Best Places to Go Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving is one of the best activities to do when you are on a nice tropical island. Under the sea, down where it’s wetter, you’ll find coral reefs teeming with life, Nemo’s cousins, lots of fish, plants, and beautiful colors. Whether you are looking to start or looking for new places to go, here’s a list of some of the best places to go diving in the world:

The Blue Hole

The Blue Hole Scuba Diving
The Blue Hole in Belize is one of the most famous dive sites in the world. This site was made famous by Jacques Cousteau who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. You can dive in crystal clear water and see several types of reef sharks as well as the bull shark and hammerheads.

Learn more about traveling to Belize and diving the blue hole.


Thailand Scuba Diving
Thailand has a number of famous dive sites: Phuket, Ko Tao, Similan Islands, and the Surin Islands. In fact, you can pretty much dive anywhere in the country, though the best diving is near Ko Tao and up near the Similans. Moreover, Ko Tao is a cheap place to learn to scuba dive. There’s a plethora of places here and something for both beginners and experts. Just watch out because some of the places are very touristy and the fish aren’t as in abundance as they used to be.

Learn more about traveling to Thailand and diving these excellent sites.

Gili Islands

Gili Islands Indonesia Scuba Diving
The Gilis in Indonesia is the new hot spot, with people flocking here in ever increasing numbers. With good reason- the reefs and waters here provide some amazing visual sights. The islands are surrounded by a great reef system that is better preserved than others in the area. And with the island cheaper than its neighbor, Bali, there is even more reason to come here.

Learn more about traveling and diving to the Gili Islands.


Sipadan Malaysia Scuba Diving
Located in Malaysia, Sipadan is possibly one of the best five dive sites in the world. The place is teeming with life. You will see turtles, cave systems, sharks, dolphins, schools of fish, bright coral, bright fish, and everything in between in such sheer volume, your head will explode. It was my favorite place in Southeast Asia.

Learn more about traveling and diving Malaysia.

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef Scuba Diving
The Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction. Everyone knows about it. Located off Australia, the world’s longest reef has all the tropical sea life and coral you could ever imagine. No visit to the country is complete without a visit to the reef. Diving the great barrier reef was one of the best things I ever did, despite the fact a fish pooped in front of me.

Learn more about traveling and diving Australia.


Hawaii Scuba Diving
Hawaii has some great scuba diving. The islands are ringed with reefs and wildlife. It’s pretty hard to come to Hawaii and not dive. There’s just so much going on under the water here that you shouldn’t miss. The area north of the islands was just made into the largest marine reserve in the United States, ensuring great diving for years to come in an even larger area of the ocean.

Learn more about traveling and diving Hawaii with my guide.


Micronesia Scuba Diving
Tropical islands as beautiful as Micronesia always have one thing in common: they are encircled by vibrant coral reefs. Sites like the Blue Wall make Micronesia one of the top destinations in the South Pacific. It’s out of the way, inexpensive, and pristine. What more could you really want?


Boracay Scuba Diving
Located in the Philippines, this tropical paradise is also diving paradise. You’ll find all the usual suspects here, as well as abundant reef systems. It’s the most popular place to dive in the Philippines and with good reason. When you are done swimming below the sea, you can enjoy the beaches above the water.

Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha Scuba Diving
This off the beaten path place is in Brazil, though in recent years Fernando de Noronha has grown in popularity. Here you will find lots of life among the blue waters that circle these islands. You’ll be able to swim with turtles, dolphins, and much more. This is one of the best dive sites in South America and one of my favorite in the world. Plus, the islands are only allowed a limited number of visitors so you won’t be sharing this paradise with lots of other people.

Learn more about traveling to and diving these islands with my guide to Brazil.

Egyptian Red Sea

Red Sea Scuba Diving
The Red Sea, with its clear turquoise blue water, has some excellent dive sites. The best of the reefs are absolutely stunning with a real diversity of life. From Sharm El Sheikh to the wrecks at Sha’ab Abu Nuhas to the Thistlegorm and Ras Mohammed, you’ll find excellent diving all over the Red Sea.

