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Scuba Locations

Best Scuba Diving Destinations In The World

If you’re looking for your next diving destination—and you have the resources to go anywhere you want in the world—then this is the list for you! Featuring the 10 best places to scuba dive in the world, this guide will help you discover new and exciting underwater sites that’ll give you a one-of-a-kind adventure.

Featured Diving Destinations

Scuba Diving Destinations: Where to Next?

The Earth’s surface is mostly covered in water—that’s a well-known fact. This means there’s plenty of ocean (and other bodies of water) for you to explore. Every diver has a scuba diving bucket list, but if you’re still working on yours, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to some of the best places to scuba dive in the world. We know intrepid divers are always looking for a new challenge or adventure to conquer, so check out our diving destinations guides to find the next addition to your bucket list! Grab your gear and get ready for your next scuba diving adventure. We've prepared a whole lot of information to help you decide which destination to go to next.

Best Diving Destinations by Country

Traveling to a specific country? Find the best scuba diving sites anywhere in the world. Select your country of choice below to see what diving destinations you should check out in that area.
Southeast Asia
  • Indonesia
    • Raja Ampat
    • Togian Islands
    • Komodo Islands
    • Bali Islands
    • Bunaken Islands
  • Malaysia
    • Sipadan
    • Lankayan
    • Layang-Layang
    • Redang
Oceania
  • Australia
  • Micronesia
    • Palau
    • Guam
    • Yap
    • Chuuk
    • Kosrae
Europe
  • Netherlands
    • Bonaire
    • Het Koepeltje
    • Le Serpent
    • Scharendijke
    • De Muur
  • Croatia
    • Istrian Peninsula
    • Korcula
    • Dugi Otok and Kornati
    • Kvarner Bay
North America
  • Canada
    • West Coast
    • Prairie Provinces
    • Central Canada
    • Atlantic Canada
    • Arctic Canada
  • United States of America
    • California
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • New York
Central America
  • Mexico
    • Riviera Maya
    • Baja California
    • Baja California Sur
    • Cozumel
    • Guadalupe Island
    • The Pacific Coast of Mexico
    • San Carlos
    • Socorro Island
    • Veracruz
    • Yucatan Peninsula
  • Costa Rica
    • Coco's Island
    • Herradura
    • Limon
    • Manual Antionio National Park
    • Guanacaste
    • Puntarenas
Middle East
  • Egypt
    • Alexandria
    • Dahab
    • El Gouna and the Strait of Gubal
    • El Quseir
    • Hurghada
    • Marsa Alam
    • Ras Gharib
    • Sharm el-Sheikh
  • Oman
    • Muscat
    • Musandam
    • Salalah
    • Dibba
    • Ar-Rumays

Scuba Diving Resources

Looking to upgrade your diving gear or get some helpful tips for your next dive? Check out our collection of scuba diving articles below for how-tos, buying guides, and more.
scuba diver inside icy lake

6 Best Drysuits: Our Top Picks

Most scuba divers wear wetsuits almost all year round when diving in certain parts of the world, but if you’re doing any cold water diving, what you’ll need is a drysuit. There are a few major differences between wetsuits and drysuits, the most distinct being that the latter is generally loose-fitting and keeps water out completely (hence the name) to keep you as warm as possible.

scuba diver inside icy lake

10 Best Wetsuits for Diving

Wetsuits may all look the same—save for the different styles and colors—but the ones that are specifically made for scuba diving are usually thicker and better at retaining body heat so you can feel comfortable and stay longer underwater. This thermal feature is especially crucial when diving in colder waters or when you dive to depths where the warmth of the sun can no longer penetrate.

scuba diver inside icy lake

5 Best Travel BCDs: Our Top Picks

With airline regulations on baggage weight restrictions getting more and more stringent, the need for lightweight and easy-to-carry scuba diving equipment becomes the need of the hour. And for those who don’t like to rent their scuba gear, perhaps the bulkiest piece of scuba diving equipment you’d have to bring is your buoyancy compensator or BCD, which can sometimes take up half your luggage space as well as half your weight limit.

