Hanifaru Bay Maldives Manta point
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Best Time to Visit Hanifaru Bay

At the midst of people’s busy schedules, it’s a breeze to have a vacation once in a while. And what people are looking for a breather is nature. They go to mountains, forests, beaches, marine sanctuaries, and the likes. If you’re one of them and is eagerly looking for a space to breathe, there is this bay in the Maldives that is worth seeing. The Maldives Hanifaru Bay

Hanifaru Bay is one of the most famous and richest marine biodiversity areas in Baa Atoll, the Maldives with a nursery ground for stingrays and grey sharks. These days, it’s difficult to attract a flock of sharks due to issues like pollution and crowded places. Good thing, in Hanifaru Bay you would find enough whale sharks and you could swim with them.

As a tourist spot, Hanifaru captured the hearts of the people over the years. Tourists flight into the place as they watch these beautiful sea creatures swim and play within the area. Part of the attraction is to feed manta rays and whale sharks.

Though this is just a small place, its size did not foil the tourists to make it as their chosen destination. It is the exceptional, breathtaking nature experience that draws them to come back again and again to the place.

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A Brief History of Hanifaru bay

Hanifaru Bay

A few years back, when you visit the place, there were safari boats and divers creaming the area. Because of them, the area became so crowded that it made it difficult to manage the people around. The government sensed the alarm of intimidating the sea creatures and polluting the area. They acted on it right away and created rules to ensure that the area will be preserved without preventing tourists to see its beauty. In fact, in 2009, the government officially declared Hanibaru Bay as a marine protected area. Later on, UNESCO echoed the declaration by including it in the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This only proves that the place is so rich in nature and a sight to behold.

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Some Rules to Consider at Hanfaru Bay

Before, a maximum of 5 boats and 80 divers were allowed to stay within the area. But today, diving is already prohibited. If you want to dive, you can visit other dive sites in the Maldives. Apart from sight-seeing, and feeding mantras and other sea creatures, only snorkeling activities are allowed. Taking pictures is also allowed with very strict guidelines. You will be allowed to interact with the creatures at a certain distance and of course, touching or stroking is prohibited. Do not carry sophisticated devices if you will visit the place; they will just be confiscated by the authorities.

Best time to visit Hanifaru Bay

Another special thing in Hanifaru is its reef that is about 1300 meters deep. The inner part is about 600 meters. It’s in this inner reef that whale sharks and mantras are found. The place is a sight to behold year round. But to ensure that you will get the most of the attractions, you need to target the specific months in which the creatures are flocking in.

The best time to visit Hanifaru Bay is when there is a massive buildup of planktons in the bay. This happens between May and December when the lunar tide occurs due to the southwest monsoon. It is during this period when there is high concentration which makes hundreds of filter feeds be drawn into the bay.

During this period, one will be lucky to see quite a number of rays and whale sharks. So if you want to see the massive manta rays, visit between November to April. During these months, a high concentration of manta rays can be spotted at the western side.

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Hanifaru Bay Manta Festival

With an aim of improving awareness of manta rays and marine conservation among the Maldivians, the manta trust in conjunction with the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve office organized the first ever festival in the Maldives. The festival took place on the 24th of November 2018 and was dedicated to the manta rays.

Schools, NGOs, natives from nearby islands, and even tourists joined in to celebrate. The organizers created not just entertainment programs as part of the celebration. Much awaited were the educational lectures on how to take care of the ocean and the surrounding place as well as the living creatures in it. There are contests such as making something out from the collected plastics within the area. One of the highlights is teaching people to snorkel. The organizers believe that through snorkeling, people will get to see the breathtaking view below and this will intensify their spirits to take care of the biodiversity.

The Hanifuru Manta Festival gives people the most unforgettable experience. They have decided to have a Manta festival every year.

Hanifaru Bay is a Must-Visit

Hanifaru Bay, despite its small size, is the most beautiful bay everyone would wish they get a chance to visit. It is a very unique site with over 200 manta rays aggregate to feed on zooplankton which is trapped within the bay during favorable conditions. The bay’s extraordinary feeding aggregation alone gives you every reason to visit the site and get this natural exciting experience. Visiting during the favorable season, you will be excited to see how rays swim alongside whale sharks for feed.

