Best Scuba Diving in August

Emily C, Rachel and Jacqui are here to help give you the inside track.

During the peak summer months, the ocean offers up a buffet of delights below the surface. Whether you’re travelling solo to a far-flung location to swim with migrating humpback whales in Madagascar, adventure-seeking as a family to explore the wrecks of Gozo or choosing to dive endlessly on a liveaboard in Fiji, the options are as vast as the sea.

Ever wanted to dive with great white sharks? Come face to face with these apex predators while cage diving off Guadalupe Island in Mexico. Or, for more relaxed diving (yet no less wondrous), Indonesia has long been an Original Diving favourite and August is a wonderful time of year for a dive holiday here (think: liveaboard diving in Komodo, macro diving in Northern Sulawesi and searching for the elusive mola mola in Bali).

Itchy finned and ready to start planning a summer dive adventure? Read on for our guide to the best scuba diving in August…

three common dolphins on the waters surface with mountains in the background

The Azores

Let's kick off our guide to the best scuba diving in August with the Azores, the nine-island archipelago that sits 850 miles off the west of Portugal. During the summer, you can enjoy sunny skies and calm conditions and, to top it off, whale watching season is in full swing, so you've got a good chance of spotting humpbacks and orcas.

For the wreck heads, check out the SS Dori wreck, located in Sao Miguel, which rests in shallow depths from 9-20m. Due to the prohibited fishing rules in this area, you'll glide around this wreck and admire the marine life that has taken over, such as the colourful nudibranchs nestled in the cracks.

Nearby, head to Formigas and Dollabarat Islets where you can dive with the big stuff including manta and mobula rays, sharks and schools of barracudas. This site is made of two submerged pinnacles that rise from the seabed with depths ranging from 5-30m. August is the perfect time for whale watching in the Azores.

With comfortable water temperatures of 23°C and water visibility reaching up to 40m, scuba diving in the Azores is fantastic in August.

Recommended by Charlotte Dunn

close up image of a whale shark swimming close to the waters surface


Sun soaked and palm tree adorned beaches welcome you to whale shark season in the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. To get in on the action, head to Isla Holbox and Cancun to snorkel with whale sharks - a true bucket-list experience. It's illegal to swim with whale sharks outside of the May to September window so make sure to plan accordingly.

Guadalupe, located around 150 miles off Mexico's west coast, promises an adrenaline rush like no other: diving with great white sharks. This waters here are only accessible via an 18-hour liveaboard journey across open water (and you can't step foot on the island, which was closed to all tourism activities in 2022), but for shark lovers, it's well worth the trip. This experience is only available between July and November, and August promises the greatest number of active juvenile males.

With sea temperatures hovering around 28°C, you'll only need your shortie as you dip below the surface.

Recommended by Rachel Gaw

maco photography of a red and white crab in corals


Indonesia is considered one of the best places to scuba dive in the world and scuba diving in August promises the opportunity to swim with the elusive mola mola (oceanic sunfish) in Nusa Penida. The colder waters around this small island off the southeast coast of Bali attracts the mola molas while manta rays glide over colourful corals. For the those who want to avoid the crowds, head to Manggis and Padang Bai for more manta, mola mola and turtle interactions within the clear waters. And for the history buffs, head to Tulamben on Bali's east coast to discover the USAT Liberty shipwreck which is just a few fin strokes from shore.

Over in the Lembeh Strait, the cooler water temperature in August allows the small critters to thrive. Tooted as the 'muck diving capital', it draws divers who are into the small stuff - we're talking hairy frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish and ornate ghost pipefish. And if you fancy experiencing a drift dive delight? Head to Mikes Point in Bunaken Marine Park, off the north coast of Northern Sulawesi. Begin from the shore and make your way over to a wall adorned with colourful sea fans and black coral, all the while keeping an eye out for the occasional gliding silvertip shark.

Meanwhile, those who want to live by the mantra of 'dive, eat, sleep, repeat' should opt for a liveaboard around the pristine waters of Komodo. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Komodo National Park promises a diver's paradise. Swim with turtles and rays over a kaleidoscope of corals, dive dramatic walls and experience the 'Komodo Shotgun' drift dive at the Cauldron in the north of the marine park.

The water temperatures in Indonesia varies slightly but tends to hover between 26-27°C with up to 20m of water visibility to admire all the magic that surround you.

Recommended by Emily Chappell

diver with a torch swimming over pink, yellow and orange corals with lots of tropical fish


Fiji is a year-round dive destination, but August brings a certain magic. Coinciding with the country's dry season, expect superb visibility extending up to 60m (plankton blooms only occur during the wet season), water temperatures hovering around 25°C, and lots of manta ray sightings (it's manta ray season after all). Fiji certainly offers some of the best scuba diving in August.

August is the peak time for manta ray season and the aptly nicknamed 'Manta Ray Passage' - a shallow channel between Drawaqa and Naviti islands in the Yasawa Islands - is one of the best places to glide with these graceful creatures. If you're lucky, you'll also see reef sharks, turtles and chubby sea stars resting on the colourful reefs.

