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Whether you are an experienced diver who has already explored the popular spots in Bali or one who simply wants to have a rare experience away from hordes of tourists, consider venturing to a lesser-known location for your next dive. Here are some best places for scuba diving and unique spots to discover on your next diving vacation.

1. Rowley Shoals, Australia

Located about 160 miles off the coast of Western Australia, the Rowley Shoals is a remote but beautiful spot to dive. A range of marine life can be found here, from colorful coral gardens to reef fish to manta rays and hammerhead sharks. Getting here is quite a trek and you will have to stay on a liveaboard boat, but the scenery and marine life make the journey worthwhile.

2. Triton Bay, Indonesia

Triton Bay is on the island of Pulau Aiduma, situated off the southwestern coast of New Guinea. It is a great spot for macro photography and shallow dives among soft coral gardens and schools of all kinds of fish. There are over 30 dives to explore.

3. Zanzibar Archipelago

The Zanzibar Archipelago is located off the eastern coast of Africa, near Tanzania, and offers dives for all levels of experience. Though you won't find many sharks, there is an exciting variety of small marine creatures, including bottlenose dolphins, lionfish, and sea turtles. Head to the main island, Unguja, and decide what you would like to do. There are almost two dozen different dives to choose from.

The Best Under the Radar Diving Places in the World

4. Seven Mile Reef, South Africa

South Africa invite divers to enter their wild and woolly kingdom. The diving experience here is as varied as the people, ranging from great sharks to multitudes of small sardines. You will find tropical reefs in the northeast and temperate rocky reefs in the west. From its northern border with Mozambique to Cape Town, we can follow the route of many species of sharks, from the great white to the bull, sand tiger, hammer, mako, tiger and even whale shark. And of course the great date of the Sardine Run, in addition to dolphins, whales, sailfish, seabirds, etc.

Cape Town area has a Mediterranean climate with humid winters and hot, dry summers. On the Gansbaai coast, you have the opportunity to dive in cages with great white sharks. In Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal you can enjoy warmer waters, coral reefs and, of course, many sharks. Cathedral is one of the most popular dive sites in Aliwal Shoal, known for the shelter of jagged shark sharks during the mating season.

With the amount of fish species, spectacular falls and coral formations, 7 Mile Reef must be listed as one of the best dive sites in the world. What makes this reef so popular is its variety, including Blacktip Reef Sharks, schools of pelagic fish, huge moray eels and lots of turtles. Even Black Marlin has been known to visit this beautiful reef. The ride is often interspersed with sightings of bottlenose and spinner dolphins, whales and humpback whales, depending on the season.

Located on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula, Smitswinkel Bay hosts five of the best shipwreck dives in Cape Town. These wrecks form an artificial reef that offers advanced divers to explore a wide range of shipwrecks. For the technical diving community, there is also the opportunity to explore the five wrecks in one dive, known as Smits swimming.

5. Farne Islands, UK

Though the Farne Islands are a popular location for bird watchers, they are also a great place to go diving. Nestled in the North Sea off the coast of England, the Farne Islands are known for their many shipwrecks and a large colony of friendly grey seals. As in other non-tropical climates, you will need to be sure you have the right wetsuit for diving here. While surface temperatures are generally warm, even in the cooler months, deeper water can be quite cold.

6. Azores, Portugal

Among the options for diving at The Azores, Portugal includes spots where you can see caverns, shipwrecks, active underwater volcanoes, a plethora of colorful fish, and elusive but exciting sharks, rays, and mola molas. With an abundance of dives to choose from for all levels of experience, there is something here for everyone.

The best way to get to know the Azores Islands is by combining islands. In this case Terceira and Sao Miguel. The Terceira island is the second most important island of the archipelago. Its old town is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which is characterized by its steep and cobbled streets, its Renaissance style and the culture of its people. It is called the Violet Island, because hydrangeas of this color are abundant on this island.

The Sao Miguel island is the capital of the Azores. We can discover its colonial architecture and culture through the urban art that colors its walls. It is called the Green Island due to its humid climate and its exotic and abundant flora. One of the most charming places on the entire island of Sao Miguel, without a doubt, is a gigantic volcanic caldera known as Sete Cidades.

This corner must be in your list if you dare to see the Azores Islands. At less than twenty kilometers from Ponta Delgada you will arrive in an easy and simple way to this place. The best known lakes are Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul. When the sky is clear and the sun shines brightly you can see its intense green and blue colors that are what give name to both lakes.

