If one of your biggest dreams is to go scuba diving with manta rays, we’ve found the best scuba liveaboard trips around the world that will up your odds of seeing these majestic animals while diving.

Ever wanted to dive with manta rays?

Manta rays are incredible creatures that seem to come from another world. They glide effortlessly across the sea with wingspans that can reach up to 7 meters wide. It’s no wonder that they attract divers from all corners of the globe. While some manta rays can be seen near shore, their thriving populations are often found in far-flung areas that require long-range boat travel. But once you see them underwater, your long journey will be rewarded with a calm and serene underwater experience as these gentle giants will display their graceful swimming pattern near your dive group.

The Best Liveaboard Trips to Dive with Manta Rays: At a Glance

Liveaboard# of RoomsNitroxWifiLengthCostPADI TravelLiveaboard
Moana5NoNo30m$$CheckCheck
Kona Aggressor II6YesNo24m$$CheckCheck
Pro Dive Cairns16YesYes24m$CheckCheck
Quino El Guardian5YesNo27m$$CheckCheck
Ocean Hunter III8YesYes29m$$$CheckCheck
The Junk6YesNo33m$CheckCheck
Reef Endeavor62YesNo73m$$CheckCheck
Indo Aggressor8YesNo38m$$CheckCheck
Sea Doors8YesNo25m$$N/ACheck
Carpe Vita10YesYes38m$$CheckN/A

The Best Liveaboard Trips to Dive with Manta Rays: In Depth

MOANA

Year of Commission: 2004
Capacity: 10 guests 
Area of Operation: Indonesia
Destination: Komodo and Flores Island

Moana is a 30 meter (98 feet) long ironwood traditional Indonesian Phinisi boat that sails the waters of Komodo and Flores islands of Indonesia. It has 5 rooms that can accommodate up to 10 guests where your room choices include the Twin Cabins, Double cabins, and the Family Cabin. It has onboard amenities like air-conditioned saloon, a large sun deck and a dining area that serves Western, Indonesian, International and Asian specialties.

All year-round, the Moana will usually take its guests on a 5-day journey towards Komodo and Flores Island. Both islands have a high level of plankton concentration which attracts filter feeders like manta rays. If you want to see the highest sightings of manta rays in Komodo or Flores Island, we highly suggest that you go diving from June to September since these are the months with the greatest concentration of plankton.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

KONA AGGRESSOR II

Year of Commission: 1992 (renovated 2015)
Capacity: 14 guests 
Area of Operation: Hawaii
Destination: Kona

The Kona Aggressor II is a 24 meter (79 feet) long luxury liveaboard that specializes in sailing the waters of Hawaii. It has 6 cabins that can accommodate up to 14 guests where your room choices include the Quad Staterooms and the Deluxe Staterooms. Its onboard amenities include the main saloon, a wet bar, a moon deck bar, a sun deck with jacuzzi, a swim step at the bow and an air-conditioned dining area that serves freshly made Hawaiian dishes.

When it comes to diving, aside from the regular day dives, the highlight of your liveaboard trip with the Kona Aggressor II is the night diving with manta rays. Over a dozen manta rays can surround you during the night dive as they gracefully dance in a semi-circular pattern while trying to concentrate the plankton towards their mouth.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

PRO DIVE CAIRNS

Year of Commission: 1998 (renovated 2015)
Capacity: 32 guests 
Area of Operation: Australia
Destination: Great Barrier Reef

Pro Dive Cairns is a 24 meter (79 feet) long liveaboard diving vessel that specializes in sailing the waters of eastern and northern Australia. It has 16 cabins that can accommodate up to 32 guests where all the rooms are classified as twin/double cabins. It has onboard amenities like the main saloon that is fitted with a full audio-video entertainment system, a library, a sun deck and a dining hall that serves freshly-prepared foods.

For its manta ray expedition, the Pro Dive Cairns will sail on a 3-day journey towards Lady Elliot Island where it is aptly named as the Home of the Manta Rays. While you will never miss a single dive without seeing a single manta ray, the peak season for mantas is during the winter where a single dive allows you to see over 100 individuals.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

QUINO EL GUARDIAN

Year of Commission: 1980 (renovated 2015)
Capacity: 16 guests 
Area of Operation: Mexico
Destination: Socorro Island

The Quino El Guardian is a 27 meter (88 feet) long liveaboard dive vessel that is also a custom-built research ship designed to document and interact with the megafauna species (like the Great White Shark) of Socorro Island and the Sea of Cortez. It has 5 cabins that can accommodate up to 16 guests where your room choices include the Quad Cabins and the Couples Cabins. Its onboard amenities include a large saloon fitted with sofas, TV and computer and a shaded sundeck with lawn chairs.

