Best Diving Spots Around The World

The Yonaguni Monument is a massive underwater rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni, the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands, in Japan. The sea off Yonaguni is a popular diving location during the winter months due to its large population of hammerhead sharks. There is an ongoing debate as to whether the site is completely natural, a natural site that has been modified, or a man-made artifact. The flat parallel faces, sharp edges, and mostly right angles of the formation have led many people, including some scholars, to the opinion that those features are man-made.

(Photo courtesy of jpatokal)

Þingvellir is the largest natural lake of Iceland. The lake is part of the Þingvellir National Park. The volcanic origin of the islands in the lake is clearly visible. The cracks and faults around it, of which the famous Almannagjá canyon is the largest, is where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, and is the only place on the earth where tourists can swim between two continents. Silfra fissure is also a popular SCUBA and snorkeling site due to the sheer translucence of the water.

(Photo courtesy of Aurevilly)

The Hilma Hooker is a shipwreck in Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands. It is a popular wreck diving site. The ship is on a sand flat between two coral reef systems in an area known to divers as Angel City. She is regarded as one of the leading wreck diving sites in the Caribbean ringed by coral reefs and even seahorses have been spotted there!

(Photo courtesy of Clark Anderson/Aquaimages)

Monterrey Bay is a bay in the Pacific Ocean, along the central coast of California. The Monterey Canyon, one of the largest underwater canyons in the world, begins off the coast of Moss Landing, exactly in the center of Monterey Bay. The area is home to sea otters, harbor seals, and bottlenose dolphins; as well as being on the migratory path of Gray and Humpback Whales and a breeding site for elephant seals. Killer whales are also found along the coast, especially when Gray whales migrate. Sharks, squid, birds, and sea turtles also live in the bay making it a great diving spot!

The passenger ship SS Yongala sank off Cape Bowling Green, Queensland, Australia on 23 March 1911. All one hundred and twenty-two people on board perished in what is considered one of the most tragic incidents in Australian maritime history. It was only in 1958 that the wreck of the Yongala was discovered lying in waters south of Townsville, and it has since become renowned as an internationally regarded diving and tourist destination. More than 10,000 divers visit the wreck every year. Filled with marine life you may see manta rays, sea snakes, octopuses, turtles, bull sharks, tiger sharks, humpback whales, clouds of fish and spectacular coral!

The Rock Islands of Palau, are a small collection of limestone and coral uprises, ancient relics of coral reefs that violently surfaced to form Islands in Palau's Southern Lagoon. The islands are for the most part uninhabited and are famous for their beaches, blue lagoons and the peculiar umbrella-like shapes of many of the islands themselves. The Rock Islands and the surrounding reefs make up Palau's popular tourist sites such as Blue Corner, Blue hole, German Chanel, Ngermeaus Island and the famed Jellyfish Lake, one of the many Marine lakes in the Rock Islands that provides home and safety for several kinds of stingless jellyfish found only in Palau.

The SS Thistlegorm was a British armed Merchant Navy ship built in 1940, which sunk on 6 October 1941 near Ras Muhammad (a national park in Egypt) in the Red Sea and is now a well known dive site. It was named one of the top ten wreck diving sites in the world by The Times. The wreck attracts many divers for the amount of the cargo that can be seen and explored. The area is home to 1000 species of fish, 40 species of star fish, 25 species of sea urchins, a 100 species of mollusc and 150 species of crustaceans. Among others, sea turtles, such as the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle appear regularly as well.

(Photo courtesy of Mikhail Rogov)

Praia do Tofo is a small town in southeastern Mozambique. The town lies on the Indian Ocean coast, on the Ponto do Barra peninsula. A major Mozambican tourist destination, Tofo is home to beach villas and diving retreats, with tourists drawn by a long beach front and nearby reefs which attract sealife. Along with Manta Rays and Sea Turtles, Tofo is one of the best destinations for divers to see Whale Sharks which are permanent residents in these waters.

(Photo courtesy of Erik Cleves Kristensen)

The Surin Islands is an archipelago of five islands in the Andaman Sea belonging to Thailand. The Mu Ko Surin National Park covers the area of the islands and their surrounding waters. The park is home to one of the most famous dive sites in the world, Richelieu Rock. In addition the islands feature pristine reefs, making it home to some of the best snorkeling in Thailand. The area commonly sees whale sharks, manta rays, sharks and smaller critters like the ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp, frogfish, and seahorses.

Taveuni is the third-largest island in Fiji, after Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. Many of Taveuni's best known attractions lie underwater. To the north of Taveuni lie in close proximity the islands of Qamea and Matagi with their surrounding reef systems. The Rainbow Reef and Vuna Reef are famous for diving and snorkeling, respectively. The Rainbow Reef, on the western side in the narrow Somosomo Strait between Taveuni and Vanua Levu, is known as one of the world's premier soft coral dive areas. The horseshoe-shaped Vuna Lagoon, near the southern end of the island, is much appreciated among divers for the opportunity to see larger and schooling fish species on the southern side of the reef, whereas the sheltered western parts provide pristine coral gardens.

(Photo courtesy of Matt Wright)

The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. This site was made famous by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. Today divers from around the world come to explore its crystal clear waters filled with giant groupers, nurse sharks and several types of reef sharks such as the Caribbean reef shark and the Blacktip shark.

Isla Mujeres is one of the ten municipalities of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The island of Isla Mujeres is located close to one of many coral reefs such as the one located in Garrafon Park, which is an area popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving. The Cancun underwater museum, created by English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, is located off the western coast of Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is also home to a population of sea turtles. Because of the recent endangerment of sea turtles in the area, a facility was set up on the southern end of the island for rehabilitation and breeding.

Snorkel in Lifou; a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean. There are numerous places to go snorkeling on Lifou but Baie de Jenik is definitely one of the better places. The warm waters are filled with coral and schools of fish. A quick warning however when you enter the water, Picasso Triggerfish (shown here) live close to the shore in holes that they burrow into the sandy rock. These guys are very territorial and have been known to attack divers, their small size makes them more a pest than a danger but its best to stay away.

Cocos Island is an uninhabited island off the coast of Costa Rica. Its rich coral reef, volcanic tunnels, and caves are home to to more than 30 species of coral, 60 species of crustaceans, 600 species of molluscs and over 300 species of fish. Scuba divers get the pleasure of encountering large populations of yellowfin tuna, whales, giant mantas, sailfish, sharks, turtles, dolphins, sea lions and even the whale shark!

(Photo courtesy of Barry Peters)

Coiba is the largest island in Central America, and is part of the Montijo District of Panama. Coiba separated from continental Panama about 12,000 to 18,000 years ago when sea levels rose. Plants and animals on the new island became isolated from mainland populations and over the millennia most animals have diverged in appearance and behavior from their mainland counterparts. The waters adjacent to the island are teeming with marine life. It is surrounded by one of the largest coral reefs on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. Its unique location protects it from the damaging winds and other effects of El Niño, allowing it to sustain the uninterrupted evolution of new marine species including whale and tiger sharks, sperm whales, sea turtles, angel rays and giant schools of fish.

-Tracy Smith

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