📸 Carlyn Vautin
Top Dive Locations To Visit One Day
There are so many beautiful places in our world, it’s sometimes hard to know where to explore next! We are highlighting these places because they are known for their marine life and reefs and are worth spotlighting, although there are certainly plenty other corners of the world that are worth experiencing! If you’re an avid diver or snorkel often, check out these top-rated spots.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
📸 Collector of Experiences, Atlas Obscura
Belize has some of the most stunning reefs in the world! It is one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Belize’s reef system spans 185 miles! Here, you can find many keys and atolls, including the famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Shark Ray Alley is aptly named as there are many nurse sharks and eagle rays that come to play near the boats! This first started because the “alley” was once an area where fishermen came to clean their catches of the day, and became a great spot for bottom feeding. Now the dive centers all know this spot and perpetuate the feeding to this day. There are many colorful fish, eels, and other marine life throughout the reefs, and the water is usually crystal clear, making the visibility great for scuba and free diving alike.
The Big Island, Hawaii
📸 Hawaii State Parks
Hawaii is exotic and (technically) within the amazing United States! Rich with culture and history, it is a gorgeous island to experience; both the island mountains and the water are full of life. The Big Island (which, surprise, surprise, has the highest square footage in the island chain) features the Kealakekua Bay State Park, where Captain Cook landed in 1779. Visitors today can visit the Captain Cook monument and Hikiau Heiau, a religious site, in the park. However, the marine life is just as fascinating in the park’s water, so if you visit, be sure to dive in and explore the beauty of the ocean here! Many visitors spot dolphins playing, as well as coral and colorful fish. Don’t just stop here though- you can find incredible snorkel and dive spots all over the Hawaii islands!
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
📸 Carlyn Vautin
The Great Barrier Reef on the northeast coast of Australia is the largest reef system in the world, and is the most famous for a reason. There are 2,900 individual reefs that span over 1,400 miles of the coast! It hosts 1,625 species of fish, over 600 types of coral, 215 species of birds, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and 133 kinds of sharks and rays. Some of these reefs are far out from the coast, involving up to a 2-hour boat ride to the dive site, so if you visit this bucket list location, arrive prepared for a long excursion! With the huge variety of sights to see- including shipwrecks- it is well worth the long boat ride! Between global warming, pollution, and tourists harming the reef, there are quite a few threats to the Great Barrier Reef’s survival, and a large section of the reef is already bleached. That being said, conservation of the reef is a top priority for Australia because it is one of the world’s 7 natural wonders and it is a huge proponent of tourism, so measures are being taken to protect this beautiful ecosystem!
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
📸 Blue Growth
The Galapagos Islands are off the coast of Ecuador, and are not the easiest to get to. However, the sights there are unparalleled. These 19 volcanic islands boast some of the most diverse marine life in the world, and this is the location that inspired Charles Darwin’s scientific theories. Now, 97% of the Galapagos is a national park. The islands have active volcano eruptions because they are formed at the juncture of 3 tectonic plates. In fact, due to its active state, the island chain is constantly shifting and reforming, so new islands could be added this very moment! In addition, this is where 4 currents converge, so waves are unpredictable.
The Galapagos is close to the Equator, but due to different marine and air currents, has a very unique climate. This is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere you can find penguins in their natural habitat! You can also view marine iguanas, who are excellent swimmers. While diving or snorkeling, you can also see a variety of turtles, dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, eels, and plenty of fish!
📸 This Is Cozumel
Cozumel is a fantastic place to visit for diving! Off the coast of the Riviera Maya, this area is 30 miles long and about 10 miles wide. Currents are strong through this area, so fins are advisable and you should NOT swim on the east side of the islands due to ample rip currents! However, those strong currents and channels encourage whale sharks to migrate through the area at certain points of the year. Diving with whale sharks is a definite bucket list experience! Typically, the best snorkel spots are found on the rocky shores, not the sandy beaches, so keep that in mind for your trip, but do be mindful of the currents! Among the whale sharks, you can find manta rays, spotted eagle rays, turtles, sharks, eels, and some seriously cool drop-offs and ledges to explore. The best (and steepest) ledges to free dive are around the Palancar area!
Wherever you go, the deep blue sea is an amazing sight to behold. Let us know if you’ve ever been to any of these locations, or if you have an even better dive site for us to mention, drop it in the comments below! We love learning about new places.
📝: Carlyn Vautin
📸: credit listed under pictures