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Best Scuba Diving Spots in the World for the adventurous!

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Here are 8 of the best Scuba diving sites in the world which are guaranteed adrenaline shots!

Diving is an unparalleled experience that lets you enter into a world that is so surreal it often surpasses even our wildest imaginations.Diving deep into the underwater world, swimming alongside fishes and pretending to be one of them, soaring past majestic sea creatures and getting more than just a mere sneak peek into this mysterious world is exhilarating. For those of you who haven’t experienced this magic yet this article will be your ultimate guide to explore the deep waters. For the rest of you who have tasted the feeling already, we promise you, these places will definitely translate into your bucket list. So here we go, diving straight into the world’s best diving sites that’ll make you go backpacking soon.

1. Australia

Australia Lizard-Island-Great-Barrier-Reef - Urban Papyrus

Australia’s Lizard Island | Great Barrier Reef

With the world’s largest and healthiest coral reef system, Australia is revered for a truly magical place. It is home to the world’s most diverse sea world with over 1500 species of fish, whales, sharks, porpoises and giant sea turtles. This ultimate diving destination is majestic, intriguing and just a little bit terrifying at times.

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites:

  • Ribbon Reefs, Northern Great Barrier Reef – One of Australia’s most remarkable natural gifts, the Great Barrier Reef is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef. The reef contains an abundance of marine life and comprises of over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays.
  • Osprey Reef – This is perhaps its most famous dive site for its shark feed. You can also watch Manta rays swim past this site.
  • SS Yongala – It is the Great Barrier Reef’s signature wreck ship that went down during a 1911 cyclone. Everything is supersized here – sea snakes the size of your bicep and sea turtles so big they look prehistoric. The wreck is colorful and worth several dives to see it all.
  • The Whitsundays – Perfect for diving as well as activities like sailing and island exploring

What’s so special about it:

Made up of nearly 2900 individual reefs, 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most diverse and largest coral structure. It is the only living structure on earth that can be seen from outer space.

Best Time to Dive:

The best time to dive in Australia is between August and December but you can dive here all year round. The water temperature ranges from 22°C in June rising to 28°C in March. Although January, February and March are the warmest months, they are also the wettest. March and April is also a good time to go if you plan on swimming with the big pelagics like whale sharks.

Recommendations: Also check out these stays for other options on this gorgeous island.

2. Galapagos Islands

Galapagos - Ecuador - Urban Papyrus

Swimming with the Turtles | Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Imagine a realm where penguins swim in equatorial seas, no one bats an eye at four-eyed fish, and iguanas are found eating algae submerged in the saltwater. Imagine dolphins leaping about in phosphorescent water and becoming the new friend of a playful sea lion pup. Open your eyes… you are imagining diving the Galapagos.
An internationally acclaimed dive site in the world, this unique cluster of 20 volcanic islands truly are a marvel to explore.

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites:

  • El Arco, Darwin Island – One of the world’s top 10 dive sites, you encounter schooling hammerheads, whale sharks, spotted eagle rays, prowling Galapagos and silky sharks.
  • El Arenal, Darwin Island – The distinctive Darwin’s stone arch is just above the water and the dive site slopes off the arch.
  • Roca Redonda, Isabela Island – Off the north coast of Isabela, this dive site is the tip of an underwater volcano that rises from the sea floor and emerges as an island. You’ll find Galapagos sharks, schools of hammerhead sharks, barracudas, sea lions and numerous sea horses in the shallows
  • Cape DouglasFernandina Island – This dive site is a great spot to watch penguins “fly” past. Done as a drift dive, you can also see fur seals and Galapagos sea lions mingling with munching marine iguanas.

What’s so special about it:

Home to an array of marine life, found nowhere else, these waters are best explored with liveaboard diving expeditions. It’s also the place that Charles Darwin visited in the 1800s when he came up with the theory of evolution.