So whether you are a beginner or an expert, make sure you visit these dive sites for some excellent scuba diving. They will take your breath away.

P.S. – Want some more islands to dive around? Here are some of my favorite tropical islands in the world.

  1. Having just gotten my open-water certification, and ready to give up the life of “ski-bum” in favor of “beach bum”, this list is sure to come in handy. Thanks!

  2. Ooh, now I have some new places to add to my to-dive list! So far, I’ve only done the Bahamas (which is totally underrated when it comes to diving…the Abacos, for one, are STUNNING, and Andros, too, is supposed to have amazing marine life and the second blue hole to Belize’s), Roatan (only eh), Great Barrier Reef, Dominican Republic, Maldives (which SHOULD go on your list).

    Where have you dived in Hawaii? And have you ever done Cook Islands? That’s up next for me next month.

    • Dee King

      @Camels & Chocolate – hey, done the Cooks, check out Dive Rarotonga while you’re there, and say hi from me LOL super keen to go back asap… just waitin’ on the cash… you might see sharks, if you’re lucky… boy are they scaredy cats… except big ones, never seen one, not sure I want to? LoL really wanted to see a Hammerhead, apparently they can get them around there, but generally too big to go throught the reef. Muri Lagoon average snorkelling, very average I gather by international standards. And true, why aren’t the Maldives – and the Turks and Caicos not on the list? If you make it down to NZ, strongly recommend the Poor Knights Islands. On Cousteau’s list, apparently. Deservedly! Take care, have fun!

    • Tajuana Ewing

      Turks and Caicos have beautiful weather, people and the beaches are absolutely gorgeous. The diving is great as well. This Island is becoming a hot spot for wedding destinations and diving. All 5 Star Hotels on the award winning Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Search it on the net.

  3. Another place, is Akumal, about 2 hours south of Cancun. It’s where Cousteau discovered sleeping sharks. It was a beautiful place, where the ocean was on one side, and the jungle on the other.

  4. Fantastic post! I’m going SCUBA diving on the Great Barrier Reef in April on my honeymoon. You don’t mention where on the reef you think is best. I’ve heard Lizard Island is amazing, but we are going to Heron and Wilson Islands – hopefully that will be wonderful too.

    I’m surprised you don’t mention the wrecks in the South Pacific – Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, for example.

    And I’ve heard that Papua New Guinea is pretty much the ultimate for diving, on the north coast near Medan.

  5. I actually think the Great Barrier Reef is a bit over-rated these days especially with the amount of die back. I prefer the reef off Western Australia – at Exmouth. The reef is within reach of the beach and the water is very clear – and there are hardly any people there

  6. I’d probably add French Polynesia. I loved diving in Bora Bora and Moorea. Awesome coral life and big animals. Diving with mantas on Bora Bora has been one of the best experiences.

    Living in Chicago, I’m also very fond of the shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes.

  7. Matt – a great list indeed – some places to add to my ‘must go’ list. Out of all of these I am ashamed to say I have only visited one – the Red Sea.
    I would also like to recommend diving near Zanzibar – you can dive from the north of the island but if you go a little further and get a boat to Pemba it gets even better.

  8. These photos are amazing. I’ll have to take your word for the quality of scuba – I’m terrified.

    However, snorkeling I can do. Would love to see a top 10 list for snorkeling too!

  9. Maldives Islands is seen by many scuba diving lovers as one of the best diving locations in the world.

    Ellaidhoo Reef and Fesdhu Wreck in the Maldives are rated as top class diving spots where divers will be treated for reef fishes, jacks, eels and Groupers..just to name a few.

    To appreciate what Maldives has to offer for Scuba Diving enthusiasts, one has to see the true beauty of these locations.

  10. as mentioined before, Wreck diving in Solomon Islands is a great plan too! Great Barrier Reef is probably a bit expensive to go diving, the west coast of australia has some nice diving sites too and is a lot less touristy.

