33 Of The Best Diving Sites In The World

Ever wondered where the best scuba diving sites in the world were located? How about the most dangerous? This list will help shed some light on the top shipwreck dives, coral reef excursions, cave dives, drift dives, and all-around best places to spot beautiful marine life.

Vanuatu, South Pacific

Vanuatu: This small island country is located about 310 miles east of Australia in the warm Pacific Ocean. The water here is incredibly warm and clear, perfect for diving. Vanuatu is a very diverse dive site, offering everything from caves and swim-throughs to wall-diving and shipwrecks. The most famous shipwreck in Vanuatu is the SS President Coolidge, which is the largest accessible shipwreck in the world.

The Blue Corner Wall, Palau


The Blue Corner Wall: Many divers who have experienced the amazing seascapes at Blue Corner Wall claim that this was their best diving holiday ever. The underwater life here consists of barracudas, sharks, turtles, orcas (killer whales), tuna, and much more. The reef wall consists of ‘hooks’ which divers can hold onto, and sit-back and gaze in amazement at the schools of fish swimming in the nearby sea current as if it were a super highway.

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole: This large ‘hole’ is located about 2 hours from Caye Caulker in Belize. This unique diving site will offer some of the most amazing underwater scenery anywhere in the world, almost like an underwater cave. The Great Blue Hole shoots down about 148m, and you can expect to see lots of sharks including bull sharks, lemon sharks, mako’s, hammerheads, and black-tip reef sharks.

British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

British Virgin Islands: The British Virgin Islands bask in the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean and offer divers a variety of underwater scenery including the famous shipwreck R.M.S. Rhone (featured in the film ‘The Deep’) and also the Chikuzen wreck. The quiet and less-populated diving sites in the British Virgin Islands offer divers of all experience levels the chance to see barracudas, a variety of sharks, and many other sea creatures without the hustle and bustle of some of the other popular dive sites around the world.

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao: This tourist-friendly resort island in the Gulf of Thailand is specifically designed for scuba divers. The area is surrounded by colourful coral reefs, and the water is crystal clear, perfect for diving. The main attraction at Koh Tao is the chance to have a close-encounter with the majestic whale shark, which is a popular visitor to the area.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman: Diving at Grand Cayman is almost like exploring an underwater mountain range. Grand Cayman provides divers with the ultimate in wall diving, as the underwater walls plummet sharply down into the deep blue at depths of 23,000 - 25,000 feet. There’s a wide range of sealife to be discovered at Grand Cayman such as sea turtles, hundreds of tropical fish species, barracudas, sharks, sponges, and many stingrays. Grand Cayman is home to the world famous Stingray City, where visitors can swim with these ‘people-friendly’ stingrays in shallow water. Visitors can feed and pet these magnificent sea creatures, which provides tourists with one of the best wild encounters with marine life anywhere in the world. These stingrays are so comfortable with people, that once they hear the sound of the incoming boats filled with tourists, they begin swimming right up to the boats in large numbers.

Malta, Mediterranean Sea

Malta: This island is located just south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, and it offers a variety of diving opportunities by boat or just off-shore the mainland. There are a good number of shipwrecks near Malta, as well as reefs filled with seagrass beds and lots of soft coral. You may encounter tuna, jacks, barracuda, octopus, moray eels, seahorses, and many other marine creatures in the deep waters of the Mediterranean. Along the limestone walls of Malta, erosion has created many caves, arches, and crevices that greatly enhance the diving experience here.

Richelieu Rock, Thailand

Richelieu Rock: This is the ultimate dive site for spotting the enormous whale shark. The best time to spot these majestic sea creatures is in early spring, but even then, the elusive whale shark can only be spotted at Richelieu Rock about 10% of the time. If you’re not lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a whale shark, there is plenty of other beautiful marine life that can be spotted here including: white-eyed moray eels, manta rays, nurse sharks, barracuda, sea fans, sponges, Malabar groupers, clown fish, frog fish, and seahorses. This dive site is better suited for experienced divers, as there tends to be strong ocean currents and rough seas as this spot.