Best Time to Dive:

Diving the Galapagos Islands can be done year round, but the water temperatures vary depending on the time of year, the dive site you choose and the depths you dive. Surface temperatures range from 18-30 degrees Celsius from September through November being the coldest months and February through April offering the warmest temperatures.

3) Indonesia

Indonesia Diving - Raja Ampat - Urban Papyrus

Diving @ Indonesia’s Raja Ampat

With one of the longest coastlines in the world, there are so many bright and colorful dives to choose from. What’s cool, is that Indonesia is a part of the Coral Triangle of the world, which means that this one country has 20% of the world’s coral reefs, deep water trenches, sunken wrecks, and underwater volcanic mountains, all waiting to be explored.

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites:

  • Jakarta – Visit Thousand Islands and discover white sand beaches and some interesting wreck dives. What better way to relax away from the city than by submerging yourself in turquoise waters on colourful coral reefs?
  • Bunaken – Located in North Sulawesi, the “Land of Smiling People”, Bunaken’s colossal walls, clear blue water and diverse marine life impresses even the most seasoned of divers.
  • Lembeh – Known as the “Critter Capital of the World” the Lembeh Strait is home to an abundance of unique and rare marine life where nothing is quite as it seems. Be prepared to find the most unusual of critters in the most unexpected of places.
  • Bali – Known as the island of the Gods, Bali’s diverse reefs, rich culture and stunning scenery will leave you spellbound.
  • Komodo – The land of the dragons promises adventure and excitement. The marine life combined with kaleidoscopic coral reefs, pelagics, including reef sharks, manta rays and passing eagle rays will leave you wishing for more dives.
  • Raja Ampat – Hundreds of tiny islands and pinnacles breach the surface of the aquamarine waters which are home to everything from pygmy seahorses to manta rays.
  • Pulau Weh – Pulau Weh reefs are full of colour, alive with action and teeming with life. The hunters are being hunted, the smaller reef fish seek shelter in the coral crowded reef and before you know it another shark passes by.
  • Gili Islands – These three tiny islands offer a bohemian vibe, laid back atmosphere and good variety of dive sites.
  • Lombok – The island of Lombok has everything from a towering volcano, rugged cliffs to picture-perfect white sand beaches. Underwater there are pretty coral gardens and staggering pinnacles which are known to attract seasonal hammerheads.
  • Nusa Lembongan – This small island is famous for it’s chilled out atmosphere, stunning scenery and legendary surf breaks. Dive sites are predominantly located around the  neighbouring Nusa Penida with manta rays and a vibrant reef world.

Best Time to Dive:

The best time and weather to dive in Indonesia are during the dry season of April to December. But it is generally alright to dive all year round in Indonesia.

4) Maldives

 

Maldives - Urban Papyrus

Maldives at its finest

The coconut palm and the yellow-fin tuna, symbols of the Maldives, say a great deal about this nation of more than a thousand islands. Blessed with an abundant underwater world of manta rays, bull sharks, parrot fish, sea turtles and a colorful world of corals, Maldives is one of the best destinations for scuba diving in the world.

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites:

  • Fotteyo Kandu, Vaavu Atoll – This highly-rated dive site has vibrant coral and fish, but also includes caves, overhangs and swim-throughs filled with yellow soft coral and a few black coral bushes at deeper depths. You may see reef sharks, jack and tuna, plus large schools of snapper fish here.
  • Kuredu Express, Lhaviyani Atoll – This site gets its name from the strong current that flows through the channel. Cruise along one of the terraces located at different depths and watch the reef sharks, eagle rays, tuna, stingrays and barracuda go by.
  • Okobe Thila, North Male Atoll – This site consists of three main pinnacle sections ranging from 30 feet to165 feet in length. Because there is always some current, you normally spiral up and around. Look for tuna, white-tip reef sharks and bannerfish in addition to the healthy coral.
  • Kandooma Thila, South Male Atoll – This large teardrop shaped pinnacle has a dramatic scenery and prolific fish life. The walls are covered with soft corals and patrolled by schools of red bass and big-eye trevally. You can swim with grey sharks, white-tip sharks and eagle rays.
  • Broken Rock, South Ari Atoll – This unique formation has a canyon that breaks the reef in two. Look for large fan corals in the canyon, Napoleon wrasse, turtles, scorpionfish and for moray eels on the reef.
  • Kudarah Thila, South Ari Atoll – This marine protected area has a small reef full of soft corals and abundant fish life. Bring a dive light to explore the arch and a large overhang that make the dive unique.

