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The Best Diving Destinations in the World 

January 29 2018

If you are an avid diver constantly in search of new and phenomenal underwater worlds to explore, then you are probably finding it a little challenging to do so these days. Due to the effects of global warming, ignorant tourists and swarms of divers, many dive sites that were once the mesmerizingly beautiful are now damaged and experiencing coral bleaching (the Great Barrier Reef comes to mind). Don’t despair, because, thankfully, there are still remarkable places in the world to immerse yourself in the deep blue and witness the miraculous underwater world. Whether you are new to diving or have been diving for years, here are eight destinations we consider to be some of the best in the world:

Mexico

diving with a whale shark in mexico tulum

Many divers would raise their eyebrow at the mention of Mexico as a phenomenal diving spot and granted, it’s a little unusual. However, if you head to the mystical Mayan town of Tulum and you will soon find out just how amazing and unique the diving experience is here. Along the shores of Tulum, divers can explore the absolutely exquisite cenotes with their gorgeous stalactite and stalagmite formations. In the crystal-clear Caribbean waters, you can discover unparalleled wonders not only in the cenotes but the reefs as well and amongst many other things, you might just have the opportunity to encounter bull and whale sharks. 

Malta and Gozo

blue hole view in malta gozo

This wonderful Mediterranean gem is an absolute paradise for people looking for an incredible holiday destination that will also allow them to explore remarkable dive sites. Make the most of the incredible city before heading to Gozo for some sensational wreck diving (said to be some of the best in Europe). Here you can find a myriad of fantastic wrecks at varying depths as well as the extraordinary Blue Hole. The gorgeously warm waters here boast excellent visibility which allows divers a truly special experience when diving in Malta. 

French Polynesia 

society islands in french polynesia

French Polynesia is literally paradise on earth. Gorgeous islands are dotted throughout turquoise waters and provide drivers with ample choice of excellent diving sites. Whether you are drawn to the coral atolls of the Tuamotus or the spectacular beauty of the mountainous Society Islands—you can rest assured that the ideal dive site is nearby, waiting to be discovered. Here you see schools of fish that are made up of numbers in the hundreds, reef sharks, manta rays, barracudas and stingrays (the exact sightings vary depending on exactly where you go in French Polynesia) and a wealth of other exciting marine life.

Costa Rica

hammerhead shark diving costa rica

Those in search of a truly memorable dive in one of the most beautiful places on earth, should definitely head to Cocos Island in Costa Rica. It’s a long excursion from the mainland but totally worth it. The volcanic island—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is a mere four kilometres, with forested undulating interiors and is said to have been the inspiration for Jurassic Park. In the island’s surrounding waters, divers can marvel at scalloped hammerheads and white-tip reef sharks which can be found in the steep drop-offs common in these waters and which make for an incredible diving trip that is bound to stay with you forever. 

Belize

belize great blue hole view from above

Belize is an outstanding destination for those looking for an out-of-this-world diving experience. With phenomenal crystalline waters and a plethora of interesting marine life, this remarkable destination is sure to leave you totally mesmerised. Take a trip to the Blue Hole in the breathtaking World Heritage Site in Belize and marvel at the stalactites and stalagmites which are millions of years old. You can also spot eagle rays, jack and barracuda (in huge schools), Loggerhead turtles and brilliantly coloured sea fans at Glover’s Atoll as well as nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley. The wonderful thing about this magical destination is when you have completed your dive for the day, you can explore the magical place in all its tropical, ancient glory. From mysterious Mayan ruins to unusual endemic flora and fauna—there’s nothing quite like Belize.  

Galapagos Islands

marine iguana swimming galapagos islands

For many divers, the Galapagos Islands are at the number one must-visit destination on their diving bucket lists. These Ecuadorian islands were the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s research on evolution and are nothing short of absolutely magnificent. This fabled dive destination is unlike any other you are likely to find in the world, largely due to the fact that the archipelago is a protected marine reserve and has a huge range of wildlife—possibly the widest range of wildlife you can experience on a dive in the world. From dives with whale sharks, turtles and penguins to marine iguanas, sea lions, hammerhead sharks, rays and dolphins—a day spent in the waters here will stay with you for the rest of your life. Head to Darwin Island and Cabo Marshall for truly extraordinary experiences.  

Indonesia

fish diversity when diving in indonesia

This stunning destination is a firm favourite for discerning divers who are looking for magnificent dives. Indonesia, which is made up of more than 18,000 islands, hosts an enormous array of marine life, in fact, it’s known to be the best country in the world for sea life—a fact that is sure to delight divers looking for the ultimate diving destination. Not only is the diving amazing but the surrounds are absolutely out of this world. In this paradise, divers can expect to explore unbelievable coral reefs (with over 600 types of coral), over 3000 different species of fish, wrecks from World War II, deep water trenches and volcanic seamounts—the diving here is totally sublime. 

The Maldives

diving in maldives - activity by kanuhura hotel

One destination that is an absolute must for your diving bucket list is the Maldives. Luxury resorts melt into perfect powder-white sands and breathtaking azure waters that are home to a host of exotic marine life and vibrant corals. Far from any large landmasses, the Maldives has seasonal currents that forge new channels to create different atolls that teem with rich marine ecosystems. The ecosystems are doing so well in fact, that you barely need to use full gear to have incredible sightings—the snorkeling here is outstanding and if you are staying in a water villa perched on stilts in the Indian Ocean itself, then all you have to do is peak over the edge of your villa to get a glimpse of exciting marine life. 

Divers are spoilt for choice with the huge number of exceptional diving sites in and around the Maldives where tuna jacks, dogtooth tuna, Napoleon Wrasse, trevallies, butterfly fish and wahoo can be observed. You can also see a number of different types of sharks, anemones, turtles (such as Hawksbill and green turtles) and honeycomb moray eels—this unfettered paradise is nothing short of a diver’s dream come true. Pre- or post-dive, divers can enjoy the luxurious resorts, the host of water activities, sublime beaches and unbelievable spas; this is paradise personified.

The Maldives is truly the ultimate diving destination; clear azure waters, untouched corals and unrivalled marine life alongside sensational luxury accommodation—there’s nothing quite like it. And if you are looking for the perfect ‘home base’ from which to explore the Maldives than you will be hard-pressed to find a more magnificent resort than Kanuhura. This gorgeous gypset resort has absolutely everything you could need for the perfect holiday in paradise; from extraordinary cuisine to stunning luxury accommodation and an in-house dive centre that will accommodate all of your diving needs. One thing is for sure, here you can enjoy out-of-this-world diving experiences that will stay with you for the rest of time.