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TOP 4 REEF DIVES / SCUBA DIVING


Largest Underwater Landscape: Belize, Central America

Belize is a black hole of great dives—you can get lost in all the options here. What else would one expect from the Belize Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world? And one of the sites that contribute to its magnificence is a 412-foot trough in the reef called the Blue Hole. Just minutes by boat from Ambergris Caye, the diving is as accessible as it is thrilling.

For years Belize was shrouded in anonymity; it was always there, but few noticed it. Its popularity surged around the mid-90’s once word got out about the "unspoiled" barrier reef that thrives there.

Not only is the diving top-notch, onshore activities are always second to none. Mayan ruins and pristine rain forests are worthy of taking in once your skin becomes too wrinkled from underwater exploration.

 

 

Pristine Diving Today and Tomorrow: Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles


Over the last two decades, Bonaire, considered the Dutch Caribbean, has consistently ranked as one of the finest snorkeling and scuba diving destination in the Caribbean. A major reason for this prominence is the island's diligent stewardship of its marine resources—all of the waters off Bonaire's coast have been legally protected since 1979. As a result, diving here is like experiencing the Caribbean waters as it always was. And chances are, the waters will remain that way.

Why does Bonaire count as one of the top ten best dives in the world? Try the fact that there are over 100 feet of visibility. And, thanks to a fringing reef, there are 86 designated dive sites, 58 of which can be reached from shore.

Bonaire is also an ideal spot for certification and beginner divers. And because the weather conditions are crystal clear most of the time, night diving and snorkeling are spectacular.

An orientation session and Marine Park Tag are required to explore the waters, but both are easy enough to attain—many hotels offer them—and once you do, the underwater world is your oyster.

 

 

Diving of Biblical Proportions: The Red Sea, Egypt
 
 

The coast along the Red Sea is truly spectacular—desert, rift valleys with mountains, and geological faults. The underwater topography mirrors this dramatic landscape, with deep trenches and isolated sea mounts with drop-offs and walls over 900 feet in places.

There are two differentiating factors that put this diving destination on the map as one of the best. First, near-zero rainfall means little fresh water runs off from the surrounding deserts and, consequently, there is unbelievable visibility all year round. Second, most coral species present are photosynthetic and, therefore, more colorful than those in other tropical areas.

Temps are often colder than other spots, so a dry suit is necessary. But the extra gear is worth it. These depths are host to over a thousand species of fish and coral. Combine this with the amazing subsurface terrain and there’s no doubt you will experience some of the best underwater sites on the planet.

 

 

A Natural Wonder: The Great Barrier Reef, Australia


 

Great is an understatement when referring to the Great Barrier Reef off Australia's northeast coast. It could very well be the ultimate diving experience. It is, after all, the world's largest coral reef. (You can even see it from space!) At over 1,250 miles long, the GBR, in fact, is not a single reef, but rather made up of over 2,900 individual reefs very close to each other.

Technicalities aside, there’s no denying the diving allure of this world wonder. With such a long span of reef, every creature big and small is represented here. The water is a warm 75 to 85 degrees, visibility is crystal clear, and there are enough outstanding dive sites to make you return Down Under for more.

Diving in Australia is extremely competitive so finding the type of dive trip you want at cheap prices is easy to do. Cairns in Northern Queensland is a diving mecca, and it is here that you will find the most attractive dive packages or Barrier Reef liveaboard trips.

For the maximum in sea creatures, head further out from the Great Barrier Reef deep into the Coral Sea, where you can touch whale sharksand explore the famed Yongala wreck, which many consider the best dive in the world.

 

 
 
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