Manta Ray Bay
Why Manta Ray Bay Resort?
Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers is a small, family-owned, luxury hotel on the pristine island of Yap in the western Pacific Ocean – operating since 1986. Yap has a resident population of manta rays and several shallow cleaning stations where divers can see mantas year-round. In addition to manta ray diving, the resort loves taking their guests to dive among reef sharks, Mandarin and brilliant coral reefs with macro fauna and caverns.
They are proud to have recently been voted by the readers of Diver Magazine UK as one of the top 25 dive resorts worldwide and the Reader’s Choice Award as #5 dive resort in the Pacific/Red Sea/Indian Ocean. Serving only 1,000 divers a year, they offer their guests crowd-free dive sites and VIP service, spa treatments, home brewed beer and a unique bar/dining experience onboard their 100+ year old Indonesian Schooner moored in front of the resort.
Diving Yap, Micronesia:
Yap is best-known for its cultural beauty, picturesque village scenes, resident manta ray presence, clear blue water scuba diving and a host of eco-tours and experiences.
With almost 100 miles of barrier reef, several big channels and lagoon sites, there is one of everything here to explore – miles of outer reef wall diving, deep and shallow channels to drift as well as inner lagoon macro and night diving.
Highlights of Yap Diving are the mantas, daily year-round reef shark diving with three kinds of interactions, nightly mating mandarin fish as well as rich coral walls and caverns.
Award winning Yap Divers is Yap’s first PADI 5-Star Resort and an SSI Platinum Dive Center.
With Yap Divers, you can be assured of clean, pure air, safe diving, and a full range of instruction available from Open Water through Divemaster. They also offer a number of specialty dive certifications for those who want to expand their formal dive training, and they are home to the only place in the world where you can do the PADI certified Manta Ray Awareness Course. This makes for a perfect combination to enhance the Yap Island vacation.
The dive traveler is offered all that he or she could ever ask for in terms of dive experiences with regularly scheduled drift dives, wall dives, cavern dives and night dives, as well as their specialty – Giant Manta dives.
Yap – Diving’s Best Kept Secret
Although they have a host of charted dive sites and a program to discover more dive destinations, the fun part is that more than 50% of Yap’s reefs remain unexplored. It is often said that Yap is “World Class Diving’s Best Kept Secret”.
The Manta Ray Bay Resort was built FOR divers, BY divers. Their harborside dive center, Yap Divers, has everything you’d expect from a PADI 5-star facility and SSI Platinum Dive Center, and so much more. Yap Divers is a full-service facility with modern boats, rental gear, dive shop, camera bays, gear rinse and storage. Yap Divers dives all sites around Yap on a daily basis with up to 5 dives per day offered to their guests.
Plus, at the end of an unforgettable day of diving, it’s nice to know that there are only a few dozen steps or so from the quay to your room or the bar aboard the S/V Mnuw, the resort’s 100-year-old South Seas Schooner.
Private Tropical Beach:
Manta Ray Bay Resort has a private beach on the northern island of Ma’ap where you can enjoy a cliché gold sand coconut tree beach with an emerald lagoon.
On Yap you can spend all day on a private beach with your partner, dive buddy or group in the village with no one else around. They arrange private beach trips, group events, parties and BBQs.
Get the best of the island in a lush tropical setting, all to yourself.
At any time during your stay with them, they can set you up with a few their excursion or a whole day on the beach with food, beer, wine, drinks, beach towels, kayaks and more.
Group events and tour leaders can organize surface interval lunch breaks in between dives and flight day beach parties – ask the resort to help spice up your week with some time on their private beach.
Services and facilities:
Taro Leaf Spa:
The Taro Leaf Spa was opened in February 2009 and takes the best of everything that is Yapese to bring you an experience that will, relax, energize, invigorate, revitalize and harmonize you. The decor of the spa is based on island themes and all of their products use locally sourced plants.
This spa has a welcoming reception and waiting area, which is filled with exotic fragrances. You will be given your own Taro Leaf robe and shorts to change into in their comfortable change area. Each guest will have their own private locker to keep valuables secure.
There are two treatment rooms. Frangipani is named after a beautiful fragrant flower that grows in abundance around the island. This room has two massage beds, so it is ideal for two friends to have treatments at the same time. The wooden paneling and abundance of flowers makes this room feel at one with nature. Kokoris, named after the white ginger flower that grows on the island, is the second treatment room, which has a massage bed and their stone bath, Almeria. This bath is hewn from one piece of solid rock and polished to a smooth finish. This room opens out into the private garden with a relaxing waterfall to make the whole setting feel very tranquil.
