You cannot call yourself an adventure enthusiast if you do not have an active interest, or in the very least, an inclination towards trying scuba diving. Unless you suffer from severe hydrophobia (in which case adventuring in general is going to be real hard for you), scuba diving should be the next thing on your bucket list of adventure activities. The popularity of this activity has been steadily growing, and new dive spots have opened in island nations and peninsulas around the world, catering to the growing need of people interested in underwater expeditions. We have compiled a list of some of the most famous and exciting scuba diving locations around the world for both seasoned professionals and first-time divers.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Australia is a country known for its rich ecological wonders. The Great Barrier Reef is a mecca for scuba divers worldwide and is home to a wide diversity of aquatic life, including 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises and six species of sea turtles. The dive spots are easily accessible by boat, and its warm clear waters and beautiful arrays of coral make this a highly appealing destination for scuba divers.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Allegedly named after the large lumps of ambergris washed ashore here, Ambergris Caye is the largest island of Belize and attracts a steady stream of tourists owing to the beautiful Belize Barrier Reef, which is the world’s second largest reef after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Ambergris Caye has its own surreal charm, and divers are often found travelling to this location to share a swim with the exotic marine life that abounds here, including elusive nurse sharks and deadly stingrays.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Famous for the vast number of endemic species that grabbed the attention of famed biologist Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands are an ecological marvel, and unsurprisingly, a major hub for scuba divers whose primary focus is exploring locales rich with marine life. These famous Ecuadorian islands have over 60 scuba-diving and snorkelling sites, but each site allows only small groups to visit in 2–4 hour shifts in an attempt to limit the ecological damage. Scuba divers will especially appreciate sighting rare marine beings, such as marine iguanas, white tip reef sharks, and sting rays.
Formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic, the island of Sipadan is Malaysia’s only oceanic island. A haven for scuba divers, the island is home to over 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species. In addition, it is rated as the best diving spot by Scuba Travel, a popular website for scuba diving enthusiasts. A trip to Sipadan is incomplete without going for at least one scuba excursion, even for the most wary of travellers.
Blue Corner Wall, Micronesia
Most of Micronesia’s tourism industry thrives on the popular scuba locations, such as Palau, Chuuk, Yap, and Phonpei. Located in the Palau area, Blue Corner Wall is Micronesia’s best offering to the enthusiast scuba diver. The beautiful coral reef is a sight to behold as are the many offerings of rich aquatic life including gorgonian fans, anemones, and eels. Luckier divers may even get a chance to glance at some sharks, barracuda, and eagle rays.
Bali is awash with rich coral reefs around the coast; as a result, it becomes the home to a number of popular diving spots, such as Tulamben, Amed, Menjangan, and neighbouring Nusa Penida. All of these spots host a wide range of exotic sea life species, from the elusive Hawksbill Turtle and Giant Sunfish to the deadly Giant Manta Ray and Hammerhead Shark. However, no expedition is complete if you pass up the chance to meet some Dolphins, which are commonly spotted on the north coast near Singaraja and Lovina.
Regarded by both first-timers and seasoned professionals as one of the top locations for scuba diving, the Thai province of Phuket has numerous diving spots that give divers a chance to glimpse ship wrecks, coral fields, and underwater caves. In addition, the province is home to a very rich ecosystem of flora and fauna. Divers can visit a number of locations from Phi Phi—the King Cruiser wreck located near the Anemone Reef—to Shark Point—named after the area’s famed Leopard sharks.
The island of Cozumel in Mexico depends primarily on tourism related to scuba diving and snorkelling for supporting its economy. Although the main draw of the location is the bevy of diving spots and wrecks, the famous seaside town also garners its own host of followers. Divers can enjoy exploring nearly 20 unique reefs, caves, and underwater caverns, while admiring the varied marine life, which is strictly guarded by the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park.
Scuba diving in the Cayman Islands really makes for an exhilarating and one-of-a-kind experience, as its three islands are actually the exposed top of an underwater mountain, with extremely steep sides that are even vertical in some places. The site is known as the “King of all diving sites” and plays host to an array of beautiful sea life creatures, from majestic turtles to deadly stingrays, just to name a few. Grand Cayman is also home to a large turtle farm, so expect sighting a variety of turtles on your dives.
Grand Turk, Turk & Caicos
Scuba diving in the island nation of Turk & Caicos Islands has of late experienced improvements in terms of infrastructure and attractiveness quotient mainly due to the government’s increased efforts to protect the natural environment. The island of Grand Turk is home to the world’s longest coral reef, and is much loved among divers owing to its pristine waters and untouched reefs, punctuated by exciting drop offs and dunes, all making for a truly memorable scuba-diving experience.
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