Huvadhoo Atoll is not only the second largest Atoll in the Maldives, it is also part of the top 10 Atolls in the world, in terms of surface area. Huvadhoo Atoll was split into two parts in the 1970’s for administrative purposes; North Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Alifu) and South Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Dhaalu).
Snorkeling at Huvadhoo Atoll
CAPITAL: Villingili (North) / Thinadhoo (South)
TOTAL ISLANDS: 235
POPULATION: 32108 (2009)
ISLANDS IN HUVADHOO ATOLL:
Falhumaafushi, Funamauddoo, Gazeera, Hadahaa, Kaashidhoo, Konottaa, Kudamuraidhoo, Lhossaa, Lonudhoohuttaa, Magudhdhuvaa, Mahadhoo, Meradhoo, Munandhoo, Gaddu
Huvadhoo Atoll is sometimes referred to as 'Suvadiva' on western maps, and is situated on the southern end of the chain of island atolls that is the Maldives. Although Huvadhoo may sometimes be mistaken for the largest Atoll in the Maldives, it is actually the second largest natural atoll in the Maldives with a surface area of just under 3200 km2. The total land area is around 38.5 km2, and there are many smaller islands, islets and sandbanks dispersed around Gaafu Atoll.
Map of Huvadhoo Atoll - Maldives
Gaafu Atoll spans 82km from north to south and is 65km at its widest point in the center. The entire Atoll is shaped with a circular ring of reefs containing a deep central lagoon, with depths of up to 85 meters. Peppered around Huvadhoo Atoll are many smaller patch reefs, small coral islets and coral knolls.
Banyan Tree at Hussein Island
The outer reef of this Atoll forms a choppy barrier to the open Indian Ocean; it consists of around 40 smaller reef segments divided by deep and sometimes narrow channels conjoining the inner lagoon with the ocean outside. Around these entrances and channels you will find many schools of fish, large mantas, sharks and other fish life dwelling in the deep Maldivian waters.
The natural composition of this Maldives atoll means there are numerous pristine dive sites and scuba diving regions filled with exciting features like caves, steep drop offs and beautiful underwater landscapes, not to mention the breathtaking coral formations and abundance of Maldives fish life. Therefore, it is no surprise that certain dive sites in Huvadhoo Atoll have become world famous, and many liveaboard safari trips travel to or through Gaafu Atoll.
The inhabitants of Huvadhoo Atoll are known for their friendliness and hospitality, and they are famous for their high-quality hand woven mats, primarily in the island of Gaddu. Huvadhoo Atoll also has its distinct dialect of the Maldivian language Dhihevi, known as “Huvadhoo Bas”, mainly due to its isolation from the northern Atolls in the Maldives.
The Huvadhoo Kandu channel in the north of this Atoll in Maldives is the broadest channel in the Maldives and has become a popular route on Maldives liveaboard journeys. Along this channel and around many southern parts of Huvadhoo Gaafu Atoll there are low coral islands; a majority of the larger islands are found in the south.
Underwater Photo of Diving with Thorn Crown King
Islands at Huvadhoo Atoll tend to be oval in shape with average widths between 400 and 800 meters, with lengths of 500 to 1500 meters. Significant islands worthy of mention are Vadhoo, Hoandeddhoo and Gan (7th largest of all the Maldives islands); Gan is particularly famous for its exciting dive safaris and has become a popular stop off on all dive excursions passing through the region. Check out the folowing links for detailed Atoll information about Huvadhoo - Gaafu.
In recent years Huvadhoo Atoll has become world famous for its brilliant dive sites, natural features and beautiful topography, and if you find yourself visiting the Maldives on holiday make sure you do not miss out on a liveaboard safari to Gaafu Atoll, exhilarating dives and exciting safari adventures are guaranteed.