scuba diver inside icy lake

6 Best Scuba Diving Gear Packages

Tired of renting your scuba diving gear? If you’re getting serious about this exciting and exhilarating hobby, it may be time to get your own equipment. But with all the brands and models available on the market, it can be quite overwhelming to choose which products to get to complete your first scuba diving rig.

scuba diver inside icy lake

Top 10 Scuba Fins

One of the most important pieces of scuba equipment that divers need to be particular about is the fins they will be wearing on their expeditions. If you’re thinking about diving and traveling deep into the depths of the water, you’ll have to make sure the model and type of fin that you get suits your needs in order for it to give you the best underwater experience.

scuba diver inside icy lake

10 Best Scuba Regulators

One of the most important components of your scuba diving equipment set is your regulator. The regulator is what helps provide just the right amount of gas from your pressurized tank so you can comfortably breathe underwater.

Barracuda Point (Sipadan Island, Malaysia)

  • Maximum Depth: 65 meters
  • Visibility: 15-40 meters, depending on the season
  • Current: Occasionally strong
  • Water Temperature: 27-31°C
  • Skill Level: Entry-level divers and Advanced Open Water (AOW) divers with at least 20 log dives

Why should I dive at Barracuda Point?

Barracuda Point is a world-class Malaysian dive site that’s considered one of the world’s best scuba diving locations. Located in the oceanic island of Sipadan near the town of Semporna off the East coast, it features an exhilarating 800-meter drop-off and the famous barracuda shoal, which can often be seen swim in a tornado-like formation.

If you’re interested in underwater photography, this is one of the top places to visit thanks to the incredibly diverse array of marine wildlife. It’s sure to be one of the most unforgettable diving experiences for both entry-level and experienced divers.

What marine life can I see in Barracuda Point?

Aside from massive swarms of barracudas, this dive site is home to many interesting sea animals. You may be able to see dozens of sea turtles, buffalo fish, coconut crabs, whitetip sharks, batfish, jackfish, hammerhead sharks, leopard sharks, and more during a single dive. The island of Sipadan is also surrounded by colorful, soft and hard coral reefs that a wide variety of reef fish and other marine organisms call home.

When is the best time to go scuba diving in Barracuda Point?

The fine weather around April to June makes this period the ideal time to schedule some diving excursions to Barracuda Point. However, you may want to wait until May or August if you want to see green and hawksbill turtles lay eggs on the beaches. Mid-December to mid-February may be rainy, but it’s a good time if you want to avoid crowds.

Blue Corner Wall (Palau, Micronesia)

  • Maximum Depth: 30 meters
  • Visibility: 20-30 meters
  • Current: Can change direction and speed at any given moment
  • Water Temperature: Around 29-30°C
  • Skill Level: Experienced divers (due to strong currents)

Why should I dive at Blue Corner Wall?

Located in the southwest reefs of the islands of Palau, this Micronesian dive site is another world-famous location that has plenty of caves, sea walls, and steep drop-offs. It offers not only a fabulous diversity of marine life but also coral walls and caverns that are just waiting to be explored.

As one of the top scuba diving sites on the planet, Blue Corner Wall sees around 41,000 divers per year—and around 8,000 of them go to Palau specifically to dive with some of the sharks in the area. It’s definitely one of the most challenging and exciting dive spots for advanced open water divers.

What marine life can I see at Blue Corner Wall?

The Blue Corner Wall is famous for giving divers an excellent opportunity to be in close quarters with sharks. The upwelling makes it easy for divers to see pelagic life forms like manta rays, swordfishes, marlins, and bigeye tuna much closer to the shore. But aside from various species of sharks, get ready to see barracudas, eagle rays, snappers, jackfish, Napoleon wrasse, and many more. The deep trench also promises mantis shrimps, a variety of reef fish, thick coral walls with morays, small gorgonian fans, and other formations.

When is the best time to go scuba diving at Blue Corner Wall?

Palau is popular all year-round, but you’re more likely to see whale sharks and manta rays from January to April, and green and hawksbill turtles between April and July.

Visibility is often pretty good and only drops to around 15-20 meters from July to September.

