Where are the World’s 100 Best Dives in 2024? – SCUBA News

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Here is the ultimate rundown of the top 100 dive sites in the world, as voted for by scuba divers. How many have you dived? The list is predominantly composed of warm water diving locations, with only a few cold water spots, such as in the Galapagos and New Zealand. Sadly only one European entry survives in the 2023 list – Silfra in Iceland is the sole representative.

Cast your vote here

  1. Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia
    Wall of coral where sharks come cruising by and barracuda surround you. You are guaranteed to see big stuff here and lots of it. Occasional strong currents blast over an underwater prairie that’s home to white tips, turtles, grouper, jacks, bumphead parrotfish and of course the barracuda that give it its name.
  2. Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia
    An upwelling means this splendid wall dive is favoured by pelagics. Expect to see sharks, barracuda, eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse, snappers, jacks…if you can tear your eyes away from the fish the wall hosts thick coral with morays, nudibranchs and mantis shrimps being just a few of the attractions. Getting there

    eagle raysDaniel Lamborn/DepositPhotos

  3. Yongala, Australia
    The Yongala is a shipwreck off the coast of Queensland. Full of marine life you may see manta rays, sea snakes, octopuses, turtles, bull sharks, tiger sharks, clouds of fish and spectacular coral. How to dive it.
    Coral on wreck of Yongala, AustraliaShutterstock
  4. Thistlegorm, Egyptian Red Sea
    A large wreck which needs several dives to do it justice. A British vessel, the Thistlegorm (Blue Thistle) was attacked from the air and sunk in 1941 whilst carrying a cargo of war supplies: rifles, motor bikes, train carriages, trucks. Currents can be strong, and in different directions at the surface and at the wreck. How to dive it.

    Motor bikes on the Thistlegorm by Tim NicholsonMotorbikes on the Thistlegorm by Tim Nicholson

  5. Shark and Yolanda Reef, Egyptian Red Sea
    Three dives in one: anemone city, shark reef with its spectacular drop off and the wreck of the Yolanda. Currents make this good for drift dives and for pelagic fish. A popular dive starts at Anemone City before drifting to Shark Reef and its drop off. Finish up on the wreck of the Yolanda with its cargo of toilets. Dive Shark and Yolanda.

    Red Sea Coral ReefImage: Tim NicholsonTim Nicholson

  6. Manta Ray Night Dive, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
    Underwater lights placed on the ocean floor attract infinite amounts of plankton, which in turn attract the huge, yet beautiful manta rays of Kona Hawaii. The rays get so close to you, that you often have to move to avoid them accidentally hitting you. An amazingly wonderful and unforgettable time with one of the most beautiful animals in the world.

    manta ray night diveDive Dog/DepositPhotos

  7. Great Blue Hole, Belize
    Very deep, wide, hole outlined by coral reef and inhabited by sharks. Is there another sight like it? 30 m visibility coming over the bathwater warm reef of vibrant colours, descending into a cool, deep blue hole where the water begins to waver and shimmer as you enter the transition from salt to fresh water at about 15 m. Dive the Blue Hole.

    Blue Hole Belize

  8. Liberty, Bali, Indonesia
    This wreck is very popular with photographers as it is totally encrusted in anemone, gorgonians and corals. Look for the hawksbill turtle which practically lives on the Liberty and interesting small stuff like the beautiful purple Scorpion Leaf Fish and Ornate Ghost Pipefish. Larger fish you might see there include Great Barracuda and Flapnose Ray. The wreck is quite broken up but you can go in the cargo hold. You dive it not so much for the experience of wreck diving but for the fabulous sealife. Usually dived from the shore, the Liberty is also on some liveaboard itinaries.

    Liberty wreck, BaliImage: Shahar Shabtai/ShutterstockShahar Shabtai/Shutterstock

  9. Navy Pier, Western Australia
    Extending 300 m from shore, the T-shaped structure is 300 m wide, including two outlying “dolphins” (platforms for larger ships to tie up to). Although a very defined and somewhat compact site, you could spend 5 days diving there and not be bored, particularly at night. 

    Loggerhead turtle
    Loggerhead turtle. DepositPhotos

  10. Richelieu Rock, Thailand
    A horse shoe of rocky pinnacles, just breaks the surface at low tide. Famous for whale shark sightings, but also great for big schools of pelagic fish such as jacks, barracuda and batfish. Mantas are also seen, and it is a superb spot for Macro photography with such creatures as ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp, frogfish and seahorses. Currents can be strong. Needs several dives to see the whole area. Best dived from December to April. How to dive Richelieu Rock?
    harlequin shrimpImage: Zeamonkey/DepositphotosHarleqin shrimp. Zeamonkey/Depositphotos
  11. Darwin Arch, Galapagos

    Darwin Arch would now more accurately be called Darwin Pillars, as in 2021 the arch collapsed into the water. However, the diving there is still spectacular with whale sharks, hundreds of hammerhead sharks, galapagos sharks, turtles, eagle rays, dolphins. Do I need to go on? Go there.

