Hanifaru Bay is a sanctuary for people who love snorkelling with manta rays and whale sharks. This UNESCO biosphere reserve in the Maldives is legally designated as a Marine Protected Area. It is best known for its concentration of the enigmatic, graceful, inquisitive and charismatic reef manta rays.

The reef at Hanifaru Bay is shaped like a funnel. From June to November plankton get trapped in the funnel and concentration of plankton attracts whale sharks and manta rays. At any time there could be over a hundred mantas and several whale sharks feeding off the coral reef – the world’s largest feeding station.

Hanifaru Bay is part of Baa Atoll in the Maldives. Of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, five species have been recorded here, the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and leatherback turtle (Dermachelys coriacea).

Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta
Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta

To protect the wildlife, diving is not allowed at Hanifaru Bay. By booking a liveaboard though, you can include fantastic snorkelling with these great beasts as well as taking advantage of the diving elsewhere. See which liveaboards visit Hanifaru Bay.


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