It’s time to slip on some flippers, because these locations should not be missed.
The experts at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) have scoured the globe and compiled a list of must-see dive spots around the world.
The locations span six continents and vary from including dives that are better for newbies (🙋 ) to ones beloved by experts. So, whether your looking for warm water (here’s to you, Canary Islands) or a crazy underwater sculpture park, we’ve got the spot for you.
Check out the places below, with descriptions from the experts at PADI.
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"In the Philippines, you can find almost every underwater adventure and experience you can imagine. Made up of over 7000 islands with vast coral reefs and mind-blowingly beautiful flora and fauna, it’s truly a scuba diver’s paradise. When you are not diving, you can be rest assured of a warm welcome as the relaxed Filipinos embrace visitors as part of their unique and friendly culture."
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"Malaysia is home to world renowned diving including stunning walls, sloping reefs, pinnacles and coral gardens as well as more than 3000 species of marine creatures."
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"Comprised of more than 18,000 islands, Indonesia hosts a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else on earth. Above the surface, Indonesia has an amazingly rich and interesting culture along with an unmatched natural beauty."
Inhambane Province, Mozambique
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"With beautiful beaches and plenty of coconut plantations, not to mention a friendly, laid-back East African culture, this dive site is best for experienced divers as it features deeper sites and currents. Its reefs present a huge diversity of marine life including giant Manta Rays, and in season whale sharks and humpback sightings. It’s also home to Manta Reef— known as a Giant Manta Ray cleaning station."
White Rock - Ko Tao, Thailand
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"This dive location is made up of two large granite boulders that border an expansive coral garden. Here you’ll find schools of butterfly fish, angelfish, blue spotted stingrays, and other reef-dwellers such as barracudas, parrot fish, and crustaceans."
Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
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"This South African location is on the route of the infamous Sardine Run, which also happens to attract a whole host of other marine life, including sharks and dolphins. A major natural wildlife spectacle, there are plenty of other diving experiences to be had here including deep sites, drift dives and shark dives."
Ribbon Reefs, Northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia
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"This area is known for a variety of pristine dive experiences. In late June and July, you have the chance to see dwarf Minke whales. At Cod Hole, you’ll see how the site got its name as giant potato cod surround you. Pixie Pinnacle is a wonderful example of a coral bommie, and Challenger Bay is a hotspot for cuttlefish encounters."
Li Galli Islands, Sorrento, Italy
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"Crystal clear water and abundant red and yellow sea fans greet divers on the underwater walls. Beam and croakers lurk in the nooks and crannies, and, especially early and late in the dive season, tuna visit the current-washed dive sites."
Moliniere Underwater Sculpture Park, Grenada
Amazing World Places
"Jason DeCaires started the Underwater Sculpture Park in 2006 in one of Grenada’s Marine Protected Areas. With more than 50 life-size sculptures, the project shows environmental processes that turn art into an artificial reef. As marine life begins to grow on the surface of each piece, a variety of colors and patterns emerge, making a stunning visual."
Canary Islands, Spain
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"Due to the location and climate, it is possible to dive year round off the seven Canary Islands. There are hundreds of unforgettable dive sites teeming with abundant marine fish and colorful flora and boasting dramatic underwater landscapes. The Canary Islands are bathed by the Gulf Stream, which regulates the water temperature, keeping it between 63-64° F in winter and around 73°F in summer. The water is exceptionally clear and light penetrates deep underwater, a must for underwater photographers."
Monterey Bay, California, U.S.
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"Deep water close to shore makes Monterey an ideal spot for unbridled ocean action, with the chance to spot sea creatures big and small. Many choose to shore dive here, with great opportunities to swim with sea lions at the San Carlos Beach breakwater, and towering kelp forests at Lovers Point. But don’t miss the chance to explore iconic spots such as The Pinnacles, where two rock pinnacles jut 100 feet from the sea floor, surrounded by dense, fish-filled kelp forests."
North Stradbroke Island, Brisbane, Australia
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"The premier dive sites here, Shag Rock and Flat Rock, are home to healthy numbers of leopard and grey nurse sharks. At Flat Rock, watch for wobbegongs and turtles in the gullies. Shag Rock, with a maximum depth of 45 feet, is popular with newly certified divers who enjoy the gullies and a swim through. Manta Ray Bommie has great visibility and is visited, as the name implies, by manta rays in summer. It’s also home to leopard sharks and other abundant aquatic life."
The Cenotes, Mexico
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"If you’re looking for something truly special, dive a cenote. These deep, freshwater-filled sinkholes formed when the roofs of limestone caverns collapsed and filled with water. The Yucatan’s elaborate cenotes have intricate cave systems and underground tunnels that draw divers from around the globe. Many cenotes boast pristine turquoise waters and a beautiful array of stalagmites and stalactites formed over millions of years. Proper scuba training and experience is a must for this experience."
Golden Arches – Kona, Hawaii, U.S.
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"The Golden Arches are home to an excellent dive destination with healthy coral reefs, underwater lava formations, and colorful reef fish. This site boasts some of the best lava arch formations filled with large schools of colorful reef fish, Triggerfish, Whitemouth moray eels, and Rockmover wrasses."
Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
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"Utila is the smallest of Honduras’ Bay Islands, but offers some of the largest underwater animal encounters in the Caribbean. Offering warm water, pristine reefs and plenty of tropical fish, Utila is a great dive destination for divers of all levels. As a bonus, the island is often frequented by whale sharks – one of the ocean’s gentle giants. While sightings are more frequent in early spring and late summer, it’s not uncommon to spot whale sharks year-round, which is why Utila claims to be 'the whale shark capital of the Caribbean.'"