A wide range of treatments are available, so there is really something to meet everyone’s needs, whether you have tiered muscles from a day’s diving or you just want to pamper yourself for a few hours.
The Mnuw: Ship’s Bar & Grill:
The Mnuw is the most unique restaurant and bar in Micronesia if not the world. She is a 170ft (55m) Phinisi schooner from Indonesia with 3 dining decks, 2 bars and her kitchen all on board. Start your day with a gorgeous sunrise during breakfast. Or unwind after a full day of activities with a cold beer or tropical beverage while swapping sea stories.
The Manta Ray Restaurant:
Imagine, rough-hewn beams and floors, teak walls, wall sconces, cozy nooks, the wooden aroma and decoration of times gone by, intimate lighting, now you can “feel” their Restaurant.
Located on the main deck of the “SV Mnuw”, their very own hundred-year-old South Seas Schooner, enjoy the fine view through panoramic windows and then let them pamper you.
Typically, when you visit a tropical paradise one expects that the “local brew” is always a little less than satisfying, lacking in taste/richness and even sometimes downright undrinkable. Not so in Yap!
Enter Stone Money Brewing Company, Yap’s own genuine microbrewery. There is even a swiss brew master! With its climate-controlled brewing facility and high-quality ingredients, you would be hard pressed to find a better tropical microbrewery.
Guest Rooms & Suites
The motif of the entire hotel is marine life with each of the rooms individually decorated in tropical elegance. Each room bears a fish name, and is decorated accordingly, with photographs and paintings of that fish, hand-carved door, hand carved key chains and handmade bedspreads.
- Each Room features:
- Air Conditioning & ceiling fan
- IDD Telephone
- Color TV with DVD player
- Fully potable in-room hot & cold tap water
- Built-in hair dryer
- Built-in electronic safe (deluxe room only)
- Complementary Coffee & Tea Service
The Deluxe Ocean View rooms are the resort’s finest rooms. These rooms feature stunning ocean-views, king sized beds, private patios and unique interior features. Some of these rooms have private plunge pools, or fantastic stone showers or even a private rooftop Jacuzzi! They are all unique and equally elegant.
Each individually themed Ocean View Room features a breathtaking view of the lagoon. Wake up to a beautiful sunrise reflecting off the still waters. Ocean View Rooms are well appointed in tropical style and features either one or two queen-sized beds. Some rooms even have water beds!
Each unique Standard Room is well appointed in tropical style and features either one or two queen-sized beds. The standard rooms are on the opposite side of the resort with views of the hills and beyond.
More diving details
Manta Ray Diving in Yap:
Manta mating season is December – April with the most frequent interactions with multiple animals and mating behavior
Year-round manta cleaning station diving is excellent for photography
Yap State is a Manta Trust field research site offering citizen science and join manta dive expedition opportunities
Mating season is Manta season! Every year the resident rays dance in courtship in Yap’s lagoons and channels.
Yap is gifted with its manta ray presence – it’s still one of the only places in the world where you have a great chance of diving with a manta ray any day of the year.
In the winter months the Manta diving is exciting as this is the time when you see small groups of rays and their courtship behavior, mantas dancing.
When you experience a mating train within arm’s reach or mantas balling together in courtship, it’s a “ten” for anyone’s dive log.
Mantas are frequently seen on drift dives transiting channels and there’s occasional outer reef deep blue water encounters. The most common and longest interactions happen at shallow cleaning stations where divers get buzzed by circling rays.
You can go manta diving every day here in small groups at sites inside the reef on calm water after short boat rides just minutes from the hotel dock.
Multiple cleaning stations offer various interactions and environments to dive with manta rays – mantas are seen while driving the outer reef and at blue water dive sites.
Yap is a world-class location for diving with reef sharks. Thanks to their healthy shark stocks, encounters with the three most common species, – Grey Reef Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, Whitetip Reef Shark, are guaranteed during a dive package. In fact, reef sharks are encountered on almost every dive site.
Daily shark diving, special shark feed dives and Vertigo, Micronesia’s best shark dive!
Tiny creatures have always been a part of the philosophy of Yap Divers, supported with repeating photo events like the “Critter Hunt.” The diversity of the smaller reef inhabitants never ceases to surprise their guests. Generally little critters like ghostly white mantis shrimps, scorpion leaf fishes and (ghost) pipe fishes are not this far out in the Pacific, but just off Manta Ray Bay Resort and the Mnuw mandarin fishes, pipe fishes, razorfishes and shrimps & gobies live in symbiosis.
