Looking for some scuba vacation ideas, here at Travel Opel we've been busy planning our scuba diving holiday destinations for 2020 and can't wait to show you the amazing dive destinations on our dive bucket list- you might even find somewhere new you’ve never considered traveling to!
Read on to discover the first 15 not-to-be-missed sites, offering the best scuba diving in the world.
Top 15 Places to Dive In The World
1. Jardines De La Reina, Cuba
Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina (Garden of the Queens) Marine Park is home to the largest and best-preserved coral reef system in the Caribbean. Nearly 850 sq. miles of protected waters are home to an awesome array of shark species, including silky, Caribbean reef, great hammerhead, lemon, nurse, and blacktip. Furthermore, divers are spoiled by an abundance of reef fish and over 50 species of coral and 200 species of sponges; an overwhelming plethora of life unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean. The island is also one of the few places where divers can safely get up close and personal with the American saltwater crocodile.
Jardines De La Reina
Jardines de la Reina offers divers the opportunity to experience a beautifully unspoiled reef paradise comparable with the rest of the Caribbean 50 years ago. Coupled with year-round warm water, consistently good visibility, and great weather, this area boasts not only the best diving in the Caribbean but some of the best scuba diving in the world
2. Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia
An upwelling means this splendid wall dive is favored by pelagics. Expect to see sharks, barracuda, eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse, snappers, jacks...if you can tear your eyes away from the fish the wall hosts thick coral with morays, nudibranchs and mantis shrimps being just a few of the attractions
There are many wrecks the second World War
3. Richelieu Rock, Thailand
A horseshoe of rocky pinnacles just breaks the surface at low tide. Famous for whale shark sightings, but also great for big schools of pelagic fish such as jacks, barracuda and batfish.
Banded Clowfiish on a colorful tropical coral reef
Mantas are also seen, and it is a superb spot for Macro photography with such creatures as ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp, frogfish, and seahorses. Currents can be strong. Needs several dives to see the whole area. Best dived from December to April
4. Raja Ampat ( Alor, Komodo ), Indonesia
The Indonesian Republic consists of more than 13,000 islands, each having its own distinct identity both above and below the water. As part of the Coral Triangle – regarded by marine experts as the most biodiverse habitat in the world’s oceans – Indonesia could easily lay claim to the top-ten best dives all by itself, but Raja Ampat, Alor, and Komodo National Park rank among the best
Raja Ampat, Indonesia is one of the most spectacular locations for diving in the world, especially during baitfish season
Raja Ampat, located off the coast of New Guinea, is home to more than 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 1,500 species of fish, often congregating in massive numbers with sharks and other pelagics regularly sighted among them. The island of Alor is famous for schools of hammerheads, along with a plethora of critters from the monstrous to the minute, a place for both wide-angle lenses and macro in the muck.
5. Anilao, Philippines
The guides at Anilao are second-to-none in their ability to spot the smallest and rarest of subjects; there are arguably more shrimp, crabs, nudibranchs, small squid, and cuttlefish here than anywhere else.
Clownfish in sea anemone, Anilao Port, Mabini, Philippines
Add to this regular sighting of frogfish, seahorses, pipefish, and for the most patient photographers, Bobbit worms and stargazers. Anilao is hard to top as a world-class destination for the full spectrum of all things macro
6. French Polynesia
Put together picturesque white-sand islands, shimmering blue water, and lush greenery above the surface, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a stunning dive destination
Just our of the lagoon of Bora-bora, along the coral reef, we met a lemon shark during a snorkeling session
Each and every dive in French Polynesia is rich and diverse, with a bounty of high caliber sites to suit all levels and interests. However, what really sets these islands apart is the concentration of world-class shark and big animal dives centered around a tiny cluster of islands to the west of the region. Often casually referred to as Tahiti, this corner of French Polynesia is home to huge numbers (some estimate millions) of at least 16 species of shark, and the islands of Rangiroa, Bora Bora, and Fakarava, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, are some of the best places in the world to experience them. The crystal clear waters around the islands’ lagoons and reefs afford intimate encounters with lemon, whitetip, blacktip, grey reef, and hammerhead sharks, all to a backdrop of schooling barracuda, eagle rays, dolphins, turtles, and a multitude of reef fish.
