SCUBA diving has been a love of mine for over a decade now, inspiring journeys everywhere in the globe from the coral triangle of Southeast Asia to the great thing about the South Pacific. Combining years of my very own firsthand information with strategies from different divers I’ve met alongside the way in which, these are 20 of the very best locations on this planet to SCUBA dive:
1. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Simply one among my favourite locations on this planet to dive, Raja Ampat ranks excessive not solely due to the menagerie below water, however for the wealth of lovely islands, untouched lagoons, and wonder you could expertise whenever you’re not diving, too.
Plan on seeing reef sharks, octopus, huge colleges of jack fish and barracuda, Manta rays, and wholesome coral reefs, together with some spectacular followers. Probably the greatest methods to expertise diving right here is on a liveaboard dive ship (examine my expertise right here). Most of them final for about 11 days, however there are additionally native islands that provide shore diving as nicely.
The most effective diving season runs from October to Might (the other to Komodo’s finest dive occasions listed under). It’s finest to be Nitrox licensed for longer dive occasions. Bear in mind currents might be robust and expertise is suggested.
2. Komodo, Indonesia
I’ll at all times consider Komodo once I think about probably the most colourful, vibrant reefs on this planet. That is additionally a hotspot for Manta rays, huge colleges of fish, sea turtles, and plenty of colourful little nudibranchs. The water readability is superb, and the temperature is good, too. I even received fortunate and noticed Mandarin fish on an evening dive!
I dived right here as a backpacker on a finances in 2013 with Depraved Diving, and thought the expertise was improbable.
Be forewarned that Komodo is extra superior diving the place you’re going to expertise robust currents. That is finest undertaken after you’ve got a minimum of 40+ dives below your belt. The diving season runs all yr with March to October providing the driest situations. The most effective Manta viewing is within the wet season, working from December to February, though I noticed them in July, as nicely.
3. Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia
Whereas on my liveaboard in Raja Ampat, I requested the opposite divers what their favourite locations are for diving all over the world, and was advised that Chuuk (aka Truk) Lagoon in Micronesia gives among the finest for wreck diving. That is one other one which requires a liveaboard to get to to the very best spots.
Throughout World Struggle II, Chuuk Lagoon was the Empire of Japan’s principal naval base within the South Pacific, and after some heavy shelling by US forces, it’s now house to over 60+ World Struggle II wrecks, making it the most important underwater ship graveyard on this planet. Some wrecks are deep, which makes Chuuk well-known for technical diving. It’s finest to have a minimum of your Nitrox certification to dive right here.
4. Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Cocos is the prime spot for a shark lovers! Should you’ve been hoping to see huge colleges of hammerhead sharks, Cocos Island is likely one of the finest locations on this planet to get that probability.
Cocos is finest recognized for the massive stuff, specifically sharks. The most important draw back of diving right here is that it could solely be reached through a liveaboard dive boat and it takes a minimum of 36 hours of crusing to get to Cocos (and 36 again, too)! Most liveaboards board from the port metropolis of Puntarenas in Costa Rica.
Visibility is finest in the course of the winter months (December to Might, additionally the dry season). Nonetheless Manta rays and whale sharks are extra often noticed from June to November. Currents might be robust, so it’s finest to have expertise earlier than trying Cocos.
5. Darwin and Wolf Islands, Galapagos
Talking of colleges of sharks, the Galapagos islands in Ecuador are one other nice diving spot that gives prime big-animal viewing, together with education hammerheads. Throughout July and August, it’s an incredible spot to dive with whale sharks as nicely.
Darwin and Wolf islands are solely accessible through liveaboard dive boat, and typically visibility might be considerably poor (plus the water is chilly!). Should you’re attempting to keep away from liveaboard dive ships and need to mix your journey with different actions, think about doing a land and snorkeling cruise across the Galapagos, and take day dives from the native islands, together with the well-known Gordon rocks and Kicker (sail) rock. Currents might be very robust within the Galapagos, so some expertise is often required by diving operations taking friends to Gordon Rocks.
