Great Tropical Islands For Diving

Posted Oct 15th 2010 05:00 PMUpdated Oct 15th 2010 06:15 PM


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.

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.

1. Fiji
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.

Fiji Scuba Diving

derekkeats, flickr

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.

Seychelles Scuba Diving

brittonpaul83, flickr

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.

Maldives Scuba Diving

findiver, flickr

4. Hawaii
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.

Hawaii Scuba Diving

laszlo-photo, flickr

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.

Cook Islands Scuba Diving

Christina Spicuzza, flickr

6. Micronesia
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.

Micronesia Scuba Diving

mattk1979, flickr

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.

Fernando de Noronha Scuba Diving

Tadeu Pereira (Ted), flickr

8. Galápagos
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.

Galapagos Scuba Diving

88rabbit, flickr

Filed Under: Adventure Travel, Beach

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Very good site:
about similar list!

May 03 2014 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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March 11 2011 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hawaii??? Nope, never again, not when there are places like Sulawesi or Sipidan.

February 26 2011 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to's comment
Krishna Sharma

Hawaiian islands while enjoying outdoors and sunshine. and here find excellent colorful corals and sealife ranging from tiny shrimp to giant sea turtles to dolphins.

February 10 2012 at 2:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Fernando de Noronha was a great experience for us, we got to learn some Portuguese, had some good, if not great, scuba dives, did some excellent snorkeling, ate at some cozy restaurants, and met some nice people. We didn't like the island's scrub-covered landscape, but the beaches made up for it. The dune buggies were fun too.

November 01 2010 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One more thing about SCUBA diving; we still have pristine reefs becuase not many people visit more remote areas. Please read up about reefs and other areas of the world which were once beautiful but now lay wasted and ugly.I understand that there are thousands of people who make a living sponsoring SCUBA diving; however Earth trumps people. Unless we understand this simple three word phrase, we are in trouble.

October 23 2010 at 1:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We humans praise ourselves as custodians of this great earth, but we are failing. We are slowly destroying much of the world's beautiful reefs. While it may be beautiful, fun and a superlative experience, human coli form is deadly to reefs and eventually destroys them. It is but one of many activities we take for granted that are harmful to our giant biosphere. We already have acres of human trash floating in our oceans, have polluted our rivers, and caused great harm to almost every part of what once was a pristine earth. Please keep this in mind the next time you do anything that trashes our planet. While there are many efforts to save our planet; going green, reducing carbon emissions, and controlling hazardous waste; we have yet to face up to the real problem – over population. Human population growth is out of control. It is proving increasingly deadly as the number of people dying of starvation continues to rise each year. A recent scientific study indicates that even though our food production has increased enormously over the years, it can never keep up with population growth. Equaling the probable scarcity of food in the future is the limited fresh water available on this planet.

October 23 2010 at 1:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lucky Enuf :D

The best place to dive around there is near Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands! :D

October 22 2010 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joe it is the south pacific...north is up and south is down

October 22 2010 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have done Palau, The Great Barrier Reef, Most of the Caribbean, Belize, etc., and the most imprfessive place I have ever been is Cocos Island, paret of Costa Rica but 36 hours out by boat and 12 hours from Galapagos Islands.

October 22 2010 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Micronesia is in the North Pacific. If you've been there, you should know that

October 22 2010 at 9:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to LBS's comment


October 22 2010 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Guam is at 13 degrees NORTH. Saipan and Tinian are NORTH of that. I think "Nomadic matt" is a nomad because he can't read a map. I hope his underwater navigation is better than his map reading skills, or he can't be MY dive buddy!

October 23 2010 at 3:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply