Top 30 Best Scuba Diving Locations
Ever since we first set foot on this extraordinary planet, our inquisitive nature and fascination of the unknown pushed us towards exploring and discovering the Earth in its entirety. As far as the seas and oceans are concerned, some would argue that we actually know more about the surface of the Moon compared to what we know about the bottom of our oceans.
Scuba diving represents the best solution for exploring the wonderful world that lies beneath our waters, which is why it currently enjoys a high degree of popularity and a generous number of enthusiasts worldwide. If you are also passionate about recreational diving, then we recommend you browse through our top 30 regarding the world’s best scuba diving locations.
1. Puerto Galera, Philippines
The coastal town of Puerto Galera can be found in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines, and it is well known among tourists for its beautiful pocket beaches and numerous scuba diving spots. The best diving area of Puerto Galera is located just 5 minutes away from Sabang Beach, but we advise you to employ the services of an experienced diver should you choose to venture into the depths.
Highlights include over 180 species of nudibranchs as well as a great variety of fish and old wrecks.
2. The Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole found off the coast of Belize that boasts a depth of 407 feet. The Blue Hole is slowly becoming a very popular tourist attraction, especially because of its exquisite scuba diving opportunities. Its clear waters contain an abundance of marine life such as reef sharks, nurse sharks, blacktip sharks and a wide variety of fish.
Other attractions include colorful stalagmites and stalactites as well as underwater caves.
3. Koh Tao Island, Thailand
Placed on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand, the island of Koh Tao represents a very important tourist destination, offering a wide array of engaging activities such as hiking, rock climbing, snorkeling, and most importantly, scuba diving.
The nearby Chumpon Pinnacle is known to be the home of exquisite bull sharks and whale sharks, which is why it has become a scuba diving hotspot.
4. Kailua Kona, Hawaii
If you want to enjoy one of the most incredible scuba diving experiences of your life, all you need to do is spend some time in the waters near the historic town of Kailua Kona. Formerly known as the largest marine reserve in the world, Hawaii can still impress you with its fine specimens of sharks, turtles, whales, stingrays and colorful schools of fish.
5. Utila, Honduras
The island of Ultila is well known for its excellent diving conditions, since it includes over 80 scuba diving sites scattered around its vicinity such as Black Hills, Great Wall and Blackish Point. Exploring beautiful reefs or admiring whale sharks are very popular activities around these parts.
6. Sipadan, Malaysia
The Island of Sipadan can be found on the Celebes Sea, off the east coast of Sabah in Eastern Malaysia. The Indo-Pacific basin is recognized as one of the world’s richest marine habitats, which is why Sipadan attracts an abundance of tourists each year, most seeking to experience the unmatched thrills of scuba diving.
During the dive, guests are able to come face to face with sea turtles, leopard sharks, hammerhead sharks and white tip sharks.
7. Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
Bonaire is a very special Caribbean island that has a special place reserved in the hearts of scuba diving enthusiasts, since it includes a marine park with over 100 diving spots. We recommend you visit Bonaire between the months of September and November, as this is when the sea is at its best behavior.
As you make your way through the beautiful reefs, you might catch a glimpse of parrotfish, sea turtles and nurse sharks.
8. Gili Islands, Indonesia
If you choose to practice your scuba diving skills in the waters of the Gili Islands in Indonesia, you will be able to admire breathtakingly beautiful underwater sights as well as an endless array of marine life, including hawksbill turtles, parrotfish, manta rays and white tip reef sharks.
These Islands are also in close proximity to Bali and Lombok, both islands being visible from Gili on a clear day.
9. Yap, Micronesia
If you love nature and scuba diving, then you’ll definitely enjoy your stay at the Yap Island, which can be found just 6,000 miles away from Los Angeles. This secluded isle is a perfect place to practice your favorite water-related activities, since it boasts clear, clean waters and abundant marine life.