6. Caye Caulker, Belize
Belize is house to the second largest barrier reef on this planet, and the water was so heat and clear, I didn’t even put on a wetsuit! That is the journey I took that impressed me to get dive licensed again in 2010.
Though the Blue Gap is likely one of the most well-known dive websites out of Caye Caulker, having dived it myself, I can’t report that we noticed a lot. Its declare to fame is the deepness of the dive at over 45 meters into an underwater sinkhole, and the stalactites you could see when you descend. You’ll want a minimum of 40-50 dives for a good dive firm to take you to this one. Fact be advised we had solely simply gotten licensed, so we requested round till we discovered an organization prepared to take a bunch of newbies, in order that they do exist.
That mentioned, the reef dives following the Blue Gap had been what impressed me probably the most. We noticed noticed eagle rays, numerous reef sharks, and beautiful corals.
7. Purple Sea, Egypt
Simply one of the crucial well-known diving spots on this planet, Egypt’s Purple Sea is thought for superb corals, dolphins, shipwrecks, sharks, colourful fish, and Dugongs, for those who’re diving in the suitable spot! The Purple Sea might be skilled with day dives or a liveaboard.
The Purple Sea covers an enormous space, spanning will past simply Egypt. Phrase on the road is Saudi Arabia has even higher dive areas, although I haven’t met anybody but who has dived them.
8. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Talking of Dugongs, the Bazaruto archipelago in Mozambique is a good place to identify them.
It’s also possible to count on to see attractive reef, and pure white sands above with child blue water. The close by city of Vilanculos, the place I stayed, was a dream with the tides going out and in, exposing shiny white sandbars all through the day.
Mozambique is likely one of the hardest nations I’ve been to when it comes to getting round, but additionally one of the crucial rewarding. Cease by Tofo as nicely for whale shark encounters between June and January!
9. Kona, Hawaii’s Manta Night time Dive
Whereas Hawaii’s reefs aren’t the image of well being and wonder that I’m certain they as soon as had been, the Manta night time dive out of Kona on Hawaii’s Huge Island remains to be price doing for those who love Mantas. It’s also possible to snorkel this one as a substitute, holding onto a lighted raft that pulls their meals supply.
10. Socorro, Mexico
Mexico generally gives unbelievable diving alternatives from coast to coast. The underwater variety is spectacular, together with Cabo Pulmo in Baja California, the wall dives in Cozumel, and naturally, the one and solely Socorro.
That is one other great place to see the massive stuff, from Manta rays, to 7 completely different species of sharks, Humpback whales, and typically even whale sharks. The season for diving in Socorro is winter (November-Might) when the seas are the calmest for liveaboard dive ships, the one solution to entry this space.
11. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
French Polynesia has among the most unbelievable diving and reefs I’ve ever seen. Should you love reef sharks, rays, need to see lovely corals, and revel in a very wholesome reef, look no additional.
Most diving might be finished instantly out of your resort or island. The water visibility is unbelievable, and relying on the time of yr (late July to October) you could even spot a Humpback whale – I’ve on a dive earlier than!
Though you possibly can drive at any time of yr in French Polynesia, the wet season runs from October to April and might deliver more difficult situations. Be aware that talking a minimum of some French is a big assist, notably for those who enterprise to any of the extra distant islands.
12. Ari Atoll, The Maldives
Talking of clear water and wholesome coral, the Ari Atoll within the Maldives is one other wonderful diving spot with the other wet season.
Though tropical fish and dazzling corals are a part of the draw, you too can dive with whale sharks and Mantas on this space, too. Take shore dives out of your resort (or my private favourite, the native islands), or take a liveaboard to hit all the very best spots.
13. Fuvahmulah, The Maldives
Talking of the Maldives, for those who’re a real diving aficionado, you possibly can’t go away with out stopping by Fuvahmulah to dive with pelagic sharks. That is really one of many hands-down finest locations on this planet to dive with Tiger and Thresher sharks.
The lodging is considerably fundamental, and this can be a native island the place you received’t be capable of put on a bikini on the seashore, but it surely does provide a possibility for native interplay that many who go to the Maldives don’t get to have.