  11. NomadicMatt

    Ahh, so many great places. I know Hondorus, the west of Australia (whale sharks!), Bora Bora, and more are all great. I only wanted to pick ten but lets be real- there are way more than 10 great diving sites in the world!

    Thank you all for your recommendations and lovely comments!

  12. Jim Paredes

    Boracay is not deserving to be on your list. It is a great vacation place but the diving is lousy. YOu have to dive to 90 feet before you see a wall or anuthing interesting.

    There are far more interesting places in the Philippines to dive such as Tubataha Reef which is a candidate to be a World Heritage site. It’s a live aboard experience, and many divers will say it is better than anything in Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia.

    You can also go to Anilao or Bohol.

  13. Your picks are right on! I love Boracay in the Philippines. Sadly, the island had become over commercialized…but the Boracay I remember is the laid back enclave of the 80’s and early 90’s (where there were only 2 clubs, a few restaurants on the beach, and maybe 3-4 beach hut hotels. I heard that nowadays, semi high rise hotels/resorts are lined side by side with clubs, themed eateries, spas, etc.

  14. Dante

    Thanks for the photos – but when it comes to dive sites, it’s like talking about your favorite food: Everyone has a different “hot spot”.
    Tubataha in the Philippines is definitely a great spot – if the Taiwanese fishingboats didn’t take out all of the grouper.
    If you can afford it: PNG (Papua New Guinea) offers the most fascinating spots I’ve ever seen (and I have been to almost every country between Singapore and Micronesia). Commercial dive operations are costly but if you have the chance to go on your own sailboat, you can go further then they can. We found a reef between two uninhabited islands – the top about 15 ft deep, where fish still wascurious and came to check you out. We anchored in 140ft deep water where you could see the bottom and I had to abandon the anchor dive because the sharks were too big an curious.
    PNG is tiger shark country, so keep your eyes open and play it safe. Because it is out of the way for the big fishing fleets, there is still an abundant fish and coral life to find.
    And the country and people are just wild.
    Go before it’s gone….

    Mi laik i go long Papua Nuigini

    • Evelyn

      Did Sabah off St Martin – Magnificent. Sipidan tops, Also done Hawaii, Red Sea, Thailand , South Africa , Florida . Looking for best dive sites for August/September this year. Any suggestions for these months? great blog!

  15. Cameron

    I love the ideas but I really do think that Bonaire of the Netherland Antillies should be up there. Cozumel is beautiful as well.

    • Bonaire is gotta be up there as well, the entire island is based around diving. If you stayed near the water (which is everywhere) you can literally walk from into the ocean from the boardwalk and you’ll be at the wall in 20ft. Our boat was anchored there for several weeks and you’ll see the guys diving right under you, the water was so pristine. Also alot of turtles makes it fun just to free dive as well!

  16. Wakatobi is by far the most amazing diving in the world. I have been all over the world diving -including most of the places listed above and the diving at Wakatobi is pristine!

  17. muzz

    Right on Dante.

    Sadly too many of these beautiful places are degraded as humans over exploit this precious resource.

    Some places are dying and many of the neighbouring sites have “died” some years ago.Tragic.

    Greed and self interest about amongst the beauty

  18. coach sydney

    Diving is great hobby! This is an interesting site with all kinds of interesting pictures. You will find you can really spend time here.

  19. This is an interesting activity with all kinds of interesting places. You will find you can really spend time there especially the blue hole.

  20. Ritchie M.

    There are many diving sites in the Philippine Islands that are spectacular full of fishes and corals. The Palawan Islands in the Philippines have the best diving sites. Tubbataha is also one of the best in the world. Boracay Island is a good pick as well. It is also one of the best beaches in the world, so it has a lot to offer.

  21. Joe

    Great Barrier Reef
    Port Douglas is about 100% touristy. Boy were you trapped. Not cheaper than Cairns though I recommend many other places, not the only two options. Stay in the rainforest is the best way to enjoy the area as it supposed to be nature tourism though tourists seem to forget this and want resorts all over and this destroys our home.

