There’s a certain magic that’s only found under the sea, and if you don’t dive you’re really missing out. Here’s a selection of seven amazing dive sites around the world that warrant at least one visit in a lifetime… though of course, once a year is even better.
And if we missed out on some other fantastic dives, feel free to share your favourite dive site in the comments section. Divers the world over will thank you for it.
Silfra, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Photo: Flickr/Francisco Antunes
The water can get extremely cold – down to minus 4 degrees Celsius – but Silfra is the only place in the world where you can dive between two continents: North America and Europe. The chasm between the two tectonic plates leads to a cave, a narrow tunnel, overhead boulders and, eventually, a 120-meter lagoon. Excited yet?
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Photo: Flickr/David Stanley
Four hundred pieces of sculpture, making up the world’s biggest underwater museum, await divers in Isla Mujeres. Each of the pieces is at a different depth, and seen from above they collectively make up the shape of an eye. Time your visit from June to September, when Isla Mujeres is home to hundreds of migrating whale sharks, and you’ll enjoy a dive trip like no other.
Mary’s Place, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Intense volcanic activity formed deep crevices and countless cracks beyond 30m at Mary’s Place. Your first stop would be a crevasse with fans of black coral. Because of the crevices, this spot makes it the perfect hangout for schools of glassfish hiding from sunlight. Painted wrasses, spotted drums and seahorses the size of an iPhone 6+ are just some of the marine animals that swarm in and around Mary’s Place.
Darwin’s Arch, Galapagos Islands, Ecuado
Photo: Flickr/Daniel Kwok
Are you into big marine animals? If so, head to Darwin’s Arch right now. Moe than just another awesome dive spot, Darwin’s Arch is known for its massive hammerhead sharks, gigantic Galapagos and tiger sharks, vast whale sharks, and many others. Also, turtles are a pretty big thing here.
Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Dives at Tiger Beach are cageless, meaning you’ll be swimming right next to some of the biggest sharks in the world – many of which are maneaters. Don’t worry, you’ll have a layer of neoprene as protection. It’s a pretty shallow dive – all of six metres – but you’ll be right in the midst of swarming lemon and tiger sharks, many more than you could ever hope to count.
Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
Photo: Flickr/Lakshmi Sawitri
Sometimes murky because of the strong current, the Raja Ampat Islands don’t always offer extended visibility – not ideal for those looking to post picture-perfect images on social media. What the islands do have in abundance is marine life, found in numbers so intense it can sometimes be overwhelming for divers not used to the experience. For its size, this region has been found to contain the world’s biggest coral reef biodiversity… and some very weird-looking marine residents. It’s like natural selection on acid, a kaleidoscope of moving shapes and colours sure to please even the diver that’s seen it all.
Kuda Giri Wreck, South Male Atoll, Maldives
The Kuda Giri Wreck lies head first towards a reef tower and table corals, with several varieties of sponges covering its surface. Frog fish, glass fish and schools of blue fin trevally regularly swim through the wreck. Divers can, too, but it would be a tight fit: entering through the motor room and exiting at the stern. The wreck takes on an eerie vibe at night, making it equally terrifying and exciting.