Top Diving Destinations
Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Whether you’re already a fan of drift-diving, or have yet to encounter it, this narrow island channel between Tiputa and Avatoru, in the stunning tropical climes of French Polynesia, is the place to be. Let the current carry you along past playful dolphins and sharks by the dozen, while you experience the excitement of what can only be described as flying underwater.
SS Thistlegorm, Red Sea, Egypt
Not only can you explore the structure of this British merchant navy ship, taken down by a German bomber, you and all the local Red Sea reef fish can swim inside and check out its historic cargo, too. Complete with tanks, freight cars, and motorbikes, you’ll feel like you’ve swum back in time just three hours from Sharm el Sheikh.
Acropolis, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Hard coral fanatics won’t want to miss everything on offer at this shallow but lush plateau in the Ribbon Reefs. Between the seemingly infinite schools of vibrant subtropical fish, and the site’s generous abundance of plate and antler corals, you’re likely to feel just a little outnumbered amongst all the splendour. But we’re sure you won’t mind the crowd.
Elephant Head Rock, Similan Islands, Thailand
Looking for the ideal combination of underwater architecture and the chance to swim with sharks? Welcome to Elephant Head, where black tips, white tips, and leopard sharks abound. Explore caves, play tag with colourful parrotfish in the arches and tunnels, and prepare to discover even more marine life when you bottom out at 40 meters.
Mary’s Place, Roatan, Honduras
Don’t miss the most spectacular site on the island, where sunlight streams through a massive 4-meter wide crack in the reef to light up the coral below. Explore stunning wall features at 21 meters, or navigate the labyrinth of crevices just waiting to reveal their hidden treasures of black coral, giant seahorses, and spotted drums.
Great Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef, Belize
You’re unlikely to have encountered anything quite like this 300-meter wide limestone sinkhole located 70 km offshore. A glacial souvenir with an unsettling depth of close to 120 meters, the eerie stalagmites and stalactites of this unusual site are best explored by the more advanced diver. Here, nurse sharks and giant groupers hang out amidst ledges that fall away into nothing.
Nakwakto Rapids, British Columbia, Canada
This narrow channel, 320 km northwest of Vancouver, boasts cold water tidal currents that top out at an incredible 16 knots. Goose barnacles, anemones, and sponges abound around the little nub of an outcrop here known as Turret Rock. But be warned - timing is everything in the ferocious current of this unique site.
Sistema Dos Ojos, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Ready to experience underwater spelunking? More than 80 km of freshwater caves make up this subaquatic system of limestone formations on the Yucatan Peninsula. Magical cenotes (ponds) and underground streams penetrate the jungle, giving cave divers the chance to swim among ancient but beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
SS President Coolidge, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
This gorgeous South Pacific island grouping is home to an amazingly intact, and surprisingly well-stocked, sunken ocean liner of yore. Scattered with everything from cannons to chandeliers, and from gas masks to personal effects, divers will find lots to explore just meters from the shore on this historic cruise ship turned troop carrier.
Darwin’s Arch, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Less than a kilometre from Darwin Island runs a never-ending underwater performance. Perch on a shelf at 18 meters and watch the antics of this site’s aquatic cleaning station, where local fish scour the fins of hammerhead sharks by the hundreds. Just don’t get so wrapped up you forget to watch for the area’s rare Galapagos whale sharks.
Middle Arch, Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand
With its dazzling array of reef fish, sponges and anemones, this site is a must-see. Middle Arch offers divers the chance to take a stroll through some of the most breath-taking underwater gardens on the planet. And since you’ll be gawking anyway, be sure to keep one eye out for the area’s decorative but deadly scorpion fish.
Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia
There’s nothing casual about this dynamic site. Chaotic streams of fish charge around in a surreal, underwater version of rush hour, and you’re highly likely to find yourself the sudden epicentre of a barracuda maelstrom. Not for the faint-of-heart, divers here share space with gigantic sea turtles, hammerheads, and silently flapping eagle rays.
Bloody Bay Wall, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
Voted best site in the Caymans, this marine park’s heart-stopping coral wall reaches astounding depths of almost 2000 meters. Visibility here is unequalled, and divers won’t soon forget navigating their way through forests of giant fans to encounter eagle rays, turtles, and the region’s orange and purple tube sponges.
Manta Reef, Tofo, Mozambique
Immerse yourself in this underwater cauldron of marine life, dominated by swarms of 6-meter manta rays. These gentle giants of the sea are here to avail themselves of the local cleaning station, where smaller fish are happy to provide fin and wing cleaning services in exchange for a parasitic feed. And if you’re lucky, you might spot one of the region’s striking dragon eels.
Bajo Alcyone, Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Liveaboard boat is the only way to access this remote but outstanding site, located 550 km off the country’s mainland. Hundreds of scalloped hammerhead sharks regularly put in an appearance, as divers brave the depths to reach the site’s submerged mountain and local manta cleaning stations. Bonus shark species here include silky, guitar, tiger, and silvertips.
Anton’s Reef, Sodwana Bay,South Africa
The unusual, swirling currents surrounding the walls at Anton’s Reef attract an abundance of aquatic life, including table and spiral corals, and squirrel fish and blue-banded snappers. Rays and eels are also likely to keep divers company while they check out the many intriguing caves, overhangs, gullies and swim-throughs just begging to be explored.
Grand Central Station, Namena Marine Park, Fiji
Fiji is known to some as the soft coral capital of the world. But at this amazingly busy wall, you’ll not only encounter 400 coral species, but more than 1000 types of invertebrates as well. A gathering of sea life this diverse is rare, and divers will thrill to the sight of dog tooth tuna, reef sharks, marble rays, and clouds of colourful damselfish.
Cod Hole, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Ribbon Reefs boast some pretty amazing water visibility – often reaching up to 50 meters – and that’s all the better for coming face-to-face with this site’s huge but friendly potato cods. We guarantee you’ve never seen cod like this, weighing in at more than 150 kg and always looking for hand-outs. You definitely won’t want to forget your wide-angle lens!
Keahole Point, Kona, Hawaii
Imagine the beauty of an underwater ballet, performed in the dark of the night. Shine your flashlight upwards after you descend to catch the show, and watch dozens of gentle Pacific manta rays glide out of the darkness to feed. You’ll be overcome by the majesty of their 4 meter wingspans, and the mesmerizing grace of their spins is likely to have you calling for an encore.