The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World13th February 2017 | Sandro Lonardi
Naming the top dive sites in the world is a risky business. The ocean is constantly in flux, and the desires of scuba divers are wildly varied. However, a few sites do stand out above the rest in terms of diver reviews and constantly adequate conditions. Below you’ll find our picks for the top 10 dive sites in the world.
If you disagree, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.
By the way, this is the summary article for our “top 10” series. Be sure to take a look at the other dive site round-ups before planning your next scuba diving adventure.
- Wreck Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- Cave Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- Night Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- The 10 Most Extreme Dive Sites in the World
- The 10 Best Liveaboard Destinations For Advanced Divers
- Freshwater Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- Muck & Macro Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- The 10 Best Dive Sites for Underwater Photography
- Whale Shark Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- Shark Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- Manta Ray Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- Technical Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
- Liveaboard Diving: The 10 Best Dive Sites in the World
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1. Bajo Alcyone - Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Cocos Island, which lies far from the Costa Rican Pacific coast, is only accessible by liveaboard, but is consistently ranked as the top destination in the world for hammerhead diving with this world-class dive site. The seamount known as Bajo Alcyone rises to 82 feet (25 meters) below the surface and is regularly home to large shoals of hammerhead sharks. The diving can difficult, but the plan is simple. Divers descend to the top of the sea mount, wedge themselves between the rocks and watch the action above.
- Dive Type: Shark
- When to Go: June to November for the best marine life. December to May for the best water conditions.
Editor's Picked Liveaboard: Argo
2. SS Thistlegorm - Ras Mohammed, Egypt
The best wreck dive in the world, the SS Thistlegorm lies in the northern section of the Red Sea. As a popular day trip and liveaboard stop, it’s easily accessible from Sharm El-Sheikh. The wreck itself was a 420-foot (128-meter) British transport ship. Unfortunately, she met her fate in 1941 when she was sunk by a German air attack. Today, she remains a window into history with a visible cargo of trucks, jeeps, motorcycles, tanks and even a locomotive.
- Dive Type: Wreck
- When to Go: March to May; September to November
Editor's Picked Liveaboard: MV Emperor Elite
3. Blue Corner - Ngemelis Island, Palau
Blue Corner is a dive for the ages. It consists of a reef-covered wall which runs along the side of Ngemelis Island. While the dive is great at any time due to the massive schools of fish, this dive site shows its best face when the currents are strong. At that time, divers use reef hooks to attach to the wall and watch a number of pelagic species swim past. Common sights include tuna, sharks and eagle rays. Many Blue Corner alums claim that they have never seen so many sharks on a single dive.
- Dive Type: Drift
- When to Go: November to May
Editor's Picked Liveaboard: MV Solitude One
4. Manta Night Dive - Kona, Hawaii
Certainly one of the most unique night dives, the Manta Night Dive is a ballet for feeding manta rays. Just off the coast of Kona is an artificially illuminated area, divers descend to the sandy observation areas. As the light attracts plankton, mantas arrive to take advantage of the feast. All the divers need to do is to relax and enjoy the show while the graceful manta rays turn and spin above.
- Dive Type: Night
- When to Go: April to October
Editor's Picked Liveaboard: Kona Aggressor II
5. Cenote Angelita - Tulum, Mexico
There are thousands of cenotes scattered throughout the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and many of them could easily find a spot on this list. But the mystical quality of Cenote Angelita makes it hard to ignore. At approximately 100 feet (30 meters), the clear fresh water is separated from the salt water below by a layer of hydrogen sulphate. The appearance of this cloudy substance is otherworldly and makes for fantastic underwater photos.
- Dive Type: Cave
- When to Go: May to September
Editor's Picked Dive Center: Ginger Hotel Tulum
6. Tiger Beach - Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Known for shark diving, Bahamas is a wonderland of fantastic dive sites. While you can swim with hammerheads, oceanic whitetips and reef sharks around the country, at Tiger Beach, you’ll find daily encounters with tiger sharks. Several large sharks show up daily for their provided feast. While you wait on the sandy bottom, the sharks circle around the group for a few minutes, dining on the chum. You’ll also probably see nurse, lemon and Caribbean reef sharks at this famous shark site.
- Dive Type: Shark
- When to Go: October to January
Editor's Picked Liveaboard: Bahamas Aggressor
7. Secret Bay (Mainit Muck) - Anilao, Philippines
A wonderland for macro lovers and underwater photographers, Secret Bay, or Mainit Muck as it’s known locally, is a must-dive site in the Philippines. This site is quite shallow between 10 and 70 feet (3 and 21 meters), but it is quite productive for small marine life. Many have reported sightings of mantis shrimp, rare nudibranchs, gobies of all types and wonderpus. The site is also great as a night dive when Ambon scorpionfish, bobbit worms, seahorses and frogfish become active.
- Dive Type: Muck/Macro
- When to Go: October to May
Editor's Picked Liveaboard: PY Atlantis Azores
8. Silfra Fissure - Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Diving between continental plates may sound risky, but scuba divers flock to Silfra Fissure year-round for the pleasure. Granted, these plates are moving so slowly, you will never know it. With 300-foot (100-meter) visibility, exploring the space between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates is a dream. Glide along the aquatic grasses full of blues and greens before snapping a picture between the rock faces of the plates.
- Dive Type: Freshwater
- When to Go: June to September for the best conditions; October to May for fewer crowds
Editor's Picked Dive Center: Strýtan Dive Center
9. Sardine Run - Agulhas Bank, South Africa
Certainly an adventurous dive, the sardine run attracts pelagic-loving scuba divers to South Africa on an annual basis. During a few weeks from May to July, millions of sardines swim up the coast in order to reach Durban where they spawn. On the way, many predators wait to feast on the tiny fish. These larger animals include dolphins, birds, sharks and whales. Diving the sardine run requires patience as dive boats spend many hours on the chilly seas searching for bait balls. When one of these congregations is finally found, divers jump in quickly to see the feeding frenzy.
- Dive Type: Pelagic
- When to Go: May to July
Editor's Picked Dive Center: Ocean View Hotel
10. Cape Kri - Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Raja Ampat seems to be on every diver’s bucket list these days. There is good reason for it, and Cape Kri is one of the dive sites that put this region on the map. A few years ago, scientists recorded the most fish species on a single dive at this site. Diving at Cape Kri is fairly easy. You just need to dive into the warm water and slowly glide along the healthy coral reef, taking in all the colorful life around you.
- Dive Type: Coral Wall
- When to Go: October to April
Editor's Picked Liveaboard: Samambaia
Have you dived any of these superb dive sites? Still have a lot to see? Check off the bucket list feature above and then share your results with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.