Elphinstone Reef, Egyptian Red Sea

Elphinstone Reef: Located just south of the Thistlegorm dive site in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, Elphinstone Reef is a a diver’s dream. This reef offers both snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities where you can expect to see barracuda, emperor angel fish, zebra angel fish, soft coral, big groupers, giant morays, hammerheads, white-tips, colourful reef fish, turtles, and much more. At a depth of about 200ft, you can explore a huge underwater arch. Legend says that there’s a sarcophagus just beneath the arch that is the resting place of an unknown pharaoh, you can actually view a mysterious rectangular structure encrusted with coral beneath the arch. The beautiful marine life and mystery surrounding this dive site attracts many people to Elphinstone Reef each year.

Jupiter, Florida

Jupiter: Diving in Jupiter, Florida is quite a treat with its various shipwrecks and abundant sea life, if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a goliath grouper. Located just north of Miami in the Atlantic Ocean, this area is certainly one of the best dive sites in the United States.

Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon, Micronesia

Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon: Truk is one of the top wreck-diving sites in the world with planes, armed cargo ships, tankers, destroyers, and a submarine all making this spot their final resting places. The water here is very warm year round (mid-80’s °F), and you can expect to see grey reef sharks, turtles, stingrays, jellyfish, and lots of other sea life.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel: This small island off the coast of Mexico is surrounded by spectacular reefs and amazingly clear water, which makes this a perfect spot for scuba diving. Cozumel offers divers the chance to explorer sea life along the reefs, or divers can explore the underwater caves which are beaming with unique sea creatures and gorgeous rock formations. You can also explore the 184ft long shipwreck that was sank in 1999 for the sole purpose of diving.

Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos

Grand Turk: Beautiful Grand Turk is an island paradise located along the southern tip of The Bahamas. Visibility here is top-notch, which makes for perfect diving. This dive site is surrounded by walls and soft corals which plunge over 7,000 feet straight down. This location is a hotspot for manta rays, which congregate here during the summer months. You can also expect to encounter a variety of sharks, eels, and sea turtles, just to name a few.


Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa

Tiputa Pass: The world’s second largest atoll (island of coral which is encircled by a lagoon) is Rangiroa in the South Pacific, and it offers some of the best diving in the world as well. Visibility here is well-over 100 feet, so you can see plenty of marine life in these crystal clear waters. You can gain access to the beautiful coral reefs here by ’shooting the Tiputa pass’, which is basically a steady 5-knot current that acts as highway for the sea creatures here. You will be able to view a wide range of fish at Tiputa pass including, the gigantic devil fish, hammerheads, tiger sharks, gray, whitetip, and many others. Often times, you can see hundreds of sharks gather here at one time, quite a sight!

Yongala Wreck, Australia

Yongala Wreck: The S.S. Yongala sank back in 1911 off the coast of Cape Bowling Green, and it’s now considered to be one of the best wreck dive sites in the world. This wreck is over 300 feet long and is home to a variety of sea life including Trevally, bull rays, barracuda, queenfish, turtles, sea snakes, and the huge Queensland Groupers. In the winter months, you may even spot a migrating humpback whale.

Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands

Bikini Atoll: Bikini Atoll is famous for being the location where the U.S. tested 23 nuclear bombs between 1946 and 1958. The large blasts sank 10 ships that were moored in the lagoon at the time. These shipwrecks make for great diving, and one of the most famous of the wrecks is the USS Saratoga. This 880ft long carrier is almost fully intact, and it sits upright in only about 36 feet of water. Divers can explorer the wrecks and find a ton of cool items that were aboard the ships when they sank such as bombs, guns, and plenty of other cool artifacts.

SS Thistlegorm Shipwreck, Red Sea

SS Thistlegorm Shipwreck: This British Merchant Navy ship sank in the Red Sea back in 1941, and it has become a world-famous dive site since then. The wreck is about 100 feet below the surface of the Red Sea, which puts it at a perfect depth for diving without the need for specialised equipment. The cargo on-board at the time the ship sank included an armored Rolls Royce, armored vehicles, Norton motorcycles, Bren guns, cases of ammunition, and lots of other interesting artifacts. The fascinating artifacts, along with the abundant marine life, at the SS Thistlegorm wreck make it one of the most attractive places in the world for scuba divers to explore.

Fiji Islands, South Pacific

Fiji Islands: The Fiji Islands offer some of the best diving sites in the world because of the pristine, crystal clear water which gives divers great visibility, and because of the great marine life, reefs, and shipwrecks available to explore. The Fiji Islands are considered the ’soft coral capital of the world’, and is home to the ‘Great White Wall’ and the ‘Yellow Tunnel’, both famous dive sites. Expect to find an underwater photo opportunity where ever you choose to dive in the Fiji Islands.

