’t miss it).
The reef drop-off is located 70 to 120 m from the beach, depending on the location. The reef flat is shallow, especially during low tides (water depth not exceeding 2 ft/0.7m). The seabed is teeming with fish just a few dozen meters from the beach, but don’t hesitate to swim further and reach the gentle drop-off (↕6-30ft/2-8m) where underwater life is more vibrant.
A great diversity of fish species can be spotted on the reef. Clown triggerfish, powder blue tang, and Maldive anemonefish sheltering in their anemones are some of the most beautiful, among hundreds of other species. Many parrotfish also dwell on the reef, as well as small groups of big-eye breams, convict tangs, and even small blacktip reef sharks.
Ukulhas is an inhabited island with about 20 hotels and guesthouses, and a dozen of bars and restaurants.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Resort island with reef drop off, sharks, rays and turtles
Resort island with reef drop off and turtles
Resort island with seagrass beds and reef drop off, sharks and turtles
Resort island fringed by coral reefs with rays, turtles and reef fish