Fiji is one of few places in the world where people can snorkel/swim with manta ray. How amazing is that! Word of advice; should that opportunity arise you would be foolish not to go.
These graceful creatures of the deep blue sea can reach up to a 6 metre wingspan as they glide elegantly through the sea. Expect to see large numbers of these gentle beauties on your dedicated manta ray snorkel journey.
To be honest, swimming with manta ray in the wild is a sensory overload. Overall, it’s a calming experience to feel so completely at one with nature. The gorgeous Yasawa Islands are lucky enough to have plenty of manta ray annually visit between October and May.
The Best Manta Ray Snorkel Tours in Fiji
Guests on guided snorkel tours in Fiji have a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the schools of manta ray that frequent this exotic island chain. It’s super cool to immerse yourself in balmy tropical waters that reflect shimmering hues of blue. Year round sensational visibility means a whole undersea menagerie of species is easily seen.
I can only urge you to snorkel alongside these majestic creatures at least once in your life but it’s up to you to make the dive. Personally, my favourite manta ray tours in the Yasawa’s depart from the aptly named Manta Ray Island Resort and Barefoot Manta Island
Fact: Manta Ray Passage is the name of the channel which separates Drawaqa Island and Naviti Island in the Yasawa archipelago. This passage is well known for its regular manta rays visits throughout May and October – especially when the tide turns and the plankton flow through.
A snorkel or dive expedition at Manta Reef (great name, right), a nutrient-rich feeding spot near the Great Astrolabe Reef is a terrific way to see these creatures up close.
Get in touch with the expert team at Dive Fiji to arrange a guided tour. Note: Kadavu is a relatively unexplored part of Fiji’s north, which makes it a great place to experience intimate marine encounters in spectacular seas that are mostly devoid of tourists.
Seeking private island luxury amid some of the best dive sites in Fiji? Look no further than the exclusive and secluded Kokomo resort in Kadavu. It’s wonderful to see this 5 star property pull focus to a myriad of environmentally sustainable initiatives including their dedicated manta ray conservation projects.
Manta Ray Attributes
Manta ray are great a making a regal entrance. In the Yasawa Islands there’s two main colourways for local manta ray; a hypnotic onyx black or bold chevron print. Not overtly inquisitive, the rays are however very perceptive. It’s best to snorkel at a gracious pace and minimise lively water play to assure the sometimes sensitive manta ray that you pose no threat. Relax and observe the stunning marine eco-system abound.
As a protected species guests are not permitted to swim with the manta ray solo. Touching is also a no go. The expert snorkel/dive guide that hosts the tour will likely be a veritable encyclopaedia of marine facts. So, fire away with any questions you may have.
Be sure to take your time to relish in the calming vibe that Manta seem to permeate on their sea trajectory. There’s a melody to their movement and it’s easy to see why Fijian people hold these creatures in such high esteem.
Tips for Swimming with Manta Ray
- Bring an underwater camera and/or a GoPro to capture breathtaking images and video of manta rays
- Help protect the precious reefs in Fiji by using non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide-based sunscreen. Sun Bum has a great range of reef friendly sunscreens available
- Swimming and snorkeling skills are prerequisites for swimming with manta rays. Always go with a guide, particulary since a lot of the Manta Rays favourite ocean passages have strong currents and are protected zones
- No matter how close they come to you, avoid touching manta rays as it may stress or startle them
Learn more about the various manta ray research projects in Fiji, including conservation strategies here.
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