Diving with manta rays is at the top of many divers' wishlists. The sheer size, grace and elegance of the manta ensures their place as one of the most sought after encounters in the marine world. Browse our carefully crafted manta ray trips for that special encounter.
Why our manta ray diving holidays are so successful
What manta rays to see and where
Manta rays can be found in tropical waters around the world. These large filter feeders can be encountered at cleaning stations or in plankton rich waters where their food is abundant.
There are two species of manta ray, the giant oceanic manta and the smaller reef manta. The reef manta tends to cover a smaller range and is generally considered resident to a certain area, while the larger oceanic manta is more nomadic, wandering the oceans.
Manta rays are in turn part of the Mobulidae family, which also includes mobula or devil rays. These smaller cousins, found in large numbers in the Azores among other places, are often mistaken for manta rays.
Giant manta ray
The largest member of the Mobulidae family, giant manta rays (Manta birostris) can reach a wingspan of up to seven metres, ensuring a jaw-dropping encounter for any diver or snorkeller. Only recently distinguished as a separate species to reef manta rays, these giants wander the oceans and are thought to live for between 50 and 100 years.
Huge squadrons of magnificent devil rays (also called mobula rays) can be found across the oceans and can be see in the Azores and Mozambique. These schools are incredible to witness and are a must for all divers who enjoy their big fish.
Smaller than both species of manta ray, devil rays still reach and impression size. Like their cousins, they are filter feeders, chasing the blooms of plankton and small fish across the waves.
The rays found in Mexico have been documented leaping from the waters in huge numbers and splashing back down in a spectacular display that may be linked to mating rituals.
Reef manta ray
The reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) is the smaller cousin of the giant oceanic manta ray, reaching a wingspan of up to 3.5 metres. Unlike their globe-trotting counterparts, the reef manta ray tends to stay resident to a particular area, allowing easier sightings.
Their tendency to gather in larger groups ensures that encounters with these majestic plankton feeders are no less spectacular.