10. Bali, Indonesia
When we talk about scuba diving locations, we absolutely have to include Bali on our list, as this gorgeous island is famed for its exquisite resorts, fine sandy beaches and magnificent scuba diving spots. The underwater realm that encircles Bali is teeming with marine life, enabling its visitors to enjoy unique and memorable experiences under the waves.
11. Grand Turk, Turk & Caicos
The Turk & Caicos Islands shelters an untouched underwater paradise that is just waiting to be explored and admired by divers. Since the islands’ local government decided to ban all major development projects in the region, this place has become a haven of beauty and tranquility that attracts an endless number of tourists each year.
12. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of six islands that can be found in Mozambique, four of which flaunt spectacular glistening waters and colorful coral reefs. As you would expect, these amazing assets alone attract a great number of scuba diving fans from all over the world, but there are also a number of shipwrecks in the area as well as playful and curious dolphins.
13. Phuket, Thailand
Whether you are an expert or a rookie in the field of diving, you will definitely find something of interest among the beautiful waters surrounding Phuket. Mysterious underwater caves, stunning coral formations and old shipwrecks all stand ready to greet those fortunate enough to venture into this submerged sanctuary.
14. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
If you are brave enough to share the waters of the Great Barrier Reef with Great White Sharks, then you are definitely in for a treat. We’re talking about the world’s largest coral reef system here, since it includes over 2,900 reefs as well as 900 islands.
This incredible place can be found in the Coral Sea, near the coast of Queensland in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is so massive that it can actually be seen from outer space, and it is home to a mind-boggling variety of marine life.
15. Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel is a magnificent island that can be found in the Caribbean Sea, and it is well known for its seaside resort town as well as for its great snorkeling and scuba diving areas. Nothing can compare to the unique thrill you’ll get from exploring deep underwater caverns and colorful coral reefs, which is why Cozumel should always be on your list of potential holiday destinations.
16. The Yongala, Australia
The SS Yongala was a passenger ship that met its end near Cape Bowling Green, Queensland, Australia on March 23, 1911. The ship was on her way from Melbourne to Cairns when she met the cyclone that proved to be her doom. 122 people lost their lives on that dreadful day, along with a beautiful racehorse named Moonshine and a red Lincolnshire bull.
The wreck is under the protection of the Historic Shipwrecks Act since 1981, and it is visited frequently by scuba divers.
17. Ambergris Caye, Belize
As the largest island of Belize, the Ambergris Caye measures about 25 miles from north to south, and it represents a very attractive destination for tourists. The Shark Ray Alley is just 15 minutes away from the main town, and even though its waters are fairly shallow, you could still come face to face with some very incredible marine life specimens, including nurse sharks and rays.
18. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galápagos Islands and the superb waters that surround them form a biological marine reserve, a national park and an Ecuadorian province. These islands are a constant hotspot for tourists, especially for those that enjoy scuba diving. White tip reef sharks, marine iguanas, stingrays, golden rays, turtles and majestic whales all call this amazing place home.
19. Ras Mohammed, The Red Sea, Egypt
The Ras Mohammad is a national park that can be found in Egypt, more specifically at the southern end of the Sinai Peninsula. This amazing park is placed within the tourist-designated region of the Red Sea Riviera, and due to its relatively close proximity to Europe, it represents a very enticing holiday destination.
This place is particularly ideal for scuba diving, since its crystal clear and calm waters shelter an underwater paradise of immense beauty. The great varieties of marine life and colorful reefs have the potential to impress deeply, offering an absolutely incredible experience for all those willing to explore their beauty.
20. Cayman Islands, British Overseas Territory
Apart from being a major international financial centre, the Cayman Islands are also known for comprising some of the most exceptional diving sites in the world. From angelfish to stingrays and salt-water turtles, the specimens that live within the waters surrounding the Caymans will definitely make your trip worthwhile.
21. Palau, Micronesia
The island country of Palau is part of the Micronesia island group, and it can be found in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. Since this is one of the most appreciated diving and snorkeling destinations in the world, Palau’s visitors often prefer to spend most of their time under the waves. This allows them to get a close look at the shipwrecks, fish, coral, stingless jellyfish and huge clams that can be found below.
