Must Dive Destinations from Around the World
by Daniel | Last Updated December 16th, 2019
According to statistics, almost 3 million Americans go scuba diving every year. And if you're really into diving, chances are that you've made it your personal mission to explore the best places in the world to scuba dive.
Are you on the hunt for the world's top scuba diving destinations? You're not alone. When you're looking for some of the most unforgettable and world-class locations, consider these best scuba diving destinations you'll want to explore!
Why You Should Take the Plunge
If you're not sure why you should take the plunge, I'm here to help. First of all, diving actually helps you to improve your emotional wellbeing.
For those who think that staring at an aquarium is ultra zen, picture yourself diving beneath the sea to explore the biodiversity of the ocean. As a matter of fact, researchers have even proved that being surrounded by bright, tropical marine life can be extremely peaceful as well.
Another reason why people love diving is that it increases your blood circulation. Yes, you read that right. Incredibly enough, swimming underwater puts more pressure on your body, requiring your blood vessels to open up and bring in more oxygen.
Did you know that scuba diving is a major stress reliever too? That's because underwater breathing is pretty similar to meditative breathing. Plus, experiencing life under the sea firsthand is the ultimate distraction from the daily stressors of life.
In case you didn't know, scuba diving is also fantastic for sharpening your mental focus. Think about it this way: swimming while maintaining your balance will automatically sharpen your awareness and concentration skills. But wait - there's more.
Scuba diving can drastically lower your blood pressure while you're underwater. Since you have to take deep, slow breaths during your dive, your blood pressure will naturally lower, reducing the odds of having a heart attack or stroke. In addition, scuba diving is a wonderful way to work out in the ocean.
That's because working every muscle group in your body is a given due to the intense water pressure. Lastly, scuba divers have the unique opportunity to travel the world for the choicest places to dive.
If you're ready to get your dive on, you've come to the right place. Read on to learn more about our favorite international destinations for scuba divers!
Our Favorite Diving Destinations
For those who are interested in exploring our favorite diving destinations, join the club. Let's dive right in.
For starters, some of the highest quality diving destinations include the following:
Anacapa Island, California
Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean
If you've never considered diving at Anacapa Island, California, then you're already missing out. Despite the fact that the water is super cold, any determine scuba diver can shake off the chill with the right gloves, hoods, and wetsuits. Don't forget about throwing on your water boots if you get cold easily.
After you get over the frigid weather, prepare for your jaw to drop when you take in the stunning panoramic views. With peak visibility at 50 feet, don't be surprised if you see everything from seals, sea lions, and kelp forests galore. Make sure to swim through the underwater arches and old shipwrecks at Cathedral Cove too.
For those who are unaware, Eilat, Israel is one of the top diving spots on earth as well. Imagine scuba diving in the warm climate of the Red Sea with high visibility and low currents. The best part about scuba diving in Eilat is that it's super easy to do, particularly since marine biologists have made sure that the underwater environment is immaculate.
Not only that, but Eilat is also scattered with gorgeous coral, fish, and eels. Besides this, there's an abundance of ancient shipwrecks at this dive spot. The proof: Satil Ship Wreck.
Let's talk about Bonaire, an island in the Dutch Caribbean that has been a popular diving destination for many years. With permanent visibility of 100 feet and almost 90 dive spots, you'll never run out of undersea places to explore.
And it gets better too. Bonaire also boasts almost 470 different types of fish such as peacock flounders, reef squids, and seahorses!
More Pristine Diving Spots
Once you've got your travel accessories, gear, and equipment packed, you can't go wrong by scuba diving in the following places:
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Darwin Island, Galapagos
Admit it - who wouldn't want to hop on a flight and land in Cairns, Australia? For scuba diving fanatics, exploring the Great Barrier Reef is at the top of their bucket list. To tell you the truth, Cairns is so much more than your traditional diving spot.
In fact, Cairns also offers divers excellent food, cafes, and hiking adventures to discover in the North Queensland area as well. Plus, extreme sports junkies will be happy to know that Cairns has hang gliding, white water rafting, and bungee jumping too. Not bad!
Moving on, Bora Bora, French Polynesia is one of the purest diving spots in the world. With a hidden diving destination located near a lagoon, we highly recommend that you visit the Tapu dive spot for shark watching. And I'm not just talking about your everyday dogfish shark either.
Instead, Bora Bora offers underwater explorers rare sightings of everything from gray sharks, lemon sharks, and blacktip reef sharks. If you want to know the real deal about Darwin Island, it has about 20 percent of unique marine animals in its waters that can't be found anywhere else.
If you're planning a diving trip in late summer to early fall, prepare to see sea turtles, sea lions, and hammerhead sharks in the ocean. Plus, it's not uncommon for penguins, eels, and sea iguanas to make an appearance too.
Despite the fact that scuba divers report strong ocean currents in this region, it's still a trendy place for those who want the whole "liveaboard" scuba experience.