It is in places like this that you get to appreciate the beauty and wonders of creation. You’ll realize that indeed the world is such a magnificent place to live in. Even those who are not into nature tripping will be attracted and will have a change of perspective about nature.

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Kihaa Maldives Island Resort

The resort is a quiet and peaceful place. It’s just a five-minute distance from the Kihaadhuffaru Island beach by a speed boat. The room rates are a bit high since it is inclusive of onsite food and beverages, taxes and other charges are also included. Choosing this resort, you have quite a number of benefits such as free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and a swimming pool. The rooms are well kept and have beautiful features like minibars with some free items and bathrobes. It is a beautiful place and you will not regret spending your time there with your family as you visit the beautiful site of the Maldives, the Hanifaru Bay.

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Hiyaa llaa

Hiya Ilaa is somewhere you will wish to spend your time during your vacation as you visit the Bay. The rooms are well fitted to provide convenient dining areas and living rooms. Staying here you enjoy free internet services, you get laundry services, concierge services, and free breakfast. You enjoy special features like scuba diving and an onsite venue where you can dine. The guesthouse welcomes children, but there are no cribs available. However, it’s a place you will find the comfort you need during your stay in the Maldives. Hiyaa Illa is one the best hotel to stay in to snorkel in Hanifaru Bay

Summer Shade Maldives

This is another guesthouse you will love in the Maldives. The guest house is located in Baa Dharavandhoo near the Airport. Here you get to enjoy special amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free bottled water, safes, showers, and ceiling fans. Clients are served free breakfast and enjoy laundry facilities and a library. The minimum check-in age is 18 years. Summer shade Maldives is one of the best guesthouses in Dharavandhoo.

Hanifaru Transit inn

Located in dharavandhoo. This beach guesthouse offers a restaurant, breakfast, free internet access, terrace, garden, and barbeque grill. The rooms give special amenities including free bottled water, showers, ceiling fans, and safes. During your stay here, you enjoy the cool and beautiful environment. The surrounding is very peaceful.

Read more: 10 Best Maldives Family-friendly Resorts with Kids Clubs

Reposo View

This is another hotel you wouldn’t mind spending your time as you pay a visit to Hanifaru Bay. Located in Dharavandhoo. Repose View has it’s on the private white sandy beach. You will be lucky to catch up with the hotel’s beach shuttle that gives you a free ride to the hotel. The hotel offers amenities such as free self-parking, free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities and restaurants. During your stay here, you can enjoy fishing on the site, boat tours and snorkeling among other things you can do either on the site or nearby. However, the fee may apply for these activities. The minimum check-in age is 15 years.

LVIS blancura

This is another hotel that guarantees comfort to visitors with its value for their clients. The hotel is located not far from the Hanifaru Bay and it’s a sure place to enjoy all the experience brought by scuba diving and the onsite venue where you can dine with your people. All rooms are fitted with special features such as free Wi-Fi, coffee makers, premium bedding, and LED TVs with satellite. Free breakfast and room services are also available. The minimum check-in age here is 18 years.


It is true to say that within the wider Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve, the Hanifaru Bay has gained so much popularity and has attracted a significant number of visitors every year. It can be termed as one of the most exiting bay around the world and has improved its state over the years. It is a site that everyone touring the Maldives must never miss visiting. It is surrounded by beach hotels that are smartly fitted with special amenities to suit anyone.

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Facts about Hanifaru Bay

The Hanifaru Bay covers an area of 1,200 km² a size is no greater than that of a football field and is one of the Republic of Maldives’ 26 geographical atolls which contains some of the richest coral reef systems in the world

Every time tourists visit to snorkel with the mantas, each tourist pays an entrance fee of $20 US a separate fund from the central government which goes to the Baa Atoll Conservation Fund

For extra funding of specific projects, a separate committee decides on the scope of the work and apply to the Baa Atoll Conservation Fund for funding.

Every year, between May and December, the southwest monsoon occurs pushing planktonic food and traps the megafauna’s zooplankton into the bay which attracts feeding manta rays and whale sharks

The bay despite its size has attracted many underwater photographers making it one of the hottest spots for them on the planet.

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