Maldives Manta Ray Hot spots
Best Places to see Manta Rays in the Maldives
Diving or snorkeling with Manta Rays is one of the most breath-taking experiences a diver can have underwater. An incredible, nearly otherworldly adventure in the Maldives, seeing mantas is high on most people’s bucket list turning a regular dive into an unforgettable one.
One of the largest, graceful and gentle creatures in the ocean once you see Mantas up close and personal, you are mesmerized, and instantly fall in love to what is happening. The sea devils are not just fish; they are a symbol of majesty, elegance and freedom.
These majestic creatures, a member of the shark & ray family, can up to 7m in wingspan and can weigh up to 2 tonnes in weight! However, they feed on tiny zooplankton, funnelling it into their mouths using 2 large lobes at the front of their head. Despite their size, these beautiful creatures are incredibly graceful in the water, and even playful, swimming in and out of exhaled bubbles and barrel rolling mid-water to show off their elegance.
Manta Rays in the Maldives can generally be found at 'cleaning stations', where schools of cleaner wrasse hang out waiting for larger fish to swing by for a clean-up.
With great variety of dive sites in the Maldives to pick from, it’s an not an easy bet to be at the right place at the right time. If you want to see these majestic creatures, we can tell you best places in the Maldives where you have a good chance to encounter Manta Rays.
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The highlight to the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the world-famous Hanifaru Bay is a vital feeding and breeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks in the Maldives; you have an excellent chance of seeing these incredible sea giants while snorkelling here.
While diving in the bay is banned, swimming with manta rays is a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experience that snorkelers of all abilities should not miss out on. Watching from above as they glide, swoop, swerve and somersault just metres beneath you is one of life’s truly spectacular experiences.
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The reefscapes of Addu atoll is no doubt one of the most impressive in the Maldives. Blessed by the dive sites with the best hard corals, Addu Atoll is the best place for scuba diving with giant manta rays (with 12 months a year) and more pelagic species in Maldives. Read more
Lankan Manta Point
Easy to access and adapted to newbies, Lankan Manta Point is a dive site among the most well-known Manta rays cleaning station in the Maldives.
Located on the southeast outer reef of Lankanfinolhu Island in North Male atoll, this site is the large block of coral at a depth of 10 to 18-meters is where the rays come during the southwest monsoon and outgoing currents to get cleaned by wrasses. Even though Mantas are the main reason divers and liveaboards come to Lanka Manta Point, you can also encounter whitetip sharks, lobsters and humphead wrasses there.
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Located in Kukulhudhoo channel on the southwestern edge of Raa Atoll, the cleaning station is reef top starts at 10 m, the Manta point itself is on 15 m offering an incredible diving with this filter feeders 12 month a year. Featuring an outer reef with shallow plateau surrounded by a quite steep slope reef Sola Corner remains the manta-spotting hub, with sightings of up to 5 or 7 mantas at a time. In addition to the spectacular macropredators, you can spot white-tip sharks and nurse sharks in Sola Corner. Difficulty: From easy to medium dive experience.
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Iguraidhoo, Koen’s Dream
Featuring a large coral block at a depth of 5 meters that slopes down to a sandy bottom at 25 meters, Iguraidhoo is an uninhabited Island and a feeding station for manta rays. Located on the south-east reef of Raa atoll is also crowded with glass fish, emperors, oriental sweet lips, cleaning fish and white-edged soldier fish.
Koen’s Dream thila makes dreams come true for beginners and advanced divers alike. Huge manta rays don’t take any notice of the small white tip and grey reef sharks and might be passing by or circling the top reef. Large schools of small barracudas, big eye trevally’s and friendly long fin bat fish make the scenery complete.
With very alive hard corals on the top, Felivaru Corner works its way down to a plateau at 22 meters of depth attracting the manta rays with the current flowing from west to east moves the plankton in higher concentrations along this point when mantas feeding on the surface
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Located in Lhaviyani atoll Fushivaru Thila is a protected marine park, and is well known for its manta rays. In the right season these gentle giants, with wingspans of up to 5 metres, come here to be cleaned.
