In October 2022, when the first Manta Retreat was launched at InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort, guests of the luxury resort got to experience the magic of meeting these gentle underwater giants up close while learning and exploring the research and education around them. In collaboration with the resort-based Manta Trust organization, a thoughtfully curated program was made available to guests to educate, explore and raise awareness for manta rays in their natural habitat.
Aimed at adventure travelers, nature lovers, young explorers, and those who wish to add more meaning to their holidays, the Manta Retreat is the perfect combination of a luxury holiday and education.
Already known for its fantastic and perfect location to swim and snorkel with manta rays all year round, the InterContinental Maldives is now launching the second Manta Retreat this March 2023. This unique experience includes more than just snorkeling with manta rays but also offers deep insights into the research surrounding them as well as many more educational experiences that offer a holistic understanding of these marine animals and their habitat.
Participants of the Manta Retreat can look forward to many mind-blowing manta encounters but will also learn about plankton, coral reefs and, most importantly, marine protection. “The Manta Retreat is the perfect holiday program for everyone passionate about marine life and our oceans. I am very excited to lead the retreat for the first time this year, and to help our participants to saturate their need for meeting mantas” says Farah Hamdan, the Manta Trust base leader at Maamunagau, who has recently taken over the post from Jessica Haynes.
This year’s Manta Retreat falls into the 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 a known juvenile manta ray aggregation point and a significant research ground for the Manta Trust team. “We can assume our lagoon to be a manta ray nursery. We still don’t know where manta rays are born, but many juvenile manta rays hang around in our lagoon from December to April. This is a research haven for us, while we, of course, love to head out to Hanifaru Bay during the season as well to observe and research the massive aggregation of mantas there.” explains Farah.
Hanifaru Bay is a world-famous, manta ray feeding station. From June to October, large groups of manta rays can be found here, feeding on the plankton washed into the bay by the turning current. The bay is only a short boat ride away from InterContinental Maldives, to which excursions are also offered during the season.
The manta retreat will take place from 9th to 13th March 2023, and included are several snorkeling and research trips, on-hand educational workshops, as well as excursions to find turtles and learn about corals. The purpose of the Manta Retreat is to educate participants and ocean aficionados on manta rays and their protection, whilst raising funds to support the work of the Manta Trust.
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 family members and kids busy in case some family members or the travel partner is not participating in the retreat. Additional activities can be booked or can extend the stay beyond the retreat if more time is needed to make the most out of the trip to the Maldives.
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 allows divers to observe the natural manta ray ‘spa’, known as cleaning stations, showcasing the incredible symbiosis of marine life in the Maldives.
THE MANTA RETREAT
Guests participating in the Manta Retreat, are eligible for a 25% discount on their stay (discount applies on nightly rate only) if they book for a minimum of five nights or more.
Additional experiences such as diving and snorkeling 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.