The best places for diving

Top 25: The World’s Best Scuba Diving Places

Scuba diving is growing in popularity at a rapid rate, which is especially evident by how many fans of this water sport have appeared around the world in recent years, and how the sales of scuba diving equipment companies have increased.

During the dives you can both enjoy the beauty of the underwater flora and fauna and explore old shipwrecks, which can’t help but attract. Every enthusiast chooses a location according to their personal preferences, but some places have long been particularly popular among sophisticated diving enthusiasts, and in this list you will learn about 25 of these amazing places.

25. Maaya Thila, Maldives Photo: Shiyam ElkCloner

The Maldives has long been known as a great dive destination for its lush coral reefs and rich biodiversity of underwater life. The underwater island of Maaya Tila is only 80 meters in diameter, so it’s easy to explore in just one dive. You’ll see a wide variety of fish species here, including even Moorish idols, long-finned platypus and variegated parrotfish. The local waters are also home to a gray reef shark, but you’re unlikely to encounter one during your vacation.

24. Puerto Galera, Philippines Photo: Jjharvey8

Puerto Galera translates as the port of galleons (a type of sailing ship) and the local coast is where tourists from all over the world come to enjoy beautiful views and scuba diving. From tiny seahorses to pipe-winged ghosts, Puerto Galera’s coastal waters are home to an abundance of curious creatures. This resort is also great for the whole family, as there are suitable spots for divers of all skill levels.

23. The Big Blue Hole, Belize

In the area of the Belize Barrier Reef is a huge underwater sinkhole. This place became popular in large part because of the expeditions of the legendary explorer of the oceans, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who nicknamed the Great Blue Hole one of the best places for scuba diving. Diameter of the sinkhole is about 304 meters, and a depth of 121 meters, and you can explore it in just a few dives to fully appreciate all the beauty of the unique ecosystem.

22. Koh Tao, Thailand Photos: Ilse Reijs, Jan-Noud Hutten

Located in the Gulf of Thailand, this island resort is almost entirely dedicated to scuba diving. The island is surrounded on all sides by colorful reefs and is full of exotic wildlife. If you’ve always wanted to swim with reef sharks or whale sharks, this is the place for you. But be warned, because Tau also has a bad reputation because of widespread cheating, murders, and traffic accidents.

21. Kailua Kona, Hawaii Photo: William Stamps Howard

It used to be the largest marine reserve in the world, but that title was later awarded to an Australian sanctuary. The waters off Kailua-Kona are a favorite destination for colorful tropical fish, giant sea turtles, sharks, rays, whales, and other underwater creatures. To be close to great dive sites, you can settle right in the cozy coastal town, which also has its own historical landmarks.

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20. Utila, Honduras Photo: prilfish

Here you can see some of the most magnificent coral reefs in the world and swim with whale sharks and dolphins. Incredibly, Utila is a relatively affordable dive spot, and you can also just have a great time, resting and relaxing on the shore while eating delicious food and drinking refreshments.

19. Sipadan, Malaysia Photo: William Warby

Sipadan is Malaysia’s only oceanic island and a great place to scuba dive. The marine life is a joy to behold, with magnificent reefs, coral polyps, many kinds of exotic fish, sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, leopard sharks and long-winged sharks. From April to June the sea is so clear and calm that the bottom can be seen even through the 50-meter water column.

18. Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles Photo: w:en:Aquaimages contribs

What sets Bonaire apart from the neighboring islands of its archipelago (Aruba, Curacao) is how spectacular a place it is for scuba diving. The local marine park has about a hundred different scuba diving options to choose from, so you won’t get bored. Since this is not just a resort, but also a marine park, prepare to see an almost untouched underwater world in all its purity and beauty. The best time to come here is from September to December, when the sea is calmest, and it will be easiest to admire the reefs and watch the sea turtles, parrot fish, and mustachioed baby sharks.

