Why we love it
Embark on an unforgettable adventure in Maldives' Far North or Deep South atolls with the Manta Trust NGO! Join a citizen-science trip to support the research and conservation of reef and oceanic manta rays. The itineraries coincide with the most productive monsoon winds and lunar currents. These influence the movements and feeding habits of manta rays.
The Manta Trust was created in 2011 in the UK. The NGO’s mission is to advance the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitat through robust science and research, by raising awareness and providing education, influence, and action.
Who is it for?
For divers who want a dive trip with a purpose. Manta Trust scientists will be collecting photographic identification images of all mantas encountered throughout the expedition - a task that guests are welcome and encouraged to participate in. You will be exploring and looking for new manta aggregation sites and undertake more in-depth research activities - eg. wingspan measurements. You’ll need to be comfortable in moderate currents and have a level 2 dive certification (Advanced Open Water or equivalent).
Prices and Dates
Contact us and we’ll tell you which itinerary is available on your preferred dates. Some trips will take you to the Northern atolls, such as Baa, Raa, or Lhaviyani, while others focus on the Southern atolls, such as Fuvahmulah, Huvadhoo, Laamu, or Meemu.
- Manta Trust scientist on board
- Twin share or double cabin
- up to 3 dives a day
- Full Board: three meals per day
- Unlimited water, tea, and coffee
- Tanks and weights
- Nitrox on some trips - ask us
- Transfer between Male airport and the boat
- Maldives “Green Tax”: per day
- Marine park fees and Service charge on some itinerary - ask us
- Soft drinks, wine, beers and spirits
- Rental equipment, dive courses
- Upper deck cabins supplement of on some trips - ask us
- Crew tips
- Any flight or any hotel before/after the liveaboard
With more than 26 atolls, the Maldives offers an incredible diversity of corals and fish, with up to 2000 species spotted so far.
If you choose to go to the Northern atolls, you’ll dive into a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with one of the largest coral reefs diversity in the Indian Ocean.
- Baa Atoll is known for its spectacular feeding mantas of Hanifaru Bay.
- Raa atoll is home to a huge number of mantas in this season.
- Lhaviyani is another spectacular northern atoll. Here you’ll get to see sharks, schools of eagle rays, tunas, and more manta rays. There’s also one of the most beautiful shipwrecks in the country.
- North Ari Atoll is famous for some of the richest and most spectacular dive sites in the Maldives. Ari Atoll also hosts the second-largest manta population in the country.
If encounters with big pelagic are your thing, then consider going on a long trip to the Southern atolls between February and April: the little Galapagos of the Indian Ocean! Thresher sharks, tiger sharks, schools of great and scalloped hammerheads, oceanic mantas, Mobula rays, whale sharks, and mola-mola, you can see it all!
- Season: Central atolls and the Far North: year-round, with the best time being from November to May. For the South, October to April is the best time to go.
- Currents: can be moderate to strong in a few well-known sites
- Visibility: 15 to 40 m (50 to 131 ft)
- Water Temperature: ranges 26° to 29°C (79° to 84°F) in North and Central atolls, and 25° to 30°C (77° to 86°F) in the South
- Depth: shallow and deep dives
Allover Maldives, you’ll dive into a fantastic topography with plenty of swim-throughs, pinnacles, caverns, overhangs, and coral gardens.
In Northern atolls, some of the famous dive sites you’ll visit are Fotteyo Kandu in Vaavu Atoll, Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, and Kuredu Express in Lhaviyani Atoll.
In Southern atolls, you’ll get to dive around renowned Fuvahmulah and Addu Atolls.
Dive sites may change according to local conditions.
- Operation created in 2011
- PADI courses - ask us
- Languages spoken: English and Maldivian. Some other languages depending on the dates (French, Italian - ask us)
- Equipment Recommended: a 3mm to 5mm wetsuit, depending on the time of the year
- Insurance: both dive insurance and travel insurance are mandatory. We recommend DAN Europe which has plans to cover both - ask us for a quote
- Nearest Hyperbaric Chamber: at Bandos Island Resort in Kaafu Atoll, Kuramathi Island Resort in Ari Atoll, or Kuredu Island Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll
Visas, flights, and more!
- You must have a passport valid for at least six months, a pre-paid or booking accomodation proof, sufficient funds for your stay, and a return ticket.
- Tourist visa is granted for all nationalities, on arrival, for up to thirty days.
- Please check current visa policies that apply for your country: Maldives Immigration website
How to get there
- Fly to Maldives capital city Male (MLE).
- You might have to take another local flight on arrival or departure day - ask us for the detailed itinerary.
- Bring some reef-safe sunscreen, a hat and a rash guard to protect from the sun, and some mosquito repellent. Bring a pair of conservative clothes covering your legs and shoulders, as you may visit a village island.