The Best Manta Ray Dive Locations in the World

Find out where manta rays live and the best dive sites to go find them.

Seeing a manta ray in the wild, gliding majestically through the deep blue, is considered by many divers to be one of the most beautiful sights under the ocean. The largest of all rays, the manta can grow to have a wingspan over 20 feet long – making them quite easy to see when beneath the sea. That is, if the diver is in the right place looking in the right direction. Visiting dive sites known for their manta rays can increase a diver’s chance of seeing one of these beautiful creatures.

Night Dive Manta Rays at Kona Coast

Night Dive Manta Rays at Kona Coast

The Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii offers one of the most unique manta ray dive opportunities in the world. Manta rays congregate here at night to feed on the thick clouds of plankton living here– plankton which are attracted to the lights of dive boats. As the plankton drift towards the scuba boats so do the rays – offering scuba divers an up close look at these beautiful creatures. Scuba divers visiting this beautiful manta ray habitat are not often disappointed – according to the Manta Pacific Research Foundation’s webpage “Kona Sighting Data”, up to 36 mantas have been seen in one night.

 

Find a Manta Ray Dive Site in Thailand

The south of Thailand offers quite a few manta ray dive sites all of which are close to dazzling white sand beaches. Use the town of Khao Lak as a base and hop onto a scuba live aboard to explore the Similan Islands, the island Koh Bon, and Richilieu Rock. According to the dive operator Manta Point on their webpage “Manta Expeditions in Thailand”, sea currents carry plankton rich water towards these islands attracting hungry mantas. Once again, follow the food to find the manta.

 

The Manta Rays of Australia

The Manta Rays of Australia

Scuba divers visiting the pristine Ningaloo Reef off of Western Australia have the chance to spot over 500 species of fish, 200 species of hard coral, and 80 species of soft coral according to Australia’s official tourism website (Australia.com, “Ningaloo”). Visitors can also spot whales, the whale shark, and of course, manta rays. Visitors can see mantas near Exmouth in large numbers from March through April, while Coral Gardens is home to mantas all year round.

 

Manta Ray Habitat and Finding Mantas

Although Hawaii, Thailand, and Australia offer a few of the most beautiful dive sites for finding manta rays, these beautiful creatures can be found around the world. These marine creatures are found in tropical waters near coral and rocky reefs. A few more excellent manta ray dive sites include The Maldives, Fiji, The Galapagos Islands, and the Red Sea.