Scapa Flow, Scotland

Scapa Flow: Like many of the other great dive sites in the world, Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands is famous its historic shipwrecks which make for great diving. Scapa Flow is the resting place for 7 of the German High Seas Fleet that were sank here during World War I, among a host of other smaller wrecks. The water here is very cold (39-57 °F), so a dry suit is recommended when diving. Besides being able to explore the many shipwrecks in the area, divers can also see a variety of marine life, including seals, wrasse, conger eels, jellyfish, octopus, crabs, urchins, starfish, sponges, and lots of fish.

Sipadan Island, Malaysia

Sipadan Island: If it’s marine life you’re looking for, then diving at Sipadan Island is just what you need. These warm waters are host to a huge variety of sea creatures including barracudas, gray reef sharks, octopi, turtles, dolphins, eagle rays, jacks, and pretty much any other kind of fish you can think of. There are a variety of dive locations at Sipadan Island including one of the most famous called Barracuda Point, and there are also caves and reefs to explore as well. Many people swear that this is the best diving location in the world, even experienced divers.

The Bahamas, Caribbean

The Bahamas: With over 700 islands in The Bahamas, there are plenty of opportunities to dive here. The Travel Channel calls The Bahamas ‘one of the best scuba diving sites in North America’. There are a variety of blue holes, 120 miles of barrier reef, lots of shipwrecks, and plenty of wall-diving opportunities for more experienced divers. In The Bahamas, you can expect to come across large sea turtles, rays, dolphins, and a plethora of sharks. Shark dives are very popular here.

Catalina Island, California

Catalina Island: This small island off the coast of Southern California offers some of the most extensive kelp forests in the world, fish-filled reefs, and some good shark diving. You can spot the mako shark here, which is one of the fastest sharks in the world. Also expect to see horn sharks, soupfin sharks, sunfish, lobsters, barracudas, bat rays, electric torpedo rays, and the common octopus. Often time while diving here you’ll be joined by curious sealions, who are always fun to watch. Diving at Catalina Island is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that you’ll never forget.

Yolanda Reef, Egyptian Red Sea

Shark & Yolanda Reef: These two reefs are connected by a sandy plateau where you’ll find the shipwrecked ‘Yolanda’. You can drift along the natural currents provided by the Red Sea, explore the Yolanda wreck, or gaze at the colourful coral along the reef. This dive consists of a 2,300ft drop into the deep blue. At shark reef you can expect to find large fish and of course sharks. You’ll also encounter rays, turtles, large eels, and large schools of fish swimming by. It’s a magnificent site, and one that divers never forget.

Heron Island, Australia

Heron Island: This small coral cay is located just east of Australia at the southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef. This dive site is home to over 1,000 species of fish and 72% of all coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is protected by the government, so it’s in good condition. Diving here is like no other place on earth, and you can see whales, sea turtles, sharks, and so much more, definitely one of the best places in the world to explore the deep sea. Many claim that it’s a life-changing experience to dive here.

Cuba, Caribbean

Cuba: With beautiful turquoise waters which average near 80°F year-round and over 100ft visibility in most locations, Cuba is the perfect place to go scuba diving. Shallow reefs, deep tunnels and walls, and a few shipwrecks are awaiting divers in Cuba. There is a huge variety of marine life in Cuba including nurse sharks, barracuda, tuna, snappers, parrotfish, jacks, and even whale sharks (best seen in November). The reefs in Cuba are filled with over 50 species of coral, and over 200 species of sponges. Cuba is quickly becoming a preferred site for diving for both beginners and expert divers alike.

Navy Pier, Western Australia

Navy Pier: This 300-meter wide structure is located about 300-meters from shore, and although it’s a relatively small dive site, it features some of the most spectacular marine life in the world. It has been said that diving at Navy Pier is ‘the best shore dive on the planet.’ When diving in these waters, you can expect to see lots of white-tip sharks, large sting rays, lion and scorpion fish, large schools of glass fish, eels, brown rays, and even humpback whales. Swimming at Navy Pier is like swimming in an aquarium, which easily makes it one of the top dives in the world.

