Few experiences can parallel diving or snorkeling with a manta ray and Indonesia is one of the best countries in the world to do so. Whether you are on a shared cruise or private boat Cruise – seeing Manta Rays closeup is always a highlight!
Below our top-picks for the best sites to see these gentle giants in Indonesia.
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.
Karang Makassar has a sandy ocean floor and good visibility all year-round, but December to February is usually the best time due to high reports of sightings. It’s as easy as dropping down and preparing to drift and witnessing these gentle giants gliding through the water. Dive or snorkeling– you’ll have a great experience either way.
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. After their cleaning, you can follow them to the “Alley” where the manta will gather around and glide through the current to feed.
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. As you descend, you will see schools of Jacks, tornadoes of Barracuda off for a hunt, sneaking Eels, Sharks patrolling, 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. This is a manta cleaning station where these wonderful animals take a rest in (4-6 meters) deep water while getting cleaned by smaller fish.