    The Great Barrier Reef is not dying travel over 30! Why do people make these things up.! They sustain some damage, as does every reef, on occasion from storm, coral bleaching etc but these events have been more recent on the Western Australian reefs. They recover. The reason it is a World Heritage site is due it’s pristine condition and lack of substantial population centres onshore.

    For serious diving in the Great Barrier reef beware many operators cater to intro dive market and this is the tourist trap one must avoid. The best way to experience the reef on day trips is to snorkel. For divers you need to head to the ribbon reefs, cod hole, northern reefs and coral sea reefs like Osprey. This requires a liveabaord and some $$. The next best option is at the outer barrier reefs trips conducted by dive operators. Some are bad so reef research required.

    When done you can venture to the outback close by and see the caves at Chillagoe which are coral reefs from 400 million years ago. They found the fossilised remains of the megafauna Giant Killer Kangaroo there. You can white water raft down the North Johnstone River where access to start point is by helicopter it is so pristine, no trails or track.

    Discover the Mission Beach parts away from the little township and feel a million miles away with the areas most stunning beach on your doorstep.

    So next time prise yourself away from the tourist trap Port Douglas and have the journey of a lifetime. Plus then be qualified to say where to avoid the tourist.

  22. Sally

    I’ve looked at a couple of “top ten” diving lists on the internet, and the Blue Hole was number one on all the lists. So is it really the best place to go diving or more of a personal preference? So far the only place i’ve had the chance to go, is Maui, which I know compared to some of these places, is minor, but it was really beautiful! Also does anyone know of any good places to go close to the US?

  23. Hi Matt,
    never easy to make lists, because it is impossible not to be influenced by personal experiences and tastes. However, as a long time diver I do not completely agree with ur list.

    Fernando de Norhona is nice, but I wouldn’t consider it one of the best places
    Blue Hole in Belize is unique, but the other spots are not at the same level

    Among the best diving places I would personally suggest to add:
    – Sudan (even better than many spots in Egyptian Red Sea)
    – Indonesia: Bunaken Marine Park, Komodo
    – Ecuador, Cocos Island: for thrilling dives with schools of hammerheads
    – French Polynesia, Bora Bora
    – Mexican Cenotes
    – PNG


  24. Hi Matt,

    Am surprise to find Gili island on your list. You are right that Gili cheaper than Bali, but as for the dive sites, Bali is more more beautiful than Gili. If you’re looking for the clear viz + rich marine lifes, I agree with Waitinginthedark to dive in Bunaken or Komodo. As for now, my fav dive sites in Indonesia are Komodo and Raja Ampat. Wakatobi still in my wishlist.

    Btw, am a diver and live in Indonesia.


  25. sara

    really,, all picture is a wonderfull and amazing and sonder the redsee in the egypt all place is ahavenice fishes and alot of color in hurghada,, sharmelshakh ,,taba,,dahab,,marsaalam and newaiba

  26. Awesome photos and list!

    Sadly I’ve only done the Great Barrier Reef from the list, so plenty of catching up to do lol

    Of course living in Malta allows me to have access to some of the best diving sites in Europe though :)



  27. Scuba diving is my passion too! I’ve been to the Blue Hole with a friend of mine, it has been an incredible experience. As Marica said, there are some nice sites in Malta too, but I’m addicted to travelling hehe


  28. Bill Sims

    To leave off the “Bloody Wall” in the Cayman Islands smacks of global parochialism. A dive master that I knew from Austrialia told me that the Great Barrier Reef was over-rated and that to get to the best spots was a real hassle. I’ve since heard the same from several who have made the trip.

  29. Teri

    As a beginner scuba diver I’ll have to admit. Diving in the Atlanta Aquarium was the best place so far! We just came back and scuba dived with 4 whale sharks, manta rays, hammerheads, groupers, jacks, sand sharks, tiger sharks, and 1000s of other things bigger than us! It was much cooler then our Belize and Costa Rican dives by far! And may I suggest spending the night in the aquarium for a cool experience too!?

