Our Top 8 Scuba Diving Hot Spots

by Emma Hackwood
Man scuba diving

We can’t help but get excited about all the amazing places to scuba dive around the world. So we’ve put together some of the top diving destinations around the world you need to experience for yourself to believe.  

If you haven’t been PADI certified yet, we hope this inspires you to put it on your bucket list for 2021! Ask our Travel Experts how you can add a scuba diving lesson into your next trip’s itinerary.  

1. Australia

Queensland Great Barrier Reef

One of the world’s top scuba diving areas is the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system – and the only such structure, made up of living organisms, that is visible from space.

The Great Barrier Reef is over 2,000km and has an endless array of marine life; 6 species of turtles, dolphins, whales, porpoises, dugongs, sharks, stingray, more than 400 species of soft and hard coral and over 1,500 species of fish. We recommend: a day trip from Cairns with 2 certified dives from $196/person or the Learn to Dive trip with Contiki Holidays.

2. Egypt

a scuba diver is surrounded by a school of bright orange fish

The Red Sea is a divers paradise with the warmest seas and calm waters that offer unsurpassed visibility. There are more than 1,000 species of invertebrates, over 200 species of soft and hard coral and 1,100 species of fish – some which can only be found in The Red Sea. The legendary dive area of Ras Mohammed is lined with interesting shipwreck sites. We recommend: This 10-Day Learn to Dive pkg with On the Go Tours.

3. Mexico

Mike Corey, scuba diving

The Yucatan’s Cenotes – world famous underwater caves – is a unique area that allows booth diving and snorkelling through the passageways with just an Open Water certification and doesn’t depend upon weather conditions so you can dive here year round.

Not far from the Cenotes is Playa del Carmen with lots of areas to dive with tropical fish, marine turtles and rays. We recommend: 2-tank Cave dive from $136/person.

4. Mozambique

whale shark

One of Africa’s last undiscovered underwater jewels; Mozambique offers pristine beaches and your chance to swim with Whale Sharks, Manta Rays (October to April) and Humpback Whales (June – October).

The idyllic Bazaruto archipelago, off the coast of the Inhambane province, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, consisting of four main islands that make up one of the most beautiful places on the continent. he islands offer a classic tropical getaway, with superb fishing, water sports, shaded beaches, surf, and a marine park offering outstanding diving and snorkelling opportunities.

5. Thailand

With its spectacular beaches, diverse activities and world-renowned hospitality, Thailand is truly every divers paradise. For those looking to get their scuba diving feet wet for the first time, Koh Tao is your best bet. What makes Koh Tao popular amongst the scuba diving crowd, aside from the cheap price, is the great visibility almost all year round (that is, how clear the water remains as you descend), warm water temperatures, and moderate to low currents.

There are a variety of dive sites for beginners, including Chumpon Pinnacle where whale sharks have been known to roam, and great eateries and bars where you can swap stories from the day’s adventures. For more information on this, be sure to check out our blog post about Learning to Scuba Dive in Koh Tao, Thailand.

6. The Maldives 

a small school of purple fish swim into a stream of light as a nearby scuba diver watches

Whether you’re setting aside a single day of your vacation to enjoy a quick scuba diving trip or hopping aboard a Liveaboard to squeeze every drop of diving from your time in the Maldives, it’ll be worth the trip.  

The Maldivian atolls are overflowing with wildlife including hammerhead sharks, manta rays, tuna, butterflyfish, sweetlips, potato groupers, and more. In between dives, sit back and enjoy the gorgeous views above the waves, too.  

(Get more details about scuba diving in the Maldives from our expert tips here!) 

7. Bali 

a few parrotfish swim beside a coral reef in bali

For an in-depth guide to scuba diving in Bali, check out this blogFor now, here’s a quick snapshot of why Bali’s one of the world’s best scuba diving hot spots.  

  • It’s part of the Coral Triangle, home to 76% of all known marine species.  
  • The water conditions are usually pristinely clear – many popular dive sites can be enjoyed just with some snorkelling gear! 
  • Beginner scuba divers will really enjoy the coral reefs in Menjangan Islands 
  • You can spot manta rays, clownfish, octopi, and shipwrecks 

8. Hawai 

a sea turtle swims above a coral reef in hawaii

Aloha, Hawai’i! Whether you’re travelling to O’ahu, Maui, Lana’IMoloka’IKaua’I, or Hawai’I island, you’ve found the perfect place for scuba diving. Off the shores of Hawai’i’s islands, you can spot white tip reef sharks, manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins, whale sharks, and green sea turtles 

Even without the bountiful sea life, the underwater world is worth experiencing thanks to eery underwater lava formations, caverns, and shipwrecks. We recommend planning your scuba diving trip to Hawai’i between December and March for the best variety of underwater life.  

Looking to plan your next diving adventure? 


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