Group of snorkelers swimming alongside several manta rays in the clear turquoise water of Coral Bay, as they do a manta ray tour. The snorkelers and manta rays appear peaceful as they move through the ocean together. The manta rays are gracefully gliding near the snorkelers.
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3 Top Manta Ray Tours In Coral Bay, How To Pick The Right One, And Best Time To Do It

Booking a manta ray tour in Coral Bay is an absolute must. Honestly, you can’t say you visited this side of the Ningaloo if you don’t do that tour. Sorry, we don’t make the rules.

Most manta ray tours are truly excellent, with heaps of 5-star reviews. So, it’s tempting to just pick the cheapest tour, which can be a big mistake.

Aerial view of four manta rays swimming gracefully through the clear turquoise waters of Coral Bay in the Ningaloo Reef. The manta rays' distinctive triangular shapes are visible against the vibrant aquatic background.

The experience itself will depend on the number of participants, whether there’s a spotter plane or not, and the refund policies, among other factors.

But don’t worry – this guide will make it easy for you to pick the best manta ray tour in Coral Bay. We’ll share the top 3 manta ray tours in this town, as well as insider tips so you can make an informed decision:

In a hurry? Here are the 3 BEST manta ray tours in Coral Bay:

3 Best manta ray tours in Coral Bay

The best part about these tours is that you will swim with more than manta rays… Besides thousands of fishies and the beautiful coral gardens, you can swim with turtles, reef sharks, and even megafauna!

Most of the links included are guaranteed to have the lowest price available – take advantage of that!

S&C Travel Tip

1) Swim with Manta Rays (Coral Bay Ecotours)

6-7 hours | BEST value for money | Check the tour here

Best for: Travellers looking for the best manta ray tour in Coral Bay! It’s a 5-star experience with hundreds of reviews to back it up, at a cost that’s below average, plus photos for an extra fee.

Underwater view of a a scuba diver reaching out towards a majestic manta ray in Coral Bay, Western Australia. The sunlight filters through the water. The scene captures a striking contrast between the silhouette of the manta ray and the bright blue water, emphasizing the graceful movement of the ray as it glides through the ocean.

This tour is at the top of our list because of a few key things – it has a spotter plane and souvenir photos, at a price that’s below average.

Spotter planes help locate the manta rays, so the boat goes straight to that area so you can swim with them as soon as possible.

Having a photographer on board means you can focus on enjoying the experience knowing you’ll have a few epic pics to remember it by!

Taking the pics yourself is always an option, but honestly, it takes away from the experience, so why not have someone take them for you?

Pros:

  • Spotter plane to find manta rays

  • Visit to turtle sanctuary included

  • Snorkel equipment and short wetsuits included for free

  • Buffet lunch and tea

  • Souvenir photos for an extra fee

  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours + Reserve Now and Pay Later when booking through here

Cons

  • 30 participants maximum. This reduces the costs but it’s a big group.

Most helpful review:

What an incredible experience! A must do and definitely worth making the trip up to coral bay just for this experience. We got incredibly lucky and saw between 10-15 manta rays, 5 turtles, loads of reef sharks, a porcupine ray and a blue spotted ray. Based on what the team were saying – you see more manta rays around a full moon so definitely worth noting and planning around if you can! The team were incredible – a massive shout out to Bodie, Tash, Dan, Kai and Laura. Not only were they very knowledgeable about the manta rays but you could tell how passionate they are about caring and respecting the reef.

-Rozanne V, 5/5 star review

2) Best of Ningaloo Manta Rays and More

7 hours | Mid-size group | Check the tour here

Best for: Travellers looking for a mid-size-group tour and don’t mind the lack of photos (there’s no photographer in the tour).

Underwater view of a manta ray in Coral Bay. It's a frontal view and up close, showing the stunning manta ray with its mouth open, feeding.

Even though this one doesn’t have a photographer on board, there’s a smaller number of participants compared to the previous tour. This increases the price a little bit, but makes for a more intimate experience!

Pros:

  • Snorkel equipment and short wetsuits included for free

  • Lunch and snacks included

  • 20 participants maximum

  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours + Reserve Now and Pay Later when booking through here

Cons

  • No photos included, not even for an additional fee

Most helpful review:

Pleasantly surprised to see 3 Mantas, lots of sharks dolphins and fishes on the beautiful reef off shore at Coral Bay… great boat, very comfortable and safety was excellent. Would recommend!

-Tripadvisor Reviewer, 5/5 star review

3) 3-Night Ningaloo Reef Snorkel and Dive Getaway from Coral Bay

4 days | Private tour | Check the tour here

Best for: Travellers who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience – spend 3 days on the ocean, exploring everything the Ningaloo has to offer and swimming with the resident marine life.

Underwater scene of numerous striped fish swimming in the clear turquoise water of Coral Bay, Ningaloo Reef. The fish are swimming above the coral gardens. Sunlight filters down, creating a bright and lively ambiance around the coral and the school of fish.

If we ever want to splurge on an experience, this tour will be at the top of our list.

You can essentially snorkel to your heart’s content, meeting manta rays, dolphins, turtles, and even humpback whales and/or whale sharks (when in season).

