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This post was written by Austin Tuwiner, who has been traveling the world scuba diving every chance he gets. After discovering several methods to make money online, Austin decided to say goodbye to college and hop on a plane. He has been on the road for nearly 9 months straight! In this post, he shares his favorite scuba diving locations around the world.
Austin’s Top 5 Scuba Diving Destinations
Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
Gili Trawangan is a bit off the beaten path. It takes some effort to get there, but the journey is worth the reward. I took a mix of bus + speedboat in order to make it to the island. Trawangan is the largest of the 3 neighboring islands (Air and Meno).
Gili Trawangan is best known for the Cidomo carts roaming the island and the Muslim call to prayer blasted 5 times a day (sometimes more during holidays).
The islands been mostly taken over by expats and divers but are still something to be seen. Along the main road, you’ll find dozens of dive shops with all different cultures. Here’s a photo of me diving at Shark Point, one of the better-known sites here.
Located in the South East region of Florida, Miami is likely one of the most popular places to dive in North America. In addition to diving, there are tons of things to do in Miami.
Of all the dive sites I did in Miami, Neptune Memorial Reef was the most impressive. It’s an artificial reef that contains cremated remains of people who wanted to be laid to rest here.
This is another unique one, as most people don’t even know that there’s diving to be done in Israel. Tel Aviv and other parts of Israel border the Mediterranean, but the diving isn’t any good.
What most people don’t know, is that in the very southern point of Israel is the city Eilat. Eilat shares a border with Egypt and Jordan and has a small channel of the gorgeous and diverse Red Sea.
Let me get this out of the way:
It’s extremely hot here. Expect to face temperatures around 40 Celcius! Don’t let the heat stop you from diving or visiting here.
My favorite dive site here was the Sunboat, a sunken liveaboard boat that’s now an artificial reef.
Believe it or not, Hawaii was the first place I ever scuba dove at. I attended a scuba diving camp at the age of 16, and it exposed me to the world of scuba diving. It’s truly a breathtaking place unlike anywhere else in America.
The highlight of my trip was spotting a 14ft bull shark on the last dive of camp. What a way to go out!
One of the most popular dives in Kona is the manta ray night dive. Boats all point their lights into the water attracting plankton. What do you think these plankton attract?
You guessed right. Massive mantas. Check out the video below!
Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao is a common vacation destination in Thailand but is certainly worth visiting. It featured great nightlife, coworking, and of course… diving. There’s was nothing better than getting some work done on my travel laptop after having an amazing day diving.
My favorite dive site here was the Sattakut, a military boat intentionally sank for marine life. On the front of the boat is a turret that you’re able to mount. Unfortunately, the gun is no longer working!
Koa Tao is a popular spot for new divers to get their open water certification. It’s one of the cheaper places in the world with many qualified dive instructors living on the island.
Lora’s Top 3 Scuba Diving Destinations
I agree with Austin – scuba diving is one of the best ways to explore this beautiful planet! Here are three of my favorite dive locations I’ve found around the world.
If you aren’t certified to dive yet, I highly recommend checking out the amazing dive island of Utila, Honduras. It’s where I got my open water diving certification, which has fueled my passion for diving around the world.
Not only is Utila one of the cheapest places to get certified in the world, but the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else I’ve seen. Everyone on the island lives and breaths diving, which creates a wonderful atmosphere.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
If you’re visiting the Galapagos Islands, don’t miss the opportunity to go diving there. It’s home to some of the best dive sites in the world, including Gordon Rocks off the coast of Santa Cruz.
At Gordon Rocks, you can see hammerhead sharks, oceanic sunfish, Galapagos sharks, stingrays, and giant sea turtles all in one dive. Diving in the Galapagos felt like I was in a dream. Note that to dive at Gordon Rocks you need your advanced open water certification with at least 25 logged dives.
Sipadan Island, Borneo
Sipadan Island in Borneo, Malaysia is another absolutely magical dive spot. This small island, formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct undersea volcano, is one of the richest marine habitats in the world.
Over 3000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in the waters surrounding Sipadan. It’s not abnormal for a diver to see more than 20 turtles on a single dive! There are twelve dive sites around the island, each with its own distinctive views of coral and aquatic life.
If you plan to go diving at Sipadan Island be sure to book in advance. Dive permits are limited to 120 a day and space can fill up quickly. Since these dives are challenging because of the strong current, shops will require you to have your advanced open water certification with at least 20 logged dives.
How to Pick Your Dive Charter
I’ve had a lot of luck using social media to scout out dive charters or find fun scuba divers to hang out with. Most of the time, if a charter has a strong social media presence, you’ll know their fun to be around.
While cost should certainly play a role in your scuba diving experience, it shouldn’t be the most important factor. Often times, if a charter is significantly cheaper, it’s like that for a reason (usually the quality is sacrificed).
Liveaboards are a great way to dive and travel. You spend a week or so living on a boat at sea which allows you to explore otherwise inaccessible dive sites. Search here for the best liveaboard deals.
What’s your favorite scuba diving destination? Let us know in the comments below!