Immerse yourself (literally), get lost (metaphorically) in intricated cave systems and old shipwrecks, admire the coral and sea life, swim with 15-meter humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays and more. Whether you are an experienced scuba diver or you are looking for the best places to scuba dive for beginners, our best places to scuba dive guide below will help you pick the right destination for your diving adventure with nowboat.

   


1 - Fifty shades of blue diving in Santorini

Santorini is worldwide known for its white-and-blue-postcard-perfection, but only a few know that this gorgeous Greek island also offers one of the best diving in the world. The underwater world of the Cyclades is unique for diving excursions and tours all year round and in particular, diving in Santorini is one of the best sites in Greece because of its peculiar geology and volcanic activity. Of course it doesn’t offer the coral reefs or the rich marine life of other diving sites in Asia or the Caribbean, but along the crater there are some incredible nudibranchs, clams and coral formations and, next to the Caldera, just at 13 meters below water level, there is also a shallow wreck dive. So why don’t plan a dive or two while sailing Santorini this summer? 

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WHAT: shallow wreck, clams and corals
WHEN: all year round
WHO: beginners and advanced divers 
WATER: from 15°C in February to 26°C in August.  


2 - Discovering La Martinique 

Constantly rated among the best diving in the Caribbean, diving in Martinique will totally blow your mind. Set right in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, this area offers an incredible sea life diversity as well as some of the most beautiful tropical fish. One of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean is probably Martinique’s wrecks, most of which are from the terrible 1902 Mt. Pelee eruption. Check out our best charter boats in Le Marin, here. Thanks to the slow currents, Martinique is also one of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean for beginners.

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WHAT:  caves, shipwrecks and tropical fish 
WHEN: best time to dive is December to May, though diving is available year round in this tropical paradise
WHO: ideal for beginners and intermediate/advanced divers 
WATER: all year between 26°C and 28°C (can it get any better?)  


3 - Oh, my Venezuela! 

South America is slowly becoming a major scuba destination and Venezuela is constantly rated among the best diving sites in the Caribbean. This gorgeous country, which has loads to offer above the water, also boasts the longest coastline of any other country in the CaribbeanLos Roques, the famous marine park, features some of the Caribbean Sea’s best dive sites. It counts 350 islands, islets and reefs scattered over 950 square miles of the Caribbean. In the park, there are sites suited for all levels and no diver ever left these waters unimpressed. Underwater rock pinnacles, predator species such as huge barracuda, mackerel tunas, dolphins and whale sharks inhabit these waters.

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WHAT: Underwater rock pinnacle, shipwrecks, caves, barracudas, mackerel tunas, sharks, dolphins and whale sharks.
WHEN: all year round
WHO: beginner to advanced 
WATER: from 26°C in February to 29°C in September  


4 - Be the lucky one in Kos 

One of the best things about diving in Kos is that you will be alone or one of the very few exploring its stunning underwater world. It is only in recent years that this island, a must-see while cruising in Greece, is also acquiring a place among the best scuba diving destinations thanks to the mix of caves, underwater rock formations, WW2 wrecks and exceptional Mediterranean marine life. For the most experienced scuba divers, the north of Kalymnos offers beautiful limestone cliffs and an intrigued cave system. A number of diving sites are located close to the coast and Kos’ waters offer excellent visibility and here you'll most surely have a close encounter with coloured sponges and octopi.

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WHAT: caves, WW2 wrecks and Mediterranean marine life
WHEN: best between April and October but dives are available all year round 
WHO: beginners to advanced
WATER: from 18°C in April peaking at 27°C  in August and then dropping to 24c in October. 


5 - Thank you, Charles 

There must be a reason why the Galapagos Islands are the place where Charles Darwin found the inspiration to write his groundbreaking "On The Origin of Species” which later shocked the scientific society and it's still considered the foundation of evolutionary biology. His studies in this magical part of the world granted an entire region to be named after him and today Darwin’s Arch and Darwin Island are among the best sites for diving in Galapagos. Pay attention to the strong currents around the arch where only intermediate and advanced divers should venture. But for the less experienced, there are many underwater ledges at different depths, where they can sit and watch the incredible vibrant underwater wildlife. 

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WHAT: marine iguanas, yellow-bellied sea snakes, sea lions, dolphins, huge sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, barber and angel fish. And 28 types of sharks. Yup, you read that right: twenty-eight species. 
WHEN: year round with most scuba divers opting for the period between June and September
WHO: diving the Galapagos archipelago is more appropriate for advanced divers who can enjoy drift dives, deep dives, reef dives, and, of course, the famous hammerhead shark dives. Many sites throughout the Galapagos have colder water, strong currents and low visibility, conditions that beginners are not ready for.
WATER: 24°C to 28°C between January to May and between 17-20°C from June through December. 


6 - Off into the Andaman Sea

Langkawi is quickly earning the fame of one of the best places for scuba diving and, we at Nowboat might add rightly so. The small island on the west coast of Malaysia features incredible visibility (often exceeding 30 metres and up to 45 metres) which offers the best conditions to enjoy the beautiful corals, reef fish as well as whale shark and manta rays. Diving in Malaysia probably doesn’t offer incredible wrecks as some other diving sites mentioned in this list, however, you can still find several sunken illegal fishing boats at a various depth just off of the coast of Langkawi.  

