Manta rays in Indonesia : the best places to spot them

manta rays in indonesia where

Seeing a manta ray with your own eyes is always a very special moment ! One must admit they are quite fantastic animals. With their graceful movements and impressive wingspans, it is not wonder why they are such a popular attraction for both divers and snorkelers. And it turns out there are several places where you can spot them in the Indonesian waters. So where can you see manta rays in Indonesia ? Let’s find out now !

  1. What kind of manta rays can you find in Indonesia ?
  2. Where to see manta rays in Indonesia ?
  3. What’s the manta ray season in Indonesia ?

What kind of manta rays can you find in Indonesia ?

manta rays in indonesia
Credits : @cungkring

Manta rays are unarguably one of the most fascinating species of Indonesia – although the country has many out of this world species ! If you are a marine animals enthusiast, you might be wondering “what type of manta rays are there in Indonesia ?“. It turns out Indonesia’s warm waters are home to 2 species of manta rays : the Reef Manta Ray (Manta alfredi) and the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris). And guess what ? These are the two only manta ray species that scientists have found until now. Giant manta rays can reach widths of up to 7 meters (23 feet) and are found in tropical and subtropical waters, while reef manta rays are slightly smaller, with widths of up to 5 meters (16 feet), and are typically found in shallower coastal areas. Both species of manta rays in Indonesia are filter feeders, consuming plankton and small fish through their wide-open mouths as they glide through the oceans. Despite their rather impressive size, these gentle giants pose no threat to humans and are a sight to behold in their natural habitats !

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Where to see manta rays in Indonesia ?

Now let’s move on to the question you’re all asking yourselves : where can you dive or snorkel with manta rays in Indonesia ? Here are our top 5 spots in the country !

1. Blue Magic, Raja Ampat

oceanic manta rays in blue magic raja ampat
Credits : @jdbaluch

Our first stop brings us to Raja Ampat, an archipelago located in the West Papua province of Indonesia. Without even mentionning its manta rays, Raja Ampat is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, consisting of a cluster of more than 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals ! The name “Raja Ampat” translates to “Four Kings,” which refers to the four main islands of the archipelago: Waigeo, Misool, Salawati, and Batanta. These islands offer picturesque landscapes, crystal-clear turquoise waters and of course, an abundance of marine biodiversity. Raja Ampat is known for its stunning coral reefs, making it a super popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts from around the world !

No wonder why this is the first place you should head to if you’d like to see manta rays in Indonesia… Here you can actually see Oceanic Mantas ! The best way to see them is to go to Blue Magic, Raja Ampat. Blue Magic is pinnacle reef located out in the open ocean that starts at 8m deep and descends down to almost 30 meters. You will quickly understand where the name of the place comes from as soon as you see the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the spot, so captivating that they appear almost magical ! This enchanting hue of the ocean is a result of the vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life that thrives beneath the surface. As you swim among the kaleidoscope of colorful coral gardens, you’ll get the chance to watch the gracefully gliding manta rays. Swimming with manta rays in Raja Ampat is a mesmerizing experience that will leave you in awe of the beauty of nature ! Grey reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, black tip reef sharks and jack fish are other beauties you will be lucky enough to encounter here.

2. Karang Makassar, Central Komodo

manta rays in komodo indonesia
Credits : @sisitimur

Karang Makassar, also known as Pink Beach, is a stunning beach located in the Komodo National Park in Indonesia. This beach gets its name from the pink-colored sand that gives it a unique and captivating appearance ! If you’re wondering, the pink is a result of the mixture of white sand with fine red coral fragments. The crystal-clear turquoise waters and the lush greenery surrounding the beach create a picturesque scene that will leave you speechless ! And as you’ve guessed already, Karang Makassar, Komodo, offers a perfect setting for snorkeling and diving.

Manta point in Karang Makassar is an incredible spot, renowned for its abundance of manta rays, making it a dream destination for nature enthusiasts and underwater photographers. When diving at Manta Point, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the majestic creatures up close in their natural habitat. It’s truly a mesmerizing sight to see these gentle giants glide effortlessly through the crystal-clear waters ! The waters surrounding Karang Makassar are known for their great visibility, allowing for unparalleled views of the vibrant marine life. Apart from the manta rays, you might also encounter other fascinating sea creatures such as turtles, colorful coral reefs, and a variety of tropical fish species. The underwater ecosystem here is a wonderland of biodiversity, providing a unique adventure for divers of all levels of experience ! Good thing to note : the spot is accessible to novice divers ! In fact, encounters with manta rays in Karang Makassar are not an experience reserved to certified divers. Snorkeling is a popular alternative that allows you to explore the beauty of Manta Point. With just a mask, snorkel, and fins, you can float on the surface and observe these graceful creatures as they swim beneath you !