    • Sandy

      I am sure diving in the aquarium was an amazing experience for you with all the marine life. I would have to argue though that they were not in their natural habitat. It is not the same!

  30. Claire

    Belize is extreme, it’s a must see, recently i also went to Tayrona park and Taganga in the coast of Colombia, it was amazing. The water is crystal clear and you dont have to go to far to see great things. Lobsters, moray eel,mantaray, dolphins if you are lucky and lots of other colorful fish. Also it is very cheap, the equipement is not very sophistcated but for the price is good. I will say is a nice place for those budget divers. Also very safe!

  31. Monika

    My husband and I are going on a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise where we stop at St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and the Bahamas but I don’t want to dive at all 3. Does anyone have any recommendations on which place is beter than the others?

    French Polynesia is definitely the best place that I’ve been diving so far.

  32. Bita Cattelan

    How does Maui compare with Turks and Caicos for diving?
    I am a beginner and am planning a trip this March.I ahve an option to goto Maui or to Turks and Caicos.
    Which do you recommend?

  33. The Gili Islands are one of the sadest places I have ever dived (Gili T anyway, maybe the others are better). The dynamite fishing there is so extreme it looks like an A-bomb went off underwater and the coral is piled so high on the beach on the west end of town it looks like a snow plow put it there. HIGHLY over rated.
    Sipidan is definitely off the charts beautiful and is my number one pick. Book ahead!

  34. Hi, has anyone here tried diving Karimunjawa in Indonesia ?
    I hear its a fantastic unspoiled reef better than Gilli Islands but can not find much information on it yet.

  35. anthony

    Hi All,

    Planning to go for a beginners scuba dive course somewhere in the Great Barrier Reefs but don’t know where to go. Any tips or recommendation to location or the company to go with will be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for any suggestion.

  36. Kate

    Where is Cozumel? Coz has some of the best diving in the world with 150’+ viz, spectacular underwater walls and swimthroughs and plenty of marine life. I don’t see how you can include Hawaii but leave out Cozumel.

  37. YES! i think Philippines is one of the best diving sites in the world here you can see different kinds of corals and sea animals :) i would like to invite you guys to dive here in the Philippines you can experience different kinds of marine life here the fishes corals and many more big and small marine creatures and their full of colors we have great diving sites here hope you can visit soon thank you and have fun diving :)

  38. Wow, I didn’t know Boracay is a good place for diving. I never really had such experience but I tried snorkeling there 2 years ago and I didn’t see much of an abundant wildlife..well, I think I might be also scared if I stumble upon a very surprising sea creature haha. Anyway, I think Palau should be considered one of the grandest dive sites especially in the Pacific. Its beauty is just awesomeness!!

  39. Brad

    You gotta go to rainbow reef in Fiji!! Best diving in the whole world. If you go, dive Great White Wall (no white sharks sorry…). Just be sure to check when the Fijian summer is, don’t go in the winter like I did because the sky was overcast every day except the day we got there and the day we left.

  40. James

    I am a junior and have only just got my certificate and can now go down to 12 metres. where would be the best place to go?

  41. Morck

    Where is Sudan on this list? Northern Red Sea now SPOILT by too many bad divers kicking ever piece if reef to pieces… go further south and it gets better and better…the best is sudan! Unspoilt reef, fish completely unafraid of divers and displaying natural mating behaviour in front of your buddy was hit on by a displaying parot fish..National Geographic could film nothing better..and the shark action….well, night diving with 30+ curious silky shark for one, not to mention the odd tiger! and the very fat, rather ominous greys sneaking up fro mbehind..and did I metnion the schooling hammer heads??…go there before it gets rammed by the masses..oh, and there is also Umbria, better the n Thistlegorm by far for wreckies… do a deep south trip and you go all the way to the Erithrean border lands, see no boats for weeks and when finding a new reef on the boatradar, might just decide to jump in to ‘see what’s there’..i even have my name on one habili!!

  42. elmer

    Boracay is a good diving site but the best diving site in the Philippines is Verde Island Passage south of Manila. It has been described as the “centre of the centre” of the world’s marine biodiversity in a joint study by America’s Smithsonian Institute.

