The Best Dive Spots on the Planet

The beauty of the natural world doesn’t end on land, there’s a whole other world hidden under the sea. From wreck diving to reefs walls to wild passes, here are the best spots to dive on this planet, including Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, and the islands of Tahiti. So go ahead and channel your inner Jacques Cousteau and explore the world’s best dive spots.

44 Adams Ave, Malabar, Sydney NSW 2036, Australia
Australia is world-renowned for scuba diving, but you don’t have to go all the way to the Great Barrier Reef or Ningaloo. Most people don’t know there is plenty of good diving in and around Sydney, too. One of the best sites is Magic Point off the tip of Malabar Headland National Park south of Maroubra. There’s an extensive reef system and large caves that are home to weedy sea dragons, stingrays, and a recovering colony of grey nurse sharks (which by most accounts are harmless to humans). Local outfitters such as Frog Dive Scuba Centres can lead you there.
The Cayman Islands are filled with renowned dive sites, but the underwater walls off Little Cayman and Grand Cayman are probably the biggest draws for diving devotees from all over the world. Bloody Bay Wall runs parallel to Little Cayman’s shoreline and starts 15 to 20 feet below the surface, dropping to depths that are a matter of some dispute (figures range from 3,000 to more than 6,000 feet). Whatever the bottom point, you’ll find no disagreement over the sheer wonder (emphasis on sheer) of this wall. Vertical forests of fan coral and tube sponges form a Technicolor playground for triggerfish, groupers, eels, rays, and green sea turtles, among others.
Corfu, Greece
One of the best destinations in Greece for SCUBA diving is off the coast of Corfu. Divers of all skill levels can appreciate the level of underwater visibility around the island, especially on the northwest coast, near Paleokastritsa. Caves, reefs up to 40 metres deep, underwater arches, and more can all be found in the turquoise seas of the Mediterranean, and you’ll never be bored around Corfu.
Borinquen, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Another great shore dive from Aguadilla, close to Crashboat but slightly more difficult to find, is El Natural. Ask a local or dive shop if you plan to venture here yourself. This is a gorgeous dive, shallow but with a lot of sponge and reef structures. You can find lionfish, sand eels, flounders, small groupers, and more. A fun, casual dive where you can simply relax on the beach afterward and soak up some sun. Go on a weekday, as this site will get crowded on weekends just like Crashboat.
French Polynesia
Taking a plunge from our overwater bungalow was the start to yet another perfect day. We had a great time staying at the Intercontinental Moorea with our kids. The water is spectacular for swimming, snorkeling and all kinds of watersports. We all loved it!
Encompassing 35 private villas on the Motu Onetahi coast of Marlon Brando’s very own French Polynesian island, Tetiaroa, The Brando is arguably the most luxurious place to stay in the entire South Pacific country. All of the villas at this all-inclusive resort have their own private pools along with direct beach access, and there’s a gorgeous spa offering a range of healing modalities, including traditional Polynesian taurumi massage. For those who want to add a bit of activity to their stay, there’s plenty to do on the island and in its surrounding waters, from snorkeling and scuba diving to discovering the flora and fauna of the surrounding landscape under the tutelage of a research scientist. Travelers with an interest in Polynesian culture may also want to try their hand at the traditional outrigger canoe, perhaps taking a trip out to one of the surrounding private islets that share an atoll with the Brando.
Turneffe Atoll, Belize
Turneffe Atoll’s sprawling central lagoon is a beautiful natural playground marked by thick mangrove islands and littoral forest, and hosts dozens of remarkable marine species – including crocodiles. Yes, the central lagoon is pretty to look at and one of the best places in Belize to watch the sun rise, but I wouldn’t recommend you go for a dip. Crocodiles spend their days escaping the heat in the thick mangroves, then swim out into the open ocean at dusk to feed. I saw two crocs during my time on the island; a very young juvenile whose curiosity had brought him right up to the sandy patch of beach behind the Blackbird Caye Resort, and a suspicious adult who kept his distance (thankfully). Still, the lagoon is a great place to spy on the aforementioned crocodiles, photograph marine birds, and more. Photo Finish: Nikon D800 | 24-70mm f/2.8 lens | Aperture f/6.3 | ISO-400 | Shutter 1/60 sec.
1320 W Bay Rd, West Bay, Cayman Islands
While Grand Cayman’s waters harbor legendary coral reefs, there’s another treasure waiting to be discovered below the surface in a marine park off Seven Mile Beach. About 60 feet down rests the intentionally submerged Kittiwake, a historic U.S. Navy rescue ship renowned for—among other feats—finding the long-sought black box from the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. Whether you’re snorkeling above the vessel’s smokestack and main decks or diving into the engine rooms, decompression chambers, captain’s bridge, showers, bathrooms, galley, and crew quarters, the 251-foot Kittiwake makes for a surreal outing. Among other denizens, barracuda, garden eels, horse-eye jacks, and the occasional nurse shark await you there.
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