WHAT:  hard and soft corals, coloured fish and sea creatures, including some of the larger reef fish and whale shark and manta ray
WHEN: all year round 
WHO: beginners to advanced
WATER: the temperature stays consistent right off of Langkawi’s coast throughout the year


7 - All, and more species in West Papua

Home to more than ten times the number of hard coral species found in the Caribbean, this area of West Papua province is legendary among experienced scuba divers as one of the top liveaboard dive destinations in the entire world. Raja Ampat for many is (one of) the best places in the world to scuba dive, and here at Nowboat, we won't really argue. The marine life diversity that you will experience while diving in West Papua is considerably wider than all other areas sampled in the coral triangle composed by Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. This region of Indonesia is indeed the cherry on the diving cake worldwide and this summer (or one day in the near future) you should totally adventures in these incredibly rich, fascinating and mysterious waters while cruising or sailing in Indonesia.

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WHAT: it doesn't get any better than here for underwater photography. Bring your gear and be ready to snap frame pygmy seahorses, nudibranch species, blue-stripe flagtail pipefish, sea dragons, mantas, tuna, trevally, green sea turtles, Indian lionfish, Napoleon wrasse, bump head parrotfish and so much more...
WHEN: there are over 1500 Islands in the Raja Ampat archipelago, therefore, jumping on a liveaboard is the obvious best way to make the most of your time in the area. Most Indonesian liveaboards visit Raja Ampat during the months of October until the end of April. 
WHO: due to the sometimes strong currents, diving in Raja Ampat is not really considered a good choice for absolute beginners. It's best sites are rather for experienced scuba divers with a few dives under their weight belts (pun intended) and looking to get away from the crowds.
WATER: 28°C all year


8 - The best of the Adriatic

Croatia features thousands of islands and an endless coastline which makes it the perfect breeding ground for divers looking for a bit of adventure. Kvarner, situated at the foothills of the Alp and Dinarid mountain chains in the north, is one of the most beautiful gulfs on the Adriatic. Here you will find amazing wall dives, rocky reefs and beautiful gorgonians. In the south, Vis Island is literally surrounded by spectacular dive sites: walls, wrecks, rocky reefs and beautiful marine life. If you are sailing or cruising in Croatia, make sure to stop at The Cathedral, one of the best spots for diving in Zadar. This is an incredible dive site with a series of interconnected caves and natural light that filters through it making a very magical place for diving. 

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WHAT:  Octopus and spider crabs, intricated cave systems, rocky reefs, wall dives.
WHEN: all year
WHO:  divers of all levels.
WATER: from 7

Immerse yourself (literally), get lost (metaphorically) in intricated cave systems and old shipwrecks, admire the coral and sea life, swim with 15-meter humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays and more. Whether you are an experienced scuba diver or you are looking for the best places to scuba dive for beginners, our best places to scuba dive guide below will help you pick the right destination for your diving adventure with nowboat.   


9 - Smile above and below the water

A list about the best diving in the world 2017 wouldn't be complete without a mention to diving in Thailand and in particular diving in Phuket. If you have already experienced Thailand’s Sabai Sabai way of living, you will be in the perfect conditions to immerse yourself in the wonderfully green waters of Thailand. Thanks to the thousands of islands and the endless coastline, choices are almost endless. Phuket is the perfect starting point for a Thailand cruise or a liveaboard cruise from where you will be able to reach most of the diving hotspots in the area.  
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WHAT:  manta rays, whale sharks, various species of reef shark including Leopard sharks. Turtles are also common as well as pelagic fishes and giant trevallies.
WHEN: the best period is from November to April when visibility is very good but it can be very crowded. Otherwise, after January there are far fewer people.  From April to October, the sea can be choppy and visibility is often reduced.
WHO: everyone, but some dive sites have strong currents and are reserved only for experienced divers
WATER: from 27°C to 31°C and you won’t need any full wetsuit


10 - A different diving experience

After a lot of tropical and Caribbean diving, one exceptional and very different experience is the one you could have by diving in Bulgaria. The Black Sea is an incredible independent eco-system and it's made of a salt-water, anoxic (oxygen-free) layer that starts at a depth of 200m and reaches down to 2000m and is inhospitable for marine life. The upper layer instead is made of river waters with a 16% saline density which allows marine life to grow and reproduce. Varna is the capital of the Bulgarian cruisingsailing and scuba diving scene. From here you can embark in one of the best experiences of your life since this peculiar water provides perfect conditions for the preservation of wrecks from all ages. Historical artefacts, dating as far back as 3000 years, have been found by several divers. One of the most interesting historical sites is the Roman sunken port, located 40km outside of Varna and at a shallow depth of 12m, it is suitable for novice divers. In the Black Sea will be amazed by the amount of almost perfect conditions of the Soviet WWII submarines and The Mopangan American cargo steamship that lies at 22-32 meters. 

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WHAT: seahorses, jellyfish, thicklip grey mullet, bucchich’s goby, straightnose popefish, sandsole, turbot fish, crabs and many other small fishes.
WHEN: all year
WHO: all levels 
WATER: Water temperature during summer months averages 22 - 24°C Celsius. Wetsuits from 5mm - 7mm are recommended.

 

So, have you decided where you want to go diving this year? What are your favourite diving spots? Have we missed any? Share them on Instagram with the hashtag: #nowboatdiving2017