Maui Arts & Entertainment

Scuba Dive with Manta Rays on Maui

May 18, 2015, 5:08 PM HST
* Updated September 17, 11:07 AM
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Photo courtesy Lyle Krannichfeld. For more of Lyle’s photography, visit

Photo courtesy Lyle Krannichfeld. For more of Lyle’s photography, visit

By Alexandra Mitchell

You may think that it’s a little crazy to swim with manta rays in the ocean, but lots of people think it’s a good idea. In fact, it is said to be a life-changing experience!

The curiously evasive hahalua (manta ray in the ancient Hawaiian language) is one of the largest fish in our Hawaiian oceans.

They look prehistoric and may actually be prehistoric, with wingspans up to 20-feet long and larger.

These mysterious underwater creatures are commonly found around West Maui reef locations.


Unlike the related stingrays and eagle rays, the manta ray does not have a stinger and is quite the friendly species.


You don’t have to worry about your toes getting nipped, because manta rays feed only on microscopic plankton, which is seen and illuminated by light, making the evening the best time to view them in their natural habitat. (P.S.: They don’t even have teeth!)

Spectators have the option to watch these rays from the comfort of a boat, or if brave enough, they can join an evening guided tour and take a swim with scuba diving guides and a snorkel set. Scuba divers must present certification, and pretty much everyone can swim with them. Check individual tour companies for restrictions and contraindications. There is no peak season, so unlike other activities in Hawaiʻi, swimming with manta rays is an activity that you can do all year-round.

When swimming with manta rays on Maui, guests can expect to watch magical displays of grace and primal ocean beauty as these beasts glide and soar through the ocean.


Please do not touch, feed or pet the manta rays–even if they come right up to you! Which they definitely will!

For more information about swimming with manta rays on Maui, go online.


Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information
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