3. Manta Ridge, Raja Ampat

manta rays in manta ridge raja ampat indonesia
Credits : @ollieclarkephoto

Manta Ridge is another renowned dive site located in the stunning Raja Ampat archipelago. Situated in the heart of the Coral Triangle, this underwater paradise offers an unforgettable experience for diving enthusiasts ! The dive site features a sloping coral reef with a sandy bottom, providing an ideal feeding ground for the mantas. As you descend into the depths, you’ll be greeted by a plethora of vibrant coral formations, bustling with marine life. Schools of colorful fish, such as angelfish, butterflyfish, and surgeonfish, dart around the reef, adding to the enchantment of the dive !

With a bit of patience, you may also witness the incredible sight of several mantas gracefully swooping past, showcasing their elegant acrobatics ! Photographers and videographers will for sure find themselves in paradise. Manta Ridge is actually one of the main mantas’ cleaning station in Raja Ampat. The spot is suitable for both experienced divers and those who are new to the underwater world. The reef slope drops all the way to 40m, but the mesmerizing oceanic & reef mantas can be spotted as shallow as 6m already ! On top of that, the calm currents and excellent visibility make it an ideal location for underwater exploration.

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4. Manta Alley, South Komodo

manta rays in manta alley south komodo
Credits : @rubtur

Karang Makassar isn’t the only place where you can spot manta rays in the Komodo islands ! Manta Alley is another renowned diving spot located in the Komodo National Park in Indonesia. This extraordinary site offers divers the opportunity to encounter majestic manta rays in their natural habitat. The name “Manta Alley” is derived from the fact that it is a congregation area for these beautiful creatures !

As you descend into the clear azure waters, you’ll be greeted by an underwater landscape teeming with vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life. The strong currents in Manta Alley attract large amounts of plankton, which in turn entice the mantas to visit and feed. It is not rare to spot up to 40 mantas playfully swimming in the currents ! What makes Manta Alley so interesting is that it is both feeding area and a cleaning area for our animals. Diving in Manta Alley, Komodo is thus an unforgettable experience that offers a close-up encounter with them. Apart from the mantas in South Komodo, divers may also spot other marine species such as sharks, turtles, and a myriad of colorful fish. The abundant marine biodiversity and the pristine underwater environment make Manta Alley a must-visit destination for diving enthusiasts !

5. Manta rays in Nusa Penida, Bali

swim with manta ray in nusa penida
Credits : @adlephoto

Tourists often wonder where they can swim with manta rays in Bali. In fact, the only place where you can snorkel or dive with manta rays in Bali isn’t on the main island’s coasts. Indeed, the animals can be found in the beautiful waters surrounding Nusa Penida, a small island located off the coast of Bali’s main island ! The most famous dive site around the island where you can encounter these magnificent creatures is Manta Point. In fact, it is unarguably one of the best diving spots in Bali – if you’d like to learn more about that, check out our post on “Where to scuba dive in Bali” ! There, you can spot manta rays almost all year long. The vibrant marine life surrounding Manta Point is also a sight to behold. Aside from the manta rays, divers can expect to encounter a variety of colorful tropical fish, coral gardens, and other fascinating marine creatures like the Mola-Mola. The visibility is usually excellent, allowing divers to fully appreciate the underwater splendor !

Whether you are an experienced diver or simply a nature enthusiast, witnessing manta rays in Nusa Penida is an experience that will stay with you forever ! Good thing to know : not only can you dive with the gentle giants, but it is also possible to snorkel with manta rays in Nusa Penida, Bali !

What’s the manta ray season in Indonesia ?

The manta ray season in Indonesia varies depending on the region. In popular manta ray diving locations such as Raja Ampat and Komodo National Park, the best time to spot these stunning creatures is generally between November and May. During these months, the waters are clearer and the currents are more favorable, providing better visibility for spotting manta rays. When it comes to the manta ray season in Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan : the animals are more likely to be spotted between June and September thanks to the cold water upwellings, although they love hanging around this spot all year long. Overall, it’s always a good idea to check with your local diving center for the most up-to-date information on manta ray sightings and seasonal variations in Indonesia !

Want to go diving with the manta rays ? Book your guided dive now with Bali Conservation Diving ! 

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