The Earth is mostly made up of water, and there are wonders beneath the waves. We’re looking at the best spots for scuba diving in the world. From Iceland to Malaysia, these are the coolest and most unique destinations all scuba devotees need to check out!
1. Silfra, Iceland
When you think of the best spots for scuba diving, you’ll probably imagine warm climates and schools of tropical fish. So you might be surprised to hear that one of the most incredible spots to dive is actually in one of the world’s coldest countries – Iceland! Located inside Thingvellir National Park, you’ll find Silfra, a fissure where you can actually dive between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. As if that concept alone isn’t mind-blowing enough, the very cold water coursing through the rift is incredibly clear, which affords divers some seriously stunning views!
2. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
From some of the coldest waters to some of the warmest, now we look at the gorgeous waters of Indonesia. Raja Ampat, located off the northwest coast of West Papua is one of the world’s best spots for scuba diving. You’ll have the chance to see stunning creatures like manta rays, sharks and barracudas, as well as other underwater life forms and incredible coral gardens. There are several great diving resorts to get you started, but it’s also possible to visit via a liveaboard trip and do nothing but eat, sleep and dive!
3. Navy Pier, Australia
To see some incredible underwater sights, you often have to go out relatively far into the ocean to find areas somewhat undisturbed by humans. At Navy Pier in Western Australia however, it’s possible to see impressive amounts of sea life just right beside the shore! In fact, the area has been called “the best shore dive on the planet”. It’s important to keep in mind that the name Navy Pier is pretty literal – this site isn’t actually open to the public, and you have to go through a private company to dive here.
4. Kona Coast, Hawaii
Under the sea it doesn’t really matter if it’s night or day… Or does it? You might think that if you swim deep enough, the time of day should be irrelevant, but in fact of course certain sea creatures act differently in the later hours. That’s what makes the manta ray night dive in Hawaii so special! You get to see the manta rays at dinner time because there are special lights set up to attract plankton to the area, which just so happens to be the manta rays favourite food. Seeing these gentle giants hunting is truly a bucket list experience.
5. Cocos Island, Costa Rica
300 miles off the coast of Costa Rica you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cocos Island. If you want to encounter some marlin dolphins, sailfish and sharks, this is definitely the place to go. Most divers will have the opportunity to see the hammerhead sharks that populate the area. But if you want to be really certain of catching a glimpse, make the trip between June and November! There are about 20 different dive sites off the island, but Bajo Alcyone is considered by many to be the best.
6. Great Blue Hole, Belize
The entire Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and the wonderfully named Great Blue Hole is perhaps the most well known part of that system. This marine sinkhole was ranked #1 on Discovery Channel’s list of the Ten Most Amazing Places on Earth. Divers who venture down will be able to explore this underwater wonder and even see fishes like the midnight parrotfish and Caribbean reef shark. Do note that you need to have logged at least 24 dives to qualify making the trip!
7. Shark & Yolanda Reef, Egypt
In a particularly volatile part of the world, off the Sinai Peninsula near Ras Muhammad National Park lies a reef that’s been described as an underwater landscape that will make your head spin. This destination requires a guide as the currents here can be dangerous, but also provide a drift diving experience like no other. You’ll be able to see turtles, pelagic fish, batfish, unicorn fish and scorpion fish. Also the wreck of the ship Yolanda left the seabed strewn with hundreds of toilets and porcelain plumbing fixtures, creating a weird but wonderful underwater vibe.
8. Blue Corner, Republic of Palau
This archipelago nation bordering Micronesia is one of the best spots for scuba diving in the world, with approximately 41,000 divers visiting each year. The particular features that make diving in Palau a not-to-be-missed experience are the abundance of sea walls and steep drop-offs, as well as the chance to dive among sharks! The Blue Corner wall makes for a great dive for those with more experience, since the strong currents can make the trip extra challenging. If you can manage it though, you’ll be rewarded with views of sea life unlike anywhere else!
9. Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Scuba aficionados broadly consider Sipadan Island in Malaysia to offer some of the very best diving in the world. The island in the Celebes Sea off Borneo is famed for its pelagic wildlife and biodiversity from sharks to a dizzying array of turtles, to massive schools of fish like barracuda that can block light due to their density. Jacques Cousteau made the area famous years ago when he filmed and extolled its virtues, but its subsequent popularity has done nothing to diminish its charms. The island itself is mostly closed off to visitors, so stay at a resort or lodge in nearby Semporna and go diving!