Witnessing manta rays gliding or whirling in the waters of the Maldives is truly magical; here are some things to keep in mind to help you plan manta spotting excursions.
Where to Spot Them
There are key local destinations to spot manta rays such as Manta Point within easy reach of resorts in the North Male Atoll like Baros Maldives. Another main hotspot is Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, while the South Ari, Addu and Lhaviyani atolls also offer manta sightings.
Planning an Excursion
Mantas can be spotted while snorkelling or diving in the Maldives; villas aside, resorts generally have their own dive centres which provide such excursions to the best areas for sightings. Ensure to choose an ‘Eco Dive Centre’ certified by Reef Check so you know eco-friendly and ethical practices are being followed.
Best Time for Sightings
Manta rays in Maldives can be seen throughout the year depending on the location; in Hanifaru Bay, for example, the peak season is from May to November. Those based in the North Male Atoll can enjoy year-round sightings depending on where they go be it at Manta Point (May to December) or Boduhithi Thila (January to May).
Things to Keep in Mind
While manta rays are harmless, you should follow certain guidelines when you encounter them. Remember to keep at least a three-metre distance and refrain from touching them since that can damage or compromise the coating over their skin. Additionally, don’t make any sudden movements that may startle them.