Scuba diving is a fantastic sport allowing you to travel the world and marvel at the wonders of life that are below the surface of water. There are many different types of dives you could do, such as a depth dive, a night dive, a wreck dive, a reef dive or just a dive for fun of course. As an avid diver myself, I have travelled the world to find some of the most amazing diving sites. My personal favourites are listed below.
Best Scuba Diving Locations 10 – The Bikini Atoll at the Marshall Islands
The Bikini Atoll is truly the place to go if you enjoy wreck diving. There are several sunken warships, including a US Navy Aircraft Carrier. The island itself is uninhabited as it was used as a nuclear test site during the 1950s. This means that diving here comes at a high price, but one that is most certainly worth it. I was fascinated on this dive and kept wondering whether I would see any creatures that were deformed or odd because of the nuclear tests. I didn’t see anything like that, but boy can you tell the area is uninhabited! It really made me think of the damage we do, as humans, to our environment, by being able to see what the ocean looks like if we don’t touch it.
Best Scuba Diving Locations 9 – The Islands of Surin and Similan in Thailand
The underwater wildlife at this site is amazing. At Koh Bon, you will find a pinnacle that rises from the depths of the ocean and you will be able to see mantas, whale sharks and leopard sharks coming to feed. There are many interesting diving sites across these islands and you are sure to be able to marvel at all these wonders. The last time I went, I was able to come so close to a whale shark that I am still in complete awe to this day!
Best Scuba Diving Locations 8 – Sipadan Island on Malaysian Borneo
One of the best things about diving around the Sipadan Island is the wildlife, particularly the green sea turtles. These have become so accustomed to divers that I was able to approach them very closely without them becoming alarmed. I also saw schools of barracudas, hawksbill and horse eye jacks.
Best Scuba Diving Locations 7 – The Bismarck Sea at Papua New Guinea
Marine biodiversity is the highest in the world in the Bismarck Sea and you can truly marvel at the beautiful corals and sponges as well as all the other fascinating creatures that inhabit the sea floor of the Bismarck Sea such as the sea slugs. I kept having to remind myself not to touch any of the corals, as they are just so beautiful!
Best Scuba Diving Locations 6 – Cocos and Malpelo in the Eastern Pacific
These are two of the best locations to go for night dives, where you will be able to see feeding frenzies by a variety of sharks, including hammerheads, silky sharks and white reef sharks. To enjoy a night dive, you will need some specialist equipment of course, one of the most important ones being a dive light. These are available at very reasonable prices on Amazon, like the Dorcy submersible dive light for $55.
Best Scuba Diving Locations 5 – Little Cayman in the British West Indies
The most impressive thing about diving in Little Cayman has to be the Bloody Bay Wall, which is a coral cliff that drops 7,000 feet into a trench. I actually felt dizzy the first time I saw it under water! The sea is very calm and will hence provide you with a wonderful and relaxing dive in waters of nice temperatures. Do not expect to see sharks, though, but enjoy the opportunity to just relax for a bit.
Best Scuba Diving Locations 4 – The Maldives
The Maldives are one of the most beautiful locations to go to in the world, whether you like diving or not. When I went, I booked myself on a live aboard boat and was able to dive up to four times each day, which was just fantastic. Obviously, it is important to keep a really close log book when you dive as many times each day, I purchased mine from Amazon for just $12.95 and it really is an essential piece of equipment.
In the Maldives, you are able to see some of the most beautiful colours you will ever come across on a diving expedition. I was also fortunate enough to see a tremendous variety of marine wildlife including sharks and turtles!
Best Scuba Diving Locations 3 – Sulawesi in Indonesia
This was such a fascinating dive! I heard someone say that you could find pygmy seahorses in Sulawesi and I spent the entire week diving trying to find one. I hit lucky on my last day, thank goodness! However, what I apparently completely missed in my quest for the elusive seahorse was the rest of the beautiful marine wildlife that can be found around Sulawesi. Luckily, my fellow divers had taken plenty of photographs with their underwater cameras, so I was still able to enjoy it. I was, however, the only one with a picture of a pygmy seahorse ha!
Best Scuba Diving Locations 2 – Rangiroa in Polynesia
Second place has to go to Rangiroa, where you will be able to truly find an underwater paradise. If you catch the tide properly, you can be carried along with grey reef sharks, mantas, dolphins and I even saw two hammerhead sharks. This is when I decided it was time to purchase my own underwater camera. Up to now, I had always borrowed or rented them, allowing me to capture some fantastic images, but this time I didn’t have one with me and I regretted it so much!!! I had already invested in a really good Canon camera, the Powershot, and was able to buy an underwater case for it from Amazon for $380, which really wasn’t too bad.
Best Scuba Diving Locations 1 – Rocktail Bay in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
By far the best diving destination in the world, and I have tried them all from the United Kingdom to the Caribbean, has to be Rocktail Bay in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. And boy was I glad that I purchased the underwater case for my Canon! I was able to actually swim with humpback whales!!! There is a huge variety of marine life that you can enjoy at Rocktail Bay, including bottle nose dolphins, tiger sharks, leatherback turtles and whale sharks. This was truly the most exciting dive I have ever done in my life, and I have been back three times since.
It has taken me many, many years to compile this list of best diving locations and don’t even get me started on the amount of money I have spent. Literally, over the past 20 years, I have spent my life working the most ridiculous jobs to save up for my next diving expedition. I have also, over the years, gathered up quite a collection of my own diving equipment, such as a variety of wetsuits. You will definitely need one of those if you visit Rocktail Bay, as the water can be very, very cold. Luckily, nowadays, most diving equipment is available at very good prices on Amazon and overall you could really save yourself quite a bit of money by purchasing equipment from there, rather than hiring the equipment at the different diving sites.
It is also interesting to know that all of the diving locations I have described can be visited by using specialised diving trips, some of which are all inclusive, meaning you can get several dives in (sometimes several each day), and have your transport and diving equipment included if need be, as well as your food and drinks. I’ve had a great time over the years and have on several occasions encountered people at different diving locations with whom I had shared previous diving experiences.
I don’t think, personally, that I will ever stop diving and even with all the dives I have under my belt, I am still waiting and searching for more. I am planning to dive in the Red Sea and across the Great Barrier Reef this year, which are also said to be incredibly fascinating and amazing. I am also travelling back to the Caribbean, this time to the Dutch Antilles, to dive across the reefs there and do a couple of wreck dives.
My latest expedition includes a cave dive and an ice dive, I’m quite nervous about that and have been told that these are dives that need to be done for the experience rather than the beauty of the marine life that you can experience. I am still really looking forward to that, though, and will be sure to bring my trusted camera with me of course! I’ll try to keep you up to date!