10 Best Scuba Diving Destinations

Posted on 8/24/2010 25 comments

Scuba diving is more then just a sport. It's an adventure. The clear waters, the beautiful coral reefs teeming with life, the thrill of discovering a wreck or a cave,  this are just some of the reasons people like scuba diving. The ability to explore the mysterious underwater world, so different from ours entices many travelers to visit some of the world's most remote and picturesque coasts. Wheather it's for your mere enjoyment or if you want to relax while photographing brightly colored exotic fish, here are 10 of the best scuba diving destinations that will offer you the adventure of a lifetime.

Fiji Islands, South Pacific
Fiji offers an incredible scuba diving experience. It is the "Soft Coral Capital of the World", the home of the "Great White Wall", the "Yellow Tunnel" and other famous underwater marvels. Scuba diving conditions and visibility are unrivalled year-round. Because of its clear water and dazzling coral Fiji is a favorite hangout for professional underwater photographers.


Belize
Boasting some of the world's best preserved marine ecosystems, but undiscovered by excessive tourism, Belize is a natural destination for scuba divers. The Blue Hole in Belize made famous by Jacques Cousteau who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world offers divers crystal clear waters and several types of reef sharks, bull sharks and hammerheads.

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World
Scuba diving in Belize by Serge Melki

Cozumel and Riviera Maya, Mexico
Cozumel is every diver's dream and one of the best scuba diving locations in the world. Teaming with schools of fish and boasting amazing views, Cozumel offers the avid scuba diver a vast playground. Cancun's new underwater sculpture museum features life-sized casts of humans and you can scuba dive, snorkel or enjoy the view from a glass-bottom boat just the same.


Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world and the only living thing on earth that can be seen from space. The Great Barrier Reef is a must see for anybody visiting Australia and it offers hundreds of spots perfect for beginners and advanced divers.

Palau, Micronesia
Palau is between the best scuba diving spots in the world because of its blue holes, huge caverns, a large variety of rare and exotic marine species (reef sharks, jellyfish, barracuda) and Truk Chuuk, where the wrecks of Japanese naval vessels from WWII are to be found. The reefs surrounding each of the islands are largely unexplored and the coral is among the most beautiful and colorful in the underwater world. Not to mention the amazing Jellyfish Lake from Palau, but that's snorkelling only!

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World
Scuba diving in Palau by John Owens

Hawaii
The islands of Hawaii each have their own personality and characteristics. Scuba diving in Hawaii's year round warm waters is fun and adventurous. Giant sea turtles, enormous stingrays, sharks and whales gather near Hawaii to live in its fertile volcanic ecosystem.

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World
Scuba diving in Hawaii by Joe Routon

Red Sea, Egypt
The Red Sea, considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the Underwater World, is the habitat of a myriad of incredible invertebrate species, soft and hard corals, and other marine wildlife. This all year round dive destination on the eastern edge of the Sahara  is a great spot especially for those divers from Europe who want to escape winter. The best places for diving are less developed regions such as Quseir, Marsa Alam and St John’s Reef.

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World
Red Sea Diving by Giorgio

Lake Baikal, Russia
Located in southern Siberia, Lake Baikal is commonly referred to as “the Blue Eye of Siberia.” Lake Baikal is the deepest freshwater lake in the world, a tectonic crack in the Earth crust, so sheer walls, overhangs and dramatic rock formations are typical. You can practice ice diving, night diving and wreck diving.

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World
Scuba diving in Lake Baikal by BaikalNature

Galapagos Islands
Galapagos, the islands that inspired Charles Darwin to develope the theory of evolution, are remote, unique, isolated and nevertheless, famous. Many of the species found here are endemic to these islands and, most remarkably, there are obvious distinctions in some species from island to island. Among the cast of unlikely characters are swimming iguanas and equator-dwelling penguins.

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World
Scuba diving  in Galapagos by Tristan Brown

Sipadan, Malaysia
This is the jewel in the crown of diving in Malaysia. The place is teeming with life, from turtles, reef sharks, dolphins, schools of fish, bright coral and bright fish to spiralling vortexes of barracudas, so large that the sunlight is often clouded out. The dive sites are peppered around the island and none is more than a short speedboat ride away from the nearby dive resorts. The island is located just of the shores of the Sabah Bay, and would make a great day-trip addition for vacationers staying in nearby Kota Kinabalu hotels.

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World
Scuba diving in Malaysia by Felix Esteban

Wheather you are an expert scuba diver or just a beginner, here are some scuba diving books you might like to check out: Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die: Diving Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling for Dummies and The Scuba Diving Handbook: The Complete Guide to Safe and Exciting Scuba Diving.

