The act of scuba diving is exciting wherever you do it, from the first breaths underwater in the training pool to the deepest, most technical dives. That sense of wonder never leaves you, and there is always something new to discover wherever you go. But there are untold numbers of dive sites to explore, and some are, unsurprisingly, better than others.
So if you’ve got an urge to pack your bags and head off to some exotic destination to find the best, most amazing diving sites the world has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. From scuba trips organized from the comfort of award-winning cruise ships to night dives from remote islands, these are some of the best locations for diving on the planet.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most iconic dive sites on the planet, a stunning natural wonder of the world. Made up of over 2,900 individual reefs, 600 islands, and a unique range of underwater habitats, it is hard to describe what a special place this is. Offering a truly unparalleled diving experience, the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket list destination for almost every diver and boasts a mind-blowing array of fish, corals, invertebrates, and marine mammals. There is nowhere more exciting or varied to dive on Earth, and due to climate change's impact on this remarkable natural habitat, it is worth going sooner rather than later.
Red Sea, Egypt
The Red Sea in Egypt has dive sites for every diver. From dramatic walls and technical swim-throughs to coral gardens, underwater caves, and ancient wrecks, there are so many sites to discover off the coast of Egypt. With a gorgeous climate year-round, warm water, and great visibility, this body of water offers stunning dive sites for both experienced and beginner divers. It is also a lovely and fascinating place for a vacation in general, making it great for non-diving members of the family.
The Komodo National Park in Indonesia is a UNESCO World Heritage site, spread out across three islands; Komodo, Padar, and Rinca. It is home to one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems, with over 1,000 species of fish and over 2,500 species of invertebrates. It offers beautiful dives for beginners (including manta ray cleaning stations), but the true excitement is for fans of marine biology, as the biodiversity here is truly stunning.
Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Lying just off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Cocos Island is an uninhabited speck boasting a rugged, rocky coastline that offers up some of the most spectacular diving in South America, and maybe even the world. Caves, walls, and drop-offs are the specialty here, alongside large pelagics like manta rays, whales, and whale sharks, as well as another megafauna like hammerhead sharks and dolphins. It has been protected as a Costa Rican National Park since 1978 which is why its marine life is so abundant and diverse and offers a truly special diving experience in a delightfully remote location.