    The Verde Island passage has been found to have 1,736 overlapping marine species in a 10-km by 10-km area, the largest concentration of marine life in the world.

    The site with the second greatest number of species is in Palau Bintan in Indonesia, which has 1,670 species in a 10 by 10 km area.

  43. Jip

    I went to Fernando de Noronha a couple years ago when i used to live in Brasil ( I didnt go diving, sadly). It was beautliful! We went to this special little cove that was completly deserted and you can only reach via a special route. We went snorkelling there and saw a endangered species of sea turtle, forgot the name. We sat down on the beach and we could see the fish swimming through the waves, it was amazing. You can do diving from a very early age, 7 at the hotel we stayed, I wasnt allowed but wish I had been. Something you can do that is very cool is you go on a boat (with snorkelling things) and there are ropes attached to the boat with little boards on them. Everyone takes turns and you hold on to the planks and you can push them and be able to dive up to a certain amout of meters. Again we saw turltes, dolfins and many other sea creatures! It was an amazing experience! I think that Fernando de Noronha definetly deserves a place on this list! :) J

  44. Stuart C

    Asking where the best diving is a bit like asking what is the best song or movie of all time!

    From my experience
    GBR overall 7/10
    GBR Northern Reefs 8.5/10
    Coral Sea (Aust)8/10
    Cod Hole (Aust)7/10
    Yongala Wreck (Aust)8.5/10
    Red Sea 6/10
    Maldives 8.5/10
    Komodo 8/10
    Thaiand not worth rating!
    Palau 8/10
    Yap 7/10
    Ningaloo Reef 8.5/10

    My winner is Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea at 9.5/10 It has it all and is off the commercial fishing map. The pinncales and deserted reefs are truelly alive and you would see any other divers other than in your group. Loster for lunch deivered by lap lap wearing native in a dugout canoes is just a bonus EVERY lunchtime.

    And for a cooler water location (21-25 deg Ce)the diving of the mid north coast of New South ales in Australia is the world’s best kept secret. Dont beieve me I hear you say. Look up Fish Rock Cave on the web. Largest underwater cave in the southern hemisphere and protected shark habitate as well. Cave has heaps of crayfish and resident massive bull rays. I dived there 18 months ago and dropped into school of 40 hammerheads, then lost count at 84 grey nurse sharks in the first gutter, second gutter 30 or some more. Shark proximity to divers is as close as 0.5mts as they cruise by. Fish Rock Cave truely rocks. For the record I have nothing to do with any dive operation there or anywhere.

    Off to the Sorocco Islands off Baja soon. I hope it is as good as they say.
    Your in the blue,

  45. stella

    Oh!! beautiful!!!

    Did you go to that ?

    I have some problem to you (I’m korean so i can’t write English well, sorry )

  46. Jackerzz

    I think all these are brilliant, can i also say that christmas island looks great and i am saving up to go there soon

  47. Hi People
    Great list of places but we are going to argue forever about a top 10
    For me any dive is a good dive but some are just better.
    Have dived Ningaloo West Australia and the navy pier is hard to beat.
    Will be diving Bali and Gillee islands over new year 2010/2011.


  48. Apriil Sharp

    Hi, I am interested in diving in all these places but the only problem is, do I need a diving certificate? And also. With all these places which are the airports to get off at and where is the best places to stay?
    Please let me know by my email thank you.

  49. Juan

    Palau was amazing and Bali had good diving. Went scuba diving in the Gilli Islands and all the coral was dead and everyone tried to sell me drugs at every corner. The diving was very disappointing.

