Best time to travel to Maldives

Manta Rays in Baa Atoll in Maldives

Visit the UNESCO sanctuary of ocean giants and join them in the water

Best time: June–October

Manta Rays in Baa Atoll
Manta Rays in Baa Atoll
Manta Rays in Baa Atoll
Manta Rays in Baa Atoll

The Maldives is one of the few places where you can see manta rays in massive numbers. Generally, they can be spotted all year round since winter is a good time to observe them on the western side of Maldives atolls, and during summer they are abundant on the eastern side. Baa Atoll’s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve welcomes the most famous manta ray gathering from June to October.

Take a speedboat trip to Hanifaru Bay or Bathaala to encounter these amazing sea creatures. Manta alfredi migrate annually in hundreds to the plankton-rich waters of Hanifaru Bay, which is known as the biggest manta feeding station in the world. It is also famous as a nursery for sharks and stingrays.

Boats with divers and snorkelers leave every morning, taking people to the ocean locations where marine life is especially vivid. The marine life of the coral reef is truly amazing! You can swim and snorkel next to whale sharks, sea turtles, schools of amazing fish and even dolphins. You have higher chances to swim with manta rays if you dive because there are not so many of them swimming near the surface.

Practical info

What is the best time of the year for viewing manta rays in Baa Atoll?

From June to October, Baa Atoll is considered the best place for sighting manta rays. Hanifaru Bay is known as the largest manta feeding zone globally, and Manta Rays accumulate in hundreds annually to revel in its plankton-rich waters. However, the Western side of Maldives atolls is another vantage point to observe these creatures during winter, while they're in abundance at the Eastern side during summer. Show more

Where, in particular, can I find manta rays in Baa Atoll?

Hanifaru Bay and Bathaala are the notable hotspots for manta ray sightings in Baa Atoll. Additionally, Hanifaru Bay, listed as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, hosts the world's biggest manta feeding region. Manta alfredi migrate in hundreds annually to take advantage of the plankton-rich waters. Bathaala, in comparison, provides a more personalized experience than Hanifaru Bay as it is less busy, and one can book a day trip on a private boat. Show more

What other aquatic animals can I see in Hanifaru Bay?

Apart from hosting the largest manta feeding zone in the world, Hanifaru Bay also serves as a breeding and nursery hub for sharks and stingrays. Additionally, a slew of impressive schools of fish, sea turtles, and on fortunate occasions, dolphins can also be sighted. To ensure the longevity of the delicate ecosystem, fishing and mooring are banned in the area since Hanifaru Bay is part of a protected reserve. Show more

Can I see manta rays while diving, or is snorkeling sufficient?

While manta rays can be seen while snorkeling, they are more commonly sighted while diving due to their less frequent appearances near the surface. Additionally, while diving, you can observe the unique gliding action of the older rays. Snorkeling in Hanifaru Bay's shallow sandy flats, on the other hand, provides an ideal location to view up to dozens of manta rays simultaneously. Show more

Apart from snorkeling, what other activities can I engage in around Baa Atoll?

Numerous activities are available in Baa Atoll apart from snorkeling and diving. Activities such as taking sunset cruises, fishing, and experiencing traditional Maldivian life in nearby villages are available. Besides, guests can partake in Maldivian spa treatments, savour local Maldivian cuisine, peruse a book, unwind on the fine white-sand beaches, tread ancient trails, or enjoy a rejuvenating sunbath under swaying palm trees. Show more

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