From the Caribbean Sea to the icy cold waters of the North, Scuba diving can be enjoyed in many ways. Swimming next to Giant Sea turtles, exploring coral reefs or visiting old ship wrecks, diving offers a way to enter into new and unknown territories.
With that in mind, here is a a list of 15 of the best places in the world (in no particular order) for diving:
15. Fernando de Noronha
This is off the beaten path in Brazil but here you will find lots of life among the blue waters. You’ll be able to swim with turtles, dolphins, and much more. With over 7000 kilometers of coastline, numerous islands and an untold number of shipwrecks in local waters, Brazil is, indeed, one of the South America’s best diving destinations. More and more areas of the Brazilian coastline are being turned into sanctuaries or aquatic parks, particularly for diving activities and preservation of marine life. There are official groups to protect the proliferation and habitats of sea turtles (TAMAR) and the Peixe Boi, or Sea Cow, a salt-water cousin of the Manatee. Numerous locations off Brazilian shores are favored by dolphins, and whales come to give birth to new calves in the warm, Brazilian waters between June and October.
Thailand has a number of famous dive sites: Phuket, Ko Tao, Similan Islands, and the Surin Islands. In fact, you can pretty much dive anywhere in the country, though the best diving is near Ko Tao and up near the Similans. Moreover, Ko Tao is a cheap place to learn to scuba dive. Thailand’s Andaman coast extends for 870 km from the Surin Islands on Thailand’s border with Burma to Tarutao National Park (setting of “Survivor Thailand”) bordering Malaysia. Hundreds of islands are reached by boat from Phuket, many of them uninhabited and fringed with spectacular coral reefs. The Similan Islands national marine park, to the Northwest of Phuket, is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world – liveaboards, day trips and overnight tours are all available. The best time to visit Thailand is from October to April
13. Tobermory Scuba Diving, Canada.
The water’s chilly, but the experience is notable. Tobermory crowns the tip of Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, at the confluence of pure, icy cold Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.
Explore an area where submerged forests, canyons and the remains of ancient coral in this once tropical sea.
Watch the modern inhabitants, crawfish, bass and sculpin as they go about their daily business. For the diving enthusiast, the remains of over 20 historical shipwrecks also lie beneath these clear, cold waters.
12. Papua New Guinea
Once a secret gem for divers in Australia and the South Pacific at large, Papua New Guinea is now fair game as a prime scuba destination. The area has it all. No matter what your taste, from deep drops and shallow reefs, private lagoons and atolls and perhaps best of all, pristine wrecks – a contradiction but nonetheless – that harken back to World War II.
Diving in PNG offers everything, from Pygmy Seahorses, sharks, and occasional Orca’s.
Amidst the reefs and schools of fish one encounters numerous wrecks, a reminder of the violence and struggle in which P.N.G. participated during the tragic days of WWII. Wrecks of ships and planes the afore machines of destruction now overgrown with corals rest at the bottom of the ocean floor and are home to many sea dwellers, presenting a display of serenity and colour.
11. Morehead City Scuba Diving, North Carolina, U.S.A.
The coastal areas of North Carolina are becoming a popular vacation destination and recreation area.
The “Graveyard of the Atlantic” has become North America’s hottest wreck-diving destination. In the early days of World War II, U-boats had a field day, littering the ocean floor with merchant ships.
In summer, the warm, clear Gulf Stream infuses the wrecks with an abundance of tropical and game fish.
10. The Red Sea, Egypt
Tropical coral reefs lure travelers to the Sinai peninsula for unparalleled Egypt scuba diving.
An affordable alternative to beaches in Europe or the Caribbean, Egyptian beaches along the Red Sea or Mediterranean coast offer sunny vacations with a variety of activities.
From views of colorful fish to intricate coral reefs, scuba diving in Egypt promises to be memorable. At the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, the famous coral reef leaves even the most experienced divers amazed.
9. Bali, Indonesia
The greatest feature of scuba diving in Bali is the rich and varied sites – deep drop-offs and steep banks, coral ridges and bommies, one of the most famous wrecks in the world, volcanic outcrops and seagrass beds.
With the colourful and diverse marine life, From hairy frogfish, cockatoo leaf fish and pygmy seahorses in Secret Bay and Menjangan on the north west tip of the island, to bumphead parrotfish and reef sharks in the north and east at Tulamben and Candi Dasa, to the sunfish and trevallies of nearby Nusa Penida and Lembongan islands, the Bali sights are truly fascinating.
The Bali dive season runs all year round. Overall, the best diving conditions exist from April to December, with sunfish, sharks and other pelagic fish visiting from June to September.
Lush, exotic Bali is the jewel of Indonesia and a haven for a variety of tourism pursuits. From luxury resorts to spas, recreation to wild nature, the island is a complete destination. That certainly is the case for avid scuba participants, who flock here for some of the best marine biodiversity in the world, first class instructors and a plethora of elusive, secret dive spots.
Massive schools of fish, an amazing array of marine life and an ideal water temperature throughout the year, has meant that scuba diving conditions in Costa Rica are near perfect. The reef here is home to over 123 species of fish, 140 species of mollusk, and 35 species of coral.
Although a recent player on the scuba scene, at least in terms of mainstream awareness, the recreation and indeed, tourism in general in Costa Rica, has undergone explosive growth. It stems from the government’s superb efforts to galvanize ecotourism in the country, which by all accounts is one of the most diverse in the world. Thus, it makes perfect sense to venture here for memorable scuba.