Additional Must-Dive Destinations
If you're not afraid of overcoming jet lag, then you might want to pencil in these must-dive destinations on your scuba diving wishlist:
Koh Tao, Thailand
Ishigaki Island, Japan
Let's take a moment to talk about Koh Tao, Thailand. If you're a newbie to the scuba diving world, then this is going to be at the top of your list. The best part is that no matter where you are in the diving certification stages, you'll be sure to get your open water experience at this pristine destination.
In case you're wondering, Koh Tao is in the Gulf of Thailand near Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, where water adventures are bountiful. For those who aren't in the know, taking a quick shore dive in this area of the water is extraordinarily diverse in terms of its wildlife.
And if you want to take it to the next level, take a brief boat ride to view the legendary HTMS Sattakut Wreck, which was sunk on purpose to allow marine animals to live there. Now, let's talk about Ishigaki Island, Japan.
Known as one the best Japanese islands for scuba divers, Ishigaki Island is celebrated for its incredible amount of manta rays in its waters. But here's the kicker: if you want to explore Ishigaki Island in Japan, then you should know that you're only allowed to swim here from April to November each year.
If you're still up for a visit to Ishigaki Island, then you have to make sure to experience manta rays at Kabira Manta Points. For those who prefer cave diving, taking a scuba trip to Tulum, Mexico is literally a no-brainer as well.
Despite the fact that cave diving is significantly more risky than open water diving, it's truly worth it for advanced scuba divers. Don't miss Cenote Angelita!
Best Diving Spots Runner Ups
If you're dying to know our runner ups for the best diving spots around the globe, then we've got the ultimate scoop. When it comes down to it, there's no harm in adding these hot spots to your diving destination list as well:
Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia
The Yongala, Australia
If you've never heard of Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia, allow me to enlighten you. Covered by a great coral reef, this tropical destination has barracudas and sharks in its water. That means that you'll never have a dull moment when exploring Barracuda Point.
I can't emphasize this enough: beware of the intense currents that pass through this area. If you can stand it, then you'll be rewarded with sightings of jacks, grouper, turtles, and white tips. Plus, bumphead parrotfish are known to make appearances here too.
If I'm being totally honest with you, traveling to Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia is guaranteed to provide the wall dive experience that you've been looking for. Prepare to be surrounded by eagle rays, barracuda, and sharks in this exotic diving location.
Additionally, jacks, snappers, and Napoleon wrasse are notorious for swimming around Blue Corner Wall as well. Besides this, mantis shrimps, nudibranchs, and morays have made themselves a permanent fixture in this region.
This is crazy: the Yongala in Australia is actually an old shipwreck that lies near the Queensland coast. Of course, marine life lovers will fall in love with gorgeous views of tiger sharks, bull sharks, and turtles here. Don't forget about the octopuses, sea snakes, and manta rays that live underwater too.
For the uninformed, here's how the Yongala sank. Back in 1911, there was a hurricane that killed more than 100 people. Unaware of the rough waters, the Yongala sank deep into the seas of Australia!
Our Top Scuba Diving Tips
For starters, you'll want to make sure that you have your diving certifications taken care of. That's not all. You'll also have to bring your dive certification with you to show your instructor too.
But don't worry, as long as you're skilled enough to complete a particular dive, your diving operator shouldn't give you a hard time. Just remember to go to a legitimate dive operator before your trip to cover all of your bases. I also suggest that you take a couple of beginner diving classes before you hop into international waters as well.
Obviously, travel insurance is given for this type of underwater adventure sport. If you don't understand all the jargon on the insurance paperwork, take the time to have your insurer explain the fine print first.
It's also essential that you're in good enough shape to dive. Even if you feel like you're in great shape, you should still get a physical exam from your physician prior to any diving activity. Then, get ready to skip drinking during your diving trip to avoid dealing with hangovers or head colds underwater.
Finally, be sure to find a certified dive school on your vacation. To do so, figure out which international dive schools have the most glowing customer reviews from fellow scuba divers. Ask around for recommended scuba schools, boats, and equipment from friends who may have already traveled to a certain area!
Check Out the Best Scuba Diving Destinations!
If you want to check out the best scuba diving destinations but don't know where to begin, then we've got 12 of the hottest diving spots on the planet to explore.
From Anacapa Island, California and Eilat, Israel to Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean and Cairns, Australia, there are practically tons of exotic diving spots to check out in your lifetime. Although it's pretty hard to pick between them all, scheduling a trip to Bora Bora, French Polynesia or Darwin Island, Galapagos is a must-have for avid scuba divers.
And if you're anywhere near Koh Tao, Thailand, Ishigaki Island, Japan, or Tulum, Mexico, prepare to have a blast diving in unknown territories beneath the sea.
If you're looking to book a trip, check out our site to find the cheapest airline flights now!
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My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.