Venturing beneath the surface of the sea grants us access to an entirely different world. Scuba diving offers an exciting way to explore rich and diverse waters when traveling. At the sites with the best scuba diving in the world, you’ll discover enchanting marine life, mystical shipwrecks, exciting caves, colorful coral reefs, and incredible underwater landscapes.
Whether you’re a beginner scuba diver or a seasoned professional, there’s a diving spot for every interest and ability level around our amazing planet. From the warm waters of the Caribbean to the glass-clear underwater chasm between two tectonic plates in Iceland, these are some of the best diving spots in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Check off your scuba diving bucket list in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The world’s biggest coral reef system in the world is a diver’s haven unlike anywhere else. Underwater photography enthusiasts will enjoy incredible opportunities to capture marine life here.
The Agincourt Reef is a popular destination for divers near North Queensland’s coastal city of Port Douglas; there are more than 40 dive sites here. With so many locations, Agincourt is the perfect choice for any skill level, including novices trying their first open water lesson. Its location on the edge of the continental shelf combined with excellent conditions and visibility makes this reef a prime diving destination in Australia.
The offshore Ribbon Reef is a favorite and thrilling dive location, particularly Cod Hole, where you could encounter massive groupers. Spot reef sharks, barracudas, stingrays, several species of sea turtle, and even dolphins or whales as you explore dazzling underwater landscapes. When you visit the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find some of the best scuba diving in the world.
Konanda Wreck, Vila, Vanuatu
Uncover the magical underwater world in the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu where world-renowned diving awaits. The collection of approximately 80 islands offer fantastic scuba diving conditions. Wall, drift, and wreck dives provide the chance to observe sharks, manta rays, and vibrant corals.
The Konanda Wreck is one of the most famous dive locations for its visibility, and abundant sea life that has adapted to living around the remains of this old island freighter. The Konanda was damaged in a typhoon in the 1980s before purposely being sunk for use as an artificial reef. It rests on the sandy ocean floor some 85 feet beneath the surface and has been colonized by all manner of tropical fish.
The ship is over 140 feet long, with seemingly endless nooks and crannies to explore. Peep at exotic fish through the portholes, or glide through the cabins, where you might see crocodile fish or boxfish. The bridge, the bow, and much of the hull are still intact, offering an underwater world of surprises.
Belize Barrier Reef / Mesoamerican Reef, Belize City, Belize
The biggest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, the Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with several protected areas. Aside from being one of the best places to swim in the world, it’s a dream destination for scuba diving enthusiasts. The reef spans 190 miles and is part of the 560-mile-long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
This diverse ecosystem is composed of cays, atolls, lagoons, mangrove forests, and estuaries, supporting an incredible array of marine species, including turtles, manatees, and over 500 species of tropical fish.
Enjoy another famous dive site in Belize with a visit to Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan where you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to swim among nurse sharks and eagle spotted rays, amongst others.
Bonaire National Marine Park, Kralendijk, Bonaire
Bonaire is known as one of the best diving destinations in the world. Divers ranging from novice to advanced will find extraordinary opportunities to enjoy Caribbean scuba diving around the island’s pristine waters. Bonaire has over 80 dive sites, the majority accessible from the shore.
Head below the surface at Bonaire’s top dive location, Bari Reef, just north of Kralendijk. Dive down to 100 feet directly from the shore, where over 300 species of fish dazzle; lizardfish, angelfish, parrotfish, snapper, boxfish, and more.
Watch speedy tarpon zoom by, marvel at graceful turtles, and keep an eye out for reef sharks. The Bonaire National Marine Park is the oldest marine reserve in the world with incredible diving and is suitable for beginners up to advanced divers.
Galapagos Islands (Punta Vicente Roca, Kicker Rock)
The Galapagos Islands are known for their diverse wildlife, both on land and in the sea. With a winning combination of dramatic underwater landscapes and awe-inspiring marine life, this South American destination is a must for scuba divers.
One of the best dive sites in the Galapagos is just off of San Cristobal Island. Kicker Rock is an impressively vertical rock formation, part of an extinct volcano. Erosion has shaped the rock into what appears to be a shoe, the inspiration for its name, although it’s also known as leon dormido, or “sleeping lion”.
The formation soars 500 feet into the air, and below the surface, white-tipped reef sharks and hammerhead sharks circle in the crystal-clear water. A channel between the rocks is the perfect place to find these shark species, as well as rays, sea lions, turtles, and diverse schools of reef fish.
Silfra Fissure, Thingvellir National Park, Reykjavik, Iceland
Head to the far north of Europe, where you can experience one of the most unique and thrilling dive locations in the world, the Silfra Fissure, less than an hour from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik.
