Indonesia's 5 best sites to snorkel and dive with manta rays

Few experiences can equal diving or snorkeling with Manta Rays. Indonesia is one of the best places in the world to do so. Whether you are on a shared cruise or a private yacht charter – diving and snorkeling with Manta Rays is an unforgettable highlight for all ages.

Snorkel and dive with manta rays in Indonesia

Indonesia is a true paradise for snorkeling and diving. Regions such as Raja Ampat or Komodo offer the world’s most breathtaking seascapes and are home to an abundance of marine life. However, one of the country’s most amazing underwater creature to discover is the Majestic Manta Ray. 

The crystal-clear waters, colorful coral gardens and spectacular underwater landscapes are the perfect backdrop to encounter the pelagic fish species. 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 unforgettable scuba diving and snorkeling adventure. 

Play Video about Snorkel and dive with Manta Rays Video

which type of manta rays can you see in Indonesia?

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. Indonesia is home to two known species of Manta Rays: the Reef Manta Ray (Mobula alfredi) and the giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Mobula birostris). They often glide gracefully through the waters, feeding on plankton and small fish.

Reef Mantas

Reef Manta Rays are large rays belonging to the Mobulidae family. They are characterized by their triangular pectoral fins, horn-shaped cephalic fins, large mouths, and unique body patterns. They can grow up to 5 meters in wing span, but the average size is about 3 to 3.5 meters. Reef Mantas are mostly black or dark blue on top with white underbelly. Each individual has a unique pattern on its belly, which can be used to identify them. This is similar to human fingerprints.

Reef Manta Rays are known to be quite social and interactive, often seen in groups, especially when feeding or being cleaned by smaller fish. The cleaning takes place at cleaning stations where small fish remove parasites and dead skin from their bodies.

Oceanic Mantas

Oceanic Manta Rays, scientifically known as Mobula birostris, are one of the largest species of rays and a part of the Elasmobranchii family, which also includes sharks. These gentle giants are known for their impressive size, with a wingspan that can reach up to 7 meters. In comparison to the Reef Manta, the Oceanic Manta prefers open ocean environments and is more likely to be found in deeper waters, although they can also be seen in coastal areas. Due to their long-distance migrations, Oceanic Mantas are more solitary. 

Manta Rays in Indonesia

Where are the best sites to see manta rays in Indonesia?

After providing you with general information, and creating excitement for these beautiful inhabitants of the ocean, here are our top 5 spots to encounter Mantas in Indonesia in the year 2024. Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat are the two regions that come to mind when talking about Manta Rays, but there is a chance to spot them near Nusa Penida in Bali as well. But let’s start with our two favorites spots in Komodo National Park.

1. Karang Makassar, Central Komodo (Manta point)

Dive and snorkel with manta rays at Karang Makassar in Komodo National Park. At this famous dive site, a channel connects the Indian and the southwest Pacific Oceans. This geographic position provides water that is abundant in zooplankton, making it the perfect feeding ground for Manta Rays. In addition, Karang Makassar has a white sandy ocean floor and great visibility all year round, but October to March is usually the best time to go due to high reports of sightings.

It’s as easy as jumping into the water and preparing to drift. While drifting, you can witness the gentle giants gliding through the water with such ease. At Karang Makassar it is more common to encounter Reef Mantas and less common to spot their oceanic relatives. Moreover, the waters at this site are home to various other fascinating sea creatures such as eagle rays, various sharks, giant trevallies, and turtles. Karang Makassar is worth visiting during your yacht charter in Komodo or liveaboard adventure.

Snorkeling with Mantas at Karang Makassar in Komodo National Park

2. Manta Alley, South Komodo

One of the best places to dive and snorkel with Mantas in Komodo National Park. Manta Alley is located at the far southern end of Komodo Island in the Indian Ocean and consists of a series of small rocky islands a few hundred meters away from the main island. The rocky islands feature plenty of colorful corals and several spots where mantas can be found almost all year round. Manta Rays gather in this area for mating and cleaning. The cleaning station is around 20 meters, from where the rocks meet a white sandy bottom. After the cleaning, you can follow them to the “Alley” where the Manta Rays glide through the current to feed.