Thistlegorm (Egyptian Red Sea)

  • Maximum Depth: 30 meters
  • Visibility: 15-25 meters
  • Current: Generally calm, but can also be strong and go in different directions
  • Water Temperature: 22-28°C
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, advanced, guided AOW

Why should I dive at the Thistlegorm?

The famed Thistlegorm, or Blue Thistle, is one of the most popular wreck dives in the world—too popular, in fact, that it can be incredibly busy even during “off-peak” seasons. Named after a British vessel that sank in 1941 after being bombed during World War II, this site has since become a popular spot for night diving. As part of the Red Sea, it’s also a great location for drift diving due to its exciting currents.

If you’re a PADI Advanced Open Water-certified technical diver with a fascination for underwater wrecks, you will truly enjoy exploring the massive cargo shipwreck (starting at 16 meters down to 32 meters) filled with war supplies like rifles, motorbikes, trucks, and train carriages. Drift dives are quite common in the Red Sea due to currents, as are night dives amongst towering coral and schools of fish.

What marine life can I see at Thistlegorm?

There are reports of encounters with whale sharks, barracudas, moray eels, and tuna in this part of the Egyptian Red Sea. You will also be able to see common wreck dwellers such as turtles, batfish, snappers, lionfish, crocodile fish, stonefish, and more. Don’t be surprised to see giant schools of jackfish, some very interesting and colorful reef fishes across the beautiful coral walls, and perhaps even a majestic whale shark swimming by.

When is the best time to go scuba diving at the Thistlegorm?

Diving conditions and visibility at the Thistlegorm dive site are great all throughout the year as there is very little rainfall in this part of the world. However, the water temperature can be quite warm from May to October (almost 30°C) due to the scorching summer weather. It may be a little more comfortable during the winter from November to April, but temperatures can drop to about 22°C and below, so it really depends on your preference.

Manta Ray Night Dive (Kailua Kona, Hawaii)

  • Maximum Depth: 24 meters
  • Visibility: 4.5-9 meters
  • Current: Variable, occasionally strong
  • Water Temperature: 24-26°C
  • Skill Level: Certified Open Water Diver of all skill levels

Why should I join the Manta Ray Night Dive?

From the name itself, the Kona Coast in Hawaii is one of the top places in the world for spotting huge manta rays. This popular dive takes place at night, just off the shore from the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou Bay. At the site, which divers call “Mantaville,” divers use underwater spotlights to attract plankton, which in turn attracts beautiful manta rays. It guarantees close encounters with these friendly giants, as well as many other species of fish that you won’t see anywhere else in the world, making a dive here one of the most wonderful and unforgettable underwater experiences worth investing in.

What other marine life will I see in Kailua Kona?

The manta rays are definitely the highlight of dives in Kailua Kona, but you’ll be able to spot all kinds of fish in every direction—including the milletseed butterflyfish, bandit angelfish, and potters angelfish. On your way to the dive site, you might be able to see Hawaiian sea turtles by the beach or catch a glimpse of spinner dolphins trailing behind your dive boat. Some locals even see 1,400-pound tiger sharks measuring up to 16 feet on a regular basis, reportedly to give birth near the island.

When is the best time to join the Manta Ray Night Dive?

The manta ray dive takes place all year-round, thanks to the good weather and dive conditions. But to enjoy more comfortable temperatures and the highest odds of encountering mantas, you should definitely go at night during the winter and avoid peak seasons (May, June, and August).

The Yongala (Queensland, Australia)

  • Maximum Depth: 33 meters
  • Visibility: 10-25 meters
  • Current: Often strong, making diving difficult and dangerous
  • Water Temperature: 21-30°C
  • Skill Level: Experienced open water divers with at least 6 logged dives and deep dive training

Why should I dive at the Yongala?

The Yongala is another world-famous shipwreck that divers come from all parts of the world to visit. It is found in Australia, just off the coast of Queensland. The SS Yongala was a passenger ship that sank during a cyclone in 1911 because it didn’t have any telegraphic equipment that could warn the captain about the dangerous weather ahead.

Since 1981, the wreck has been protected by the Historic Shipwrecks Act, so divers are not allowed to enter it. Nonetheless, this popular diving destination is one of the best places to scuba dive for those who have a passion for adventure, an interest in history, and an unbridled curiosity about diverse marine life.

