Diving with manta rays is an incredible, nearly otherworldly experience, for those who’ve had the opportunity to experience seeing these graceful, gentle creatures up close. Person after person has described these encounters as “sheer joy” because there’s nothing quite like being in the ocean and having a manta ray swim right up to you, and look you in the eye.
Of the two recognized species of manta, the smaller reef mantas often school in large numbers and are most commonly found on inshore reefs in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. The larger giant oceanic mantas are more widely distributed and tend to gather around offshore seamounts and islands.
Manta rays have marks that distinguish them along their underside, almost similar to how humans are identified by our fingerprints. Diving or snorkeling with mantas is considered to be the safest large animal encounter in the world since manta rays neither bite nor sting. And manta rays have the biggest brains of all species of fish, causing many to remark about how smart they are.
Manta rays can be found in many waters around the world, and we have come up with a list of the very best sites around Indonesia archipelago, where divers encounter manta rays under the best possible circumstances.
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The Best Sites or places for diving and snorkelling with Mantas Rays on a liveaboard cruise in Indonesia, such as:
1. Karang Makassar, Central Komodo (Manta point)
Karang Makassar in Komodo National Park is known for its Manta Point: A channel that connects the Indian and SW Pacific oceans providing water that is abundant in zooplankton making it a perfect feeding ground for mantas.Here, you can find reef mantas and sometimes oceanic mantas as well as eagle rays, various sharks, and giant trevallies.
2. Manta Alley, South Komodo
Still in Komodo National Park, you’ll find another iconic site known as Manta Alley in the South of Komodo. This site has a lot of similarities with Karang Makassar or Manta Point. This rocky island features plenty of coral and mantas are expected to be seen right away as you enter the shallow water. The rocks on this site provide deep cleaning stations that stretch all the way to the sandy sea floor.
3. Blue Magic, Raja Ampat (Oceanic Mantas!)
One of the best areas in Indonesia to encounter Manta Rays is Raja Ampat. Blue Magic and Manta Ridge are just two of the many sites with a high chance of an encounter. Blue Magic is located between Waisai and Cape Kri in the Dampier Strait. Blue Magic offers a scenic reef with plenty of hard and soft corals, fans, and sponges along the slope. This site has about 8m of open water from the surfaces to the reef with moderate to strong current.
This stunning site is blooming with planktons that lure in a lot of pelagic fishes. This is a great place to meet the Giant Oceanic Manta. You will see schools of Jacks, tornadoes of Barracuda, sneaking Eels, Sharks, technicolour reef critters, and even Tasselled Wobbegong! Best time to visit Raja Ampat is October to April.
4. Manta Ridge, Raja Ampat
Another Raja Ampat gem is a spectacular sloping reef that is located between Mansuar and Arborei Islands. The slope reaches 40 meters before the sandy sea floor, although at 6 meters you can already notice mants. The reef slope is a well-known Manta cleaning station where the seabed is mostly sand and algae. Currents in this site can be very strong, beginner diver should only try under supervision and when the currents are not as strong. This site has an abundance of marine life. The reef is blooming with critters such as Wrasse, Turtles, Remora, and Trevallies. May to September brings in heavy rainfall while October to April features mostly sunny and dry weather.
5. Nusa Penida, Bali
The top places to see manta rays in Nusa Penida are Manta Bay and Manta Point. They may even swim around Crystal Bay too. In addition to this, you can sometimes catch them from the viewpoints of the southern coastline.
Manta Bay is a relatively shallow area where manta rays tend to swim and feed on the surface. It is not just one bay but instead a group of bays where mantas can be seen.
Manta Point is one of the southernmost dive sites of the island overlooked by high cliffs. The water is about 15 meters deep at Manta Point. Currents are strong and the sea can be rough here, therefore this place is recommended for experienced divers.
Are you ready to dive and snorkel with manta rays? Contact us for your customized experience aboard in Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park or Bali Islands whether you are on shared trips (Open Trips) or private Charter Boat – Manta Rays closeup is always a highlight!!