You’ll have the opportunity to plunge between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in pristine glacial meltwater, regarded as the clearest in the world, with visibility of more than 300 feet. Aside from being one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, this is the only place in the entire world to offer this particular diving experience.
Admire the vibrant colors of Iceland’s underwater world as you venture through the four landscapes of the Silfra Fissure; the lagoon, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and the most well-known spot, the cavernous Silfra Crack.
Gaze at incredible rock formations of volcanic basalt rock, vividly colored marine algae, and a spectrum of blue-green hues as you glide between the tectonic plates. The Silfra Fissure is considered one of the best diving spots in the world.
Cozumel National Marine Park, Cozumel, Mexico
Discover some 30,000 acres of protected natural coastline in Mexico, home to over 250 species of fish and 105 different types of dazzling coral. Cozumel National Marine Park is located along the southern edge of the island and is a popular destination for divers.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, descend into the warm, turquoise waters of what is considered the “drift diving capital of the world”. This means that rather than swimming against a current, you let it carry you effortlessly along, making this the most relaxing way to gaze at the underwater world during your time in Cozumel.
Clear seas with impeccable visibility create perfect conditions for viewing colorful coral gardens, barracuda, the endemic toadfish, lush sponges, eagle rays, king crab, angelfish, and tangs. Explore Paradise Reef, a preferred dive spot for beginners, with brilliantly colored sponges and gorgonians, or soft corals. It’s also an exciting location for those interested in night diving, when you’ll be able to observe octopus, king crabs, and lobsters.
Another fantastic dive location within the marine park is the Santa Rosa Wall, ideal for intermediate divers. Dive down to 80 feet where you’ll unearth mystical tunnels where horse-eyed jacks, eagle rays, groupers, and lobsters hide, while turtles glide through the blue depths.
RMS Rhone, Tortola, BVI
Explore the deep waters around the island of Tortola, a gem of the British Virgin Islands. One of the most celebrated dive spots here is the RMS Rhone, a shipwreck within the marine park, southeast of the island.
The Rhone sank in 1867. Its remnants stretch over 300 feet and are still relatively intact, making it a treat to dive. As you explore the wreck site, you’ll discover the sea creatures that have colonized the old ship, which lies between Dead Chest Island and Salt Island.
Swim by stunning coral gardens on the lookout for pufferfish, octopus, green moray eels, and damselfish. You’ll see the ship’s deck, propeller, cannon, and steam engine as well as artifacts such as silverware and tools. This exciting dive actually takes two dives to explore thoroughly as the ship had split in half when sinking.
Butler Bay Wrecks, St. Croix
Dive into the diverse and inviting underwater realm of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Hailed as one of the most amazing places to experience scuba diving in the Caribbean, it’s also one of the singular places where it’s possible to explore a wall, wreck, pier, and reef in one day.
One of the most popular dive sites is The Butler Bay Wrecks, a trio of wrecks ideal for intermediate to advanced divers. The ships rest at various depths, the furthest being 80 feet below the surface of the island’s north shore.
The wrecks of Suffolk Maid, Northwind, and Virgin Islander, a 300-foot long oil barge, in combination with the Aegir underwater habitat, provide an underwater playground. Spot vibrant tropical fish such as pufferfish, blue tang, queenfish, and angelfish among coral and sponges that have taken up residence throughout the remnants.
St. Croix has up to 40 types of coral, creating a beautiful landscape beneath the surface. With visibility typically up to 100 feet, this dive is one of the unmissable things to do in St. Croix.
Escambrón Marine Park, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Discover the magical underwater world of Escambrón Marine Park, located near San Juan, Puerto Rico. The reefs within the protected park are home to a stunning array of marine life, with coral colonizing several man-made structures.
What’s more, this shallow dive with great visibility makes this a prime spot for divers of all skill levels and allows for longer dive times.
Weave through the ruins of “Atlantis,” where a wide array of tropical fish dart around underwater statues and Roman-inspired columns.Other A-frame structures also provide an ideal habitat for sea creatures such as yellowtail snappers, blue tangs, sergeant fish, porkfish, and damselfish.
If you’re interested in viewing sea turtles, meander over to the Seaweed Forest, a sandy area where swaying seagrass grows, a favorite snack for turtles. Another notable area is the Labyrinth Reef, known for its dramatic rock formations, while intriguing species such as porcupine fish can be spotted around the Fish Protection Wall.
The sport of scuba diving offers endless opportunities to discover the captivating landscape beneath the ocean surface. A luxury cruise is a fantastic way to experience some of the best diving spots in the world, whether you’re intrigued by wrecks, reefs, or caves. Browse itineraries on our website and book your scuba diving adventure today.