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The best destinations for diving with manta rays

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The best destinations for diving with manta rays

One of the most enigmatic animals in the ocean, manta rays have a unique beauty. Like vast alien beings they glide through the water, gracefully flapping what appear to be large wings as they make their beautiful progress. But, as migratory animals, they move around geographically and can be found at various depths, depending on the time of year. In general, they follow the currents which determine the movement of plankton, their main food source. However, mantas also have specialist needs, such as cleaning. Many pick up wounds from encounters with sharks or fishing nets and come to shallow waters – known as cleaning stations. Smaller fish tend to these wounds, picking them clean of parasites.

These pelagic cleaning zones are usually the best place to see manta rays around the world. As with any marine animal, there are no guarantees of seeing these majestic creatures of the deep, but there are several spots around the world where your chances of seeing mantas are increased. 

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Here are some of our best places to dive with manta rays:

Maldives

Widely regarded as a paradise for scuba divers, the Maldives boasts crystal clear waters and wide open ocean. You’ll be sure to see plenty of nurse sharks and maybe even glimpse the elusive whale shark if the season is right. But be sure to head to Baa Atoll and Ari Atoll, as these are known as two of the best locations for diving with manta rays in the world.

Mozambique

The plankton-rich waters off Mozambique’s coast attracts a huge amount of mantas each year. A drop in numbers in recent years has seen the country put in place several measures to make sure these magnificent animals are protected. You can dive with mantas all year round in certain places along the coast, with many of the animals coming to seek shelter from predators for large periods, meaning your viewing window is a big one.

Indonesia

With around 18,000 islands making up Indonesia, 25% of the world’s fish species and 15% of its coral, diversity in the waters here is pretty incredible. Lying at the junction of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, it’s also a major crossing point for several species of manta ray. Explore some of the 80,000km of coastline on a liveaboard for an excellent chance of diving with these animals. 

Oman

The waters off Oman host a rich variety of marine life including manta rays, pods of dolphins, humpback and sperm whales. From September to November you are also virtually guaranteed sightings of whale sharks. This is a great spot to combine a luxury land based diving holiday with a liveaboard trip to explore all that Oman has to offer.

As well as the above, other top manta ray diving destinations include Mexico, Micronesia, Fiji, Seychelles, Azores,Thailand and Hawaii.

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