Top 10 diving locations in the world
Whether you’re a seasoned recreational diver or just starting to get your toes wet, there’s an underwater paradise of colourful coral gardens, cavernous sea caves, technicolour aquatic life and some fearsome fish around the world - just waiting for you to take the plunge. From budget-friendly dive spots across the Caribbean to World War II wrecks in the South Pacific, here’s our pick of the top 10 diving locations in the world.
1. The Red Sea, Egypt
The desert backdrop of Egypt gives way to sandy beaches and spectacular reefs. Head to Ras Mohammed National Park in the Sinai Peninsula for an array of fish, steep coral walls, underwater caves and the wreckage of the SS Thistlegorm. Visit Anemone City on the way to Shark Reef to see a seabed covered with anemones and schools of vibrantly coloured fish.
2. Sipadan Island, Malaysian Borneo
Barracuda Point is the most impressive dive on this tiny volcanic island in Malaysia. Sizeable schools of fish, sharks and green turtles can be easily spotted, but the highlight is watching the silver vortex of barracuda. Hold on to your visors and don’t be afraid of their fierce-looking teeth.
3. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Manta rays, tropical waters and no crowds make the less-explored cousin of the Great Barrier Reef the place to be. Head to Coral Bay to swim with whale sharks, but if humpback whales are your thing, check out their migration from June to October.
4. Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
This Vanuatu island hosts the SS President Coolidge, one of the largest and most accessible wrecks for divers. Sunk during World War II, the ship provides an artificial reef for countless marine species. The site is relatively shallow allowing access to both novice and professional divers.
5. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Take a break from all the festas and explore the luxuriously warm waters of this archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil. Its eco-tourism status is ensured with only around 400 tourists allowed on the islands at any given time. Thanks to the Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park, the coast here is well preserved and the rocky floor showcases the incredible variety of marine life.
6. The Great Blue Hole, Belize
This 124 metre-deep sinkhole off the coast of Belize has become a dive-before-you-die site, as declared by renowned ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau himself. Peculiar stalactites and limestone formations will accompany you on your descent.
7. Gili Islands, Indonesia
Within the idyllic Gili Islands in the Bali Sea, Hidden Reef boasts vibrant coral in pristine condition. For a bit of a rush, Shark Point is unbeatable. You’re bound to find reef sharks, turtles, manta rays and maybe even an octopus. Can you work those flippers? Then the WWII Japanese patrol boat wreck site is for you.
8. Similian Islands, Thailand
You will hardly believe that you’re only 84 kilometres away from party-central Phuket. These nine islands in the Andaman Sea are framed with white sandy beaches, clear water with temps of 28 degrees Celsius, and offer diverse diving experiences. Time your visit well because this national park is closed from 15 May to 1 November.
9. Roatan, Honduras
The biggest of the Bay Islands, Roatan has a well-lit shallow shore that makes its best dives easily accessible. Warm weather and great visibility all year round will allow you to see vibrant coral, sea turtles and multicoloured tropical fish.
10. Corn Islands, Nicaragua
With unspoiled reefs, excellent year-round weather and diverse dive sites, the Corn Islands are well worth a visit. The biodiversity here is amazing – both in and out of the water. Be sure to try the local lobster or go to the Blowing Rock coral formation and catch one yourself.
More like this
Unusual destinations to tick off in 2016
The most difficult path is the most rewarding. For the intrepid traveller, there is no greater thrill than having the chance to explore a destination seemingly untouched by tourism. Or at least people in your social circle.
Summer music festivals fit for a holiday
Why hold a festival in the middle of the desert? As I applied more sun cream, a teenager was hauled from a crowd being doused with water nearby. Despite the 40-degree heat, those around him were euphoric, arms raised in the fine layer of cooling spray, all eyes on the stage: swaying, singing.