25 Best Places To Go Scuba Diving

Posted by , Updated on June 22, 2024

Scuba diving is now the most popular recreational water sports in the world as shown by the increasing numbers of enthusiasts, scuba diving sites, and companies selling scuba diving equipment. From a vast array of marine life to exotic shipwrecks, there’s so much to experience when scuba diving. With that said, scuba divers have different criteria when choosing the best site. Here are the 25 Best Places To Go Scuba Diving and why they are so fascinating.

Maaya Thila, Maldives

thila scubaSource: https://www.tgimaldives.com/maaya-thila/

With beautiful coral reefs, underwater flora and fauna, and a diversity of sea life, Maldives is a scuba diving hot spot. With a diameter of only 80 meters, scuba divers can easily circumnavigate it in one dive. You’ll be sure to find many different types of fish, including Moorish Idol, tall fin batfish, and parrotfish. Grey reef sharks also inhabit the area, but it’s unlikely you’d encounter one.


Puerto Galera, Philippines

diversSource: http://www.asiadivers.com/dive-resort-philippines/index.html

Puerto Galera, meaning Port of Galleons, lures people from all over the world to come and take a dive in its beautiful waters. From pygmy seahorses to ghost pipefish, there’s a vast array of sea life in this area, delighting scuba divers for years. It’s also good for the whole family with dive sites perfect for all levels of experience.


The Blue Hole, Belize

blue holeSource: https://belizescuba.com/diving-snorkeling/belize-blue-hole/

A large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize, the Blue Hole has become a largely popular tourist destination due to the famous diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau naming it one of the best places to dive. At 1,000 feet (304 m) across and 400 feet (121 m) down, divers usually take several dives, visiting different parts of the Blue Hole.


Koh Tao Island, Thailand

thailand koiSource: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/asia/koh-tao-thailand-dark-side-car-crash-murders-mafia-suspicious-deaths-a7824171.html

Off the Gulf of Thailand is a resort island specifically dedicated to scuba diving. It’s surrounded on all sides by colorful reefs. If you want to dive with grey reef sharks, whale sharks, and others, this is the place to do it. But, be warned, it’s got a bad reputation for scams, murders, and motor accidents.


Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Manta_Ray_in_Kona,_HawaiiSource: https://www.scubadiving.com/g00/7-things-to-love-about-scuba-diving-in-kona-hawaii?i10c.encReferrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNhLw%3D%3D&i10c.ua=1&i10c.dv=14

A huge marine reserve once considered the largest in the world (Australia now holds that title), Kailua Kona, Hawaii is home to a host of marine animals, including colorful tropical fish, giant sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, whales, and many more. Lodge in the historic coastal town of Kailua Kona to be close to great diving spots.


Utila, Honduras

scubaSource: https://worldadventuredivers.com/2017/04/07/10-reasons-to-put-utila-on-your-scuba-diving-bucket-list/

Along with swimming with whale sharks and dolphins, at Utila, Honduras, you’ll see some of the most gorgeous coral reefs in the world. On top of that, it’s one of the cheapest places to scuba dive and has plenty of other great spots to relax and enjoy food and drink while you’re not scuba diving.


Sipadan, Malaysia

sea turtleSource: http://www.wonderfulmalaysia.com/sipadan-island-malaysia.htm

The only oceanic island in Malaysia, Sipadan is one of the best destinations to go scuba diving. It’s teeming with marine life, including hard and soft corals, hammerhead sharks, white tip sharks, leopard sharks, and sea turtles. From April to June, you can get great visibility from up to 154 feet (50 m). 


Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

salt pier divingSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/bonaire/

Bonaire stands out among its sister islands Aruba and Caracao for being a spectacular scuba diving destination. A marine park with over 100 diving opportunities, you’ll never have a lack of options on your summer vacation. We’d recommend 1000 Steps, Hilma Hooker, and Salt Pier. Since it is also a marine park, expect to see the underwater world untouched and unspoiled. It’s best to visit during the months of September to December when the sea is calm to explore the reef for nurse sharks, sea turtles, and parrot fish.


Gili Islands, Indonesia

turtleSource: http://www.gili-paradise.com/gilis-information/dive-the-gilis/

Considered the “turtle capital of the world,” the Gillis Islands offer amazing underwater visuals with plenty of plant and marine life such as the bumphead parrot fish, manta rays, hawksbill turtles, and a wide range of hard and soft corals. It’s also a great spot for both beginner and experienced divers. Since it’s near Bali, you can easily have the best of both worlds.


