Raa Atoll is an enormous atoll with more than 90 islands, 65 kilometers long and 28 kilometers wide, in the north of the Maldives chain of atolls. A population of about 12,500 inhabits only 16 of the islands. The rest are uninhabited and only one has been designated for development as a tourist resort. The atoll has particularly complex reef formations at its center.
The western and eastern sides of the atoll are adorned with numerous channels with ,˜thilas’, in many. These ideal features promise excellent diving in the atoll. The atoll is most famous for its boat building tradition. The capital island Ugoofaaru boasts the largest fishing fleet in the country. Alifushi in the north of the atoll is a center for boat building and teaching of traditional boat building skills.
The new generation of ,˜dhonis’ commonly known as ,˜second generation vessels’ is produced at the Alifushi boatyard. This new design based on the traditional ,˜dhoni’ has become quite popular with the fishermen. At the boatyard several dozen ,˜dhonis’ are produced each year. The island of Rasgetheemu has a special place in local legend.
According to legend Rasgetheemu is where a princess and her consort, exiled from the present day Sri Lanka, are said to have landed centuries before the advent of Islam. With exciting fishing villages to visit and such a large number of desert islands, holiday makers on the single resort in Raa Atoll will certainly be spoilt for choice when it comes to excursions and island hopping.