Protea Banks, South Africa

Protea Banks: Famous for some of the best shark dives in the world, Protea Banks will get you up close and personal with some of the ocean’s fiercest predators. This dive site consists of a series of reefs approximately 8 km. off-shore, and there are a series of strong ocean currents here. Every summer at Protea Banks, the famous Sardine Run occurs, attracting whales, dolphins, and of course sharks. Some of the popular species of sharks that can be seen at Protea Banks includes: ‘raggies’, bull sharks, tiger sharks, black tips, mako’s, and even Great Whites. Needless to say, this shark paradise can be somewhat dangerous, but that’s exactly what the appeal of this place is for divers across the globe.

Maui, Hawaii

Maui: Many people consider Maui to be one of the top dive destinations in the world because of the 450 species of reef fish that can be seen here, 25% of them are exclusive to the island. Maui offers a range of diving opportunities including reef dives and dives near volcanic craters. It’s not uncommon to spot sea turtles, sharks, whales, whale sharks, scorpion fish, rockfish, Hawaiian damselfish, conger eels, and octopus. One of the most popular dives in Maui is the Molokini crater dive, where many of the larger sea creatures can be spotted.
 Manta Ray Night Dive, Hawaii

Manta Ray Night Dive: The Manta Ray Night Dive in Hawaii is truly one of the most unique dives anywhere. This dive takes place in the early evening when bright lights, located 30 feet below the ocean’s surface, are turned on, this attracts plankton, which is the manta rays food source. Manta rays in Kailua Kona have average wingspans between 8 - 13 feet, and they are truly gentle giants. This experience is one which people don’t soon forget, and is definitely worthy of the title of one of the best dive sites in the world.

Bloody Bay Wall, Cayman Islands

Bloody Bay Wall: For fans of wall-dives, it doesn’t get much better than Bloody Bay Wall in the Cayman Islands. This dive site features a 6,000 ft vertical drop into the ocean abyss, and along that wall you can find brightly coloured coral, sponges, and small reef fish. What’s great about this dive site, is that you can explore the smaller sealife along the wall, or you can view the larger marine life out in the open ocean, thanks to the incredible visibility here. Some of the larger sea creatures that you’ll find here are turtles, stingrays, eagle rays, large Nassau groupers, and sharks.

Florida Keys, Florida

Florida Keys: These small islands just south of the state of Florida provide divers with the third largest reef system in the world, which is why it’s one of the top dive destinations in all of North America. At any of the many dive sites in the Florida Keys, you can expect to see over 100 species of coral and 350 species of fish. There are dive sites in the Florida Keys specifically designed to allow divers to swim with the ‘gentle giants’ of the ocean, the manatee. These large sea creatures can reach over 10 feet in length and weigh well over 1,000 lbs., and they are very rare and endangered, so it’s quite a treat to be able to swim alongside them.

Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

Bonaire: The island of Bonaire is located in the southern Caribbean, and it features unspoiled coral reefs and crystal clear water that is perfect for diving. Bonaire is sort-of a diving mecca, with approximately 75% of its tourists coming to the island for the sole purpose of diving these waters. The coral reefs surrounding this island paradise are accessible from the shore, and the entire underwater environment is protected by the government so that it remains in pristine condition. Many different species of marine life can be found here including orange sponges, angelfish, Caribbean reef squid, seahorses, octopus, and much more. There are some wall-dive opportunities, as well as several shipwrecks that can be explored by the diver, including the Hilma Hooker wreck 100ft beneath the surface of the sea. Bonaire is certainly one of the most ‘untouched’ dive sites in the world, which makes it very attractive to divers from around the world.

Blue Hole, Red Sea

Blue Hole: The Blue Hole is not the most popular dive site in the world, but it is considered to be the most dangerous dive site anywhere. For this reason alone, expert divers flock here to conquer the infamous Blue Hole, which is also nicknamed ‘Diver’s Cemetery’. There have been numerous diver fatalities at this location, and it’s mostly due to nitrogen narcosis from diving too deep, and for too long. The reason that this seems to happen here is because divers attempt to find the tunnel to the reef (known as ‘the arch’), which is at a depth of about 52m, and it’s sometimes hard to navigate. There have been 40 official fatalities at the Blue Hole, but many believe that the actual number of deaths could be double that amount. So if you’re looking for the ‘Mt. Everest of diving’, come dive the Blue Hole, if you dare.

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