The 10 best dive sites in the world

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The definitive guide to the best 10 dive sites in the world, most of these dive sites are off the beaten track and can take several days to get there from civilization on a private boat! Only the best 10 dive sites in the world are listed below – enjoy!

1. Bunaken National Park, Sulawesi Indonesia

parrot fish, angel fish, damsel fish swimming in coral reef

Seeing large schoals of schooling fish is the highlight of most dives in Bunaken, of the known fish species of the indo western pacific over 70% can be found in around the island of Bunaken and the Bunaken National Park. Diving in Bunaken is mostly wall diving with depths on some walls beyond recreational limits, strong currents at certain phases of the moon can creat fun but also tricky diving conditions for less experienced divers. Not the place to learn to scuba dive, but definately an adventure once you have achieved more than 50 dives.

2. Tubbataha National Park, Palawan, Philippines

whaleshark diving tubattaha philippines

Whalesharks, Tiger Sharks, Manta Rays to name a few, sitting in the middle of the Sulu Sea between the Palawan Island chain and the Wester Visayas, Tubbataha National Park is the pinnacle of diving in the Philippines. A 10 hour boat trip from either the mainland of Palawan or the Western Visayas, the distances involved and the pirates that still hunt in the Sulu sea has saved this diving paradise from invasive fishing practices that have damaged a lot of the diving in the Philippines.

Tubbataha Reef is open for diving from only February to June each year, accessible only by diving liveaboards which can be sold out years in advance. A trip that should be on every divers bucket list once in their lifetime.

 3. Wolf and Darwin Islands, Galapagos, Ecuador

hammerhead shark galapagos islands

The Wolf and Darwin islands of the Galapagos are one of those place only made for divers, the only way you to visit the islands is to dive them, not other entry is permitted. On the edge of the remote Galapagos islands the cooler temperatures allow for encounters with huge schools of hammerhead sharks, silky sharks and whalesharks amongst numerous other pelagic fish.

Another of those destinations only reachable by liveaboard.

4. Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia

aerial shot of palau micronesia

Stong currents attrach large schoals of schooling fish amonst the numerous large marine predators. Those strong currents make diving suitable for novices at slack tide and advanced or above divers at any other time. When the current is ripping here its game on! Over 20m visibility on a clear dave and numerous caverns to explore at depth just add to the wonders of this dive site.

5. Great Blue Hole Belize

aerial shot of great blue hole belize
The Great Blue Hole in Belize

Theres nothing like diving into a great big blue hole once in your lifetime and Belize has arguably one of the best of them. Cited by non other than Jacques Cousteau himself as one of the top 5 dive sites in the world. Using his ship Calypso he was one of the first to explore the hidden depths of this now legendary dive site.

Giant Tuna use this dive site as a cleaning station, divers come to experience the transition from salt water to fresh water that happens at around 15m of depth.

6. Barracuda Lake, Coron, Philippines

aerial shot barracuda lake philippines

This is a dive site like no other on earth, mostly because it offers an out of this world experience, the unique combination of a thermocline at 14 metres with a 10 degree celcius instant change in temperature and a salt to freshwater switch at the same time. Has an effect on the diver that almost pacifies gravity and makes you feel like you are some how diving on the surface of the moon.

A totally unforgettable diving experience and true to its name there are a couple of Great Barracudas inhabiting this lake, but this is far from the highlight of the dive.

7. Sardine Run, South Africa

dolphins feeding on sardines great sardine run south africa

More of a dive area than a dive site, the famous sardine run of South Africa is an annual event which happens when sea water conditions and food source are right for an abundance of Sardines, naturally predators follow suit. Huge sardine swarms can be encountered measured in kilometres long not by the number of uncountable sardines. Dolphins, Whales and numerous species of Sharks can be found hunting the sardines. A truly once in a lifetime experience as the Sardines bait balls can be found at any part of the South African coastline with a long time window each year when they may be at their peak numbers. As well as a yearly variation in the number of sardines, needless to say the more sardines there are the more predators there are.

8. SS Thistlegorm – Ras Mohammed, Egypt

motorcycle underwater at the thistlegorm wreck egypt

One of the best wreck dives in the world, not because of the ship itself the SS Thistlegorn was just a freighter during world war two. The spectacle of this wreck is the numerous items of intact cargo the ship was carrying when it sank including Enfield rifles, motorcycles, tanks, jeeps, aircraft and bedford trucks. Sitting on the sea floor at 33m this dive is suitable for all level of divers, even beginner divers can get down to the top of the ships mast and at least be able to say they set foot on one of the greatest shipwrecks in the world.

9. Cape Kri, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

diving cape kri indonesia

There needed to be a dive site from Raja Ampat on the list, Raja Ampat has some of the most amazing coral gardens in the world and Cape Kri holds the record of having the most number of species identified in a single dive. Expect schools of bumphead parrot fish, Manta Rays, Sharks, Barracudas and giant trevallies. Accessible by both liveaboard and mainland diving centres makes this one of the easier dive destinations on the list to make it to.

10. Fakarava, French Polynesia

grey reef sharks diving in Fakarava polynesia

Known as shark paradise, this tiny atoll in French Polynesia boasts the highest concentration of grey reef sharks in the world as this is one of the only reefs in the world where sharks are fully protected, giving a concentration of sharks you would expect to see naturally. There are a couple of dive centres on Fakarava, but liveaboards also make the visit. Either way getting to this paradise is worth the long trip.

We hope you enjoyed the list, let us know how if you have dived any of these sites and if they would make it into your top 10 list of the 10 best dive sites in the world.