An ethereal sight, watching manta rays glide and engage in what seems like a choreographed dance in the waters of Hanifaru Bay in Maldives is truly unforgettable.

Location and Uniqueness

Hanifaru Bay is in the Baa Atoll which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; ideally, stay at a beach residence Maldives has to offer on a private island resort here. Due to the bay’s shape, warm currents and lunar tide, it creates the perfect spot for plankton to build up which attracts the mantas.

Image Credit: The Nautilus Maldives

Planning the Excursion

An ideal way to explore Hanifaru Bay is to stay at nearby resorts like The Nautilus Maldives; the property which in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 was named as the Indian Ocean’s Best Resort and amongst the top three Best Resorts in the World, offers guided excursions; accompanied by the resident marine team, you can snorkel and swim with manta rays!

The Manta Season

May to November is the best season to spot manta rays in Hanifaru Bay with June to October being the peak period. To increase your chances of sightings, head out to the bay during the period of a new or full moon. Properties like The Nautilus offer “workation packages” for up to 21 days so you have ample time for such adventures.

Reef Manta Rays

Found in shallow waters and known to be sociable, the main kind of mantas you will encounter here are called reef manta rays, also known as “Mobula Alfredi”. They use their gills to filter and feed on plankton in the water and are amongst the largest marine species with an average width of 9 to 11 feet!