The planet may be a marriage of H2O and terra firma, but more than 70% is the wet stuff, which means divers have a vast underwater playground to explore. Because there is such a wealth of incredible sights to see when you opt to frolic beneath the waves, you might have a hard time deciding where to go. Here are just a few fantastic scuba diving locations to consider.
1. Cozumel, Mexico
This location on the Maya Riviera is renowned for balmy weather, warm waters, and its proximity to the Mayan ruins of Tulum. So it’s no surprise that plenty of international travelers make a beeline for Cozumel’s shoreline each year.
Divers also love the scuba diving locations around this Caribbean town, especially during the summer season from June to September when whale sharks migrate through the area by the droves in search of food. Don’t miss the colorful coral of the Palancar Horseshoe year-round.
2. Bonaire, Netherlands
Whether you head out on a boat or start your dive at the shore, you’ll find no shortage of fantastic scuba diving locations in this region. Although it is a special municipality of the Netherlands, it was until recently part of the now dissolved Netherlands Antilles, located just north of Venezuela in the Caribbean. You’ll not only experience bountiful marine life when diving here, thanks to decades of protection of marine resources, but you’ll also find sunken ships to explore.
3. Hawaii, USA
In addition to temperate climes year-round, the islands of Hawaii provide a diver’s paradise thanks to warm, crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life to ogle, including several rare and endemic species. The Big Island’s big claim to fame in the diving arena, though, is the night swims with manta rays. There are few scuba diving locations in the world that offer a more magical underwater experience.
4. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are known not only as an important stopover for Darwin during his time on The Beagle, but also for the many endemic species he discovered there. With rays, eels, sharks, and of course, sea turtles galore, this should definitely be on any list of prime scuba diving locations.
5. Sulawesi, Indonesia
This is the home of the Lembeh Strait, notable as one of the most exotic dive locales in the world because of the many rare and bizarre marine creatures that call the area home. Not only can divers spot oddities like stonefish, stargazers, and Ambon scorpionfish, but the lucky ones will also catch glimpses of normally hidden creatures like the mimic octopus.
6. Queensland, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of scuba diving locations stretching from just north of Brisbane all the way up to the northern tip of Queensland. How can you pick just one?
The good news is you don’t need to. You can see as many as you like, time permitting. However, a great place to start is the Acropolis, which sports an enormous variety of both corals and schooling fish.
With 250 islands and a population of approximately 18,000, this nation in the western Pacific Ocean may be small, but it is far from lacking in natural wonders to astonish amateur and seasoned divers alike. With a veritable rainbow of triggerfish species, graceful eagle rays, and sharks aplenty, there’s no lack of underwater sights to see.
8. Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea
This protected area of Papua New Guinea sports a network of soft corals that draws in scads of schooling fish, reef sharks, and of course, scuba divers.
9. Taveuni Island, Fiji
It is the Somosomo Strait that has earned Fiji the nickname “soft coral capital of the world”, and the scuba diving locations in this region provide abundant chances to get up close and personal with this rainbow reef. Come for the coral blooms, stay for the reef sharks and rays that populate the region known as “the zoo”. Don’t miss the Great White Wall of pale corals.
10. Other Scuba Diving Locations
There are so many incredible dive sites around the globe that it’s hard to pick just a few. You’ll no doubt find favorites of your own, but don’t hesitate to sample new regions in search of magical vistas and marine life that only the underwater world can provide.