My 10 favourite tropical diving destinations

I don’t have more than a hundred logged dives yet and I’m not a professional diver, but I like to enjoy a good dive surrounded by marine life and nice views once in a while. So I composed a list of my 10 favourite tropical diving destinations of which I think every amateur fun diver like me should dream of going to. It makes me realise that there are so many places left to be discovered. Enjoy the dreaming!

Cenote Suytun, Mexico

Cenote Suytun, Mexico

10. Mexico

The peninsula of Yucatan offers a nice variety of beach resorts and guesthouses to enjoy the diving around Cozumel and Cancun. Be sure to visit the MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte – Underwater Arts Museum) in the waters around Cancun and Isla Mujeres, a stunning underwater museum with over 500 life sized sculptures.

Why go there?

Cenotes or flooded caves. Cave diving may require extra training and certifications but this unique and awesome environment is definitely worth the while. With a network of over 2000 caves, this is where you need to be for cave diving.

 9. Thailand

Thailand has many different diving options, all over the country. Depending on te season, you might want to choose between diving in the Gulf of Thailand or the Andaman Sea. Both are very nice but to my opinion the diving will be a little better on the Andaman coast due to the abundant marine life and stunning top locations like the Similan Islands or Hin Daeng and Hin Muang near Koh Lanta.

The Gulf of Thailand, with Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, offers some of the world’s cheapest Open Water Courses available and has a nice laid back island atmosphere. Perfect for backpackers and first time scuba divers.

Thailand is a great country with endless options to go diving on one of the islands or on a liveaboard. Take that together with the always smiling Thai people and delicious food and you have your ultimate relaxing dive adventure ahead of you.

Why go there?

Liveaboard to the Similan islands. The Simians are one of the best dive sites in the world, it would be a pity being in Thailand and missing out on this great opportunity.

Thresher Shark, Philippines

Thresher Shark, Philippines

8. Philippines

Another tropical paradise. The Philippines has over 7000 islands right inside the Coral Triangle offering a very rich biodiversity of tropical marine life. Popular places to dive in the Philippines are around the islands of Minidoro and Palawan. And the region around Bohol, where you can find the famous chocolate mountains

The excellent location and some true paradise islands, the Philipines can be a worthy alternative to diving in more touristy Thailand or Indonesia. 

Why go there?

Malapascua island. This is one of the places where you can have the chance of encountering the mysterious thresher sharks. Being a nocturnal animal living in deeper water, they are rarely sighted but in Malapascua you might spot them near the 220m drop offs.

Morning on Roatan, Honduras

Morning on Roatan, Honduras

7. Honduras

This Central American destination is situated below the massive Belize Barrier reef and just off the coast of La Ceiba, you can find the Bay Islands with Roatan and Utila being the most popular diver’s destinations around. They host a huge variety of caribbean marine species. This makes Honduras a very popular destination for American travelers looking for fun and great diving.

Why go there?

Talking about an affordable diving location in Central America? Honduras offers very affordable Open water courses on the islands of Roatan and Utila.

Getting ready to dive Gili islands

Getting ready to dive Gili islands

 

6. Indonesia

With more than 17000 islands and a great location within the Coral Triangle, Indonesia boasts marine life and scuba diving is widely practiced. The most popular areas are around the magical islands of Bali and Lombok with Nusa Lembogan, Amed or the Gili Islands as popular dive spots and the coastal waters around Komodo and Flores. More experienced travelers can put on their wetsuits in Sulawesi or Raja Ampat to get off the beaten track for some splendid diving.

Indonesia has a lot to offer. From good food and great people to tropical beaches and crystal clear water, not bad to experience after a hard day of diving.

Why go there?

Try to spot the mysterious Mola Mola fish near the island of Nusa Lembongan. This huge moon-shaped fish can weigh up to 1000 kilograms and roams the tropical waters mostly from july to october.

5. Belize

Few people know that Belize hosts the second largest Barrier Reef in the world which is off course teeming with tropical fish and other marine life. The many different cayes or sandy islands are a great starting point for diving around the Belize Barrier reef. For budget options you can try Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker.

Why go there?

The Great Blue Hole, a world famous dive site. This sinkhole is 300m across and has a depth of 124m, has magnificent marine life with both small and large fish and can be done on a day trip from the Belize mainland

Beach in Tioman Island

Beach in Tioman Island

5. Malaysia

Malaysia has many options for diving in both west-malaysia and east-malaysia (Borneo). In West-Malaysia, easily accessible from the capital Kuala Lumpur, you might head out to Tioman Islands, the Perhentians or Langkawi for some nice dive sites. In East Malaysia, more specifically the northern Sabah province of Borneo, you’ll be able to dive the crystal clear waters of islands such as Layan-layan, Mabul or Sipadan

Why go there?

The islands of Mabul and Sipadan are undoubtably some of the best diving spots around the globe. The marine life is abundant with both pelagic and reef fish. 

3. Maldives

The Maldives. Only pronouncing the name makes you dream away to picture perfect landscapes and crystal clear water surrounded by the softest and whitest sand you have ever seen. This is topped by fringed reefs and a natural beaty below the water surface that is hard to beat in any other country. The atolls around the capital of Malé offer everything you would ever want as a diver.

It has the reputation of being an expensive country and it has all the right to be with the beautiful five star resorts and water bungalows. But there are some budget options too if you want. 

Why go there?

 The Maldives have many nice dive sites so you would probably want to book a dive safari or a liveaboard to take you around the many islands and dive sites. You will be rewarded with spectacular sunsets, great views and lots and lots of colourful marine life.

Great Barrier Reef - Australia

Great Barrier Reef – Australia

2. Australia

Home to the largest reef in the world, you can not miss out on diving in Australia. The Great Barrier Reefs is a vast area abundant with islands, coral cays and marine life. It is best visited by liveaboard if you want to get the maximum out of your trip. A dream destination for every diver.

 Why go there?

The SS Yongala, a sunken passenger ship about as old as the Titanic which is currently teeming with marine wildlife such as turtles, rays and sharks.

Dahab, Egypt

Dahab, Egypt

 

1. Egypt

My personal favourite. The extremely salty waters of the Red Sea offer spectacular diving. The whole coast line from Marsa Alam to Taba offers exquisite diving and one top dive site next to the others, you have Elphinstone Reef, the Brothers Islands, Thistlegorm wreck, the Blue Hole in Dahab,… All great! Marine life is very abundant and colourful, with all the marine species you can imagine around you.

Why go there?

All of the dive sites mentioned above will satisfy you as a diver.