17. Gili Islands, Indonesia Photo: Nuctuslasheca

Considered the turtle capital of the world, the Gili Islands offer amazing underwater scenery with all kinds of plants, reefs, coral polyps, green spiny parrot fish, mantas, and the famous bissa turtles. Swimming off the Gili Islands will appeal to experienced scuba divers and beginners alike. If you still want even more variety, the famous Bali Island awaits you nearby, which we’ll tell you about a little later.

16. Yap, Micronesia Photo: w:en:Aquaimages contribs

Few people know about the islands of Yap. It’s a tropical paradise because it’s located just 9 degrees north of the equator. Sophisticated divers love Yap for its incredibly clear water and variety of marine life. The islands are also popular with ordinary travelers, ecologists, and other nature lovers.

15. Bali, Indonesia Photo: Ilse Reij, Jan-Noud H

The island of Bali is widely known for its developed tourist infrastructure. Scuba divers also appreciate this place for its beautiful underwater views. From lush coral reefs to shipwrecks, underwater statues and temples, this exotic destination should definitely be on your personal wish list. You may come across sea turtles and stingrays with long tails.

14. Turks & Caicos Photo: Jared

Just south of the Bahamas is the British overseas territory of Turks and Caicos, where a vast and thriving coral ecosystem awaits you. Over the years, the place has become increasingly popular for its clear sea, pristine reefs and sand dunes. Luckily, the local authorities discourage serious development and control the activities of developers to preserve the pristine appearance of the islands and the underwater world as much as possible.

13. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique Photo:

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The Bazaruto Archipelago is a great place for scuba divers who prefer to swim in clear waters and explore coral reefs at an accelerated pace with underwater tugboats. Wrecks of shipwrecks can be found on the bottom and night diving is a particular pleasure. It is not uncommon to be accompanied by curious dolphins.

12. Phuket, Thailand Photo: Ilse Reijs, Jan-Noud Hutten

Thailand’s coastline is famous for its biodiversity and in the West this country is nicknamed the “Pearl of the South”. Enthusiasts of all levels can find a place to visit colorful coral reefs, shipwrecks or even underwater caves. As a bonus, it’s easy to get to the Similan Islands from here, another great destination for scuba divers.

11 Great Barrier Reef, Australia Photo: Jorge Lascar / Australia

This place is world famous for its magnificent views and the best areas for scuba diving. They don’t call it the Great Barrier Reef for nothing. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and most thriving coral system, where diving enthusiasts from around the world flock.

10. Cozumel, Mexico Photo: Elaine

The resort island of Cozumel is a favorite destination among scuba divers and snorkelers. Scuba divers come here to visit 19 extraordinary coral reefs, underwater caves and caverns. The most famous attractions in the area are considered to be the caverns of the Punta Sur Reef Ecological Reserve and the coastal waters of Playa del Carmen, where you can meet dumb sharks.

9. Yongala, Australia Photo: Geoffrey Rhodes

The Yongala sank during the 1911 cyclone. Yongala tragically lost 112 lives. The ship was bound for Cairns from Melbourne and carried a highly prized thoroughbred, the Lincolnshire red bull and a famous racehorse, the Moonshine. The wreck was designated a protected ship site in 1981 under the Historic Shipwreck Protection Act. Today the Yongala wreck is a popular diving site, and has long been inhabited by all kinds of representatives of the underwater world.

8. Ambergris Caye, Belize Photo: Ambergris Caye

If you’re looking for a place with a very rich ecosystem, the Belize Barrier Reef is right for you. Ambergris Caye is known for its warm waters and a variety of marine life, including mustachioed nurse sharks and long-tailed stingrays. It’s also within easy reach of Hol Chan Marine Sanctuary, where you’ll also find plenty of wonders.

7. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Photo: Aquaimages / English Wikipedia

This place was made famous by Charles Darwin himself, because countless unique species of plants and animals, including underwater creatures, can be found here. It is an ideal location for scuba divers dreaming of swimming with fat-tailed stingrays, eagle rays, whales, reef sharks, pelagic fish and marine iguanas. The list goes on and on!

