Manta Rays in The Maldives


Where and When to See Manta Rays in the Maldives

Manta Rays in The Maldives

Where and When to See Manta Rays in the Maldives


August, 2019

Almost everyone who visites to the islands heard that there are Manta rays in the Maldives. Snorkeling or diving with giant sea 'devilfish' is usually highly regarded and is the top "must do" in the travel bucket lists. Therefore nothing can be more depressing than coming to the resort just to find out that "now is not the Manta Ray season". Why? - you ask. Is not there always a Manta here?

The answer is yes. Manta rays are always and around, but they move and migrate with the seasons. The Maldives is a spectacular destination for sightings of manta rays. However, you need to know where and when to spot them. Therefore, if your main goal is manta rays, make sure that you have chosen the right time and the best location of your resort in the Maldives.

To know where to find manta at any time, we need to know a few things about the seasons and ocean currents of the Indian Ocean.

mantas dance

Best Time to See

In the Maldives, there are only two seasons - actually called monsoons, and not seasons. The southwestern or monsoon Hulhangu (usually and somewhat erroneously known as the rainy season), runs approximately from May to October. Neatly capturing the Christmas and New Year markets, the northeastern or monsoon Iruvai (you may have heard of it as a dry season), is more likely between December and March. April and November are transitional periods between these two monsoons.

During the southwestern monsoon, the prevailing ocean currents in this region of the Indian Ocean flow from west to east. When these currents reach the Maldives archipelago, there is a strong upwelling, a process in which pure and nutrient-rich deep waters are displaced from more than 2000 meters of ocean floor IN and THROUGH small atolls. As this water flows through atolls from west to east, it enhances and increases the productivity of the food chain, so by the time it reaches the eastern side of the atolls, it is a real soup-zooplankton. And guess what: the mantas feed on this zooplankton!

Therefore, at this time they will migrate to the eastern sides of the atolls, where divers and snorkelers will be delighted with their dancing at the cleaning and feeding stations.

The northeast monsoon changes the direction of the currents. Now they will flow from east to west, means that visibility will now be better on the atoll's eastern side (due to the incoming ocean current), but less zooplankton, therefore, there are no Manta Rays. Mantas is likely to be - you guessed it! - hover around the western edges of the atolls.

So, in general: from May to October it is more likely to see the manta rays on the eastern edges of the atolls. From December to March, on the western outskirts of the atolls. Of course, the season can change sooner or later in any year, and as with anything in nature, there will never be any guarantee for spotting, but if you follow this simple rule, you will significantly increase your chances!

Best Places to Spot

In the Maldives, you can spot manta rays during diving excursions as well as on a snorkeling / swimming trips. Diving operators in the resorts and guest houses offer both types and take you to the sites with their boats.

The best place to see Manta is Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, the only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Between May and November, every year, during the Southwest monsoon, on certain days the moon's phases massively increase plankton in the bay. Such a high plankton concentration attracts hundreds of "filterers" in Hanifarг Bay and do not be surprised to see here up to 200 Manta Raus accompanied by a dozen whale sharks.

The Addu (Seenu) Atoll is the southernmost atoll in the Maldives and shaped like a heart. It's an exceptional scuba diving destination. Here, you can spot manta rays year round. In fact, it's manta heaven and not long ago in 2015/16 it was still kind of a hidden gem for seeing manta rays! The Addu Atoll is the only location in the Maldives where mantas with over 5 meter of wingspan are known to exist.

You may also spot manta rays in South Ari during the northeast monsoon from September/October to May (the peak viewing time is February - April). In other months it's really hard to find manta rays here.

Check our list 10 Best Resorts to Swim with Mantas and Whale Sharks in the Maldives

Meeru Island Resort & Spa

Best Hotels in Maldives

Recent Posts 16.09.2020
what is better: beach or overwater

Beach or Water Villa?

Maldives - a name that became synonymous with honeymooners' paradise in the tourism world, has slowly revamped to cater to the needs of families visiting this tropical island. Special kids

Read More
10 Romantic Dining Experiences

10 Romantic Dining Experiences

The Maldives is a breathtaking destination with it's paper-white sands, azure lagoons, and seclude island vibes. Dining and romance go hand in hand in the Maldives.The restaurants and destination

Read More
best Underwater Restaurants in maldives or where to eat underwater

6 Underwater Restaurants

Dining under the sea is a growing trend in the Maldives that enables diners to enjoy a great food and incredible underwater views all at once. The 6 breathtaking underwater restaurants in Maldives must to

Read More
Best Resorts for Vegetarians

Maldives Hotel Reviews

Some of the best hotels and resorts in the Maldives are already included in this list, and the good part of them offers the best prices. We will constantly add new hotels, so regularly check for the best deals

Read More
10 Best Islands for Snorkeling

10 Best Liveaboards

Liveaboards in Maldives is the best way to discover underwater world with many must-have tropical SCUBA experiences. Deserted, white sand islands

Read More
10 Exclusive Resorts in Maldives

10 Exclusive Resorts in Maldives

The Maldives is paradise destination that should be on the bucket list of every discerning travelers. There's a special breed of hotels there that cater to the most tasteful of luxury travelers

Read More
...

Maldives Luxury Guide

Here's the best of Maldives for luxury travellers. We've compiled the finest recommendations of places to stay, ranging from the most celebrated five-star resorts to luxurious private islands Read More

...

Maldives Romantic Guide

The ultimate ‘flop and drop' and honeymoon destination, the Maldives is the playground for the most amazing and finest utilization of each second of this extremely valuable and hopeful time with each other in tota Read More

...

Maldives Budget Guide

Budget travellers choose Maldives as their destination of choice thanks to the variety of affordable stays  Read More

...

Maldives Family Guide

Maldives - a name that became synonymous with honeymooners' paradise in the tourism world, has slowly Read More

scuba diving in the maldives ultimate guide

Maldives Diving Guide

The life of these paradise islands below the Indian Ocean's level is the main draw attracting thousands of divers Read More

Maldives Best Hotel Deals

Booking.com
Booking.com
Booking.com
Booking.com