Wonderful surroundings, and underwater some of the most diverse marine life on the planet. Captivating secrets hidden under the sea surface and communing with majestic whale sharks. Where to go for an unforgettable exploration of the underwater depths?
Underwater environment and its undeniable wealth for many of us is a great mystery. Choosing the best places to dive in the world is no mean feat – it’s hard to compare such diverse ecosystems, offering experiences of completely different qualities. Nevertheless, we decided to trust the diving experts and their opinions – we’ve chosen a few locations that true lovers of underwater exploration must visit. You will find here everything what your heart desires – from paradise, tropical climates to cold waters covering all corners of the globe.
Belize’s largest caye is a popular diving destination due to its crystal clear Caribbean waters and proximity to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is teeming with marine life and where you can encounter such natural wonders as the majestic whale shark. The region’s biggest attraction, however, is the nearby Great Blue Hole, an astonishing underwater karst funnel that has become known as one of the best dive sites in the world. This UNESCO underwater cave is believed to be over 150,000 years old and is frequented by an astonishing array of marine species, including bull and hammerhead sharks.
The remote Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat includes more than 1,500 forested emerald islands and reefs amidst turquoise coral-rich waters. Its name means Four Kings, after the four main islands: Missool, Waigeo, Bantanta and Salawati. The place is known as the coral triangle and you can find the world’s richest marine life with over 1,400 species of fish.
In the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea in Malaysia, Pulau Payar Marine Park surrounds four emerald white sand islands, boasting a thriving ecosystem of hard and soft corals, with an array of tropical fish and regular visits from whale sharks and manta rays.
Off the northern coast of Mozambique, the protected islands of the Quirimbas archipelago are home to pristine reefs with over 350 species of reef fish, humpback whales, whale sharks, and turtles nesting along the islands’ shores.
It’s no wonder that the Galapagos Islands offer exceptional diving opportunities when their waters are home to such an incredible abundance of sea lions, penguins, seals, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks, and whale sharks, not to mention a wide variety of marine fish. To dive these waters, book specialized cruises or stay at one of the islands’ hotels, such as the eco-friendly Pikaia Lodge on top of the volcano – from there you can embark on diving expeditions.
Con Dao Island is one of 16 in a protected marine archipelago in the South China Sea. Thanks to numerous prohibitions and strong protection, the area has retained its pristine reef and abundance of diverse marine life, with species such as the rare dugong, dolphins, great barracuda, and green and chinook turtles nesting on the shores of Con Dao from May to October. Experienced divers there also have the opportunity to explore the 65-meter long wreck of a sunken Thai freighter that lies 40 meters below the surface.
Main photo: Aviv Perets/unsplash.com