Home #WHERETONEXT Indonesia & Indian Ocean InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort Announces Third Manta Retreat Taking Place in March...

InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort Announces Third Manta Retreat Taking Place in March 2024

Following the launch of the Manta Retreat in 2022, InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is now inviting guests to the third Manta Retreat, which will take place from the 9th – to 12th March 2024. Spreading curiosity and excitement to learn about manta rays and their natural habitat, the Manta Retreat forms a great platform to learn, explore and understand these gentle giants and the work of the Manta Trust.

Created for travellers who want to experience a little bit extra, who are interested in adding true value to their vacations, and who do not say ‘no’ to an adventure, Participants can look forward to spending some refreshing and exciting days with the island-based Manta Trust team and some close-up time with manta rays in the resort’s very own lagoon.

The third Manta Retreat will focus entirely on meeting the manta rays that call the island’s surrounding waters their home and their protection and ocean conservation. Meral Hafeez, the Manta Trust base leader at InterContinental Maldives, will lead the retreat and take participants along to uncover the secrets of manta rays. “Most of my days are spent out in the water looking for manta rays to record and observe their behaviour to gain vital information relevant for their protection. No matter how many times I’m lucky enough to encounter these animals, each interaction feels like seeing them for the first time – the sense of awe never diminishes. I look forward to sharing the wonders of Maldivian marine life and manta rays with the participants of the Manta Retreat. The ocean is full of surprises, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience their first manta ray and the wonders of the deep!”

The Manta Trust is one of the world’s leading manta ray research organisations. Using coordinated global research to aid conservation efforts surrounding manta rays, their relatives and their habitats, the Manta Trust aims to achieve global conservation through Research, Education and Collaboration. Recognising the unique privilege of occupying an island in such close proximity to a newly discovered juvenile manta feeding ground, InterContinental Maldives began working in collaboration with the Manta Trust in 2019. The area around InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is home to a large and healthy population of manta rays which provides Manta Trust researchers based at the resort incredible access to study these animals.

This year’s Manta Retreat takes place in March during Maamunagau manta season, where young manta rays are found in the resort’s lagoon just a few minutes away from shore. The Maamunagau Lagoon is home to a juvenile manta ray aggregation point and a significant research ground for the Manta Trust team. Guests will have the chance to meet manta rays up close and get in touch with the research that the Manta Trust team has been conducting on the resort since 2019. As part of their research, the team identifies and records the young manta ray pubs in the lagoon based on their unique belly prints. Participants will learn all about the procedure in the Manta ID workshop and also get to adopt and name a manta ray.

Additional experiences such as diving and snorkelling trips, cruises, excursions or spa and wellness treatments can be booked individually for additional charges. Upon request, one-on-one sessions with the Manta Biologist can be arranged privately.  

Guests staying at InterContinental Maldives also have the opportunity to enjoy the luxury resort’s facilities as well as their villa or residence accommodation. There is also plenty to keep adults and children entertained in case some family members or travel partners are not participating in the retreat.

For certified divers, options are available to ensure all guests find their individual way of interacting with manta rays. Dedicated dive spots are in the area around the resort that allow divers to observe the natural manta ray ‘spa’, known as cleaning stations, showcasing the incredible symbiosis of marine life in the Maldives.