Scuba Diving is one of the best activities to do when you are on a nice tropical island. Under the sea, down where it’s wetter, you’ll find coral reefs teeming with life, Nemo’s cousins, lots of fish, plants, and beautiful colors. Whether you are looking to start or looking for new places to go, here’s a list of some of the best places to go diving in the world:
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction. Everyone knows about it. Located off Australia, the world’s longest reef has all the tropical sea life and coral you could ever imagine. No visit to the country is complete without a visit to the reef. Diving the great barrier reef was one of the best things I ever did, despite the fact a fish pooped in front of me.
Namena Reef, Fiji
Thanks to local Fijian village chiefs protecting and managing this reef, it’s home to thousands of species of coral and marine life. Operators visiting sites within Namena Marine Reserve require an admission fee (to be paid in advance) that’s used to maintain the mooring buoys and other preservation costs associated to keep the reef exceptionally healthy. Descending into the immaculate waters, swimming with schools of barracuda, gliding past 1000-foot vertical drop-offs, and riding the currents up chimneys while coral snakes quietly follow you gives you serious bragging rights. There’s a reason Jean-Michel Cousteau set up a resort on nearby Vanua Levu island: The diving rocks!
La Paz, Mexico
In western Mexico’s La Paz, you’ll find clear water the temperature of a bath, tropical neon plants, and guppy-sized aquarium fish. But that’s not what lures most divers to this underwater version of “Animal Planet.” “You splash here to see the stuff reserved for National Geographic—whales, orcas, sea lions, huge mantas, schools of spotted eagle rays each the size of a Volkswagen, turtles as old as the hills, 15-foot long Humbolt squid, and very, very big sharks,” says Drew Deckman, a divemaster, fisherman, and chef of the popular San Jose del Cabo restaurant, Deckman’s. “When the hammerheads are schooling on the Gordo Banks, there’s nothing like it in the world.”
Sipadan is possibly one of the best five dive sites in the world. The place is teeming with life. You will see turtles, cave systems, sharks, dolphins, schools of fish, bright coral, bright fish, and everything in between in such sheer volume, your head will explode. It was my favorite place in Southeast Asia.
The Blue Hole, Belize
The Blue Hole in Belize is one of the most famous dive sites in the world. This site was made famous by Jacques Cousteau who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. You can dive in crystal clear water and see several types of reef sharks as well as the bull shark and hammerheads.
Manta Ray Night Dive, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Underwater lights placed on the ocean floor attract infinite amounts of plankton, which in turn attract the huge, yet beautiful manta rays of Kona Hawaii. The rays get so close to you, that you often have to move to avoid them accidentally hitting you. An amazingly wonderful and unforgettable time with one of the most beautiful animals in the world.
This tropical paradise is also diving paradise. You’ll find all the usual suspects here, as well as abundant reef systems. It’s the most popular place to dive in the Philippines and with good reason. When you are done swimming below the sea, you can enjoy the beaches above the water.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
This off the beaten path place is in Brazil, though in recent years Fernando de Noronha has grown in popularity. Here you will find lots of life among the blue waters that circle these islands. You’ll be able to swim with turtles, dolphins, and much more. This is one of the best dive sites in South America and one of my favorite in the world. Plus, the islands are only allowed a limited number of visitors so you won’t be sharing this paradise with lots of other people.
Liberty, Bali, Indonesia
The wreck is very popular with photographers as it is totally encrusted in anemone, gorgonians and corals. The black sand provides an excellent colour contrast for the incredible variety of marine life, which includes a huge school of big-eyed trevally and over 400 other species of fish. All the fish are very tame (partly as a result of some guides feeding them) from the goatfish and wrasse that nibble around your feet and fins at the end of the dive, to the unicorn and surgeonfish which make a beeline for your mask as you swim down towards the Wreck.
President Coolidge, Vanuatu
The SS President Coolidge off Santo, northern Vanuatu, was a WW2 luxury ocean liner. She was commandeered by the US navy and fitted out as a naval ship. Unfortunately, she was sank by one of America’s own mines. The engine room and one of the dining rooms are at about 47 m, the promenade deck is around 33 m, the mosaic lined swimming pool – weird – about 50 m. It’s a fabulous dive. The wreck is fully protected by law and both it and the surrounding seabed has been designated a Marine Reserve.