Must Dive Destinations
The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the surface of our planet, which makes us think about what’s going on below the surface–there’s a whole world under there that most of us will never even have the chance to explore. By learning scuba diving, exploring the ocean is becoming easier and more accessible than ever and you own the other two-thirds of the earth. SightEcho is bringing to you the top 5 must dive destinations in the world.
Bonaire has been a destination that’s captivated divers for decades. Pick almost any section of the island and there’s somewhere to submerge — almost all of it accessible 24/7, thanks to the island’s place as the world’s premier shore-diving location. With 100 feet of visibility year-round, 86 marked dive sites, more than 469 species of fish including reef squids, seahorses, peacock flounders, queen parrotfish, blue parrotfish, ocean triggerfish, and plenty of soft and stony coral to explore, diving in Bonaire doesn’t get old, which is exactly why divers like returning to this small, easy-going island. It’s hard to think of a place that makes the dive life look better than Bonaire.
The dive sites not to miss: Salt Pier, Alice in the Wonderland
2. Yongala, Australia
The Yongala is a shipwreck off the coast of Queensland. Full of life you may see manta rays, sea snakes, octopuses, turtles, bull sharks, tiger sharks, clouds of fish and spectacular coral. Escape the crowds and immerse yourself in an experience offered nowhere else on the Great Barrier Reef. Yongala Dive take dive enthusiasts from across the globe on an ‘Adventure’ dive trip to one of the best dives on the planet, the famous Yongala shipwreck. The Yongala sank during a cyclone in 1911 killing 122 people, a racehorse called Moonshine and a red Lincolnshire bull. This is a diving experience for those with a sense of adventure, a passion to explore, to learn about the tragic history and to witness marine life matched by few other places on the face of this planet.
3. The Similan Islands, Thailand
The Similan’s are undoubtedly famous in diving circles. They offer the best of Thailand’s diving. All neatly parceled up around their nine islands. Best enjoyed by liveaboard, you can dive in magnificent, clear waters and spot manta rays and whale sharks. These islands are famous for diving and names like Koh Bon and Koh Tachai bring images of manta rays to the minds of divers. Turtles come to the islands shores to lay their eggs and, as such, many islands are off limits to visitors.
4. French Polynesia
Wherever you go throughout French Polynesia, from the low-lying coral atolls of the Tuamotus to the steep green mountains and waterfalls of the Society Islands, you are never going to be far from some spectacular diving. The narrow channels and passes leading to the inner lagoons from the open ocean teem with life. Marine creatures cluster near these focal points and make the most of the bounty the current brings. In some spots, divers can legitimately expect to see literally hundreds of fish and other marine species as they drift through the underwater canyons. Topside, there’s no better place on earth to snorkel in the sun-dappled shallows or enjoy a well earned rest for a few hours on one of the many stunning beaches.
Of the 118 islands of French Polynesia, 11 currently boast diving centers. Head to Moorea to dive with sharks. You can see reef sharks and lemon sharks here. Bora Bora has a breathtaking lagoon where you can swim alongside manta rays and sharks on a coral wall. There are reefs completely encircling the island, so there is no shortage of dives to partake in. Taotoi has a fun-filled Stingray World, and drift divers will want to make Rangiroa their first stop. Here the Tiputa and Avatoru Passes will blow you away, literally. Barracudas and sharks school here, paying you little head as you drift past them.
5. Tulum, Mexico
With access to both inland and sea dives, Tulum’s diving scene is a unique mix of cenotes and reefs. Just offshore of Tulum, exists the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Most of this area is inaccessible, but some local operators have permits to dive these untouched sections of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Outside of the Biosphere Reserve, 7 other reef sites allow guests to get up close and personal with the area’s biodiversity. These can be accessed by a short speedboat ride from town.
To the west of Tulum, the very best cenotes lie within a few minutes drive. Approximately 10 of these are dived on a regular basis. Many require tec diving experience, but a few are easy enough for beginners and offer a fantastic introduction to cave diving. To blow bubbles in a cenote, you’ll need to do a little heavy lifting. Entry to the water is often down several steps.
These are our top 5 dive spots! What are yours? Let us know if you’ve taken a dive in any of these spots and your incredible diving experience. So whether you’re thinking about taking the plunge into diving or have been diving for years, these 5 destinations should be on your diving bucket list, because frankly, they’re all to DI(v)E-for.
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