6. Ras Mohammed, Red Sea, Egypt Photo: Matt Kieffer

The Red Sea attracts huge numbers of scuba divers from all over the world who come here to swim surrounded by magnificent coral reefs with their unique ecosystem. Visibility is excellent nearly year round. In addition, this marine reserve is relatively close to Europe, which makes it quite affordable for scuba divers on a tight budget. Ras Mohammed has underwater cliffs up to 800 meters high, and they are almost completely covered with colorful corals, which are constantly circling the colorful fish.

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5. Caymans, British Overseas Territory Photo: Kfulgham84

These islands are considered the most popular diving destinations in the entire Caribbean. Here you can see a huge variety of marine life from stingrays to scalarecrows and swim around shipwrecks. The Cayman Islands have great weather almost year-round, so you can visit local attractions almost any time of year.

4. Palau, Micronesia Photo:

Palau is considered one of the best places for scuba diving, largely because of its strong surface currents and rich underwater life. Booking lodging and excursions here is well worth it in advance. If you want to swim with dolphins, be sure to check out Dolphin Pacific, a recreational, educational and research center.

3. Papua New Guinea Photo: Aquaimages / en.wikipedia

The coastal waters of this republic are one of the best places for scuba diving. There are deep bluffs, shallow reefs, picturesque atolls and secluded lagoons. In addition, the local waters are full of wrecks from World War II. Papua New Guinea has so many places worth seeing in Papua New Guinea.

2: Beqa Lagoon, Fiji Photo: Mark Heard / Canada

The most famous scuba diving spot in all the waters of the Republic of Fiji is Beqa Lagoon. To get to the remote lagoon, you’ll have to take a one-hour boat ride from the archipelago’s main island, Viti Levu. However, you’ll certainly surpass your expectations, as this is where you’ll find its remarkable underwater topography and colourful coral polyps. The wise will advise you to go to such sites as Side Streets, Nisici Rocks or Caesar’s Rocks, because there are incredibly beautiful reefs and swim nose morays and other tropical fish.

1. Punta Gorda, Costa Rica Photo:

If you’re tired of the usual resorts with popular dive sites, head to Punta Gorda, where a unique underwater world awaits you with numerous schools of fish and eagle rays. Don’t forget to visit Murcielagos Island in northern Costa Rica and the Catalinas Islands if you’re interested in swimming with mantas, sharks and colorful tropical fish surrounded by amazing coral reefs.

10 Best Places to Dive

Nina Akimkina

This is the first place that comes to mind for every diver when asked where they dream of diving. And no wonder – the largest coral reef in the world, home to moray eels, stingrays, dolphins, turtles, sharks and spotted octopuses. Most of all known coral species can be seen here. Moreover, the Great Barrier Reef is the habitat of the dugong, a Red Book listed marine mammal.

The water is warm year round and visibility is excellent. Do not procrastinate with your trip here – the Great Barrier Reef is sick, and if nothing is done soon, humanity will lose this wonder of nature.

The main diving spot is Heron Island. You can dive all year round, but the most comfortable months are from October to December, when the humidity drops.

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2. Marlborough Bays, New Zealand

This place attracts wreck diving enthusiasts. In 1986 the Soviet cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov sank here, lying at a depth of 30 meters.

Muddy water and strong currents make diving quite difficult. You also need experience diving the wrecks so you don’t get lost in the tangled corridors. There is already a legend about a diver who got lost and drowned here and was never found. The dive is not easy, but interesting. Perhaps you are the one who will be able to solve all the mysteries of the ship.

The best time to dive in New Zealand is during the summer months of the southern hemisphere – from December to April, when the water temperature reaches +20. +24 degrees.

3. Dahab, Egypt

Blue Hole. Hearing the name, someone closes his eyes dreamily, someone sighs enviously, and someone remembers his dive.

