The best places to scuba dive

Aerial photo of Fuvahmulah, Maldives - Photo by Ekmeds Photos

The best places to scuba dive

There are some awesome scuba diving locations on Earth that are breathtaking. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, there’s a spot out there for you. From pristine reefs to wrecks full of history, here are some of the best places to scuba dive on Earth.

The Maldives

The Maldives is a chain of islands that lies in the Indian Ocean. Made up of 26 atolls and 1,192 coral islands, most of which are uninhabited. The Maldives has a long history of scuba diving and offers some of the best diving locations on earth. The clear water and abundant marine life make the Maldives an ideal place to scuba dive.

The diving conditions in the Maldives are some of the best in the world. The depth ranges from 1-30 meters, and the water temperature is always a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius. The visibility is usually very good, and there is an abundance of marine life to be seen. Some spots are well known for their large quantities of animals like whale sharks and manta rays. This makes the Maldives a popular destination for both novice and experienced divers.

Some of the best dive sites in the Maldives are Maaya Thila, Banana Reef, and Fuvahmulah.


Manta Ray on Maldives - Photo by Tchami
Manta Ray on Maldives – Photo by Tchami

Fuvahmulah is a small town in the Maldives that is teeming with marine life. It is well known for housing one of the biggest population of Oceanic Mantas and Mobulas. Whale sharks, tiger sharks, tresher sharks, hammerheads, mola-molas, humpback, and pilot whales can be seen all together, year round. No wonder why it became one of the top dive spots in the world since its opening to the public in 2017.

Maaya Thila

Maaya Thila is one of the most popular dive sites in the Maldives. The Thila is a pinnacle that rises from the depths to just below the surface, making it perfect for both diving and snorkeling. Made of colorful corals, both soft and hard, sea fans, and teeming with reef life. These coral gardens are home to a wide variety of marine life, including stonefishes, triggerfishes, clownfish. When diving the Maaya Thila, keep an eye open for sharks that can be found in deeper areas.

Banana Reef

Named after its curved shape, Banana Reef was one of the first places in the Maldives to attract divers. In the protected marine area you will see cliffs and overhangs, shielding barracudas, snappers, and groupers below.

Barracudas Point, Sipadan, Malaysia

Divers have long considered Sipadan Island one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. It became famous because of Jacques Cousteau, and not without a reason.

The tiny island, located off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia, is teeming with marine life. It is well-preserved and monitored closely by Sabah Parks Management. Entrance is limited to 176 divers per day, so you will need a permit that allows you to make three dives. Those permits sell out real quick, so if you plan to travel all the way there, plan accordingly and be sure that you have yours. 

Expect to see Schooling barracudas, bumphead parrotfishes, sharks, colorful fish and so many turtles that you will have to get out of their way.

Richeleu Rock, Thailand

Richelieu Rock is part of the Surin Islands national park in Thailand, and it’s only open from the 15th of October to the 15th of May. 

Some say that the name is because of the rouge color of Cardinal Richelieu’s clothing because of the red to purple colors of the soft corals on the reef. Others say its name came from the danish admiral, Louis XIV Richelieu, who became the first and only foreign commander of the Thai Royal Navy.

As the only sheltered area between the continent and the Surin Islands, Richeleu Rock houses small critters such as harlequin shrimp and seahorses, as large schools of trevallies, and fusiliers.

On top of that, whale sharks and mantas sightings are not uncommon. 

Mostly visited by the live aboard that cruise the Similan Islands, Richeleu Rock is a dive site that definitely deserves to figure on this list. 

Darwin’s Arch, Galápagos

Darwin Arch, Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Photo by MediaDishNet Greg-S.
Eroded volcanic tufa arch known as Darwin Arch, Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Photo by MediaDishNet Greg-S.

Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection during his five-week voyage in 1835. One of the most famous places he visited was the Galápagos Islands. Its isolation and its varied topography created a unique environment that allowed the development of endemic species. The most famous example is the Galápagos giant tortoise and the Marine Iguana.

Darwin’s Arch was a rock arch located on the southeast side of Darwin Island in the Galápagos Archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The arch stood on a strange, rocky, underwater plateau, nicknamed “the theater.” The arch collapsed in June 2021.

Known for its strong currents and cool water temperatures, Darwin’s Arch is a challenging dive. But also provides an exciting experience for those who are adventurous enough to take on the challenge. Expect to see sharks, sea lions, and dolphins.

SS Thistlegorm Wreck, Egyptian Red Sea

SS Thistlegorm - Photo by Kris-Mikael Krister
SS Thistlegorm, sunk during WWII. Most of its cargo is still present. Photo by Kris-Mikael Krister

The SS Thistlegorm is one of the most popular dive sites in the Egyptian Red Sea, and one of the world’s most iconic wreck dives. Diving in this wreck is like traveling back in time, as it is well-preserved and is home to a wide variety of marine life.

Divers can expect to see tuna, morays, stonefishes, sweetlips, turtles, and much more. But the real attraction is its intact cargo. Motorcycles, Trucks, Tanks, Aircraft, Locomotives, and much more still lie deep inside the sunken vessel.

The Thistlegorm Wreck lies 30 meters deep down. The lowest point is the vessel’s berth, which is about 32 meters deep, while the shallowest point is 16 meters deep. Temperature ranging from 22 to 28 degrees Celsius and great visibility, the diving conditions on SS Thistlegorm are great. Just beware of currents, that sometimes can be very strong.


The Revillagigedo Archipelago, is a Mexican archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, about 390 kilometers southwest of Cabo San Lucas. The archipelago consists of four volcanic islands: San Benedicto, Socorro, Roca Partida, and Clarion. Mexico declared those waters a marine reserve, and Unesco listed it as a World Heritage Site.

The water in Revillagigedo is clear, and the visibility is usually good, except during times of plankton blooms. The temperature is comfortable year-round, and the currents are mild. Great visibility, around 30 meters (100 feet).

Common sightings in Revillagigedo are mantas, whale sharks, hammerheads and whitetip sharks, dolphins, and even migrating humpback whales.

Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia. The park is home to the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world. They can grow up to 3 meters (10 feet ft) and weigh approximately 70 kilos (150 lb).

Famous for its mesmerizing drift dives, extensive schools of fish, stunning and diversified coral reefs, and entertaining manta ray sightings. What makes Komodo a popular diving destination is its accessibility from Bali.

In the north, water is warm and clear, but in the south, visibility decreases because of plankton growth. Plankton is a major food source for bigger aquatic animals. Needless to say that these conditions are perfect for supporting a diverse marine life, and attracting species like mantas, sharks, turtles, and schooling fishes.

In conclusion, the world is full of amazing dive sites. No matter where you are, there is sure to be a dive site that will take your breath away. If you are a beginner or an experienced diver, there is a dive site for you. So get out there and explore the best dive sites in the world!

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