What marine life will I see at the Yongala?

This wreck is home to a variety of sea animals, including tiger and bull sharks, manta rays, different species of sea turtles, banded and olive sea snakes, octopuses, and a spectacular display of coral formations and gorgonian sea fans. There are also manta rays, massive groupers, eagle and marble rays, potato bass, reef fish, barracuda, Napoleon wrasse, and even humpback whales during winter. Giant whale sharks can also be spotted (occasionally) from October to January.

When is the best time to go scuba diving at the Yongala?

For better visibility, you’ll want to schedule your dive anytime between June to August, during Australian winter when the temperature drops to about 21-25°C. If you prefer warmer water temperatures, visit anytime from September to December.

Great Blue Hole (Belize)

  • Maximum Depth: 125 meters
  • Visibility: 30 meters
  • Current: Calm and still due to poor water circulation
  • Water Temperature: 25-30°C
  • Skill Level: Experienced divers with more than 24 logged dives

Why should I dive in the Great Blue Hole?

Just an aerial shot of the Great Blue Hole is enough for many divers to crave for a unique underwater diving experience in this mysterious location in Belize. Ranked the 6th best dive site in the world in 2017, this large, circular sinkhole is located near the center of the Lighthouse Reef. While the water here is pretty still, the fact that it is 125 meters deep and over 300 meters wide makes it one of the most dangerous dive sites ideal only for experienced divers.

Famous ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau himself made it famous by naming it one of the top scuba diving sites in the world after investigating its depths in 1972. The exploration revealed that the hole was formed even before ocean levels rose thousands of years ago—judging from the caves, limestone stalactites, stalagmites, and coral fossils submerged hundreds of feet below the surface.

Despite its still waters, this massive sinkhole is home to plenty of marine life.

What marine life can I see in the Great Blue Hole?

The Great Blue Hole seems to be empty most of the time, but it houses mako sharks, huge tuna, octopuses, blacktip tiger or hammerhead sharks, nurse sharks, big and small groupers, and other Caribbean reef sharks. It also abounds with Elkhom coral, colorful sea fans, anemones, cleaning shrimps, passing fishes, neon gobies, schools of angelfish and butterflyfish, and so much more.

When is the best time to go scuba diving in the Great Blue Hole?

The absence of water currents and nearly consistent water temperature makes it a great dive location all year-round, but many would suggest that you dive here between April and June.

Shark and Yolanda Reef (Egyptian Red Sea)

  • Maximum Depth: 40 meters
  • Visibility: 30 meters
  • Current: Generally strong along walls and between reefs
  • Water Temperature: Up to 28°C
  • Skill Level: Certified diver with moderate experience

Why should I dive in the Shark and Yolanda Reef?

While the Ras Mohammed National Park in the Northern Red Sea has several dive sites, the Shark and Yolanda Reef is the most famous of all—and for good reason. It consists of three dives in one to give you a complete drift diving experience that’s hard to beat.

It begins with a visit to the stunning Anemone City, continues to the Shark Reef that features a spectacular drop-off, and ends with the Yolanda wreck, where you’ll find toilets, bathtubs, and pipes coated with corals and surrounded by pelagic life forms.

What marine life can I see in the Shark and Yolanda Reef?

Aside from large colonies of sea anemones and anemonefish surrounding the coral walls, you may just be able to spot schools of jackfish, batfish, and barracuda in the Shark Reef. Near the Yolanda shipwreck, you’ll find large napoleon fish, fusiliers, big Malabar groupers, snappers, and emperors.

When is the best time to go scuba diving in the Shark and Yolanda Reef?

The best time to enjoy the Shark and Yolanda Reef is during the summertime—ideally in July. This dive site is usually overcrowded, so it is advisable to start the dive early in the morning.

Exmouth Navy Pier (Western Australia)

  • Maximum Depth: 15 meters
  • Visibility: 3-10 meters
  • Water Temperature: 24-28°C
  • Current: Usually calm and still
  • Skill Level: Suitable for divers of all levels

Why should I dive in the Exmouth Navy Pier?