  50. Ricardo G.

    Muitas palavras bonitas… mas pare de tirar a camisa para mergulhar e vista uma para que este paraiso, chamado TERRA, continue a existir… A catastrofe de hoje no Japão, a primeira que realmente mostrou o que até então só os filmes de ficção mostravam : Uma onda gigante varrendo o mundo… Alerta pessoas. Quantos países estiveram alertas hoje ? quantas pessoas morreram ? E essa fauna que vive nos mares ? Os poucos que ainda sobrevivem. Tambem morreram hoje ? O que veremos amanhã ? Corpos deteriorando no buraco azul ? por falta de um ecosistema para devorá-los ? Por favor… vamos abrir nossos olhos ou vamos juntar dinheiro de uma vida para comprar um lugar na nave fugitiva da realidade, que está apenas nas nossas cabeças egoístas e que nos levará a morte? Obrigado e desculpem o desabafo, mas minha primeira reação ao ver as notícias na tv, foi chorar. ” – tradução em inglês

  51. Mohammed Abdul Kareem

    I think we have in world someny place one i like only 1 bule belize in india we have someny place

  52. Shivani

    Thank you so much ! I had a project on scuba diving and this came in really handy for the top ten Scuba diving locations in the world.! :)


  53. Julien

    Thanks Matt for this interesting Post. I have been diving for 2 years around Asia and for me the best dive sites are Sipadan Island in Malaysia, Komodo Island, Layang Layang alos in malaysia and Similan Islands in Thailand. There is page I like about the best dive sites in the wolrd:

    Have a good day and Keep Posting!

  54. Zati Orquina

    I want to invite all divers to visit Surigao City, Philippines. Not that popular but I can assure everyone, that you can see a lot here. I was able to dive in Sta. Catalina, California way too far in comparison. I don’t mean to be rude, I’m just telling the truth.
    We are on on facebook Surigao Dive club,there’s a lot of photos there and see for yourself.
    Place is pretty laidback, its very cheap to dive and people are very hospitable. Look for Mr. Jake Miranda just in case you need assistance, he is the man.

  55. Zati Orquina

    I want to invite all divers to visit Surigao City, Philippines. Not that popular but I can
    assure everyone that you can see a lot here. I was able to dive in Sta. Catalina,
    California way too far in comparison.I dont mean to be rude, I’m just telling the truth.
    We are on facebook Surigao Dive Club, there’s a lot of pictures there and see for yourself.
    Place is pretty laidback, it’s very cheap to dive and people are very hospitable. Look for Mr. Jake Miranda just in case you need assistance, he is the man.

  56. Calum Boseley

    I would like to suggest Mozambique. You can swim with th whale sharks, turtles and there is so many things to see. The scuba diving there is world class. Also, Honduras is fantastic!!!

  57. Jared

    Cenotes in the Mayan Riviera is the best diving I have ever done. Cenotos are under ground fresh water caves and caverns. Look up DOS OJOS CENOTE its about 45 min drive from Playa del carmen. 100 meters+ visibility!

    • Noel

      many fabulous places listed and i will for sure keep in mind……but there’s been a few questions about where to go for either intro diving/junior level diving/non-international travel diving. Surely theres input on good diving sites in US? How about the whole pacific coastline! Warmer in San Diego yearround, but the dive sites in Puget Sound (home to giant octopi) as far north as the state of Washington attract divers. A flight to Hawaii costs less than one to Australia, yet theres beaucoup diving with everything from mantas, reef sharks, many types of eels and dolphin pods……. to great variety of corals and nudibranchs……….all within the limits for an intro divers or a teenager. I recommend Kona over the more commercialized Waikiki area- but there is a beautiful preserve near Waikiki for snorkeling between dives and safe surfboarding for beginners as well.
      Kona has an awesome night dive for an upclose and personal visit with huge Manta rays. Am told that Maui also gets the Mantas. Another note about Hawaii………dive operators DO off introductory dives to those who have never dived before. I know of at leaast one operator in Waikiki who took me and my snorkelling family on an introductory dive to a max of 40 feet with no scuba experience. We have our advanced open water now, and realize how dangerous that sort of diving can be, however we otherwise never would have invested the time and money to get the Open Water training after that…..we fell in love with scuba.
      Also, if you really want to get scuba experience before spending big bucks to travel halfway around the world, look for a local diving shop or club and learn the basics in a freshwater lake near you. It may be colder and the fish may be less purty, but you’ll find out whether its really for you.