What’s so special about it:

Maldives is one of the only places in the world where you can spot majestic manta rays swim so close to you. It is also known to have 26 different shark varieties swim in these waters.

Best Time to Dive:

It is possible to dive in the Maldives all year round: The best visibility and dry weather is from December to March though.

The Wet Season with rain, winds and waves runs from May to August reducing the visibility, but diving is still good. It is usually a heavy short rainfall followed by sunshine.

 

5) Belize

 

Belize - Big Blue Hole - Urban Papyrus

The amazing Big Blue Hole in Belize

As the saying goes, big things sometimes come in small packages. With Belize – the second smallest and least populated nation in Central America, packs a hemisphere’s worth of adventure within its borders. Located between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is the perfect destination for exploration, relaxation and romance. With more than 400 islands, white sandy beaches, the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, Belize is a world-class scuba diving destination.

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites:

  • Ambergris Caye – Just offshore from the quaint village of San Pedro is Hol Chan Marine Reserve, one of the coolest dives in Belize. It’s a strictly enforced marine park situated at a deep cut in Belize’s barrier reef. Abundant marine life, healthy corals and throngs of grouper, snapper, barracuda and jacks will surround you here.
  • The Blue Hole – You’ve probably seen aerial shots of Belize’s signature dive. At more than 1000 feet across and 450 feet deep, this spectacular hole-in-the-reef dive has dangerous bull sharks and fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations.
  • The Elbow, Turneffe Atoll – This site has a remote, pristine quality that makes you expect big animal action and stunning reefs. Done as a drift dive, the water movement attracts a variety of schooling fish like crevalle and horse-eye jacks. Also lookout for barracuda, cubera snapper, Atlantic spadefish and several species of sharks.
  • Long Caye Wall, Glovers Atoll – A top dive site where you’ll find very lush corals growing in the reef. Watch for schools of jacks, tarpon and Atlantic spadefish out in the deep blue. In the sandy shallows, you may find southern stingrays and eagle rays along with garden eels.
  • Silk Cayes Canyon – South of Belize City, there are low patch reefs mixed with small coral outcrops that form interesting reef structures near the edge of the drop-off. Strange gray triggerfish and reef sharks like to cruise this area.
  • Stann Creek District – This is where the coast starts curving away from the barrier reef. This is also ground zero for whale shark encounters at sites off Gladden Spit.

What’s so special about it:

The Great blue Hole in Belize, named by French explorer Jacques Cousteau is a natural wonder of Belize formed 100,000s of years ago. It has a huge diversity of marine world with great sharks and rock formations in its interiors. Day trips to this huge sinkhole are a common sight as well as some professional diving expeditions.

Get comfy in the best accommodations:

Being such a beautifully blessed island, Belize also has comfortable and luxury accommodation for your holiday here. You can stay at beach lodges and even book luxury and artfully decorated apartments for a great stay. Apart from that, globe trotters and wanderlust travellers have multiple budget hostel options also available. Book your stay close to the beach to truly enjoy the sea breeze and the beauty of the underwater world at your leisure.

Best Time to Dive:

Visit Belize from late November to mid April during the country’s dry season. This season experiences a lot of tourist but might as well explore Belize at its best and clearest waters.

6) Fiji Islands

 

Fiji Islands - Urban Papyrus

Scuba in the Fiji Islands

Diving in Fiji will take you to another world of vivid turquoise waters, abundant with beautiful corals, teamed with an amazing variety of colourful tropical fish. Choose a relaxing dive in the calm inner reef waters or explore the famous outer Malolo Barrier reef where dolphins, turtles and large pelagic fish will be your dive companions. Known as the “soft coral capital of the world”, Fiji also has wall dives, swim-throughs, caverns, canyons and incredible shark encounters that will make your experience here truly enthralling.