If you find yourself near the Western Australia Coral Coast or in Exmouth, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on diving in one of the top scuba diving sites in the area—the Navy Pier. It’s considered one of the top 10 land-based dive sites in the world. It currently serves as part of the Australian Navy and the base marine Exmouth facility, so only Australian Navy divers and those permitted by licensed dive tour companies are given access to it. Both its exclusivity and abundance in diverse marine life make it a favorite among divers and underwater photographers around the world.

What marine life can I see in the Exmouth Navy Pier?

The Navy Pier dive site is often described as a glassless aquarium where a rich variety of corals (some covering the pier structure) and underwater creatures of all sizes are on display. You’ll find macro critters like frogfish, stonefish, scorpionfish, flatworms, and nudibranchs, as well as bigger fish like the grey nurse shark, whitetip reef shark, and the strange-looking wobbegong shark. Of course, there are also small coral fish like the clownfish, blue angelfish, Moorish idols, and lionfish, aside from the schools of trevally and barracuda. If you go much deeper into the water and in the sandy bottoms, you may find huge rays and Queensland gropers.

When is the best time to go scuba diving in the Exmouth Navy Pier?

The recommended months for diving in the Exmouth Navy Pier is between March and November. You may also want to target a visit sometime in April or July, so you can see a glimpse of migrating whale sharks pass through.

Cape Kri (Raja Ampat, Indonesia)

  • Maximum Depth: 40 meters
  • Visibility: 30 meters
  • Current: Occasionally very strong
  • Water Temperature: 27-30°C
  • Skill Level: Experienced divers with at least 50 logged dives

Why should I dive in Cape Kri?

The Cape Kri in Raja Ampat, Indonesia may not have shipwrecks, but it earns a place in numerous lists of “best places to scuba dive in the world” for offering the largest number of referenced species in a single dive. Those who have experienced the beauty of Raja Ampat have praised the wide range of wonderful underwater flora and fauna, as well as the sloping drop-off.

Just be warned that the remoteness of the islands and varying currents (some enough for drift diving) make the Cape Kri quite challenging for beginners. At least 50 logged dives are required to enjoy this destination.

What marine life can I see in Cape Kri?

Cape Kri is home to around 540 different types of corals and over 1,000 species of coral fish. You’ll see pelagic fish, including the dogtooth tuna and giant big-eyed trevally, as well as many different species of sharks—the blacktip reef shark, whitetip reef shark, and sometimes even the wobbegong shark. It’s also not uncommon to see dolphins playing alongside dive boats and giant groupers swimming by the reef. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of dugongs around the area. For those who are interested in identifying as many species of fish, critters, and corals as they can, this world-class Indonesian dive site presents the most diverse living library for marine life.

When is the best time to go scuba diving in Cape Kri?

Being in the tropics, the weather is almost always sunny, so divers can visit the site any time of the year. But if you want to avoid any chances of rain, which can ruin water visibility, plan a visit before May or after September.

USAT Liberty (Bali, Indonesia)

  • Maximum Depth: 30 meters
  • Visibility: Up to 30 meters
  • Current: Can vary, but usually very still
  • Water Temperature: 24-27°C
  • Skill Level: Suitable for divers of all levels

Why should I dive at the USAT Liberty?

Indonesia’s USAT Liberty dive site features a very popular American shipwreck, which was hit by a Japanese torpedo during World War II in 1942. It washed up on the island of Bali before being relocated back into the water by a volcanic eruption in 1963.

Divers also come here for the abundance of picture-perfect marine life. If you’re a beginner who’s looking for an easy wreck dive site that’s considerably less strict, or an advanced diver looking for an adventure deep in Indonesian waters, this is a great option

What marine life can I see at the USAT Liberty?

One of the first things you’ll see underwater are anemones, gorgonians, and coral formations coating the wreckage itself. The wreck is also home to different species of fish like the great barracuda, flapnose ray, scorpion leaf fish, and ornate ghost pipefish—not to mention the hawksbill turtle that practically lives on the Liberty.

When is the best time to go scuba diving at the USAT Liberty?

Divers enjoy warm and comfortable water temperatures here all year round, but if you want the best visibility, avoid the rainy season and plan your dive between May and September.