Their astonishing look, exotic name, and gracious movement make Manta Rays one of the most beloved and wanted scuba diving or freediving companions. Creating amazing memories with Manta Rays is one of the simplest tasks ever, but to do it, first, you’ll have to find them.
That’s why we’ve decided to give you a list of the top 10 places around the world where you could experience the best diving with Manta Rays. Grab your underwater camera, learn the best way to use it, pack your scuba diving gear or your freediving mask, and book one of those – you won’t be sorry!
Before You Go
Manta Rays are completely harmless and friendly, so don’t be surprised if you make a new friend – and recognize its contagious smile next time you dive at that location. But, to be entirely ready for your trip, check out our article about all rays and their characteristics. It will make your trip easier and you’ll know if you meet some manta ray’s relative you’d love to avoid. Also, feel free to inform yourself about the top 10 most dangerous fish in the sea.
Top 10 Places To Dive With Manta Rays
From Fiji to Mexico, these 10 locations will result in manta ray-filled tales and stories you’ll be told many years later, so there is really a lot to gain, and if you’re into any form of diving, the decision to visit one of them should be a no-brainer.
Many regard Fiji as one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the world. Located in the south part of the Pacific Ocean, near Australia’s west coast, it has really unbelievable connection to nature, so a trip to Fiji will give you the opportunity to, although it may sound corny, really connect to nature and simply breathe with your full lungs.
One of the fish species you’ll meet there are Manta Rays. With a population that goes between 200 and 300 smiley individuals, the best chance to meet them are Namena Marine Reserve, Yasawas, Kadavu, Wakaya, and Taveuni. The recommended time to do it is between June and October.
2. Ecuador – Isla De La Plata
When in Ecuador and search of a manta ray scuba diving location, head on to Puerto Lopez and take a boat ride hour and a half long that will take you to the Isla de la Plata. It is still new and in development, but if you ask around most of the people will give you the information needed for a successful diving trip in so-called “other Galapagos”. If you visit any time between June and October, you’ll most likely meet about 2000 Manta Rays. This place is also known as the area where the largest number of Giant Oceanic Mantas reside, so you’ll most definitely experience something new. Be careful, though, because weather in Fiji can be rough and diving can be forbidden sometimes even for weeks. It will be worth it.
3. Hawaii – Kona
If you ask any diver with the experience of diving with Manta Rays in Kona, Hawaii, they will tell you that it is something 100 percent unique and it can’t be described. What makes it different is the fact that you’ll be doing it during night time, while you’ll also, although indirectly, feed Manta Rays! The story location is Makako Bay, located near Garden Eel Cave, where the dive operators will shine lights into the water. This will attract plankton, favorite manta ray food, so about 10 Reef Mantas will head there for lunch. When you see them arrive, the operators will give you the signal to enter the water, and the show can start! This unique experience is the one you could attend all year long, and it is a win-win situation. Manta Rays will get their lunch, and you’ll get your lifetime worth of memories.
More and more people choose to visit Thailand because of their cultural heritage, tasty and unorthodox food, and beautiful beaches, but not many tourists know that there is a hidden treasure in Thai nature and marine life. Thailand offers two great locations to meet Manta Rays – Koh Bon and the Similan Islands. Recommended time to visit Thailand if you want to dive with Mantas starts in February and it lasts until the end of April, but there is a “quiet” period from late March to the beginning of April. Sometimes, the season could start as early as December.
Starting in late December, ocean currents become plankton-rich in the Similan Islands area, located on the Thailand west coast. Naturally, Oceanic Mantas will follow. It is recommended to book a liveaboard for at least five days, to get the most out of your time by having Manta Rays within a hand reach.
This is where the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean meet. Indonesia is home to about a quarter of all fish species around the world, and with more than 18,307 islands by National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) data, it comes as no surprise that Indonesia offers some of the world’s finest diving locations. When it comes to manta ray diving, these three stands out:
Komodo And Flores Island
Komodo National Park and Flores Islands located nearby provide you the chance to meet-and-greet Manta Rays throughout the whole year, but the best period is between June and September because the water visibility is highest and the weather is most often stable.
Popular by tourists, Bali also offers one of the most beautiful places to dive with Manta Rays. You’ll have to go to Nusa Penida, located on the southeast side of Bali, and the best conditions to swim with Mantas are between August and October. This place is not recommended for snorkeling and scuba diving newbies because of the strong currents.
Australia’s extraordinary fauna is not something new, so it is not surprising to see this country here. It has many different places you could dive with Manta Rays, but these two stand out.
Great Barrier Reef
The island, known as Lady Elliot Island, has one of those nicknames that speak for themselves – “Home of the Manta Ray”. So, you probably guess, it is the place to look for them. The best time to visit is during the winter in Australia, but you’ll run into Manta Rays all year long.
Not so famous and on the other side of the country compared to Lady Elliot Island, Coray Bay is located near Ningaloo. Mantas do spend their time there during the whole year, but the problem is the fact that the trips between Exmouth and the Coral Coast happen only between June and November.
This place is one of the most loved ones among the divers, and it is also famous as the place where it is easy to meet many different Mantas, especially in Palau and Yap.
With many coral reefs and atolls and about 150 islands, Yap is home to more than 100 Reef Mantas. These islands have cleaning stations all around them. The Mantas are the happiest to hang out between December and April. In this area, besides Mantas, you’ll probably get the chance to dive with the sharks.
Although not as popular as Yap, Palau offers some pretty amazing things to see. Mantas population is growing, and in German Channel, you’ll dive at the place that is on its way to becoming Marin Protection Area. The second place to visit in Palau is Devilfish City, while you may find some luck at the Stadium and the Dome if you visit them between October and May. And the most important thing – you absolutely have to dive at night!
8. Mozambique – Tofo
With the 88%, Mantas sightings drop between 2003 and 2011, Mozambique and Tofo are the frontrunners in this category, but in recent years the Manta Ray prevention has become a national issue. Nice weather and 1159 Manta Rays previously identified make Mozambique a great place all year long.
9. The Maldives
The Maldives is also one of the most popular places for tourists and scuba dives, with occasional running into Whale Sharks and Nurse Sharks. Two places to visit for Manta Rays are Baa Atoll and Ari Atoll.
This location is one of the most popular diving places around the world, and it is also available all year long, with Manta Ray’s migration around the atoll occurring on a seasonal basis. Don’t skip to check Ukulhas Thila and Panettone.
Once you head north from Ari Atoll, you’ll find a small Baa Atoll at the edge of the open ocean. It is one of the areas rich with planktons, so Manta Rays will come as well – around 1600 of them, to be more precise! And at Dharavandhoo Corner you’ll get the chance to swim with a large group.
10. Mexico – Socorro Island
About 375 miles away from Baja California, located in the open Pacific Ocean, volcanic island is home to about 500 Manta Rays between November and June, with May and June being the best to enjoy their company. The best experience comes with a liveaboard.
Globo Surf Overview
Diving with Manta Rays is one of the biggest summer thrills and water adventures, and in these 10 places, it will become one of your favorite memories ever.
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