RECREATION

An island destination like no other.

The Maldives is an archipelago of 1200 islands grouped into 26 atolls dotted across 871 kilometres in the Indian Ocean and is one of the most dispersed countries in the world, where only 200 islands are inhabited by Maldivians, less than 140 islands are tourist resorts, and the remaining islands are left untouched or are partially submerged underwater. 

The coral reef systems of the Maldives are the seventh largest in the world, and the fifth most divers ecosystem of the world’s reef areas. A paradise for underwater explorers, the Maldives reefs are exceptionally rich in marine life and home to 1,100 different marine species including, 15 species of sharks, 16 species of rays, 21 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), and 5 species of marine turtles. All of which are protected under Maldivian law.

Discover more about this unique island destination as you create your own adventure through a range of recreational and educational activities and join us as we play our part in preserving our island home for generations to come.

Recreation Schedule

HANIFARU BAY

The Maldives' first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll is in the central western part of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Encompassing 139,700 hectares, the Baa Atoll reserve is teeming with hard and soft corals, reef associated fish species, turtles, rays, and sharks.

Located 45 minutes away from Maamunagau, is the centrepiece to the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Hanifaru Bay, a vital feeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks. Declared as a "Marine Protected Area" in 2009 and incorporated into the Biosphere Reserve in 2011, Hanifaru Bay is known to be one of the very few places in the world where you can witness the largest gathering of manta rays, sometimes with more than 100 individuals coming together to feed in the plankton rich waters.

The best time to visit Hanifaru Bay is during the New Moons and Full Moons throughout the months June to November, during which time the Southwest Monsoon and ocean currents cause a great build-up of plankton into the bay, attracting manta rays and sometimes whale sharks to feed.

HOUSE REEF SNORKELING

Grab your snorkelling gear and emerge yourself amongst the underwater world steps away from our beach. Our mesmerising house reef is teeming with schools of tropical fish, anemones, and a diverse arrangement of coral species along the reef edge. The best place to snorkel is between the Avi Spa and Fitness Centre, swimming along the edge of the drop-off you get the best of both worlds, with an array colourful reef fish swimming close to the coral reef, while the larger pelagic fish like tunas, jacks, and trevallies swim within the deeper waters.

The house reef can be enjoyed at any time of the day, with the most active marine life usually being seen during the early morning and early evening as they use the lower light as their foraging opportunity. To enjoy the bright colours of the reef the best time to snorkel is in the afternoon, whilst more sun is penetrating the water, enhancing the beautiful colours underneath the ocean’s surface. Whichever time you choose to go, take your time to observe the fascinating fish behaviour, search for those that are camouflaged and those that have symbiotic relationships, like the clownfish and their anemones. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for turtles, blacktip reef sharks, and eagle rays that may also be passing by.

Interested in knowing which fish you are swimming amongst, take a visit to the marine centre and browse through our underwater ID guides or meet with our in-house marine biologists to learn more.

SANDBANK EXPERIENCES

Whisk your loved one off on a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you escape to a sandbank surrounded by the crystal clear Indian Ocean.

YACHT CRUISES

Sail off into the sunset aboard our luxury yacht. Enjoy light refreshments as you take in the spectacular Maldivian sunset as you gently cruise around the island. 

DOLPHIN CRUISE

Embark on a dhoni cruise as we go in search of several pods of dolphins that are frequent visitors to our lagoon. If we are lucky, these playful yet majestic mammals will put on an acrobatic performance or simply surface close the boat's bow as they enjoy their natural environment. 

MAAMUNAGAU LAGOON

InterContinental Maamunagau, is situated on the southernmost tip of Raa Atoll, boasting a large natural lagoon the resort’s unique location is home to a large and healthy population of reef manta rays, which utilise Maamunagau Lagoon as a primary feeding ground during the Northeast Monsoonal months, December to April.

Manta rays swim through the water with their mouths open wide, and their hornlike projections (cephalic fins) unfurled in front of their mouth, funnelling the plankton rich water through their specially adapted gills. Within Maamunagau we encounter individuals surface feeding, making for a wonderful snorkelling experience. Their size, grace, and elegance as they glide through the water, in front of you is truly beautiful to watch.

Maamunagau lagoon is also considered highly important for juvenile reef manta rays serving as a potential nursery ground for these young individuals. The large lagoonal system provides protective shelter from predators and an abundance of planktonic food. Recognizing the unique privilege of occupying an island in such close proximity to a juvenile aggregation site, InterContinental Maamunagau launched a key partnership with the Manta Trust, one of the leading manta ray research organizations.

Manta rays are some of the most charismatic creatures in our oceans, to swim amongst them is one of the most mesmerising experiences. We welcome you to join us on an adventure to swim amongst these gentle giants and invite you to learn more about these enigmatic creatures at our weekly presentations.

TURTLE NESTING

The two most recorded turtle species within the Maldives are the Hawksbill Sea turtle and the Green Sea turtle. Maamunagau Island like many others in the Maldives, is privileged by having sea turtles come and lay their nests here. Here on Maamunagau we do our upmost to protect these precious nests, and ensure the little hatchlings make it on their way to the ocean undisturbed.

To lay their nests, female sea turtles usually emerge from the water and come ashore Maamunagau beach during the middle of the night. Finding an area that she deems a suitable and safe location for her eggs, the female will use her rear flippers to dig down into the sand, creating a deep chamber in which she will drop her eggs, before covering the nest back over with sand and returning to the ocean. The nests usually take around 60 days to incubate, and if we are lucky enough to witness the extraordinary phenomenon of hatchlings making their way out of the nest and towards the ocean, we will invite you to come and observe as we let nature take its course.

Once a hatchling reaches to the ocean, they are usually not seen for the first few years of their life. It is believed they spend these "lost years", living in the deep oceanic waters, floating amongst seaweed, and drifting with the surface currents. Once they reach sexual maturity, both males and females use the earths magnetic field to expertly navigate themselves all the way back to the exact same beach on which they were born. Here they mate and when it is time the female will emerge to lay her eggs, completing the circle of life. Remarkably, it is possible that the sea turtles we observe nesting here on Maamunagau Island, were born on this exact same island themselves many years ago.