  58. Pieter

    The Gili Islands are spoilt by dynamite fishing and very disappointing
    Those are absolutely NOT top 10 material

    Top 10 material instead Cocos Island (Costa Rica), Sudan (mentioned earlier) and for sure Mozambique

  59. Mmm..if you’d dived in the Philippines, you’d know Boracay shouldn’t be here. There are a number of other dive sites that are better, like Tubattaha, Apo Reef, or even Puerto Galera.

  60. There’s more dive site in the Philippines…..if you want to see Little Boracay, Malapascua is the place for you……a peaceful and beautiful island, perfect for dive site also….come and see!!!

  61. Selena Gomez

    Diving seems like a cool thing to do! Maybe I should just go diving for once and see what it is like.

  62. never gone diving but having lived in the Philippines for 3 years, I would say El Nido, Palawan and Moalboal, Cebu is a great place. I’m still biased against Boracay because of how big of a tourist trap it is 😛

  63. This is great. I’m going to Thailand in April and need to figure out where I want to go diving. I’m stoked! Never heard of Fernando de Noronha, but it looks amazing.

  64. Heidi

    I just did my open water and advanced at Dahab in Egypt. It was absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to visit all these other places to dive now! I guess being Australian it’s embarrassing that I haven’t actually been to the reef – I really must do that when I get back.

  65. Greg

    You wrote about Thailand, the Gili’s and Sipadan but didn’t say a word about Komodo National Park, Sulawesi Strait’s and Raja Ampat (to name a few)?! wow.. Sorry but this can’t be the best diving in the world without mentioning these, I strongly disagree of your choices, having dived in many of them..

  66. I love all these scuba destinations are just so picturesque. I’m not really a big diver, or even a diver at all. I’d still love to see these places though!

  67. Thanks for compiling this awesome list! these are many places on my to do list!
    We really wanted to see amazing coral and sea life when we were in Thailand and did tours to Phi Phi and a few others and were pretty dissapointed with it. Most of the coral we saw was still badly damaged from the 2004 Thailand tsunami. We were told it would take 20-30 years maybe longer to grow back to what it used to be

  68. Hi Matt, thanks for listing Gili Islands as one of the best spots for scuba diving. But, Indonesia has many beautiful places for scuba diving, not only Gili Islands but also Raja Ampat (Papua), Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi), Bunaken (North Sulawesi) and many more.

  69. Philippines has so many hidden paradises, and though Boracay is known to be very popular and we’ve heard of it so many time, there are still so much to know more about this beautiful island. It is good to hear that for you Boracay, with its glimmering white-sand beaches and azure water, can still boast as a dive spot with the abundance of its marine life, which is unbeknownst to many. Thanks for appreciating the country! Hope you can visit us soon! :)

  70. Interesting posts. certainly for me is Gili Island and Bali. Therefore in my country. I am very interested in scuba diving activities. how to train without having to go to the spot of scuba diving? maybe you could provide a good clue. nice post. thanks.

  71. Mike

    I’ve been to dive spots from Pacific to Red Sea and never really went to the same place twice until now. I recently just got back from the island of Palau for the second time. Palau is just breathtaking, from diving world’s best spots, view of hundreds of smaller rock island and its clear water, swimming in jellyfish lake to swimming and touching dolphins between rock islands. I got so hooked that i am now surfing on internet looking for good spots close by until I save up to go back again. Fyi…jellyfish lake has thousands of jellyfish strapped in it for a longtime and had lost their ability to sting so u can pretty much swim between them. Took a minute to get used to but ended up as one of the best experience. If you like diving, you’ll love diving there.

  72. Kate

    FFS Matt. If you knew anything about wildlife or diving, you wouldn’t be manhandling wild animals like you are in that octopus photo. I suppose you think that getting a good Facebook profile picture is more important than respecting and preserving the beautiful places that you’re lucky enough to go to. Even if that’s not you in the picture, you should know better than to promote that kind of behaviour by including the picture on your blog. Shame on you.

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