22. Papua New Guinea
Many World War II ships found their end into the waters of Papua New Guinea and are now lying on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, just waiting to be explored by divers. During their visit of Papua New Guinea, tourists can also spend their time feasting their eyes on the nearby shallow reefs and atolls or swim through the calm waters of a nearby private lagoon.
23. Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
If you decide to spend your next holiday at the Beqa Lagoon Resort, we have to commend you for your great choice, especially if you plan on practicing scuba diving during your stay. The reason for this is that this place is without a doubt one of the most spectacular diving destinations, boasting clear waters, great visibility and depths that range from 60 to 90 feet.
Furthermore, even if you’ve never practiced scuba diving before in your life, you can take part in several classes that will allow to you quickly learn the basics. The resort will also provide you with all the necessary equipment, but this comes at a cost, of course.
24. Punta Gorda, Costa Rica
The dive site at Punta Gorda is famous for its giant schools of eagle rays and amazing coral reefs. You can also expect to see wandering whales, dolphins and manta rays as well as sharks during your underwater journey. Make sure to bring an experienced friend along if you are not particularly used to swimming in obscure waters.
25. Maaya Thila, Maldives
Also known as the White Tip Reef Shark Capital of the Maldives, the beautiful island of Maaya Thila can be reached after a short boat ride from the Maayafushi Resort Island. Once arrived, put on your scuba diving gear and get ready to enter a world of stunning beauty!
As you make your way through the clear waters of Maaya Yhila, you will encounter a diverse series of tropical fish such as the clown, parrot, butterfly, trigger and angelfish as well as giant schools of Moorish idol.
26. Cocklebiddy Cave, Australia
Before you can venture through the corridors of the longest submerged cave passage in the world, you’ll need to obtain special permission from the Western Australia Conservation and Land Management, as this place is only suited for expert divers.
The Cocklebiddy Cave is only accessible via cave diving, and it consists of a single passage that measures over 3.7 miles. If you’re not claustrophobic and you feel confident enough to swim through eerie and dark passageways, then you should definitely book a flight to Australia and prepare yourself for a thrilling diving experience.
27. Tubbataha, Palawan, Philippines
The Tubbataha Reef is an atoll coral reef and a Natural Marine Park that can be found in the Sulu Sea, Philippines. The park is frequently visited by water loving tourists, since Tubbataha is widely recognized as a highly spectacular diving destination.
However, if you are interested in practicing your favorite water-based activity in the waters of Tubbatha, we recommend you book your trip in advance so that you could arrive somewhere between the months of April and June, since this is when the seas are at their calmest.
28. Bajo Alcyone, Cocos Island, Costa Rica
The vast, tropical rainforests on Cocos Island were actually featured in Spielberg’s masterpiece Jurassic Park, but most tourists usually pick this place as their holiday destination for the exquisite diving opportunities. However, since the island is located 341 miles away from Costa Rica’s mainland, the only viable option for reaching this place is via a liveaboard trip.
Underwater attractions include yellowfin tunas, jacks and scalloped hammerhead sharks.
29. Liberty, Bali, Indonesia
The Liberty Dive Resort can be found in Bali, Indonesia, just 164 yards away from the famed wreck of the USAT Liberty – a transport ship torpedoed by Japanese submarine in January 1942. Visitors who wish to explore the wreck of the Liberty and other surrounding dive sites are guided by the resort’s experts and are given high-end equipment on request.
30. Jackson Reef, Straits of Tiran, Red Sea, Egypt
The Jackson Reef can be found in the Red Sea, at the northern point of the Straits of Tiran. The reef flaunts a depth of over 130 feet as well as an average depth of 65 feet. During your diving trip, you will pass by vibrant coral gardens and red anemone flowers, while the manta rays, grey reef sharks and white tip sharks will keep you company.