14. Sipadan, Malaysia
Sipadan in Malaysian Borneo is known for a purpose – the protected marine space is unbelievable for big colleges of fish, the occasional hammerhead, and HUGE turtles.
It is a well-liked dive website and there are strict limits on how many individuals can dive every day, so plan this one as far forward of time as doable to make sure a allow, ideally throughout Malaysia’s dry season from April to June. I beloved diving with Scuba Junkie off of Mabul island and advocate reserving a number of days of diving across the space, all of which is spectacular. It’s also possible to do a liveaboard to take all of it in!
The water is pleasantly heat, currents are mild, and the water visibility is superb.
15. Apo Reef, The Philippines
For wrecks, turtles, good corals, and colleges of tropical fish, Apo Reef is the very best dive space of the Philippines. I joined a liveaboard boat to discover the very best of the world (listed below are extra choices), however you too can use Coron as a leaping off level.
You’ll additionally doubtless cease by the Barracuda Lake, a combination of contemporary and salt water that makes for some attention-grabbing diving as you cross from one into the opposite.
The most effective time to dive on this space is in the course of the Philippines’ dry season, from October to Might. You should definitely do some island hopping within the space as nicely, as Coron is stuffed with attractive islands and lagoons.
16. Catalina Island, California
Though the water is admittedly a contact above freezing, Catalina island off the coast of California gives among the most spectacular kelp forests on this planet. For many who would like to know what it’s prefer to swim with pleasant and curious harbor seals, this is likely one of the finest spots!
You possibly can take dive excursions, get licensed, or simply lease gear and dive by yourself off of Catalina. The simplest solution to get there may be to take the Catalina Flyer from Lengthy Seaside.
The most effective visibility is from September to November. Carry an 8mm wetsuit for this spot!
17. Nice Barrier Reef, Australia
Though the Nice Barrier Reef in Australia has fallen sufferer to coral bleaching and will not be the unbelievable dive website that it as soon as was, it’s nonetheless the most important barrier reef on this planet price a go to for those who’re in that neck of the woods.
The Nice Barrier Reef enjoys a protected standing and gives the chance to see marine life that’s distinctive to the world. The outer reefs are among the finest spots today, together with the Ribbon Reef’s Gotham Metropolis, the far northern reefs for sea turtles, and the coral sea reef’s Bougainville Reef for some greater creatures. Learn extra right here.
Bonaire is likely one of the finest locations to dive at any time of yr, and for any ability stage. You possibly can simply do dives from boats and the shore – in truth it’s generally known as the shore diving capital of the world. For the reason that space is protected against most main marine currents and gives largely shallow diving, this can be a excellent spot to study, as nicely.
Count on heat water (as much as 80 levels F), calm situations, and visibility as much as 100 toes. The realm gives attractive corals, wreck dives, sea turtles, colleges of grouper, barracuda, and sea horses as nicely.
19. Jardines de la Reina, Cuba
This reef has been protected for over 20 years, and it exhibits. Solely 1200 individuals are permitted to dive the Jardines de la Reina annually, an uninhabited marine sanctuary that’s solely accessible through liveaboard.
The realm is nicely shielded from most currents, so this can be a dive journey that’s appropriate for divers of all ranges. It additionally gives heat water and nice visibility year-round. Though there’s one thing for everybody within the space, most individuals are attracted because of the promise of seeing sharks, together with massive Caribbean reef sharks and silky sharks. Throughout July to November, you may even see whale sharks as nicely.
20. Purple Sea, South Sudan
As talked about above, unbelievable Purple Sea diving just isn’t restricted to simply Egypt, and even simply Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Liveaboard dive ships have began exploring the South Sudan a part of the Purple Sea as nicely, the place colleges of hammerheads and different sharks are the principle occasion.
It’s also possible to count on to see spectacular corals and wrecks. What’s extra, only a few individuals enterprise out annually, so that you’ll get pleasure from among the most superb but least-crowded dive websites the Purple Sea has to supply.
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Drawing from my very own expertise and the strategies of others, these are the very best dive websites that I’m conscious of all over the world. However I’m at all times open to studying about extra! Do you’ve got any superb locations that you’ve dived? Share them within the feedback under!