Yap, Micronesia

micronesia divingSource: http://www.diveadventures.com.au/pages/destinations/Micronesia/yap.htm

Few people know of Yap Island. It’s just 6,000 miles from Los Angeles or an hour’s flight from Guam. A true tropical island, it’s only 9 degrees north of the equator. Scuba divers love its pristine waters and copious marine life. It is also popular among explorers, ecologists, and nature lovers.


Bali, Indonesia

scuba divingSource: http://www.bali-indonesia.com/magazine/5-best-dive-site.htm

Bali is known for its tourism industry. Scuba divers, however, know it for having the best diving spots in the world. From sunken ships and gorgeous coral reefs to lost underwater statues and temples, this exotic diving location is a must. Of course, you’ll also likely see a few stingrays and sea turtles along the way.


Turk & Caicos

scuba divingSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/turks-and-caicos-islands/

South of the Bahamas, the islands of Turk & Caicos have a vast and thriving coral reef ecosystem. It’s a growing tourist destination due to the clear waters and untouched reefs, drop-offs, and dunes from the government’s efforts to stop all large-scale development to protect its natural environment.


Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

school_of_nenue_smSource: http://www.scubamozambique.com/destinations/mozambique-dive-destinations/bazaruto-island/

For jet-setting scuba divers, Mozambique offers four secluded islands with great coral reefs and clear waters. It also offers shipwreck exploration and night diving where you can swim through sunken ships or along with curious dolphins.


Phuket, Thailand

sea turtle phuketSource: https://www.aussiediversphuket.com/

Thailand, known as the “Pearl of the South,” is famous for its marine life teeming across the coast. It also provides a wide range of diving opportunities for all levels of enthusiasts who may want to visit shipwrecks, coral reefs, and underwater caves. As an added bonus, it’s a departure point for the Similan Islands, another popular diving spot in Thailand. 


The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

great barrier reefSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/great-barrier-reef/

Known for its natural splendor and awe-inspiring underwater world, the Great Barrier Reef is an unforgettable diving spot. And it’s called “great” for a reason. It’s the world’s largest and healthiest coral reef system and is a popular diving spot for Australians and people around the world. 


Cozumel, Mexico

scuba mexicoSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/cozumel/

Cozumel is a popular scuba diving and snorkeling destination, famous for its “Balneario” or seaside resort town. Scuba divers can explore its 19 unusual reefs, caves, and underwater caverns for an unforgettable summer experience. Its highlights are the caverns in Punta Sur Reef and the bull sharks in Playa del Carmen. 


The Yongala, Australia

yongalaSource: http://www.yongaladive.com.au

The Yongala sank during the cyclone of 1911 where 122 people were killed. The ship that was en route from Melbourne to Cairns was also carrying a red Lincolnshire bull and a famous racehorse called Moonshine. Consequently, in 1981 the site was given official protection under the Historic Shipwrecks Act. Today, the wreck is a famous site for scuba divers and houses a great diversity of marine life.


Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris caveSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/ambergris-caye/

For divers who are looking for a diverse ecosystem, Belize offers a great number of reefs. The Ambergris Caye is known for its warm waters where you can swim along with nurse sharks and stingrays at the Shark Ray Alley. There is also the Barrier Reef, which is part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.


Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

galapagos islandsSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/galapagos/

Originally made famous by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands are now famous for its diverse underwater marine life. This is perfect for divers who want to experience stingrays, golden rays, whales, white tip reef sharks, pelagic fish, marine iguanas, and so much more.


Ras Mohammed, The Red Sea, Egypt

ras muhammedSource: http://divescover.com/diving/egypt/ras-mohammed-national-park

A famous scuba diving site today, the Red Sea claims a unique underwater ecosystem and a great number of reefs. Its great year-round visibility, clear water teeming with marine life, and close proximity to Europe makes it a budget-friendly option for Europeans eager to dive. Ras Mohammed is an especially unique diving spot with several reefs that drop to 800 meters covered in fish and coral. 