Plus, imagine watching the sunset from the boat, every day. That’s the kind of life we deserve!

The group is very small as well, and there’s a marine biologist on board to tell you all about these creatures. Plus all meals and equipment are included (even kayaks).

Pros:

  • Stay on a boat for 3 nights

  • Go snorkelling, diving, kayaking around this world-heritage site

  • Explore secluded underwater sites

  • Informative presentation about manta rays from a local biologist

  • Seasonal – See other marine mammals like humpback whales and/or whale sharks

  • All meals included

  • All equipment included

  • Small group (10 participants max)

Cons

  • It’s expensive

  • Non-refundable

Most helpful review:

They organise at least 3 water based activities a day, mostly diving amongst the amazing inner reef area of Ningaloo. The fish, coral structures, turtles, manta rays, whales and sharks are in abundance and are a testament to the health of the reef. The young crew of Shore Thing looked after us and the food was excellent.

-Tripadvisor Reviewer, 5/5 star review

5 Things to consider before booking a manta ray tour in Coral Bay

Follow these tips so you pick the BEST tour for you and ensure you have the best experience possible:

1) Schedule the tour early on your trip

Most operators will do a manta ray tour only if the weather is good. If this isn’t the case, they might offer you either a different date or a refund.

Booking the tour on the first or second day of your trip gives you wiggle room for rescheduling if the weather is not in your favour.

2) What’s included in the tour

Nowadays most operators include the equipment (even the wetsuits) but double-check just in case. You can hire your own in town as well if you want.

As for the food, most operators accommodate dietary restrictions. Plus, it’s one less meal you’ll have to pay, considering that Coral Bay is already a bit expensive (at least compared to Exmouth)!

For some people, the real deal-breaker can be whether a photographer is on board or not.

Having one can make the tour a bit more expensive as you’ll have to purchase the pictures separately, but it’s a unique opportunity to have pretty epic photos taken.

Taking your own pictures is also an option, but some people may not enjoy the tour as much as you won’t be fully present in the moment.

If there’s a photographer, make sure to swim in front of them from time to time to make sure you get a good shot of yourself!

S&C Travel Tip

3) Number of passengers

Big groups usually lower prices, but it can be a bit inconvenient for some. Whereas smaller groups often translate into a more intimate experience but for a higher price.

None is better than the other, though. It’s about finding out what’s really important for you.

Aerial view of four manta rays swimming in the clear blue water of Coral Bay, in Western Australia.

4) Spotter plane

Tours with spotter planes have a MASSIVE advantage because it’s very easy to find the manta rays that way. But this usually increases the cost of the tour.

5) Policies and guarantees

We recommend looking for operators that have a “Reserve Now and Pay Later” feature, plus free cancellation as close to the date of the tour as possible.

Life is unpredictable and these experiences are expensive. Having the safety net of a free-cancellation policy gives lots of peace of mind!

Thankfully, most of the tours we mentioned have “Reserve Now and Pay Later” PLUS free cancellation up to 24 hours before the tour. Take advantage of that here:

Best time to do a manta ray tour in Coral Bay

Thankfully, manta rays are permanent residents of Coral Bay and can be found year-round! Not like:

  • Whale sharks, that swim through here between March and August

  • Humpback whales, that migrate through these waters between June and November

  • Turtles, with nesting and hatching season between November to February

Most tours are in the morning but manta rays are most active in the evening! So make sure to revisit the snorkel sites in the late afternoon.

S&C Travel Tip

Other cool things to do in Coral Bay

There are sooo many epic tours to do in Coral Bay! Even quad-bike tours. Here’s our guide with the top 7 tours in Coral Bay, check it out.

However, it’s no secret that Coral Bay is expensive. So if you’d like to know which awesome things you can do there for free, this article has you covered.

As for whale shark tours, honestly, they’re best in Exmouth. It’s very hard to choose as all of them are top-notch, but this guide will help you figure out the best one for you.

Finally, if you’ll visit Exmouth too, do not miss these epic snorkelling spots! Top snorkelling tours included.

Underwater image of a woman wearing a yellow bikini and snorkeling gear, swimming behind a whale shark in Coral Bay, Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. The scene is serene, with clear blue water surrounding them. The swimmer maintains a close yet respectful distance from the gentle giant.

FAQs 

Should you touch manta rays?

No, you shouldn’t touch manta rays or any kind of wildlife. They won’t harm you as they don’t have a venomous sting, unlike stingrays, but they’re still wild animals. Do not touch them!

What to do if a manta ray approaches you?

If a manta ray approaches you, remain calm and enjoy the experience! Don’t make sudden movements or you might scare it away.

The bottom line

Doing a manta ray tour in Coral Bay is an absolute must. Nothing compares to the awe you feel when manta rays swim around you – their impressive size and calm demeanour are truly humbling.

Plus, you get to enjoy manta rays and other marine life in the tropical reef. Like reef sharks, turtles, dolphins, and even megafauna like humpback whales and whale sharks!

Don’t miss the chance to see these magnificent creatures up close. Book a tour now and immerse yourself in one of the most unforgettable experiences you’ll ever have. You won’t regret it!

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