Few experiences can parallel diving or snorkeling with Manta Rays and Indonesia. The country is one of the best places in the world to do so. Whether you are on a shared cruise or a private boat cruise – seeing Manta Rays close-up is always a highlight!
Indonesia is a true paradise for snorkelling and diving. Areas such as Raja Ampat or Komodo offer some of the world’s most breathtaking seascapes. However, one of the country’s most amazing underwater creatures to discover is the majestic Manta Ray. Indonesia provides some of the best sites in the world to snorkel and dive with these wonderful sea creatures. The crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and stunning coral reefs are the perfect set up. Hence, we want to share our top 5 sites to snorkel and dive with Manta Rays in Indonesia, providing you with all the information you need to plan your next cruise.
Manta Rays are some of the most fascinating marine creatures in the world, and Indonesia is one of the best places to see them. These gentle giants can grow up to 7 meters in length and weigh up to 2 tons, making them one of the largest fish species in the ocean. The country is home to two of the world’s four known species of Manta Rays: the Reef Manta Ray and the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray. They are often seen gliding gracefully through the waters, feeding on plankton and small fish. With its warm tropical waters, diverse coral reefs, and strong ocean currents, Indonesia provides the perfect environment for Manta Rays.
After creating some excitement for these beautiful species, here are our top 5 spots to encounter them in their natural habitat.
Dive and snorkel with Manta Rays at Karang Makassar in Komodo National Park. The site 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 the perfect feeding ground for mantas. In addition, 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 snorkel. At this site, you can find reef mantas and sometimes oceanic mantas as well as eagle rays, various sharks, and giant trevallies. Plenty to see for the ocean lover!
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. The 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.
One of the best areas in Indonesia to dive and snorkel 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 8 m of open water from the surfaces to the reef with moderate to strong currents.
This stunning site is blooming with plankton that lures in countless 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.
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 mantas. The reef slope is a well-known Manta cleaning station, where the seabed is mostly sand and algae. Currents in this site can be strong, a 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.
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, 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 on 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. 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.
Are you ready to dive and snorkel with Manta Rays? From the remote region of Raja Ampat to the popular tourist destination of Bali, Indonesia’s top 5 sites to snorkel and dive with Manta Rays offer a range of experiences for all levels of snorkellers and divers. So, whether you’re an experienced diver or a snorkelling enthusiast, the country’s underwater world is the perfect environment for anyone looking to witness the beauty of Manta Rays in their natural habitat. We are more than happy to assist you in planning your adventure in Indonesia. Contact us for your customized experience aboard one of our classic vessels in Raja Ampat or Boat Charters in Komodo National Park.