Start with the eagle rays at Punta Gorda and then venture off to Murcielagos Island and the Catalinas for a wealth of sea life. From sharks to mantas to angelfish and gorgeous coral reefs, Costa Rica has it all
7. Palau, Micronesia
Made of limestone coral reefs lifted above sea level, from the air they look like giant mushrooms, the Republic of Palau, in Micronesia, is truly nature at its most majestic.
Dives begin in knee deep water and plunge straight down to depths of 1000 feet and more.
Blue holes, huge caverns and an immense variety of rare and exotic marine species are easily accessible in clear water with visibility exceeding 200 feet. Vast numbers, not found anywhere else in the world, of large pelagic predators, sharks, turtles, dolphins and many species of migratory fish gather here at a unique crossroads of three of the world’s major ocean currents.
Palau features land locked marine lakes, accessible from the sea through tunnels beneath the island’s steep shorelines, are home to rare jelly fish, anemones and soft corals. Palau’s famed “Rock Islands” are a collection of rounded, foliage-covered isles which seem to float above the surface of the water. A boat trip through them will reveal a number of magnificent white sand beach hideaways perfect for a secluded picnic or adventurous overnight stay.
Palau’s most popular dive site, Blue Corner, is recognized as one of the best in the world due to its concentration of marine life, whilst Jacques Cousteau considered Ngemelis Wall, commonly known as Big Drop-off, to be one of the best dive walls in the world. Just a few minutes away, German Channel is known for its regular sightings of manta rays, which come in and hover over rock outcroppings inhabited by tiny cleaner wrasses.
Throughout Micronesia divers can encounter an abundance of marine life in just about every imaginable colour and shape. The seas are inhabited by hundreds of types of hard and soft corals, anemones, colourful sponges, countless varieties of shellfish, manta rays and pelagics.
It is common to see 30 – 50 grey reef and whitetip sharks, eagle rays, hundreds of schooling barracuda, thousands of blue trigger fish, moray eels, lion fish, schooling humphead parrotfish, nudibranchs, several turtles and a leaf fish all on one dive.
6. Cozumel, Mexico
Teaming with schools of fish and boasting amazing view, Cozumel offers the avid scuba diver a vast playground. Cozumel is the Mexican Caribbean’s largest island, just 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Cozumel is 28 miles / 9 meters long and 10 miles / 2 meters wide. Located near Cancun; Cozumel is an island destination for scuba divers and non scuba divers alike.
The popular vacation destination of Cozumel boasts some of the best resorts in Mexico and indeed the Americas. With 19 distinct reefs and a host of deep dives that go down as far as 3,000 feet, Cozumel is also a favourite with scuba fans. For spectacular tunnels, caves and caverns, there are few better locations in the world.
There is a great variety of reef types and diving & snorkeling experiences in Belize.
The Barrier Reef is 185 meandering miles (298 km) of unspoiled beauty. The reef is like a gigantic wall running parallel to the coast.
Between the mainland and the reef are shallow, sandy waters with numerous mangrove-covered islands (cayes). Hard corals, gorgonians, sea fans, tunicates, and shellfish of amazing variety populate Belize coastal waters, but the predominance of one in a particular stretch of reef may give that area its name. Similarly, there are areas where grouper are known to shoal, others where large stingray are prolific or where the diver may encounter a whale shark.
The manta ray and spotted eagle ray are fairly common, and the diver can reasonably expect to see one of these magnificent creatures during his visit. Hammerhead shark,Caribbean reef shark and even the oceanic white tip shark are seen occasionally, but these lucky sightings are rare.
Belize is a country that packs more ecodiversity in one square mile than any other on the planet. The landscape explodes with plant and animal life of incredible endemic variety. Underwater the attractions are no less special, as Belize boasts a wide range of reef types for scuba divers, each with a unique set of characteristics that ensure a memorable stay no matter your level of experience.
4. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Tread in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and indeed, the evolution of life on Earth, as you explore a place that enthralls like no other.
The Galapagos Islands, under the domain of Ecuador, are much more than a hub of scientific discovery.Divers can mingle freely underwater with tortoises, penguins and a host of other wildlife.
3. Cayman Islands
The Carribean’s favorite tax shelter and offshore financial center boasts some of the best dive spots on the planet.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have a fabulous geography for lovers of the sport.
As former peaks of mountains which now underwater, offer sheer drops and shelter from perilous conditions, the more than 100 dive locals around the Caymans provide calm and unspoiled beauty for divers.
2. Bonaire Scuba Diving, Netherlands Antilles.
Diving on Bonaire is a shore thing: Just rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle and head out on the island’s bumpy roads to any of 50-plus yellow dive markers. Whether you suit up with tanks or just take out the snorkel, you’ll appreciate the healthy reefs of the 20-year-old marine park, one of the first and finest in the world.
Noted by dive enthusiasts around the world as a spectacular dive destination, scuba diving and snorkeling are the central activity for most visitors to Bonaire. Bonaire is a leader in Caribbean marine conservation, and the water’s off of the island’s surrounding coast have been declared a marine park.
Dive conditions around Bonaire are ideal-with moderate temperatures and high visibility. Most reefs remain pristine and untouched, and Bonaire’s location in the arid southern Caribbean keeps the water free of silt.
1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland – the world’s largest coral reef comprises more than 3,000 individual reef systems and beautiful beaches.
One of the superlative wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is without rival when it comes to natural awe and splendor. There are several ways to see and explore Great Barrier but for insiders, the only way to appreciate the behemoth is to scuba dive. The coral reefs are famous as a preeminent spot to observe kaleidoscopic aquatic life.