Great Tropical Islands For Diving
In all my years of travel, one of the best things I have done is learn to scuba dive in the Yasawa Islands. I had been avoiding it for years. Yet I finally worked up the courage to learn and I've been hooked ever since.
Tadeu Pereira (Ted), flickr
With so many spectacular waters to dive around the world, I'll never run out of locations to put my certification to good use. And as a lover of tropical islands, it's not hard to find places to combine my two passions. These eight sites have some of the best diving spots in the world, with have amazing wildlife diversity plus strong regulations to help keep the reef systems alive and filled with variety of fish we expect to see.
Since I learned to dive here on the Yasawa Islands, Fiji has a special place in my heart. The fact that the Fijian waters are clear, warm, and teeming with life doesn't hurt, either. Though this country has some 322 islands, less than a third are inhabited, so you'll find many unspoiled reef systems that haven't been disturbed as much by humans. I saw turtles, sharks, and huge fish while I was on my dives. It was breathtaking.
2. The Seychelles
Located off the east coast of Africa, this pure tropical paradise has great diving for novice and experienced divers alike. The inner islands are the remains of a submerged mountain range and are on a shallow plateau with a great amount of marine life. The outer islands are largely uninhabited with excellent dive sites that haven't be overfished or developed.
3. The Maldives
This chain of 1,000 islands is just a series of coral atolls that are barely above sea level, meaning the waters are excellent for diving and snorkeling. The Maldives thankfully takes exquisite care of their reef systems and the diving here will yield turtles, rays, and electric colored coral.
In Hawaii's clear warm water, you'll find colorful corals and sealife ranging from tiny shrimp to giant sea turtles to dolphins. All of the islands offers great diving, and each one offers its own unique variety of fish so you will rarely get bored. With much of the waters just put under federal protection, you can be assured the beauty will remain for awhile.
5. The Cook Islands
Another group of South Pacific islands, the Cook Islands are considerably less visited than many of its island neighbors. The fact that these islands are under the tourist radar means that you'll find excellent reefs and diving here. You'll be able to see turtle, lots of clownfish, and some sharks. The coral here is also very vibrant and well looked after by the locals.
Christina Spicuzza, flickr
Micronesia is probably the best place to dive in the South Pacific for some of the world's most famous wreck dives. A hotbed of activity during World War II, these islands are home to sunken freighters, submarines, and planes. But even if you aren't advanced enough to wreck dive, you'll find giant sharks, whales, and turtles.
7. Fernando de Noronha
Located off Brazil's northeast coast, Fernando de Noronha is one of the best scuba diving locations in South America. Beautiful blue water that has visibility of up to 120 feet will yield a vast variety of sea life. The highlight of diving here is seeing the resident pods of Spinner Dolphins that are abundant in these waters.
Tadeu Pereira (Ted), flickr
The waters of the Galápagos are as rich in wildlife as the islands above. Reef fish, sea lions, a variety of rays, eels, turtles, white tip reef sharks, hammerheads, and even whales all call the Galápagos home. This is one of the few places in the world free from commercial fishing, so the waters are left untouched and allowed to be as abundant as nature intended. Dives here are more difficult than other parts of the world and should only be done by experience divers.