To see this whole area, one of the best places to do it is the viewpoint known as Vista do Rei. At a very short distance there is a very curious building. At the top of the crater, a luxury hotel was built that eventually went to ruin. At present, this hotel only has its sturdy structure.

It is worth entering inside this installation and imagining what the life of the clients who were staying in these rooms should be like and listening to the grand piano that was installed in the entrance hall. If you go up to the upper floors there are several rooms with views of the blue lagoon and the green lagoon that are really amazing.

7. Cape Tarkhankut, Ukraine

At the westernmost point of Crimea, Cape Tarkhankut provides a huge variety of options for divers of all levels of experience. Highlights consist of shipwrecks from different eras of time; the Monastery cavern; and the Alley of Leaders, an underwater museum full of states of former Soviet leaders and other sculptures.

8. Socorro Island, Mexico

You have to dive out of a liveaboard boat to explore Socorro Island, located almost 400 miles from the coast of Mexico. Large marine animals draw divers to this remote island. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can see dolphins, sharks, humpback whales, and giant manta rays.

9. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora is an island in French Polynesia located north of Tahiti, 260 kilometers from the capital of Papeete. If you want to enjoy a show of Polynesian dances, forget about those organized by the hotels. Throughout the month of July a Festival of Polynesian dances is organized throughout the country called Heiva, which you can attend for free. Discover it in Bora Bora. Possibly it is the most beautiful lagoon in the world.

One of the most beautiful and photographed motus of Polynesia is the Motu Tapu. From Bora Bora you can see the nearby islands of Tahaa, Raiatea and Maupiti. Do not forget the drinks, the delicious cocktails such as maitai (rum mix, fresh pineapple and Cointreau) and Banana Coralia (fresh bananas, lemon juice, strawberry syrup and coconut).

Luxury hotels abound, with Polynesian-style bungalows built on the waters of the Bora Bora lagoon, where breakfast can arrive on board a canoe. In addition, the national television channel also broadcasts Heiva live, so if you fall far or do not coincide you can see it quietly from the hotel room. In Tahiti rent a car and go around the island.

The best season to travel to Bora Bora is during the months of May to October. Hurricane storms are common during the rest of the year. For scuba diving in Bora Bora, the best months are from April to June.

The Rangiroa Atoll is the second largest atoll in the world and is a spectacular place to dive. A perfect place to drift dive, the tropical waters are full of dolphins, sharks, and green sea turtles. Very few people come here, making it the perfect place to get away from hordes of tourists and enjoy a truly unique dive.

10. Caribbean Islands

Also called the Antillean Sea, the Caribbean is known for its islands and coral reefs that attract millions of tourists every year. It is part of the Atlantic Ocean, bordering Central America and South America. It is one of the largest seas in the world and communicates with the Pacific Ocean through the famous Panama Canal, reaching its deepest level (more than 7,600 meters) in the Cayman Trench, located between Cuba and Jamaica.

Its tropical location helps the water temperature to remain relatively high and constant throughout the year which, together with the marine currents, favors the existence of a great biodiversity at the same time that makes it a pleasant diving environment.

Among its underwater scenarios, the Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world and declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. The reefs of the Caribbean are full of places full of color, movement and life. Butterfly fish, surgeon, damsel or angel fish are the most common inhabitants of this environment, and yet other fascinating creatures such as sea turtles, eagle rays, sea horses or some sharks are also frequent in the area.

Swimming with the biggest fish in the world, diving surrounded by sharks or diving in disturbing blue holes are just some of the experiences you can experience while travelling the Caribbean.

11. Blue Hole, Belize

The second smallest country in Central America is a box of surprises. Belize is the perfect destination to explore, relax or fall in love. With more than 400 islands, paradisaical white sand beaches and the largest continuous barrier reef in the world, diving in Belize offers all kinds of adventures. Belize is located between Mexico and Guatemala. It is the least populated country in Central America. But it has the largest continuous barrier reef in the world, with almost 300 kilometers of reef. The diving in Belize is spectacular.

Belize's best known diving is the Blue Hole, the blue hole. This spectacular place is 300 meters long and 135 meters deep. When submerging, gigantic stalactites and stalagmites surprise us about 40 meters. And bull sharks come out to meet us. Fascinating. But it is only recommended for experienced divers.

And after the Blue Hole, on the same day, you can dive in Half Moon Caye Wall while traveling Belize. It is a vertical wall that falls 300 meters deep. Stripe blankets, coral sharks, turtles and gigantic corals are what await us when we dive. And we can add a third diving a day at Long Caye Aquarium, full of marine life.

