25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List

25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List

In the past, I had zero interest in getting scuba certified. I never considered myself a strong enough swimmer. I always felt out of control underwater and had a lot of anxiety being around strange and unfamiliar sea creatures. However, lately we’ve been pushing ourselves to get out of our comfort zones. After all, we can’t call ourselves adventurers if we weren’t down to try it at least once! You never know if something is for you or until you try it, right?

The more we explored underwater landscapes, the more we became fascinated. We’ve completely fallen in love with underwater photography, too! After our introduction scuba class, we decided it’s time to get certified. As you all know, we love making lists, so we’ve decided to compile a bucket list for scuba diving as well. :) We can’t wait to get to them all!

25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put On Your Bucket List.

25 BEST DIVE SITES IN THE WORLD TO PUT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST:

1. Taveuni, Fiji

Dive Site: Great White Wall
Depth: Up to 45 meters
Visibility: Up to 40 meters

The locals have done a great job in protecting the local reefs. As a result, you’ll see thousands of species of coral and marine life. At the Great White Wall, you’ll start off by swimming through a cave then see a hill of what seemingly looks white with coral descending into the depths. Also, keep you eye out for batfish and barracuda that frequent the area.

Other Dive Sites: There are tons of diving options in Fiji. Check out Beqa Lagoon, Side Streets, Nisici Rocks, and Caesar’s Rocks.

Great White Wall, Taveuni Fiji (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Taveuni Palms Resort / creative commons

2. Cancun, Mexico

Dive Site: Manchones Reef
Depth: Up to 10 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

Mexico definitely offers a wide range of diving options but the Manchones Reef in Cancun is a unique spot with over 60 underwater sculptures that form an artificial reef, including 400 life-sized figures. They make for a truly eerie experience. You’ll find lobsters, moray eels, barracuda, and more making their home in the reef.

Other Dive Sites: La Paz, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel also offer amazing diving.

Manchones Reef, Cancun Mexico (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Charlie F / creative commons

3. Red Sea, Egypt

Dive Site: SS Thistlegorm
Depth: Up to 30 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

The SS Thistlegorm is the most popular wreck dive in the world. This British transport ship was sunk in 1941 and is a 128 meters long. There are rifles, motorbikes, trucks, armored cars, and more! Check out all the wreckage and the marine life that it attracts.

Other Dive Sites: The Red Sea is full of great spots. Check out Yolanda Reef, Ras Mohammed, Big Brother, and Shark Reef.

SS Thistlegorm, Red Sea Egypt (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Wilfred Hdez / creative commons

4. Palau, Micronesia

Dive Site: Blue Corner Wall
Depth: Up to 30 meters
Visibility: Up to 40 meters

Diving here will feel like you’re in the middle of a Planet Earth episode. Reef sharks, bigeye jacks, eagle rays, tuna, snapper, soft coral, and green turtles are just a few of the things you’ll see. And be sure to pay attention to the walls and corals to catch morays, nudibranchs, and mantis shrimp.

Blue Corner Wall, Palau Micronesia (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Klaus Stiefel / creative commons

5. Bali, Indonesia

Dive Site: Liberty
Depth: Up to 25 meters
Visibility: Up to 20 meters

Indonesia is filled with tons of diving spots. One of the most popular is the Liberty wreck, which makes its home just 30 meters from the beach. Sunken into black sand, you’ll find angelfish, surgeonfish, and glowing flashlight fish as just a couple of the over 400 specifies of fish that can be spotted here.

Other Dive Sites: There are so many! Wakatobi, Raja Ampat, Gili Islands (The ‘Turtle Capital of the World’)

Liberty, Bali Indonesia (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: jeff / creative commons

6. Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Dive Site: Bajo Alcyone
Depth: Up to 30 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

If you’ve seen Jurassic Park, then you’ve seen Cocos Island. And as the movie portrayed it, nature is still very much wild here. Bajo Alcyone offers you the chance to come face-to-face with hundreds of scalloped hammerhead sharks and huge schools of fish.

Other Dive Sites: Add Punta Gord. Murcielagos, and the islands of the Catalinas to your list.

Bajo Alcyone, Cocos Island Costa Rica (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Barry Peters / creative commons

7. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Dive Site: Gordon Rocks
Depth: Up to 40 meters
Visibility: Up to 18 meters

We’ve been snorkeling in the Galapagos and can definitely see why it’s such a huge diving spot. At the Gordon Rocks, the current can be strong, but you’ll find yourself surrounded by sea lions, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, moray eels and tons of tropical fish. And with the current, you may not even have to go looking for them since they’ll be directed right to you!