On the other hand, Rainbow Reef off “O’Keefe’s Island” gained quite some fame for its number of mandarin fishes. The place is only a ten minutes boat ride away from Manta Ray Bay Resort and hosts one of the largest populations in the world. Forget about all these dives in which a guide desperately tries to get two scared little fishes out of the coral head! Rainbow Reef is different. Located in only 3-7 meters depths, a number of staghorn corals is home to certainly more than 40 mandarin fishes. Mating takes place almost every evening – given, you don’t scare them away with a strong torch! – and if “your” couple gets out of sight, your guide is very likely to present you another one quickly.
Comfortable, Quiet, Modern Boats
Manta Ray Bay’s fleet of 8 fast, modern, twin engine dive boats ranging in size from 21 to 38 feet allows them to accommodate any individual needs, from private charters to fun packed group trips.
All their boats carry radio, oxygen and emergency medical kits for safety and their boat drivers know every nook and cranny of the reefs by heart.
Yap Diving Facilities include:
- Valet Diving
- Hands-free gear porter service
- The most convenient land-based dive op
- Modern, quiet, comfortable, covered dive boats
- Personal Gear Storage Area
- Camera Stations with secure storage
- Top-of-the-line rental gear
- NITROX available
Tours and activities:
- Snorkeling yap:
- The warm, crystal clear water and the incredible richness and variety of the ocean life makes Yap a great place for snorkeling.
- Snorkelers are welcome right alongside the scuba divers on all boats departing to dive sites both on the reef and within the lagoon. On most of their sites, the reef starts very near the surface and can be appreciated by snorkeler and diver alike. However, we would like to caution all snorkelers that swimming from the ocean-side onto the reef is best left to good swimmers/experienced snorkelers even on the calmer days.
- For those snorkelers preferring the calmest waters, there are many pristine sites wholly within the lagoon. These sites can place the reef and all its fish right next to the mask of the surface swimmer.
- Snorkeling charters are available every day and can be booked directly at the dive shop. Access to a few of their best sites can be restricted at low tide. It’s best to arrange your charter one day early so they can plan to get you out at the best possible time.
- Almost all of Yap’s shallow lagoon is a delight to swimmers and snorkelers. The following is a brief sampling of the snorkeling sites that they feel highlight the best of the tropical seas and yet are still within easy reach of the boats operating out of Colonia.
- Game Fishing in Yap:
- Manta Ray Bay has added a new division of their resort which they call Yap Anglers. Their specialty is whipping for Giant Trevally off the reefs of Yap. Using 20-pound test line, these fish offer a good fight and provide for an exciting day.
- Imagine looking over the side of the boat into ink blue water so clear that you can see fish swimming 100 feet below you. Imagine being on a boat 20 yards from the edge of the reef, looking across the turquoise colored lagoon to the verdant, green tropical island in the background. You cast your lure into the surf breaking on the edge of the reef and then boom – a huge black Giant Trevally comes from the surf line and attacks your wooden bait. The fight is on.
- Kayaking Yap
- Discover Yap by kayak and enjoy a half or better yet a full day, unique experience in the diverse mangrove systems of Yap. This is the perfect way to explore one of the few ecosystems on this planet that remains untouched by man.
- Among the mangroves you will go where no one can go but by kayak. There are no roads, no way to bring a powered boat in and no habitation, there is but you and nature.
- See some of the wild bird life endemic to Yap. See some of the wild bird life endemic to Yap with their knowledgeable Concierge staff. The staff will not only share with you their wealth of knowledge about the Yapese people and their folklore, but as well as the uniqueness of the Yapese culture. If you bring a snorkel, you might even get a chance to observe the archerfish as it spits jets of water several feet into the overhanging vegetation to know down insects.
Tours of Yap:
- Beach Excursions:
- The Manta Ray Bay Hotel’s Concierge staff also offer a complete range of land tours specifically designed to showcase the unique island culture of Yap. Everything from the famous stone money and stone money banks, to traditional thatched roof men’s houses, centuries old stone paths which are still used to connect the various villages, to the flora and fauna are available on a daily basis for their guests.
- The resort offers a series of 4-hour (½ day) island tours with tour guide, driver, air-conditioned transportation and soft drinks. These tours are custom designed for each guest in that their staff will meet with you before departure from the hotel and discuss various options. Some of these options include merely site seeing around the island concentrating on flora and fauna or beaches or jungle to WWII tours concentrating on remnants of the war to stone money, stone paths and men’s houses. Of course, a combination of the three tours is also available.
- They also offer a series of 8-hour (full day) tours as above except that the full day tours also include lunch.