And while Blue Hole is the most famous dive spot in Belize, Half Moon Caye and Long Caye Aquarium offer more marine life. All of them are located in Lighthouse Atoll, and it is one of the most fascinating diving experiences in the world. Apart from these three points of immersion, the Belize Barrier Reef offers unique dives.

North of the San Pedro area it is possible to see nurse sharks. The topography of the area is cut by dramatic canyons and cracks. And in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve you can dive with hammerhead sharks and turtles. In Ambergris Caye, just in front of the town of San Pedro, is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. It is one of the best diving in Belize. A deep break in the coral reef causes the arrival of varied marine life and flourishing corals. In Shark Ray Alley you can snorkel with rays and nurse sharks.

Another of the dive sites in Belize that we highlight is the Turneffe Atoll. It is the largest and the one with the greatest biological diversity. Since 2012 the atoll is under a protection program. And the underwater visibility is crystal clear, between 30 and 45 meters. Due to its isolation, the coral life is amazing, like a coral forest. And if we add the possibility of seeing rays, sea turtles or barracudas, the Turneffe Atoll becomes one of the best diving spots in Belize.

And south of the city of Belize we find Silk Cayes Canyon. Low reefs mix with flourishing corals, forming interesting structures. There is a great variety of hard corals and it is possible to see coral sharks. And to see whale sharks, we have to go to Stann Creek District. The diving in Gladden Spit allows us fascinating encounters with these marine giants. But harmless.

12. Rakiraki, Fiji

Fiji has several labels, from the soft coral capital of the world to the best shark diving location in the world. With such titles, it is easy to call Fiji a world-class diving destination that meets all ages and qualifications. But diving in Fiji has more to offer, such as wall dives, swims, caverns, canyons and incredible blue water encounters besides family resorts.

The strong currents of the outer reefs bring nutrient-rich waters thousands of kilometers around. In turn, they attract some of the most diverse lives of the ocean, from macro life to pelagic spectacles that challenge the eye. With more than 390 species of corals, approximately 1,200 species of fish and five of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, is the dream of a submarine naturalist while travelling Fiji.

Recommended dive sites include the world famous Beqa Lagoon, Shark Reef and Viti Levu Coral Coast. For both beginners and experienced divers, exploring the Rakiraki dive site is fun. Here you can see gardens of marine fans and vibrant corals, as well as pelagic giants like the barracuda, the wahoo and the occasional blanket or the whale shark.

13. Tarkarli, India

Take a few hours walk from Mumbai and you will arrive at the land of the crystal clear waters, Tarkarli. Located at the convergence of the Karli River and the Arabian Sea, Tarkarli gives a clearer picture of sea water. It is a paradise for adventure lovers who love to snorkel and dive. Scuba Diving at Tarkarli is the best experience one can get in India. Located in the state of Maharashtra, Tarkarli is a place where you can get your first diving experience.

Keep in mind that, although it is a very fun activity, diving requires more preparation than snorkeling. It would be crazy to dive 20 meters deep into the ocean without having some basic knowledge about how the oxygen bottle works, how to stay stable, or what to do if our ears hurt or we run out of oxygen.

If you are not convinced that you are going to like diving but you want to try it, you can do the test with a diving baptism, in which you will be given some basic notions and a professional diver will guide you during the dive. Have fun getting off the beaten path and trying out exceptional, underrated diving spots!
  • 11
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Kalyan Kalyan Author


  1. This was so cool to read through! Some of these places i never would have guessed made great places to scuba dive!

  2. I've always dreamt about travelling the world and scuba diving a long the way. When the time comes, I'll use your guide as a starting point. Thank you for sharing.

  3. i hope to learn how to dive before my trip to Bora Bora! I can't wait!!!

  4. My fear of deep waters has deterred me from trying scuba diving. How I wish I could muster up the courage to try this at least once in my life!

  5. I have scuba dived before and my ears always pop. but I still think it is fun, these would be great places.

  6. OOHHH I need to do this!! I went once in Mexico and LOVED it

  7. I've never been diving before, but I have a friend that moved to SEA to go and she has lived in Bali for the past 6 years! What a cool list!

  8. I think scuba diving is awesome! I would love to be able to do that but alas. Enjoying the photos anyway

  9. This is really cool but am so scared of swim not to talk of scuba diving. When I leg go of fears I will love to try it out.

  10. My husband is a diver and would love to dive these locations! Much different than here!


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