Other Dive Sites: There are plenty of dive spots here! You can even catch whale sharks during their migration season (May to October) off the islands of Wolf and Darwin.

Gordon Rocks, Galapagos Islands (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: JcMaco / creative commons

8. Pangiroa, French Polynesia

Dive Site: Tiputa Pass
Depth: Up to 45 meters
Visibility: Up to 50 meters

See playful dolphins, turtles, manta rays, leopard rays, and whales (between July and August) at this dive site. You can even explore Shark Cave and swim through a narrow channel.

Other Dive Sites: Mostly known as a honeymoon spot, Bora Bora also offers great diving. It has earned the name “Shark Capital of the Pacific.”

Tiputa Pass, Pangiroa French Polynesia (25 Best Dive Spots in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: SF Brit / creative commons

9. Australia

Dive Site: The Yongala
Depth: Up to 30 meters
Visibility: Up to 15 meters

As expected, Australia offers amazing diving. The Yongala is considered one of the best wreck dives in the world. Besides the rich history, the wreck is home to giant groupers (like 2 meters big), manta rays, sea snakes, octopuses, and a bunch of sharks, including the bull, tiger, and leopard. During the winter, you can catch minke and humpback whales.

Other Dive Sites: Navy Pier and Great Barrier Reef are just a couple other great spots!

The Yongala Australia (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Richard Ling / creative commons

10. Sipadan Island, Malaysia

Dive Site: Barracuda Point
Depth: Up to 40 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

If you’re hoping to see big marine life, this is the place to be. You easily find yourself surrounded by sharks (hammerhead, white tip, leopard) and barracuda. Besides that, sea turtles, jacks, and parrotfish also make their home here.

Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island Malaysia (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Chen Wu / creative commons

11. Belize

Dive Site: Great Blue Hole
Depth: Up to 124 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

This massive sinkhole is becoming a big attraction for tourists, but divers get a unique look at this marine ecosystem. You’ll find schools of giant groupers, sharks, and huge tuna making their home here. The underwater caves, stalactites, and stalagmites are also amazing to explore.

Other Dive Sites: Also check out Ambergris Cave while you’re in Belize.

The Great Blue Hole Belize (25 Destinations for the Best Scuba Diving in the World).
Photo: Eric Pheterson / creative commons

12. Kona, Hawaii, United States

Dive Site: Kailua-Kona
Depth: Up to 6 meters
Visibility: Up to 10 meters

This spot offers you a unique chance to see Manta Rays at night. Using high-powered flash lights, you get to see these graceful creatures feed on phytoplankton. Some of the Manta Ray are up to 20-feet wide and 3,000 pounds!

Kona, Hawaii (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Nick Olino / creative commons

13. Vanuatu

Dive Site: SS President Coolidge
Depth: Up to 30 meters
Visibility: Up to 25 meters

After hitting a minefield, this ship sunk decked out with cannons, chandeliers, jeeps, and more. Originally an ocean liner, it was transformed into a troop carrier during World War II. The ship is still mostly intact and offers a variety of diving routes. And of course, you’ll see plenty of marine life that make their home here.

14. Maldives

Dive Site: Maaya Thila
Depth: Up to 30 meters
Visibility: Up to 40 meters

Maaya Thila is one of the favorite diving spots in the Maldives. It’s often referred to as the ‘white tip reef shark capital of the Maldives’ and is home to a wide range of tropical fish, including the beautiful moorish idol. You will definitely want to make multiple dives to see everything!

Maaya Thila Maldives (25 Best Diving Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: blichb / creative commons

15. Palawan, Philippines

Dive Site: Tubbataha
Depth: Up to 60 meters
Visibility: Up to 45 meters

A land of the giants, Tubbataha has exceptionally clean water that helps all the marine life live longer. There are over 300 types of coral and more than 375 species of fish. You’ll find everything from colorful tropical fish, blue-spotted lagoon rays, unicorns, nurse sharks, and more.

Other Dive Sites: The Philippines is made up of thousands of islands with an equal number of dive spots. Puerto Galera is also a great spot for tons of marine life and colorful coral.

Palawan Philippines (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: q phia / creative commons

16. Surin Islands, Thailand

Dive Site: Richelieu Rock
Depth: Up to 25 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

Whale sharks are regularly spotted here, so naturally divers flock here as well. But even if aren’t able to spot one, there is still a ton of other marine life and huge schools of fish, including giant trevallies and dogtooth tuna.

