Eight of the Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the World

    Where are the best scuba diving destinations in the world? A survey of opinions, ratings, and articles by divers has yielded the following eight which are among the most frequently named and which features a rich marine life, visibility and good diving conditions, and a healthy marine environment. Some also feature the presence of interesting wrecks. Not listed in any order let’s delve in and see what are the eight best scuba diving destinations.

    1. Palau

    palau-island

    Palau is a group of about 350 small islands which are part of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. Only 8 of these are inhabited. Being in surroundings far away from the modern civilized world is an added attraction of this site. Most of the islands are fringed with large barrier reefs. Crystal clear waters gives superior visibility.

    palau-island

    palau-island

    Within a 90 mile lagoon are colorful soft and hard coral gardens, over 1300 species of fish of all sizes, a variety of walls, caves, and some World War II wrecks.

    Images by soilscience and Jenny Huang‘s photostream in Palau

    2. Fiji Archipelago

    fiji-1

    fiji-2

    The Fiji archipelago of over 300 islands is encircled by a huge reef. Warm waters averaging 75F throughout the year, and exceptional dive sites make this a favorite destination for divers. Colorful soft corals, some 1200 species of fish, 12 species of whales and dolphins, steep drop offs, and good visibility are the main features found here.

    Images by brewbooks and Montanafish

    3. Similan Islands National Park, Thailand

    Thailand’s Similan Islands National Park in the Andaman Sea consists of 9 uninhabited small islands, and surrounding clear waters full of colorful corals and rich with a varied marine life.

    similan-islands-national-park

    similan-islands-national-park-1

    On the east side are found gently sloping coral reefs to a depth of 30-40 meters. On the west side are huge granite boulders with many swim-throughs and swirling currents. Colorful soft corals grow on these boulders. The leopard shark makes its residence here. This diving site, however, is only available during October to May.

    Images by rene_ehrhardt (1 + 2)

    4. The Philippines

    the-philippines-1

    The Philippines archipelago, consisting of more than 7000 islands, provides hundreds of diving sites for divers of all levels of experience. Considered the best diving site is UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tubbataha Reef National Park.

    the-philippines-2

    The Reef consists of two coral atolls separated by a channel of water 8 km wide. Over 10,000 hectares of coral reef provides sanctuary to a large variety of marine life, including over 573 species of fish, 11 species of sharks, and 12 species of dolphins and whales. The varied terrain includes walls of over 900 meters high. This area enjoys perfect weather conditions during October to May.

    Images by jaeWALK and cold_water_diver

    5. Dominica

    dominica-1

    Dominica is an island on the Eastern Caribbean archipelago that offers both on-land and sea adventures in its lush surroundings. The entire area is protected by an extensive national park system, and all diving is required by law to be done through a dive center. The numerous dives around the island offer a variety of environments, from hot springs and bubbles, to volcano craters with steep vertical walls and swim-throughs, to gently sloping shelves of sponge and coral.

    dominica-2

    There are dives for all skill levels, and numerous reef fish to see; seahorses and frog fish are a common sight. Dominica is uniquely situated for watching sperm whales and other whales, and also dolphins.

    Images by Andrew Mawby and rachel_thecat

    6. The Maldives

    maldives

    The Maldives are a group of about 1200 islands formed into 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and not all the atolls are accessible for tourists. With the varied reef formations in the atolls, and the channels which bring in the ocean current, the Maldives provides many different diving experiences, and an incredible variety of marine life.

    maldives

    maldives

    maldives

    Near the channels, the diver can see the pelagic coming in to feed on the teeming reef life in this underwater paradise. Manta rays are plentiful, as are hawksbill turtles, grey and whitetip sharks, zebra morays, stonefish, and ghost pipefish.

    All images by nattu (1 + 2 + 3 + 4)

    7. Barrier Reef in Belize

    belize-1

    The barrier reef at Belize is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It gives a variety of diving experiences for all skill levels. A feature of this site is the “Blue Hole” dive which is an underwater dormant volcano that had collapsed and created a large cavern that is about 400 feet deep.

    belize-2

    The many tunnels and swim-throughs at the reef provide opportunities to see large fish and sponges. The weather is mild year round.

    Images by chuck_taylor and mikebaird

    8. The Great Barrier Reef

    great-barrier-reef

    The Great Barrier Reef off the northeastern shore of Australia is the largest coral reef system in the world; it is a UNESCO Heritage site and one of seven natural wonders. This vast marine wilderness is home to over 400 species of coral, 500 species of seaweed, 1500 species of fish, and 4000 species of mollusk.

    great-barrier-reef

    great-barrier-reef

    great-barrier-reef

    The Great Barrier Reef is consistently named as one of the best diving sites, despite the fact that the area close to the shore has been damaged and is dying. Divers recommend going deeper out into the Coral Sea. Every kind of diving experience is possible, and it is claimed that divers will never run out of dramatically different diving experiences even after years of diving in this spectacular reef world.

    All images by leonardlow (1 + 2 + 3 + 4)

    And just a note. There are two other diving sites that are frequent top choices of divers were not included in the above eight because of cautionary warnings. There was a terrorist attack in Dahab in the Red Sea in April 2007 which caused some deaths. A warning has also been posted for Sulawasi due to violence in Indonesia the past two years.

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    4 comments on “Eight of the Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the World”

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