The 12 Best Places to Dive with Mantas
Diving with mantas is one of the greatest experiences you can have underwater. Here's 12 of our favourite spots to encounter these beautiful creatures - one of the few fish which seem to actively search out encounters with divers…
1 Raja Ampat , Indonesia
There are a number of cleanings stations and sites where you can regularly encounter mantas in Raja Ampat including Mountain, Manta Ridge and Manta Sandy. Read Douglas David Seifert's Water Column about the wonders of Raja Ampat.
2 Komodo , Indonesia
The best time to visit the Komodo National Park if you want to be sure you encounter manta rays is between December and February, which is the rainy season.
The volcanic islands of Hawaii are famous for mantas. Big Island offers year-round encounters - don't miss the night dives with the mantas dancing in high-powered underwater lights.
Manta sightings are common in the Maldives, particularly during August to October when you can find impressive feeding and mating spectaculars at sites such as Hanifaru in Baa Atoll.
5 Yap, Micronesia
Yap, a tiny cluster of islands in Micronesia, is one of the world's manta hotspots. When the trade winds blow from November to May, manta dives are popular at Mi’il Channel. In the summer, manta dives are done in both Mi’il and Goofnuw Channels.
6 Cabo Marshall, Galapágos
Mantas can be hit or miss in many parts of the Galapágos Islands, but when you visit Cabo Marshall off the northeastern shore of Isabela Island, seeing manta rays is nearly guaranteed. And keep your eyes peeled topside for sights such as one breaching.
7 Yasawa Islands, Fiji
This isolated island chain island is a great place to dive with mantas from May to October. You can also regularly encounter mantas around the Kadavua Group, in Bligh Water and in the Somosomo Strait.
8 Ningaloo, Western Australia
Coral Bay at Ningaloo has a resident population of around 600 coastal manta rays (Manta alfredi). They are found in a large area named Bateman’s Bay which is fed by the largest passage in Ningaloo Reef known locally as North Passage. A spotter plane, taking off from Coral Bay airstrip, is used to locate the mantas. It directs the boat skippers via radio to the rays. Behaviour such as barrel rolling and line feeding can we witnessed throughout the year, particularly around full moons. During the summer months, between November and February, they form mating chains with sometimes up to 15 males fighting for position to mate with a single female.
9 Ishigaki Island, Japan
If you're after some manta madness, Ishigaki Island is the place to be. Manta Scramble is the point where the mantas congregate, or rather scramble, to be cleaned and to feed off the blooming plankton. See My Dive Japan - photo credit Pete Leong
10 Revillagigedos Islands, Mexico
The Boiler at San Benedicto Island in Mexico’s Revillagigedos Islands is one of the best places to encounter the larger, more pelagic oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris), which reaches a maximum of seven metres and in can weigh in excess of 1,400 kilos.
11 Rangiroa, Manihi and Fakarava atolls in French Polynesia
The high-energy channels found in French Polynesia attract a host of pelagics including more than a fair share of mantas.
12 Uepi Island Manta Rays, Solomon islands
Mantas love the deep walls of Uepi Island, a small resort hidden at the edge of the largest salt-water lagoon in the world with a 2,000m-deep oceanic trench on its seaward side.