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites:

  • The Great Astrolabe Reef, Kadavu – This is the world’s 3rd largest barrier reef and the largest living organism in the South Pacific. It is also one of the less visited islands of Fiji which is precisely the reason why you should go there. No big resorts and fast food outlets here. Instead diving here is completely in tune with nature and where the true local culture and warmth shines through.
  • Somosomo Strait, Taveuni – The Rainbow Reef is located in the narrow passage between Vanua Levu and Taveuni and includes the famous Great White Wall. You can swim past brilliant displays of white, purple and yellow soft corals with colorful sea whips, gorgonian fans, sponges and crinoids.
  • Suncoast Fiji – Between Fiji’s two main islands, lies some spectacular and exciting diving with a huge array of marine life, from tiny fish to large predators. Beautiful soft and hard corals also are plentiful here.
  • Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Pacific Harbour – Regarded by some as the best shark dive location in the world, you can see more than eight shark species – bull sharks, tawny nurse sharks, white-tip, black-tip and grey reef sharks, sicklefin lemon sharks, silvertips and the occasional tiger shark.
  • Yasawa Islands – The Yasawa Island Group located north west of Nadi, is rich with unique underwater topography, healthy hard corals and an abundance of fish life.
  • Coral Coast – This area offers a wide range of diving including great boat dives with stunning hard and soft corals. You can also swim and discover the beauty of the giant sea turtles here.
  • Beqa Lagoon – Situated off Pacific Harbour, this large lagoon has numerous dive sites catering to divers of all levels. Dive sites here are full of colorful reefs alive with tropical fish and multihued soft coral covered pinnacles. The water is generally calm, clear and warm.
  • Namena Marine Protected Reserve, Savusavu – This magnificent barrier reef is populated by brilliant soft corals, invertebrates and hard corals. It hosts several dive sites with bommies and pinnacles.

What’s so special about it:

With around 1000 species of fish and several hundred types of coral and sponges, Fiji offers a unique diving experience. Apart from which it is also known as being the “Best shark dive in the world”.

Best Time to Dive:

The dive season is all year round. The winter months from April to October represent the main season for scuba diving in Fiji in terms of tourists visiting, although the visibility tends to peak between the months of July and December when the water is cooler. You can also dive during the summertime in Fiji from November to April when the seas are the warmest.

 

7) Egypt, Red Sea

 

Egypt Red Sea Diving - Urban Papyrus

Diving @ Egypt’s famed Red Sea

Egypt is much more than ancient monuments and pyramids. It’s a cruise down the Nile, a luxury hotel and hot nightlife, it’s a vast invigorating desert and, especially for scuba divers, it’s the Red Sea. Just beyond the shore lie cool, azure waters, beautiful coves, millions of fish, fantastic visibility, sheltered reefs, towers, pinnacles, walls, coral gardens and wrecks. They all send a siren call to scuba divers and mark the Red Sea as a world-class scuba diving destination.

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites:

  • Taba: Pharaoh’s Island – Situated in the northern reaches of the Gulf of Aqaba, this area is noted for fascinating endemic marine life – frogfish, which may be one of the oddest fish. Once a Phoenician port, a restored castle overlooks the relatively uncrowded dive sites. Small pinnacles, healthy coral, schools of bream and batfish and the ubiquitous moray eels make it a great place for topside exploration and snorkeling too.
  • Dahab: The Blue Hole – Plunging to 430 feet, this is one of the most famous dive sites in the world.
  • Sharm el Sheikh: Straits of Tiran – Situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba and washed by strong currents, these reefs are favorite haunts for marauding jacks, barracuda and sharks that prowl the reef edges on the lookout for their unwary, or injured, smaller cousins.
  • Sharm el Sheikh: Ras Mohamed National Park – The first Egyptian National Park is still one of the best.This protected area can be accessed by a day trip or liveaboard dive boat. At two of the featured dive sites, Shark and Yolanda reefs, currents are often significant which makes drift dives common.
  • Hurghada: Giftun Island – This marine reserve is characterized by steep drop offs, fabulous coral reefs and encounters with barracuda, tuna and even bigger pelagic species. That’s if you can tear your eyes away from the gorgonians and marine life that populate the caverns and ledges. The frequently strong currents often dictate drift dives.
  • Safaga: Seven Pillars – In Soma Bay, seven coral pillars rise to the surface from about 45 feet of depth. Many reef fish, including Napoleon wrasse, puffer fish and lionfish, call the area home. It’s also a well-known night diving spot.