3. Blue Magic, Raja Ampat and its oceanic manta rays

Raja Ampat is known as the Last Paradise and offers spectacular diving, breathtaking snorkeling, and immersive sailing experiences. Hence, it is no wonder that the region has some of the best places in the world to snorkel and dive with Manta Rays. Blue Magic and Manta Ridge are just two of the many dive sites with a high chance of an encounter. 

Blue Magic is located between Waisai and Cape Kri in the Dampier Strait. The dive site offers a scenic reef with plenty of hard and soft corals, fans, and sponges along the slope. This site is about 8 meters deep (26 ft) from the surface to the reef, with moderate to strong currents. This stunning site is blooming with plankton that lures in countless pelagic fish, such as the giant Oceanic Manta Rays. As you descend, you will see schools of jacks, tornadoes of barracuda, sneaking eels, sharks patrolling, technicolor reef critters, and even tasseled wobbegongs, known as carpet sharks. The best time to visit Raja Ampat is from October to April.

Discover the stunning underwater world in Raja Ampat

4. Manta Ridge in Raja Ampat

Another gem in the Last Paradise. The dive site features a spectacular sloping reef that is located between Mansuar and Arborek Islands. The slope goes down to 40 meters (130 ft) before reaching the sandy sea floor. It is already possible to spot Manta Rays from 6 meters (20 ft). The reef slope is a well-known Manta Ray cleaning station, where the seabed is mostly sand and algae. 

Currents at this site can be strong, beginners and less-experienced divers should only dive under supervision and when the currents are not so strong. Manta Ridge boasts an abundance of marine life and the reef is blooming with critters such as wrasses, turtles, remoras, and trevallies. A pure delight for all underwater explorers!

5. Dive or snorkel with manta rays in Nusa Penida, Bali

The top places to snorkel and dive with Manta Rays in Nusa Penida are Manta Bay and Manta Point. Sometimes Mantas even swim around Crystal Bay. In rare cases, you can catch a glimpse of the giant sea creatures 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. 

Manta Point is one of the southernmost dive sites on Bali overlooked by high cliffs. The water is about 15 meters deep at Manta Point. The currents are strong and the sea can be rough. That is why this dive site is only recommended for experienced divers and serves as a cleaning station for Mantas. Here, these wonderful animals take a rest in 4–6 meter (13-20 ft) deep water while getting cleaned by smaller fish. 

Explore Bali and its Mantas

How to behave when snorkeling or diving with Manta Rays

Respectful behavior should be given when encountering Mantas and other wildlife. Here are some general rules follow.

  • Maintain a Respectful Distance: It is important to keep a reasonable distance from the Manta Rays. Typically, staying at least 3–4 meters away is recommended. This distance helps prevent stressing the animals and allows them to behave naturally.
  • Avoid Touching: Never attempt to touch, ride, or feed the manta rays. Physical contact can remove their protective mucous layer, making them susceptible to infections and diseases.
  • Minimize Flash Photography: If you are taking photos, try to use natural light as much as possible. Flash photography can stress the Mantas.
  • Eco-Friendly Practices: Use eco-friendly sunscreens and avoid any products that might harm the marine environment.

Are you ready to snorkel and dive with manta rays?

From the remote region of Raja Ampat to the popular tourist destination of Bali, Indonesia’s top 5 dive sites to snorkel and dive with manta rays offer a wonderful experience for all levels of snorkelers and divers. So, whether you’re an experienced diver or a snorkeling enthusiast, the Indonesia’s underwater world is the perfect environment for anyone looking to witness the beauty of Manta Rays in their natural habitat. Our team at Barefoot Yachts Indonesia is more than happy to assist you in planning your cruising and diving adventure in Indonesia. Contact us for your tailor-made experience aboard one of our traditional yachts in Raja Ampat or in Komodo National Park.

More Private Charter Experiences

Scroll to Top