If hours under the water watching wild and abundant marine life is your type of thing, dive into this list and see some on the world’s most spectacular dive destinations. Probably you have already visited one or even a few of those locations but I bet there’s at least one place you haven’t yet explored.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia, is the largest coral reef system in the world, stretching for 2,600 km (1,600 miles) along the Queensland coast. It is the only living object on earth that can be seen from space. It comprises around 2,900 reefs and 900 islands. The reef offers hundreds of spots perfect for beginners and advanced divers.
The spectacular collections of the underwater world include coral gardens composed of 400 different types of corals as well as coral sponges, rays, dolphins, over 1500 species of fish, around 200 types of birds, as well as sea turtles and giant clams. Add to it humpback whales and a few endangered species such as the Dugong (Sea Cow) and large Green Sea Turtle and you will know why the Great Barrier Reef is a must for every diver. For more info check out www.greatbarrierreef.org which provides information about coastal towns, islands, accommodation and diving activities.
Not without reason the Island of Cozumel, off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is called the Paradise Reef. It is actually a series of separate reefs with 19 popular diving areas. The island’s waters are full of crabs, lobsters and multicoloured fish. You may also be lucky to spot "Splendid Toad Fish" reputed to live nowhere in the world other than Cozumel. The island is also excellent for night diving – reserved for more experienced divers.
Apart from underwater attraction Cozumel’s main town, San Miguel, offers a variety of affordable accommodation, great dive shopping and bustling nightlife. Find out more on www.diveparadise.com
If you search for an unspoiled dive spot, head for Utila. The smallest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, just 11 km (6.8 miles) long and 4 km (2.4 miles) at its widest, is surrounded by pristine crystal waters. It sits on top of the second largest fringing coral reef in the world. Empty beaches and waters, 60 different scuba diving sites with caves and numerous wrecks (such as the famous Halliburton) and an encounter with harmless whale shark – all come in a package. www.aboututila.com
17,000 islands, 80,000 km (49,000 miles) of coastline, 3,000 fish species, 600 types of corals. That’s what Indonesia has to offer for divers of all levels of diving abilities. It is the world’s largest archipelago containing up to 15% of world’s coral reef. With such popular spots as top-notch Bali, tropical Komodo Islands, deep waters of the Bunaken Island National Marine Park and untouched coral reefs of Lombok Island, Indonesia rivals the world’s best dive destinations.
This little Caribbean country presents a great dive opportunity for both the experienced and non-experienced divers. The Belize Barrier Reef is comprised of 127 offshore cayes (islands). It has the best preserved marine ecosystems in the world. Belize is also home to the diver’s Mecca – the Great Blue Hole, where you can dive in crystal clear water and meet unique species of fish, including giant groupers, nurse sharks and several types of reef sharks such as the Caribbean reef shark and the Blacktip shark.
Another paradise for dive-lovers is Micronesia – 2,000 tiny tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. The combination of unique and diverse culture, great climate, exotic beaches and blue lagoons create a world class diving destination.
Among best dive spots are Palau with blue holes, huge caverns and a variety of rare and exotic marine species, and Truk Chuuk, where you will find the wrecks of Japanese naval vessels from WWII. More at diversionoz.com
Vanuatu, located in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia, is a dive primary destination. The underwater world of the island comprises the collection of caves, swim-throughs, lava towers, wrecks, coral mazes, grottoes and overhangs. Among all these attractions rests Konanda – the wreck damaged by cyclone and sunk in October 1987. This 45 meters long Island Trader has been neatly prepared so that penetration of the wreck into the cabins and holds is safe and makes an ideal introduction to the wreck diving.
This all year round dive destination is a great spot especially for those divers from Europe who want to escape w
inter. The best time to go is between November and February. When Europe is covered with ice, the water temperatures in Egypt are ranging from 19°C (66°F) to 29°C (84°F). The best places for diving are less developed regions such as Quseir, Marsa Alam and St John’s Reef. In general the whole area of the Red Sea is considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the underwater world with more than 1,000 species of fish, 200 species of corals and another 1,000 species of invertebrates.
Thailand borders two distinct oceanic zones, each with their own marine life. It is surrounded by the Andaman Sea from the west and the Gulf of Thailand from the east. The country has 2,000 km (1,200 miles) of coastline and hundreds of offshore islands. Divers of all levels can admire the fringing reefs to deep drop-offs and wrecks, dramatic granite walls, caves and tunnels, coral-covered pinnacles, and open ocean seamounts.
Find out more at www.diveguidethailand.com
Away from crowded tourist spots, the Maldives , southeast of India, are comprised of twenty-six atolls featuring 1,192 islets, of which two hundred islands are inhabited. The best way to explore the underwater world of the Maldives is on a liveaboard. In the country you can dive inside and outside the atolls. The more experienced divers may try diving inside the channels – but be careful- the currents are stronger there. More info at www.diveglobal.com