Cayman Islands, British Overseas Territory

grand caymanSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/cayman-islands/

Known as the “King of all Caribbean diving sites,” the Cayman Islands provides a great opportunity to see a wide array of saltwater creatures from stingrays to angelfish. With great year-round weather, you’ll have plenty of time to visit the amazing drop-offs and shipwrecks. 


Palau, Micronesia

palauSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/palau/

Well-known for its quantity of pelagic and strong currents, Palau ranks near the top as best places to go diving. With that in mind, it’s best to make reservations as early as possible. If you want to swim with the dolphins, be sure to check out Dolphin Pacific which is located between the typical forests covered with limestone islands.


Papua New Guinea

papua wrecksSource: https://travel.padi.com/d/papua-new-guinea/

Papua New Guinea is certainly one of the best diving locations. It includes deep drops, shallow reefs, atolls, and private lagoons. It’s also a great place to explore shipwrecks from World War II. From Kavieng to Kimbe Bay, you’ll have plenty to explore in Papua. 


Beqa Lagoon, Fiji

Beqa_Lagoon_-_FijiSource: https://www.beqalagoonresort.com/sharkdive

Fiji is renowned for its many diving sites, though the Beqa Lagoon is the most famous of them all. With approximately an hour’s boat ride from the main island of Viti Levu, what sets this diving site apart is its unique underwater topography and colorful soft corals. Once underwater, you can request your tour guide to take you to the Side Streets, Nisici Rocks, and Caesar’s Rocks for their cool formations, blue ribbon eels, and tropical fish.


Punta Gorda, Costa Rica

underwater photographySource: https://www.fodors.com/world/mexico-and-central-america/belize/the-deep-south/punta-gorda/things-to-do/sports-activities/scuba-diving-and-snorkeling-284739000

If you are tired of the normal fare other diving sites offer, then enjoy the exquisite variety found in Costa Rica’s diverse underwater world, home to massive schools of fish and the eagle rays at Punta Gorda. Visit Murcielagos and the islands of the Catalinas to see some manta rays, sharks, multi-colored tropical fish and amazing coral reefs.

Photo: 1. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 2. Mark Heard from Canada, Beqa Lagoon - Fiji, CC BY 2.0 , 3. User Aquaimages on en.wikipedia, 4967 aquaimages, CC BY-SA 2.5 , 4. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 5. Kfulgham84, Stingray CIty in Grand Cayman, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 6. Matt Kieffer, Anthias and coral head on Shark Reef, Ras Mohammed Park, CC BY-SA 2.0, 7. The original uploader was Aquaimages at English Wikipedia, Diver and Southern Stingray, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, CC BY-SA 2.5 , 8. Ambergris Caye, shark-ray-alley, CC BY-SA 2.0, 9. Geoffrey Rhodes, 29 -Yongala selfie, CC BY 2.0, 10. Elaine, Scuba Cozumel Mexico 2009 02 03_Al's Photos, CC BY 2.0, 11. Jorge Láscar from Australia, Lascar Diving at the The Great Barrier Reef (4560460512), CC BY 2.0 , 12. Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten, 2010 Thailand Koh Phi Phi & Lanta scuba diving1, CC BY 2.0 , 13. Pifsc.noaa.gov (Public Domain), 14. Jared, Turks and Caicos Islands - Grand Turk - Grand Turk Semi-Sub Expedition - Scuba Diver, CC BY 2.0, 15. Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud H, Scuba diving Indonesia - Bali - Komodo - Bunaken 2008, CC BY 2.0, 16. w:en:Aquaimagescontribs), Diver and large table coral, Palau Islands, Micronesia, CC BY-SA 2.5 , 17. Nuctuslasheca, Gili trawangan turtle 02, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 18. w:en:Aquaimagescontribs), Diver under the Salt Pier, Bonaire, Dutch Antilles, CC BY-SA 2.5 , 19. William Warby, Photographing Turtles, CC BY 2.0, 20. prilfish, Sponge, CC BY 2.0, 21. William Stamps Howard, Manta Ray in Kona, Hawaii, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 22. Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten, 2010 Thailand Koh Phi Phi & Lanta scuba diving3, CC BY 2.0 , 23. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 24. Jjharvey8, Divers coming into contact with coral, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 25. Shiyam ElkCloner, Dharavandhoo Thila - hanifaru Bay - Snorkeling with whale shark, CC BY-SA 3.0