Aside from cage diving with great white sharks, the Quino El Guardian will take its guests on a 9-day journey to see manta rays and other large megafauna like the humpback whales. Once underwater, you will realize that the manta rays found in Socorro Island are quite unique for several reasons. First, they are relatively huge with wingspan averaging a 5 meters (16 feet), thus classifying them as the Oceanic Manta Ray variety. Second, the underside of the body is colored black which is not the usual case for normal manta rays that are colored white on its belly.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

OCEAN HUNTER III

Year of Commission: 1978 (renovated 2007)
Capacity: 16 guests 
Area of Operation: Palau
Destination: German Channel and Devilfish City

The Ocean Hunter III is a 29 meter (95 feet) long luxury yacht that offers sea safari adventures and diving with manta rays in Palau. It has 8 cabins that can accommodate up to 16 guests where your room choices include the Standard Cabins, the Deluxe Cabins, and the Master Stateroom. It has onboard amenities like the air-conditioned saloon that is fitted with a cozy couch, full entertainment system, an espresso machine, a mini-bar, computer room, a sun deck and a dining hall that serves gourmet cuisine.

For its itinerary on manta ray diving, the Ocean Hunter will set sail on a 7 or 10day journey towards the German Channel and Devilfish City of Palau, where both are considered as a cleaning station for manta rays. While there is an estimated 400 manta rays thriving in the waters of Palau, each dive allows you to see several slow-moving or motionless manta rays as they are being cleaned by small reef fish.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

THE JUNK

Year of Commission: 1962 (renovated 1998)
Capacity: 18 guests 
Area of Operation: Thailand
Destination: Koh Bon and Similan Island

The Junk is 33 meter (108 feet) long ex-merchant ship that offers liveaboard diving in Thailand. It has 6 cabins that can accommodate up to 18 guests where your room choices include the Double Cabins, the Triple cabins and Quad Share Cabins. Its onboard amenities includes the air-conditioned saloon that is equipped with full entertainment system, a library, a shaded sun-deck and a dining hall that serves Mexican and Asian cuisine.

For its itinerary for diving with manta rays, the Junk will set sail on a 6-day journey towards Koh Bon and Similan island where each dive is guaranteed with a manta ray sighting.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

REEF ENDEAVOR

Year of Commission: no data
Capacity: 130 guests 
Area of Operation: Fiji
Destination: Kadavu, Yasawa Island, and Namena Marine Reserve

The Reef Endeavour is a 73 meter (239 feet) long luxury cruise ship that operates the waters of Fiji. It has a total of 62 cabins that can accommodate up to 130 guests where your room choices includes the Porthole Cabins, Ocean Staterooms, Family Staterooms and the Tabua Suite. Due to the immensity of its onboard space, it has lots of amenities like a swimming pool, a sun deck, a spa, gym, bars, lounges, and souvenir shops.

For its diving itinerary, Reef Endeavor will sail on a 3 or 6-day journey towards Kadavu, Yasawa Island and Namena Marine Reserve which are known for a healthy population of manta rays. Here, you can either go snorkeling or scuba diving. If you happen to book for a dive safari trip with the Reef Endeavor from June to October, then expect to see over a hundred manta rays since these are the months where manta converge in Fiji. You can even see manta rays jumping out of the water.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

INDO AGGRESSOR

Year of Commission: 2012 (renovated 2014)
Capacity: 16 guests 
Area of Operation: Indonesia
Destination: Bali

The Indo Aggressor is a 38 meter (125 feet) long sailboat that offers liveaboard diving around the waters of Bali in Indonesia. It has 8 cabins that can accommodate up to 16 guests where your room choices include the Twin Staterooms, Deluxe Staterooms, and the Master Stateroom. Its onboard amenities include the air-conditioned saloon, a minibar, a sun deck and a dining hall that serves Asian and International cuisine.

For its itinerary for diving with manta rays, the Indo Aggressor will set sail on a 7-day journey towards Manta Point in Bali. Since this dive site is considered a cleaning station, you can see manta rays coming in from the deep and stays right at the reef crest for a quick clean by small cleaner fish. If it is your lucky day, then you can expect to see over 20 manta rays simultaneously being cleaned up.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

SEA DOORS

Year of Commission: 1999 (renovated 2017)
Capacity: 16 guests 
Area of Operation: Philippines
Destination: Palawan and Cebu

The Seadoors is a 25 meter (82 feet) liveaboard vessel that operates the archipelagic waters of the Philippines. It has 8 cabins that can accommodate up to 16 guests where your room choices includes the Standard Cabin and the Deluxe Cabin. It has onboard amenities that includes a living room with TV and library, a sun deck with sunbeds and coffee tables and the dining hall that serves fabulous french cuisine.

For its itinerary for diving with manta rays, the Seadoors will set sail on a 6-day journey either towards Tubbataha reefs of Palawan or Monad Shoal of Malapascua in Cebu where both of these sites houses a healthy population of manta rays.

Check prices and trip dates: Liveaboard

CARPE VITA

Year of Commission: 2010
Capacity: 20 guests 
Area of Operation: Maldives
Destination: Baa and Ari Atoll

The Carpe Vita is a 38 meter (125 feet) long luxury yacht that specializes in sailing the waters of the Maldives. It has 10 cabins that can accommodate up to 20 guests where your room choices include the Standard Cabins, the Superior Cabins, and the VIP Suite. It has onboard amenities like the main saloon that is fitted a karaoke, a shaded sun deck, a jacuzzi and a dining area that serves international cuisine.

On top sharks and sea turtles, manta rays are often seen during your diving adventures in the Maldives. And if you want to see the greatest manta ray concentration in Fiji, then wait for the Carpe Vita to arrive in Baa and Ari Atoll as these sites are a natural refuge for manta rays.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

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