    Hammerhead sharks
    Hammerhead sharks. DepositPhotos
  12. Elphinstone Reef, Egyptian Red Sea
    Elphinstone is is a fabulous dive site. It is just 300 metres long with sheer sides. In it’s centre is a shallow plateau, just 1 m deep, but the walls drop steeply down to the depths. The current here can be very strong, which is good as it means plenty of fish life. The reef top is one of the few places that you can see Oceanic Whitetip sharks in shallow water. They are curious animals and will come to look at divers. Elphinstone also features many very beautiful corals. If that isn’t enough look out for its resident hawksbill turtle, the bottlenose dolphins that might whizz past above your head and hammerhead sharks out in the blue.

    Oceanic whitetip shark on Elphinstone
    Oceanic whitetip shark on Elphinstone Reef. DepositPhotos

  13. Tubbataha, Palawan, Philippines
  14. Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
  15. President Coolidge, Vanuatu
  16. Big Brother, Egyptian Red Sea
  17. Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa, Polynesia
  18. Ras Mohammed, Egyptian Red Sea
  19. Great white wall, Tavieuni Fiji
  20. Gordon’s Rock, Galapagos
  21. Osprey Reef, Coral Sea, Australia
  22. Bloody bay wall, Little cayman
  23. Sodwana bay, South Africa
  24. Castle Rock – Komodo, Indonesia
  25. Manta reef, Mozambique
  26. Sha’ab Rumi South, Sudan
  27. Ulong Channel, Palau
  28. Wolf Island, Galapogos
  29. Maaya Thila, South Ari Atoll, Maldives
  30. Blue Hole, Dahab, Egyptian Red Sea
  31. Verde Island or Drop Off, Philippines
  32. Poor Knights, New Zealand
  33. Bikini atoll, Marshall Islands
  34. Blue Magic, Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia
  35. Palancanar Bricks, Cozumel, Mexico
  36. South Point, Sipadan, Malaysia
  37. Jackson Reef, Egypt
  38. Bunaken, Indonesia
  39. Magic Mountain, Raja Ampat
  40. San Francisco Maru, Chuuk Lagoon
  41. Apo Reef, Philippines
  42. Daedelus, Egyptian Red Sea
  43. Similans, Thailand
  44. Cod Hole, Northern Great Barrier Reef
  45. Dos Ojos (Los Cenotes), Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  46. Straits of Tiran, Egyptian Red Sea
  47. Fish Rock, Off South West Rocks in NSW, Australia
  48. The Boiler, Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico
  49. Mnemba Island, Tanzania
  50. Punta Sur / Devils Throat, Cozumel, Mexico
  51. Scotts head pinnacle, Dominica
  52. Sipadan Drop Off, Malaysia
  53. Puerto Galera, Philippines
  54. Batu Bolong, Komodo, Indonesia
  55. Canibal Rock, Komodo, Indonesia
  56. Garuae Pass, Fakarava Island, French Polynesia
  57. The Zenobia, Cyprus
  58. Silfra, Thingvellir, Iceland
  59. Fujikawa Maru, Truk Lagoon (Chuuk Lagoon)
  60. Blockship Tabarka, Scapa Flow, Orkney
  61. Malpelo Island, Colombia
  62. Molokini Crater Wall, Hawaii
  63. Grand Central Station, Gizo, Solomon Islands
  64. Alcyone, Cocos Island, Costa Rica
  65. East of Eden, Ko Similan, Thailand
  66. Sangalaki Island, East Kalimantan, Borneo. Indonesia
  67. Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi
  68. Dirty rock, Cocos Island, Costa Rica
  69. Neptune’s Arm, Vamizi Island, Mozambique
  70. Cirkewwa, Malta
  71. USS Saratoga, Bikini Atoll, Marshall Isles
  72. St Johns, Egyptian Red Sea
  73. Perpendicular wall, Christmas Island, Australia
  74. Half Moon Wall, Belize
  75. Hin Muang, Thailand
  76. Peleliu Express, Palau
  77. Ghiannis D, Egypt
  78. Pixie pinnacle and pixie wall, GBR, Australia
  79. Stingray City, Grand Cayman
  80. Roca Partida, Revillagigedo Islands, Baja California, Mexico
  81. Protea Banks, South Africa
  82. Barra Reef, Mozambique
  83. Split rock, Kadavu Isle. Fiji
  84. Pedras Secas, Noronha, Brazil
  85. Shark Alley, Grand Cayman
  86. Jardines de la Reina, Cuba
  87. Holmes Reef, Coral Sea, Australia
  88. Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Australia
  89. Canyon, Thomas Reef, Egypt
  90. Los Roques, Venezuela
  91. 7 Mile Reef Sodwana Bay
  92. Balls Pyramid, Lord Howe Island, Australia
  93. Rainbow Reef, Taveuni, Fiji
  94. Dos Amigos Pequeña (Small Dos Amigos), Cocos Islands, Costa Rica
  95. Landslide, Wolf Island, Galapagos
  96. Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles
  97. Cathédrale, Hienghène, New Caledonia
  98. Paradise point, Milne Bay PNG
  99. Manta Ray Night Dive, Fesdhoo Lagoon, North Ari Atoll, Maldives
  100. Seaventure House Reef, Mabul

Image credits:

  • Red Sea coral Reef by Tim Nicholson of SCUBA Travel: Tim Nicholson
  • liberty, Bali: Shahar Shabtai/Shutterstock
  • harlequin shrimp: Zeamonkey/Depositphotos

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