Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area

Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area

Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area
4.5
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Duration: More than 3 hours
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles15 reviews
Excellent
11
Very good
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Philomene
Bangkok, Thailand150 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2023
This has always been a dream to me to swim with the Magical Manta Rays and I did a little scream when I first saw them coming by. They were so gentles, beautiful and magnificent. I almost forgot to breath. I stayed at Dreamland and it took about 20 - 30 mins by boat. The currents are quite strong, you always had to swim to make yourself stay in the bay area. We went with Joy Dive and they did not allow us to do the free diving and educated us to only stay on the surface so that we did not bother the Manta Rays and I really happy they did that. We should only watch them but not bother them or swimming, chasing and blocking their way of swimming. If you were in Maldives during Manta Season, you really had to come see them. It's a moment I really could not explain, truly magical and I will definitely be back.
Written 29 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Heather w
Phoenix, AZ196 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
I have to give a huge shout out to @br.ranger Bojan- for all of his help and inspiration for our trip to the Maldives!

It was because of his photos, that we wanted to come to see the whale sharks and manta rays. Unfortunately the mantas did not cooperate while we were there, but Bojan was a tremendous help!

The snorkeling we did while in the bay was absolutely breathtaking though!
Written 4 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wei Bing L
Ipoh, Malaysia417 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
This is undoubtedly the main attraction in Dharavandhoo: Snorkeling with mantas in Hanifaru Bay! The manta season starts in June and ends in October each year, although sometimes, you might still see mantas here in early November. More mantas tend to show up in Hanifaru Bay during the new moon and full moon days of the month, therefore these are the times that you should plan to be here, if you want to give yourself the best chance to snorkel with mantas. During the new moon and full moon days, the concentration of plankton in Hanifaru Bay is usually at its peak, and huge numbers of mantas will congregate here to feed on the rich concentration of plankton. Sometimes, between 100 to 300 mantas come into Hanifaru Bay at the same time, making it a true spectacle for marine enthusiasts and avid snorkelers!

Hanifaru Bay is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Marine Zone and the authorities limit the number of daily visitors entering this place and you cannot just simply hop onto any boat and come into this protected zone. You need to be accompanied by a licensed snorkeling guide who is registered with the Marine Park, in order to be allowed to go snorkeling here. Therefore, if you wish to snorkel with mantas here, you need to make prior reservations with a registered party. A number of hotels, guesthouses and dive centres in Dharavandhoo are registered with the Marine Park Authority and have licensed guides to bring tourists to Hanifaru Bay, therefore you should enquire about this activity and put your name on the list the moment you check-in to your hotel or guesthouse. If your hotel is not registered with the Marine Park Authority, they can make arrangements for someone to bring you to Hanifaru Bay.

At the time of writing this review(November 2022), I paid USD60 per person per trip to go snorkeling with mantas in Hanifaru Bay. I was staying at the LVIS Blancura Hotel in Dharavandhoo and they are registered to bring tourists to Hanifaru Bay. Another place that I know, who is registered to bring tourists to Hanifaru Bay is the Dharavandhoo Divers dive centre.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Each visitor is only allowed to be in the sea for a maximum of 45 minutes for this specific snorkeling excursion and you will be going in small groups and must follow the registered snorkeling guide at all times. You are NOT ALLOWED to break away from your group and go do your own thing in Hanifaru Bay. Touching, harassing and chasing the mantas are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN! Gopro cameras on long poles, longer than 8 inches, are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. The Marine Park rangers keep a sharp eye on everything that goes on in this bay and anyone caught flouting the strict laws and regulations will be slapped with a hefty fine of USD1000 per person and banned from this Marine Zone for life.

USEFUL TIP: The mantas will swim to you if you just stay still and float at the surface of the sea. Snorkeling with mantas is truly an AMAZING once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially if you are an ocean lover and enjoy observing marine life in the sea. And there are very few places in the world where you will encounter high concentrations of mantas such as in Hanifaru Bay. And if you are really lucky, on the day that you go snorkeling here, you might also see a whale shark of 2 inside Hanifaru Bay! Some people have seen as many as 3 whale sharks together with 250 mantas in Hanifaru Bay at the same time!!! Please comply with the laws and regulations and you will have a great time here!
Written 21 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lord and Lady weavers
Lincoln, UK129 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Couples
Recently visited here and on both ocasions it wad ruined by other peoples disrespect for the mantas by divin down trying to swim with them and shoving dive cameras in there faces. Both times caused the mantas to go away. They should not be alowed to do this.
Written 10 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chrissie R
Fairlight, UK363 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
Beautiful area, but if you are going to sea Manta Ray's, check it's the right time of year. Would highly recommend
Written 2 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Soloista
Male2,023 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Solo
Truly amazing experience to be swimming with the gentle giants.
Hanifaru is definitely a place to swim with Mantas and Whalesharks!! However if you want a guarantee experience …here is the tip from my 2 trips to hanifaru this year ;)
1) try to stay a few days during fullmoon or newmoon period… dont come just for a fullmoon day or new moon day
2) normally people say there more manta on fullmoon and newmoon day…however from my experience and my friends experiences…on the day itself has less mantas than a fee days before and after!!
3) Hanifaru bay is a protected area …there is a Rangers team taking care of the bay and control how many people can get in at a time…they allow 80people in water at the same time!
And to better control the traffic, they split the day between resorts boat and guesthouse boat … so very likely that you wont be able to go to the bay everyday
4) You can swim , snorkeling, advance snorkeling , or freedive with Mantas …but not scuba ….Chasing and Touching is not allowed
5) Do not swim in front of Whalesharks …because that will make them escape to the depth!
6) If you have gopro…dont put on a ling sticks…that is not allowed , neither …its just to protect the animal from getting hit by your camera!!
Written 26 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Isidora D
49 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
I visited the bay in August 2021 three times over the full moon period and if was a mind blowing experience to see so many manta rays! It is definitely worth to travel around the globe for this phenomenal experience!
Written 12 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jason_JA_Manafaru_GM
Maldives420 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Couples
I have lucky enough to have lived on tropical islands most of my life. And have snorkelled and dives, hanifaru bay and the hundreds of manta rays is nothing that I have seen before, not I thought was possible. It is brilliant that this space is controlled by unesco and is a biosphere. There is park rangers who control maximum numbers. Also the season is from approx late May to November. Mantas are recounted generally throughout the month. But the mass gatherings are best on the different parts of the moon cycle.
Written 26 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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