Diving with Mantor

Manta, Giant Manta, Pacific Manta or Devil's Manta, dear child has many names as we say. Many divers long to see a manta during a dive. Others recount with delight their encounters with these graceful giants. We here at Scuba Travel often get requests specifically asking to go somewhere where the chance of seeing and diving with manta rays is high, and it's not hard to understand!

This majestic creature can reach more than 7 meters between wingspans but the average manta is around 4,5 meters. They are at most 20 years old and can weigh upwards of 2 tons. A fun thing about the manta ray is that it has an unusually large brain and it can learn to recognize different divers. There are two different species of manta rays and a few subspecies. All the animals have a unique pattern and it is therefore possible to identify the different animals and a lot of research is done today on these large graceful "angels". Additionally, the smaller but related mobulas are found in many of the world's oceans and often occur in large shoals. They are considerably smaller than their larger cousins ​​but look large up close and are at least as beautiful and graceful. 

Manta rays and mobulas are red-listed from the IUCN because it is vulnerable. The manta gets stuck in fishing nets as bycatch and is also fished for meat and gills. The gills are unfortunately used in Chinese medicine. 

Get close to a manta ray

So what should you do if you want to get close to a manta? Well, you have to move slowly and carefully, avoid chasing it and wait for it to come to you. If you start swimming towards them, they will surely swim away. With any luck, they get so close that you actually have to move to avoid being pushed away. They are big and heavy animals so be careful. Diving with manta rays is absolutely fantastic and an experience that all divers should experience.

If you want to read more about the other animals on our BIG 5 list, you can continue here: whale shark,  dolphins,  Turtles,  beat

Travel blog

“It was a manta. The white we saw was its belly. We jumped in and soon more manta rays appeared and wanted to partake of the buffet. Sometimes they were only a few centimeters apart. When they find a place where there is a lot of fish room, the feasting begins. They make loops to shovel in as much rum as possible. Over the years, I have dived in several places in the world but never experienced manta rays so close and so numerous. Incredible!"

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Our top destinations for diving and seeing manta rays

There are many places in the world you can see manta rays. Below we have put together a selection from our various destinations.

 

Liveaboard in Palau, Micronesia

A diving cruise in Palau is on many divers' bucket list for a diving trip. Here you will find some of the world's best reefs for diving and manta rays are common in many places. A diving cruise is the absolute best way to experience this fantastic diving destination.     

Palau has three ocean currents in its waters and these feed one of the most varied and dazzling marine life in the world. Palau is synonymous with the word wonderful as the site offers an endless variety of dive sites with everything from caves to walls and large drop-offs, from tunnels and canals to shallow reefs. Here you can see, among other things, manatees, manta rays and sea turtles. 

Best time to see manta rays: December – March

Hanifaru Bay, Maldives

A diving holiday at a so-called guesthouse gives you a chance to get to know the Maldivian culture and enjoy the peaceful island life that prevails, while at the same time you get to take part in the diving that the Maldives is world famous for. The sea, reefs and dive sites are the same regardless of whether you stay at a resort or a guesthouse on a locally populated island, but the price tag is different. 

The Maldivian island of Dharavandhoo is located in Baa atoll very close to the famous reserve Hanifaru Bay where manta rays are seen in hundreds during the manta season. 

Best time to see manta rays: all year round but mostly June – October 

Liveaboard in Socorro, Mexico

The area is famous for up close and personal encounters with the Giant Pacific manta ray, which can be over six meters long from wing tip to wing tip. The boat's crew have been familiar with these friendly giants and as a result of working with several manta researchers over the years have been able to identify most of them and form very close relationships with them. 

Revillagigedos, better known as Socorro is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean approximately 400 km outside of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. These islands have been compared to Galapagos in Ecuador and Cocos in Costa Rica thanks to the amount of large animal encounters that take place here. 

Best time to see manta rays: November – May 

Yap, Micronesia –  
Manta Ray Bay Resort   

Yap in Micronesia is probably one of the best places on earth to see the friendly giant and magnificent manta rays. Around 100 manta rays live here all year round together with reef sharks and other interesting macro life. With almost 100 km of barrier reef, as well as several large channels and lagoons, there is something here for all tastes. You can wall dive the outer reefs, stream dive the deep and shallow channels and swim around lagoons enjoying macro life and night diving.  
   
