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

Few experiences can equal diving or snorkeling with manta mays in 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 yacht charter – seeing manta rays up close is always a highlight!

Snorkel and dive with manta rays in Indonesia

Indonesia is a true paradise for snorkeling 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 holds 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 setup to meet them. 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.

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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. The country is home to the two known species of manta rays: the reef manta ray (Mobula alfredi) and the giant oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris). 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 spotting manta rays. 

Manta Rays in Indonesia

Where are the best sites to see manta rays?

After creating some excitement for these beautiful species, here are our top 5 spots to encounter them in their natural habitat. 

1. Karang Makassar, Central Komodo (Manta point)

Dive and snorkel with manta rays at Karang Makassar in Komodo National Park. The site is known for its Manta Point. A channel connects the Indian and SW Pacific Oceans and 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 good 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 dropping down and preparing to drift and witnessing these gentle giants gliding through the water while diving or snorkeling. 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 ocean lovers!

Diving with Mantas in Komodo

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 Island. This site has a lot of similarities with Karang Makassar or Manta Point. The rocky island features plenty of coral and manta rays 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 rays will gather around and glide through the current to feed.

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

One of the best areas in Indonesia to dive and snorkel with 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 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. This is a great place to meet giant oceanic manta rays. As you descend, you will see schools of jacks, tornadoes of barracuda hunting, sneaking eels, sharks patrolling, technicolor reef critters, and even tasseled wobbegongs, also 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, Raja Ampat

Another Raja Ampat gem is a spectacular sloping reef that is located between Mansuar and Arborei Islands. The slope goes down to 40 meters (130 ft) before reaching the sandy sea floor, although you can 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 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 wrasses, turtles, remoras, and trevallies. The May to September time period brings in heavy rainfall while October to April features mostly sunny and dry weather.

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

The top places to see manta rays in Nusa Penida are the aptly named dive sites Manta Bay and Manta Point. They may even swim around Crystal Bay too. In addition, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of 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 manta rays 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 ray cleaning station where 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

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 sites to snorkel and dive with manta rays offer a range of experiences for all levels of snorkelers and divers. So, whether you’re an experienced diver or a snorkeling 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.

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