The ocean can be a terrifying place for some people but a place of calmness and relaxation for other people. For some, the ocean is somewhere fraught with many dangers, while some go there to discover an enchanting world, different from ours. This is why diving is one of the top exciting water sports nowadays and why you should explore the best dive destinations.
It’s tough, however, to pick the top dive spots in the world as there are many choices to pick from. And of course, different scuba divers have different preferences which will affect choosing the top dive spots.
While most divers will love to dive in site areas of interest like shipwrecks, pinnacles, caves, and caverns, others will love to get close to aquatic life. Some divers, even, prefer to explore different habitats like shallow and deep water, walls and slopes, weedy, rock, sandy, or reef bottom makeup.
Yes, every person probably has their favorite dive spots, but some sites around the world are special. They deserve to be checked out.
1. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Just between the large island and the outer Motus, there sits a wonderful lagoon that promises a beautiful diving experience. You can dive both inside the lagoon and outside. Just outside the lagoon, you’ll find the Tapu dive site. It’s an excellent place to test your courage and impress your friends in the pub. In this place, you can get close to over 16 different species of sharks.
And if you time your visit to be between July and November, you will see humpback whales. The lagoon is home to moray eels, giant clams, and lots of tropical fish which will add to the thrill of diving in this amazing place.
2. Sardine Run, South Africa
This is one of the most popular dive points among those scuba divers who love the open sea. You should visit the Sardine Run from May to July and be amazed at the hordes of sardines swimming up the coast.
These fish, while crossing to the warmer waters of the Kwa-Zulu Natal, will encounter predators waiting to feast on them. This location is unique, so be patient because you’d be spending some time in the chilly seas searching for bait balls.
3. Anacapa Island, California
It’s going to be a cold dive here, even in the summer, when the surface temperature gets to 70 degrees. But hey, you can do this! You’ve got those gloves, hoods and cold-water boots too. When you get all the necessary gear in place and you’re ready to dive into the cold, you’re in for an experience of a lifetime.
While inside this place, the maximum visibility is around 50ft. This means that you can explore shipwrecks, kelp forests, and underwater arches. You’ll also meet the aquatic life here, most especially the sea lions who are very playful, and the area of covered in both black and white giant sea bass.
4. Eilat, Israel
Diving in the famous Red Sea is like a walk in the park, as it has little to no current, good visibility, and a temperature of 70–77°F. Its most popular area, Eilat, boasts of the Satil Shipwreck. This isn’t the only shipwreck to explore, though, as there are lots more.
The whole area is filled with lots of corals, eels, and a wide range of fishes. With these, it’s a little wonder why people constantly have the Red Sea on their list of favorite dive spots.
5. The Riviera Maya, Mexico
If you are looking for something different, then you should try out the Riviera Maya holiday resort. This beautiful place located on the Yucatan Peninsula is seen by most professional divers as one of the best dive sites in the world.
It has deep cenotes which were created by fallen caves and sinkholes and filled with water. This makes it easy to reach the massive underground cave system that is simply breathtaking.
For the courageous, this place has a hint of danger to test your nerves. You can go inside the cave system alone so far as you’re an advanced diver, or you can choose to go with an expert guide.
Finally, you can also explore the sea, where you will encounter sailfish and bull sharks which are commonly seen in the winter months. During summer, the whale sharks and nesting turtles will arrive.
6. Bonaire, the Netherlands
Bonaire is an island region of the Netherlands. It has enchanted divers for decades with its crystal clear waters and easy access from shore or boat. Here you can dive on any day of the year as there are more than 63 official dive spots for all levels of divers.
The best spot is Salt Pier, and it’s where there are more than 469 different species of fish like seahorses blue parrotfish, and reef squids. You can also find the queen parrotfish, peacock flounders, and lots of corals to explore.
Although Bonaire is located in the north, you don’t have to worry about the cold. The temperature of the sea is a warm 85°F from April to November. And with the little rain and its sunny weather, you can spend some time on the beach and add it to your diving experience.
7. Manta Night Dive, Hawaii
Do you want to dive at night? Then you should check out the Manta Night Dive in Hawaii. It is home to lots of feeding manta rays and you can visit at any time of the year. However, if you crave the best experience, then time your visit between April and October.
Start your exploration by visiting the reef at dusk and when night comes, you will marvel at the sight of the green sea turtles swimming by. Add this to the colorful sight of the reef fish and the garden eels swimming in unison and you have yourself an experience of a lifetime.
As you dive, you have to go down into the darkness and with the aid of the light of dive watches, you’ll witness the real beauty of nightlife. Make sure you have your waterproof camera to take some pictures.
When the microscopic plankton comes closer to the light of the dive watch, the manta rays come with them and swim around your feet. This is truly an amazing sight to behold!
8. Cairns, Australia
As the entrance to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a stunning dive spot that has a blend of wonderful food, cafés, diving, hiking, and treetop adventures in North Queensland. With its great visibility and teeming marine biodiversity, Osprey Reef is one of the best dive sites in the area. And the geography of the area makes this spot a special diving experience.
Osprey Reef is an oval reef and it is disconnected from the continental shelf by a deep-water trough. It houses a lagoon that is less than 30m deep. Also, there is a shelving just 1km out with a drop that is over 1,000m.
This makes it an excellent spot for lots of sea activities. And of course, the clear nature of the reef coupled with the abundant number of fish will make anyone want for more.
9. Malapascua, Philippines
Malapascua, on the island of Cebu, Philippines, is one of the top dive sites in the world. This is due to the regular sights of the thresher sharks. Other species of sharks can be found here too, including hammerheads, white tips, and mantas.
This site is also teeming with cuttlefish, nudibranch, frogfish, and sea snakes. You can also explore the wrecks of WWII ships found at the bottom of the ocean. These wrecks are scattered at various depths so that amateur divers to the most advanced divers can test their skills and expertise in this glorious place.
10. Silfra Gap, Iceland
The thought of diving in Iceland is enough to send shivers down the spine of many people. It’s fascinating to note, however, that Iceland has many dive spots with the clearest water in the world.
If you want to have an experience of diving into the clearest water, one that is both stunning and free of run-off, then the Silfra Gap is for you.
Although it’s true to an extent that this dive spot doesn’t have much marine life, there are other dive sites in the area that have lots of aquatic life. Some good options in the North Atlantic include Arnarnesstrýtur and Strýtan, which is exceptionally unique with geothermal vents that release heated but mineral-rich water into the cold ocean.
There you have it: some of the most amazing dive spots in the world. Make sure you choose a dive spot that best suits your skills and experience. You shouldn’t go deeper when you don’t have the right experience, as it can be dangerous. That’s why you should be extra careful about your choice and safety. Also, remember to take along those diving knives in case something goes wrong.
Also get information about the busy time on the dive spots you selected, as famous sites are usually crowded. You might not like to visit during the rush hours. Finally, you should be aware of the local rules and regulations before picking up your diving gear and setting off.