7. Malta, Gozo, and Comino
With some of the most excellent wrecks and some of the most stunning underwater topography in the northern hemisphere, underwater arches, caves, superlative visibility, and an array of interesting aquatic life in a very relaxed environment make the Maltese islands a must-dive location for recreational divers and techies alike.
Only a short hop from most major European airports, Malta’s agreeable climate allows for year-round diving, although it’s chilly in the winter. The smaller island of Gozo is a quiet and picturesque retreat for those that aren’t in need a boisterous nightlife, and Comino’s caves are perfectly suitable for the inexperienced but inquisitive novice.
8. The Maldives
A popular and tranquil island paradise, the Maldives has a good mixture of the large and the little, with year-round diving in mostly calm conditions.
Divers through the reef, Maldives
9. Sudan - Red Sea
Diving in Sudan is becoming more and more popular - but still exclusive enough you won't be bumping into many other divers in your time there. Just south of Egypt, Sudan’s the Red Sea holds dozens of world-class dive sites yet only a handful of divers visit each year
From brightly colored nudibranchs and long-nosed hawkfish to oceanic whitetips, hammerheads and whale sharks; novice to a technical expert, the Red Sea has something for everybody.
10. Shark and Yolanda Reef, Egyptian Red Sea
Three dives in one: anemone city, shark reef with its spectacular drop off and the wreck of the Yolanda. Currents make this good for drift dives and for pelagic fish. A popular dive starts at Anemone City before drifting to Shark Reef and its drop off. Finish up on the wreck of the Yolanda with its cargo of toilets. Find a price for liveaboard visiting Shark and Yolanda reefs.
Scuba diving at Shark Yolanda reef
Calm morning before diving
Located in the South Pacific around 1,300 miles north-east of New Zealand, the 300 or so islands that make up the Republic of Fiji are as rich and exciting below the waves as they are top-side. The vibrancy of Fiji’s soft coral reefs is second-to-none, providing an exquisite multi-colored backdrop to every dive, and excellent opportunities for some stunning photography. The abundance of vivid marine life that lives on the reef makes for fantastic subjects; this is a great place to practice your wide-angle technique
Woman snorkeling underwater over a coral reef in Fiji
12. Similans National Park - Thailand
Best dived from a liveaboard out of Phuket / Khao Lak, although some of the closer islands can be visited on a daily boat trip particularly from Koh Lanta. Spectacular in every respect and the seamount of Richelieu Rock should be in every diver’s want-to-go places.
Similan National Marine Park
Best diving is from October to May.
13. Lembongan (Bali) and Lembeh (Sulawesi) – Indonesia.
Lembongan for the resident population of manta meaning sightings are almost guaranteed;
Lembongan island, Indonesia,
Lembeh for the weird and wonderful muck diving critters
Mantis shrimp in the sea. Lembeh Strait, Diving Resort, Indonesia
14. Aqaba - Jordan
While Aqaba lies on the Red Sea it doesn't really compare to its neighbors of Egypt and Sudan when it comes to marine life (although whale sharks and mantas have been spotted there) however, its underwater museum is impressive enough to get it on this list!
Complete with a plane, tanks, and an impressive shipwreck you could spend days going in and out of this divers playground, all with the added benefits of crystal clear waters and water temps in the mid-high '20s.
15. Ningaloo Reef – Western Australia
When you hear the words “scuba diving” and “Australia” uttered in the same sentence, most people’s brains go straight to thoughts of the Great Barrier Reef on the vast country’s east coast. However, did you know that the west coast of Australia also offers some out-of-this-world scuba diving opportunities?
Giant female loggerhead turtle looking straight at the camera, Coral Reef
Ningaloo Reef, accessed from Exmouth or Coral Bay, is the place to be if you’re ready to tick the big guys off your scuba to-see-list. Renowned as one of the world’s best places to scuba dive with whale sharks (March-August), there are dive sites suited to all experience levels and something to please every diver. As well as our large spotted friends, the crystal waters are inhabited by manta rays, large loggerhead, and green turtles, dugongs, and a huge variety of shark species including nurse sharks, white tip reef sharks, leopard sharks, and wobbegongs. If that wasn’t enough, between June and November you may be lucky enough to swim alongside humpback whales (these interactions are generally snorkeling or freediving as opposed to scuba).