What are your favorite scuba diving destinations?

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25 comments

  1. It's been a while since I've been scuba diving and this list definitely makes me want to go scuba diving again.

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  2. I've only been diving in the Red Sea - absolutely fascinating! Lake Baikal... hm... I don't know if I would dare. I'm more of a warm climate person.

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  3. Great photos! We went scuba diving at Galapagos a few months back and I totally loved the experience. Now I've just added a few more places to my bucket list!

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  4. Great underwater photos! I know how to swim but never learned to dive. This is the dream of my 11-years old niece who is crazy about swimming. To scuba dive and see the life under the sea. I love your blog. ♥ Its full of surprises. You got me when I clicked on the comments button and more photos appeared. :)

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  5. @Jolly Princess
    Kids nowadays are so smart. At 11 I didn't even know what scuba diving was :) Happy to hear you like it! :)

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  6. Curacao should also be on the list. But then again, many other diving places should and lists are highly subjective. Anyway, many agree that Curacao is the best scuba diving place from Caribbean.

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  7. Scuba diving in Palau is the best! Thanks so much for bringing me back such good memories!

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  8. Very nice list and also happy to see Sipadan included here. That is my next destination for diving even it's just around the corner from Kuala Lumpur.

    David

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  9. Cool list. And you're right about the best areas of Egypt being the (currently) less well known ones. Marsa Alam is incredible. Even just snorkelling you can swim with dolphins and track down a dugong!

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  10. @David
    Have tons of fun! I can hardly wait to see the photos :)

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  11. i Love anything underwater - this is a fantastic guide! thanks!

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  12. For me the best scuba diving destination is Philippines. It still has many areas left undiscovered and a very rich marine biodiversity.

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  13. I did some scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef a few years ago. The reef is so amazing, I highly recommend it!

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  14. Been to Sipidan, red sea and GBR from this list and would probably say that Sipidan was the best of those. Diving on the west coast of Thailand can also be pretty amazing!

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  15. I´m glad the galapagos made the cut.. I live in Ecuador and see people come back happy all the time.

    I´m trying to find people who are travelling to the Galapagos and would like to help a cool foundation her that helps street kids get an education..

    The idea is for people to leave the kids a postcard at the post office on Floreana.. Then it will be hand delivered to me in Quito for the kids.. Check out the tradition and details here!

    http://savvyroundtheworld.wordpress.com

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  16. I am quite surprised that island of Providencia in the Caribbean is not included in the list. It is one of the best diving places in the world.
    Perfect diving conditions, great underwater visibility, incredible marine wildlife and one of the largest barrier reef in Caribbean. Despite being on the UNESCO world heritage list, it is still quite unknown in diving circles.

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  17. These are great underwater photos! I'm so bummed that we didn't make it up to the Great Barrier Reef while we were in Australia.

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  18. Amazing creatures! Let's not make a fault that could destroy that beautiful creatures which interact to form the overall ecological fabric of the coral reef. Snorkeling is an enjoyable recreational activity that allows us to directly participate in the underwater wilderness. This skill also will develop your understanding of the marine environment. Thanks for sharing your post.

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  19. These are amazing diving destinations! We are very jealous! But Mozambique should have been on that list too! Where else do you find Manta Rays, Whalesharks and Humpback Whales in such huge numbers?? Have a look at our site if you want some more info http://www.bluefootprints.com Happy Diving :-)

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  20. Awesome pics and choices!!! The GBR is my fave by far, but Fiji was pretty spectacular too. Can't wait to dive in Fernando de Noranha later this year.

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  21. Great list. I've been to 5 of the places you listed and enjoyed them, although I liked the diving better in Honduras than in Belize. I would also add Cocos Island, located off the coast of Costa Rica which is home to hundreds of schooling hammerhead sharks.

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  22. I have been to Belize and Mexico for diving. It was really nice, although I missed soft corals in those areas. Since I love to see nudibranch and small tiny creatures, i'd prefer diving in area of Coral Triangle, like Malaysia (Sipadan), Indonesia (Raja Ampat, Wakatobi, Bunaken, Derawan, Komodo) or the Philippines. I am quite surprise that raja ampat is not even considered to be in the list..

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  23. Fiji...See some other pacific islands...like Vanuatu

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  24. Nice selection of some of the best scuba diving destinations in the world!

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  25. Diving in crystal clear water is an awesome experience!

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