Just do a Google images search on “manta rays in Maldives” and you will find yourself looking at some truly remarkable and somewhat alien-like creatures; what’s great is, you can swim with them too!
Manta rays are drawn to areas with high concentrations of plankton which is a key food source; such plankton build-up is caused by the monsoons which are ideal times for sightings. May to October is great for seeing them on the eastern side of the nation’s atolls, while November to April sees them converge on the western side.
Key Manta Hotspot
Undoubtedly, the best spot to see manta rays would be Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Properties here such as The Nautilus Maldives offer private guided snorkelling excursions where you can encounter hundreds of these creatures during the Hanifaru Bay manta season from May to November.
Other Atolls to Visit
There are other locations within the Maldives where you can find manta rays in their natural habitat. One such area would be the Addu Atoll, popular amongst scuba divers; here, one may even see mantas with a wingspan of more than five metres! Other places for encounters include the Laamu, Ari and North Male atolls.
Be Mindful of Mantas
When swimming amidst mantas, keep in mind these are wild creatures and while they don’t pose any threat, you should not disrupt or impede them in any way. Thus, remember not to touch them and keep a proper distance; additionally, do not suddenly cross their path and while you can take pictures, turn off the flash.
Find out more on majestic manta rays in Maldives be it the optimal time for encounters, best hotspots like Hanifaru Bay or how to swim with them.