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Last updated on February 2, 2023
The southern tip of Ari Atoll, known as Whale Shark Point, is one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks. This area, where plankton and nutrients abound, attracts dozens of whale sharks all year round. If you stay in the south of Ari Atoll, all the hotels can organize this tour.
Whale Shark Point is a large area extending along the southern tip of Ari Atoll, facing the inhabited islands of Maamigili and Fenfushi, and the resort island of Sun Island. This spot is only reached with boat tours, which can be organized from most of the southern atoll islands. You’ll have the choice between full-day or half-day tours.
Half-day tours are generally organized in the morning, so it is often recommended to choose a day trip, and thus be able to enjoy the quieter afternoon (more sharks and fewer people in the water). Prices are variable, on average around $100 per person for the day.
Most of the boats look for sharks from the surface. Once spotted, you’ll be invited to enter the water and start swimming along with them
Whale Shark Point is a large area, almost 10km long, that edges the southern tip of Ari Atoll. Once on site, your captain will start looking for whale sharks while sailing slowly in the area. As soon as a shark is seen, the guide will tell snorkelers to don their snorkeling gear and quickly jump into the water.
Once at the side of this giant of the seas, always respect the whale sharks spotting rules (a briefing will be given to you on the boat during the journey). It is notably totally forbidden to touch sharks.
Sharks are often quietly swimming just on the surface of the water, which makes them very easy to observe and photograph.
Whale Shark Point is one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks. They are present throughout the year in these plankton-rich areas, but the largest gatherings are observed between December and April.
Be aware that although you are likely to find whale sharks during your tour, sometimes you do not see them at all. Some guides estimate that whale sharks are only spotted during 3 out of 4 tours on average over the year.
This spot is also famous for the presence of manta rays during the northeast monsoon, with a peak between February and April. As with whale sharks, rays are spotted from the boat, then you will be invited to join them in the water.
Another famous spot for whale shark watching around Ari Atoll is Dhigurah Island, located 12km northeast of Maamigili.
Day tours include lunch and refreshments. Check when booking.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
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
Reef drop off with colorful fish
Free shore access
Resort island with seagrass beds and reef drop off, sharks and turtles
Resort island fringed by coral reefs with rays, turtles and reef fish