Other Dive Sites: Thailand definitely offers some great diving spots. Check out Koh Tao Island and Phuket as just a couple others.

17. Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

Dive Site: La Dania’s Leap to Karpata,
Depth: Up to 40 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

This marine park has over 100 diving spots that are protected and untouched. You’ll find snapper, goatfish, butterfly fish, nurse sharks, sea turtles, and more. Visit between September to December when the sea is the calmest.

Bonaire Netherlands Antilles (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: actor212 / creative commons

18. Þingvellier, Iceland

Dive Site: Silfra
Depth: Up to 45 meters
Visibility: Up to 90 meters

Dive into this lake and swim between two continents (North American and Europe) at this spot. The chasm between the two tectonic plates leads to a huge cave with amazing visibility and jaw-dropping views. Just remember that the water is really cold here because of the melting glaciers about 20 miles away.

Þingvellier Iceland (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Marielle Rufin / creative commons

19. Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand

Dive Site: Middle Arch
Depth: Up to 40 meters
Visibility: Up to 40 meters

This underwater garden is home nudibranchs, coralfish, and if you can spot them, scorpion fish. It’s some of the best sub-tropical diving you can do.

Other Dive Sites: Also check out Northern Arch, Bernies Cave, Landing Bay Pinnacle, and Blue Maomao Arch.

Poor Knights Islands New Zealand (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Julien Carnot / creative commons

20. Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

Dive Site: Bloody Bay Wall
Depth: Up to 1000 meters
Visibility: Up to 45 meters

This seemingly endless wall has 13 stop-offs that give you plenty of options. The bright tube sponges, small caves, and tropical fish give you plenty to explore and appreciate. Don’t forget to glance up to the surface and down towards the abyss to remind yourself how small we all are.

Bloody Bay Wall Little Cayman Islands (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Dan / creative commons

21. Borneo, Malaysia

Dive Site: Layang Layang
Depth: Up to 50 meters
Visibility: Up to 40 meters

This exclusive dive resort is worth the trip! Secluded waters and plenty of dives sites give you the chance to see schools of hammerheads, whale sharks, and surgeonfish. Some of the best dives are the Gorgonian Forest, Wreck Point, and D’Wall.

Borneo Malaysia (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Tom Demeyer / creative commons

22. Tofo, Mozambique

Dive Site: Manta Reef
Depth: Up to 28 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

Names for the humungous mantas that you’ll see, this is a truly unique experience. Swim side by side with these giants that reach up to six meters across and watch for the smaller fish that attach themselves on to feed on parasites. You’ll also find plenty of tropical fish and beautiful coral.

Tofo Mozambique (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo (cropped to 4×6): Dominic Scaglioni / creative commons

23. Gozo, Malta

Dive Site: Blue Hole
Depth: Up to 45 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

This dive spot focuses on the caves and scenery more than the marine life. The limestone walls are home to sea urchins and starfish, and they make a beautiful backdrop to the bright blue waters.

Gozo Malta (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Malcolm Browne / creative commons

24. Turks and Caicos

Dive Site: West Caicos Walls
Depth: Up to 6000 feet
Visibility: Up to 45 meters

Turks and Caicos is home to plenty of diving spots, but one of the most unique is the 6000-foot drop off that is only a mile and half from shore. You’ll find corals, sponges, tropical fish, sharks, sea turtles, and more. The government also makes a huge effort to keep the waters and marine life protected.

Turks and Caicos (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).

25. Gizo, Solomon Islands

Dive Site: Grand Central Station
Depth: Up to 50 meters
Visibility: Up to 30 meters

At this dive spot, you’ll have to learn to go with the flow. With a current strong enough to knock your mask off, you just need to relax and enjoy the show. You’ll see some of the highest concentrations of fish on the planet and a mix of all sizes and shapes.

Gizo Solomon Islands (25 Best Dive Sites in the World to Put on Your Bucket List).
Photo: Peter Liu / creative commons

We’ve visited several of these places without even knowing about the amazing dive sites they had! Guess, we’ll have to be back! We have a lot of catching up to do. That’s for sure.

Which location is at the top of your list?
What marine life would you want to see the most?
Any sites that we’re missing that are in your top 10?

xoxo estherJacob

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I would add Roatan to the list – it’s excellent for new divers!

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