The highlight for many, however, is the beautiful manta rays. Every morning these giants are seen cruising into the protected channels that lead through the barrier reef. They make their way to their "cleaning stations" where small cleaner fish clean them of parasites while they sweep past you only a few meters away. It is a magnificent sight to observe these creatures up close. 

Best time to see manta rays: the mating season is between December and April, when you see the most manta rays, otherwise they are present all year round.  

Komodo, Indonesia
 

Komodo is now a World Heritage-listed destination. Although pictures and videos from the area can give a small hint of what to expect, nothing compares to the feeling of experiencing this place in person. Mantas, eagle rays, sharks, tuna, whales, sea horses and nudibranchs. It is impossible to describe Komodo in words. 

There is also a lot of macro to watch here, such as different types of seahorses, ghost pipe fish, frogfish, nudibranchs and blue-ringed octopus to name a few. In Komodo's waters, nutrient-rich temperate ocean currents contribute to an amazing diversity of species. You dive on iridescent shallow reefs and on steep walls patrolled by fish from the top of the food chain. 

Wake up to the sunrise over Komodo. Facing east, all bungalows have sea views so you can wake up to watch the sun rise over Komodo Island and Gili Banta, then fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping at the beach. 

Best time to see manta rays: June – August  

Liveaboard in Komodo, Indonesia

Experience the best of Komodo and the amazing diving found here. Komodo aspires to offer the world's best diving, and you get the best diving with a liveaboard. We have several different alternative liveaboards and all offer good diving and service. Here you will experience manta rays in certain places in large numbers and it is almost guaranteed to see them. At the grooming stations located here, they gather in large groups and slide through the flowing water while you just sit and enjoy. A liveaboard in Indonesia and Komodo is among the best you can experience.

Best time to see manta rays: June – August

Liveaboard in the Maldives     

Don't miss the chance to join us on one of our eight different liveaboards to offer in the magical Maldives. Here you live at one with the sea, you won't get any closer to the big blue. We have boats ranging from a whopping 43 meters to 26 meters long.  

Apart from manta rays, you get to experience whale, hammerhead and reef sharks up close. The biggest attraction, however, is the rich variety of manta rays and diving at this time gives you a very large opportunity to encounter them. 

Hungry manta rays and whale sharks arrive in large numbers thanks to the currents that sweep plankton into the shallow lagoon. Manta Point and Gangethi are well-known diving spots, so-called "cleaning stations", where manta rays come year after year to wash themselves. Dive sites Rasdhoo and Maya Thila promise even more great dives, hopefully with hammerhead, gray reef and whitetip sharks. Of course, we cannot guarantee that you will see these magnificent animals, but at this time of year you have a very good chance of experiencing this unforgettable adventure. 

Best time to see manta rays: August – October 

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Raja Ampat, or Empat as it is spelled, offers fantastic diving and is one of the world's most sought-after diving destinations. Here there is a strong focus on being as environmentally friendly as possible. The resorts have been built from materials that are locally produced and not shipped in from distant countries. This not only benefits the environment but also the local businesses. 

The area of ​​Raja Ampat consists of 1 largely unspoiled islands, with the greatest biodiversity on earth. Off the northwestern tip of the Bird's Head Peninsula, Raja Ampat forms one of the last outposts of the Indonesian archipelago.  

Very few places can compete with Raja Ampat's unique and pristine environments, underwater caves, mangrove swamps, rainforests and fjords inhabited by the most extraordinary and varied underwater life. The coral reefs of Raja Ampat are not only known to be home to the amazing Wobbegong shark, but also to the amazing, Epaulette Walking Shark which can ideally be observed hunting during a night dive. 

Best time to see manta rays: September – April 

Bali, Indonesia –  
Lembongan & Nusa Penida   

New dive sites are constantly being discovered in Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. But you can see the most common dive sites above.  

At manta point and manta bay, the name probably reveals what you will be looking for, big manta rays! The dive sites cannot be dived every day due to the weather but the trip to Manta Point is beautiful as you ride along the large cliffs that tower over Nusa Penida. Crystal Bay usually has crystal clear water and strong currents. If you go here between May and October, there are good opportunities to see mola-mola.  

The northern part of Nusa Penida offers a colorful reef with large corals and large sponges. Large schools of fish swim around you while you might be looking for the smaller creatures on the wall like nudibranchs or shrimp. If you're lucky, you can actually see whale sharks and dolphins that pass here sometimes, although it takes a lot of luck.

Best time to see manta rays: all year round but usually more April – November