What’s so special about it:

The Red Sea is considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the underwater world, harbouring more than 1,000 species of invertebrates and over 200 species of soft and hard coral.

Best Time to Dive:

Egypt is a fine choice for diving any time of year; from June to August the water can reach 30°C but it falls to a chilly 22°C in February. Whale shark season is from the end of May until the end of July when this majestic creature can be spotted mainly in the northern Red Sea.

8) Palau (Republic of Palau)

 

Palau Diving - Urban Papyrus

Palau Diving is a dream!

This scenically magical place surely packs a punch and is our numero uno diving choice in the world. Sitting pretty in the middle of natural wonders, is a tiny strip of land surrounded by water on all sides. Once there, you will understand why Palau holds the reputation of being the best in the world of diving

Dive deep: Most popular dive sites

  • Blue Corner is the most preferred and most popular dive site in Palau. As many times you take a dip here, you will have a different experience every single time. Expect to see sharks, snappers, jacks, chevron barracuda, tuna, hawksbill turtles to name just a few.
  • German Channel – This famous Palau location gets its name from the channel used during occupation by German forces in World War 2. You can expect manta rays, eagle rays, lots of grey reef sharks, white tip sharks and impressive schools of fish.
  • Peleliu Wall – This was the sight of some of the most horrific fighting and suffering in World War II. This site is one that showcases all that is magnificent about diving in Palau. You might emerge from the water having witnessed a larger number of fish and sharks than you have ever seen before on a single dive, and be in a state of current-whipped delirium.
  • The Big Drop Off – This drop-off is big. To many, this is considered one of the finest wall dives not only in Palau, but in the world. You’ll be treated  to thousands of little and large reef fish in the shallows, a wall bejewelled with spectacular sponges and corals and sharks out in the blue.
  • The New Drop Off – As you make your way around the site, look out for grey reef sharks if you can see them through the cascading masses of pyramid butterflyfish, red-toothed triggerfish, various species of angelfish and yellow tail fusiliers.

What’s so special about it:

It is hard to pinpoint the best of Palau as it offers a mix of everything divers want to see and experience. From skimming past sharks and other big schools of fish to the very popular World War II wrecks, and abundant reefs. A dip in Palau and its chain of 200 islands will definitely not disappoint you.

Get comfy in the best accommodation:

Since Palau attracts more serious divers, it is best to hire a Palau Liveaboards and peruse your way through shallow and deep waters. However, there aren’t too many resort or hotel options to choose from. There are a few budget hotels and a handful of luxurious options to make a choice. However, the accommodations are serviceable complete with well-equipped rooms and great views of either the beach or the hills.

Best Time to Dive:

You can plan a dive in Palau anytime during the year. Lying in the western Pacific about 650 km to the southeast of Philippines, the water temperature in Palau is constant almost throughout the year at about 29 to 30 degree celsius. You don’t have to worry about visibility as well and that is another reason why Palau is the ideal diving destination. Except the months from July to September, the visibility drops to 15 to 20m otherwise it is often around 40m or more.

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About The Author
Obi-Wan LKB
Prajwal Prasad, also known as Obi-Wan KOB is a digital master who endured the trials of the academies to become the Jedi of Tech that he is today. Plus he's handsome as hell.

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