Even without the mantas the dive site is true spectacular – you can see huge schools of blue stripe snappers, humpback snappers, oriental sweet lips and collared butterfly fish. Giant trevally and barracuda also patrol these waters, ready to hunt and feast on the smaller fish.
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Madivaru (Manta Point)
Also known as Hukuru Elhi Faru, Madivaru (Manta Point) is a recent addition to the protected marine areas of the island nation, and from January until April the site is famous for it’s manta cleaner stations.
The mantas come up from the deeper parts of the ocean where they feed and use the shallower waters of Hukuru Elhi Faru to free themselves of unwanted parasites. During the dive these majestic creatures with a wing span of 3-4 metres hover just dance your head. Located in South Ari atoll the cleaner stations are also used by giant napoleon wrasse.
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Dhonakulhi Channel is part of the house reef at Hideaway Beach resort and at right time of year it is often full of mantas, gracefully gliding through the water with their mouths open wide to scoop up and filter their plankton feast.
When Manta season is in full swing in the Maldives the channels surrounding the island bring in the nutrient-rich waters that the mantas love to feed in, and the higher concentration of nutrients at this time of year means more mantas! The site is accessible for divers and snorkelers so everyone gets to experience manta mania.
An easy shallow dive for everyone Veligandu Manta point is located in Rasdhoo atoll. There are four thilas between a big thila and the corner of the out reef. Big Napoleon wrasse, stingrays and honeycomb moray eels have found their homes on these Thilas but the main reason why to dive this site are the majestic manta rays. On top of the smaller Thilas are cleaning stations which help the mantas to get rid of their parasites. Such visits most frequently occur when the tide is high.
Vagaaru Garden is close to the local island of Thuraakunu (Haa Alif Atoll), one exceptional manta point, from the beginning of December until the end of May! Ideal for all divers, this full of life reef is quiet shallow and it slopes gently down among luxuriant large table corals and stony corals of enormous beauty!
During this season, when the current flow out from the atoll, the outside reef is full of plenty of huge and friendly mantas all around at three different cleaning stations, from 10 to 14 meters of depth. With the correct current mantas are cleaning on the cleaning station on top of the thila. A haven for macro life and with strong currents large amounts of reef fishes inhabit the reef and give away a whirling show.
Emmadi Giri (Manta point) is in front of the local island Guraidhoo, there are Mantas from May until October.
Divers often refer Dhigu Thila as Manta Point. From June till October flocks of Mantas are visiting a cleaning station located in the midline of Gulhee Dhekunu Kandu in South Male atoll. Gliding with unbelievable elegant movements they are approaching from the drop-off of the channel and stop exactly in front of your eyes. Playing with the current they open their wings to be cleaned by all the little cleaning-fish around the coral block.
With a vibrant display of soft coral on the reef marine life on the thila is prolific with large schools of basslet and snapper and aggregations of bannerfish and sweetlips.
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Moofushi Manta point
An easy dive site suitable for all levels Moofushi Manta Point says it all, this is where you dive with manta rays. The mantas visit this dive site during north-east monsoon, usually to be maintained in the cleaning station that is located here.
You'lll find it on the eastern corner of a large plateau, where a large block is located at a depth of 16 meters. This is where the manta rays stop to let the 'cleaners' do their job. However Moofushi Manta Point has more to offer than just sea devils. Located in Ari atoll the site also attracts many white and gray reefsharks and napoleon fish.
MAA FARU CORNER
45 minutes away from both Thudufushi and Athuruga, south of Moofushi Island it is currently the best dive site to see the mantas in Ari atoll. It is a clean station located in a the outer edge of the pass. In addition to mantas you can often see gray reef sharks, jack fishes and more sea creatures.
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