50 Best Dive Sites in the World

If you were given one week to dive and could choose any scuba diving sites in the world with which to fill your logbook, where would you go? We asked a number of underwater photographers, writers and our readers, and got a remarkable sampling of dives that cover just about everything this planet has to offer. From the remarkable macro of Lembeh Strait to the shark dives of the Bahamas, magical reefs in Fiji and wrecks in the Red Sea, there are plenty of sites you’d expect to see, but an even greater number of surprises. Here are the 50 Best Scuba Diving Sites in the World:

Blue Heron Bridge — Riviera Beach, Florida, USA

If you’re a fan of the Cantina — the fictional bar from Star Wars — and its freakish alien patrons, you’ll love the weird marine life lurking in the shallows of Riviera Beach’s Blue Heron Bridge. Flying gurnards, bandtail sea robins and striated frogfish commonly populate this South Florida site, a critter hunter’s paradise in only 12 feet of water. Time the dive for high tide, and when you’re finished, head to the Riviera Beach Marina and order the catch of the day. — Patricia Wuest

Kona Mantas — Big Island, Hawaii, USA

It’s only appropriate that divers, come to see one of nature’s wonders, kneel on the shallow bottom off Keahole Point, neoprene supplicants pointing their dive lights up to attract plankton. The mantas glide in from the darkness — some with wingspans of 16 feet — a phantasmagoric morph of fish and bird, inhaling the plankton in great swooping arcs. They approach mouths agape, often scraping, like downy sandpaper, across the top of your head. On a good night there might be a dozen or more, a languorous melee of looping, banking and inhaling, their mushroom-white undersides pinioned, briefly, in your dive light. Kona’s manta dives are famous and thus often crowded, and it doesn’t matter one whit. — Ken McAlpine

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