Near the town of Dahab near the Red Sea coast of formed a vertical underwater gap depth of 100 meters and a diameter of 50 meters. This failure and is called the “Blue Hole” for the sky-blue color of the water. At a depth of about 50 meters it connects to the open sea with an arch with a 26-meter tunnel. Many divers want to test themselves by going through this tunnel. It is an extreme dive – having a certificate and qualification is not enough, you also need an experienced instructor. Unfortunately, some divers overestimate their capabilities and dive without special training and the necessary equipment. It has unfortunate consequences, and the “cemetery of divers” on the shore is proof of that.

Of course, passing through the arch – not at all necessary point of the dive. Beginners dive to a depth of no more than 7-9 meters, besides you can just swim with a mask. Underwater there are mysterious caves and a beautiful coral reef. Diving can be done all year round.

4. Malta

Diving in Malta is different from Australia and Egypt – the underwater world in these places is not the most picturesque. However, you can see the canyons, caves, sunken ships and aircraft. For example, an English bomber shot down during World War II or a French ship, on board of which there are objects of antiques.

You can dive here all year round. In winter, the water temperature drops to +14 degrees, you will need a wetsuit. The best time for diving in Malta are the summer months. During this time, the water temperature is +23 degrees.

5. Similan Islands, Thailand

The flow of tourists to Thailand and the Similan Islands is growing from year to year, but does not detract from the beauty of this place. The underwater landscape is varied: on the eastern slopes slowly go deep, and it allows diving for beginners, and in the west experienced divers will appreciate the tunnels, grottos, caves, sometimes unpredictable currents. Barracudas, whale sharks, sea devils, coral fish, winged fish and a huge variety of corals – this colorful world you will never forget.

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It makes no sense to come here for one day, so dive centers organize diving safaris. The best time to visit is the dry season from November to April.

6. Sipadan Island, Malaysia

Having been here, Jacques-Yves Cousteau said that he has not seen more corners like Sipadan Island anywhere, they simply do not exist. The island is the peeking out from under the water at the tip of an extinct volcano. Sipadan is also called a miniature replica of the Great Barrier Reef. Warm waters attract flocks of barracudas, colorful fish, whale sharks, and turtles come here to lay their eggs.

Sipadan is a nature reserve, so all hotels and schools are located on neighboring islands. Underwater cameras and gloves are forbidden here, as they can damage the corals.

Diving on Sipadan is year round. The best time is from April to December.

7. Dardanelles, Turkey

Do you think that diving in Turkey is not interesting? You should visit the diving sites in the Dardanelles near the Gallipoli peninsula. This is a place for history lovers, because here at the bottom there are hidden evidences of the military defeat of the British and French from the Turks during World War I. The bottom of the sea is literally strewn with the wreckage of ships and planes. Here you can look into the hold of a British merchant ship, and see a sunken warship.

The best time to come here is from May to September.

8. Maldives

A paradise with white beaches and azure waters. Go underwater to meet stingrays, barracudas, turtles, whale and tiger sharks. The Maldives’ dive sites are for experienced divers and beginners alike. In addition to the diverse underwater world and colorful coral reefs at the bottom there are scattered remains of ships. For example, a fascinating dive on a Chinese ship that sank here back in the 16th century.

The best time to visit is from late January to April. Water temperature year round here +25. +30 degrees.

9. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Darwin – one of the islands of the Galapagos archipelago – a dormant volcano, whose foot is teeming with wildlife. These are hammerhead sharks, white tip sharks, turtles, stingrays, dolphins and sperm whales. And near the rock “Arch” you can swim with great whale sharks. Don’t miss the chance and try night diving – in the dark, the ocean turns into a starry sky thanks to the large number of fluorescent crustaceans.

The constant currents and waves make diving here quite challenging, and because of the cold water from August to November, a waterproof suit comes in handy.

10. Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The Yucatan Peninsula is punctuated by a system of underground rivers and caves. Here any completely unremarkable pond can turn out to be an entrance to a mysterious underwater world. You can get into a real underwater palace with stalagmite walls. It is not for nothing that locals consider these caves sacred.

The best time to dive is from May to July. Since August, the probability of hurricanes is high.

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