Named 'The Soft Coral Capital of the World' by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, Fiji's corals are truly jaw dropping. While you admire the corals, also keep an eye on the reefs for octopus, groupers and snappers. In Beqa Lagoon, divers are treated to optimal visibility and reefs teeming with blue marlin, wahoo, Spanish mackerel and an impressive variety of sharks. One of the main attractions is the world-renowned 'Shark Encounter' in Beqa Lagoon (located in the south of the main Fijian island Viti Levu), where divers can interact with up to eight species of sharks, including blacktip reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, silvertip sharks, tawny nurse sharks, sicklefin lemon sharks, bull sharks, and occasionally, tiger sharks (phew). With 300 islands to explore, we believe that Fiji is best enjoyed via liveaboard so that you can dive a whole range of sites and see the best that Fiji has to offer when scuba diving in August.

Recommended by Emily Chappell

split view photo of divers in clear water with rocky cliffs surrounding them


The Mediterranean island of Gozo shines during August. Water temperatures typically range from 25-28°C (depending on where you're diving) inviting you in to discover the wrecks and life below the surface. Gozo's underwater landscape features dramatic walls with massive drop-offs, wrecks littering the seabed and intricate caverns. The crystal-clear and typically calm waters result in visibility exceeding 40m, allowing divers to fully immerse themselves in the breathtaking underwater scenery and snap some clear shots of the wrecks. The array of dive sites is diverse, so expect everything from wartime wrecks to the submerged caves of the 'Blue Hole'. And once you've explored the wrecks and enjoyed the warm sun glistening off the azure waters, enjoy a pastizzi from one of the local vendors - the perfect post dive snack.

Recommended by Rachel Gaw

close image of a clown fish hiding in a sea anemona


If you're planning on scuba diving in August, then Madagascar is guaranteed to delight. The island is a biodiversity hotspot, home to over 300 corals, 1,300 bony fish, 56 shark species and 34 unique cetaceans. What's more, about 90% of its wildlife can't be found anywhere else.

Madagascar's best diving conditions are between May and December, outside of cyclone season. Opting for August means hitting the sweet spot when water temperatures are around 23°C and visibility exceeds 30m. As well as the favourable diving conditions, it's also prime time for witnessing humpback whale migrations. Each year, 10% of the world's humpback whale population migrates from the Antarctic to Madagascar to breed in the warmer waters. By August, many females have given birth meaning that divers and viewers from shore can occasionally witness new mothers with their young offspring. Everyone delights in seeing these magnificent creatures off dive sites along the east coast off Île Sainte-Marie. Also found around Île Sainte-Marie are heavenly corals and a variety of wrecks for divers.

Nosy Be and the islets on the northwest coast promise below the surface delights such as sightings of leopard sharks, crocodile fish and turtles while in the south, the protected coral areas never fails to delight even the most seasoned of divers. And for the wreck lovers, The Mitsio is an exceptional wreck off Nosy Be, covered with small fish who in turn attract predators such as barracudas, king mackerel and kingfish.

Recommended by Emily Chappell

hundreds of hammerhead sharks swimming overhead

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Diving in Cocos Island during August promises an exhilarating and advanced-level underwater adventure which is perfect for those looking to get off the well-swum circuit. Located 350 miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Cocos Island is a liveaboard-only destination, offering an extraordinary diving experience during which you're engulfed by pure nature. From June to December, the waters around the island witness significant plankton blooms, attracting magnificent marine creatures such as whale sharks and manta rays. Scuba diving in August stands out as one of the best times to witness the renowned schooling hammerhead sharks for which Cocos Island is famous. However, it's crucial to note that the strong currents and surge in Cocos Island make it a destination suited for advanced-level divers only.

While the water temperature typically ranges from 24 to 30°C, beware of potential temperature variations, with drops of up to 6°C caused by thermoclines. This sudden change can be quite startling without proper gear. Just to cover all of your bases and ensure that you have a great dive every time, we advise wearing a 5mm full-length wetsuit, along with a hood, gloves and boots, to be well-prepared for any fluctuations in temperature.

Recommened by Charlotte Dunn

turtle swimming with hundreds of red fish over hard coral

The Galapagos

Situated 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands offer a winning blend of exceptional visibility, captivating volcanic structures and a spectacular array of marine life. August marks the colder season here, presenting an opportune time to encounter whale sharks, penguins and mola mola (the oceanic sunfish). Surface sightings include humpback whales and pilot whales, as well as the renowned hammerhead sharks, a year-round attraction that you may be lucky enough to enjoy at this time of year. Although the largest aggregations of hammerhead sharks occur in the Galapagos' other season, August still provides thrilling encounters with these iconic creatures.

Of the many remarkable dive sites, Darwin's Arch is one of our favourites. As well as an abundance of sharks, divers may also witness manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, eagle rays and the occasional awe-inspiring presence of whale sharks.

The water temperature in August is cooler, hovering around 19°C, and visibility ranges from 15 to 30m .

Recommended by Rachel Gaw

Original Highlight
Image of Jacqui Brooks

August is the best time to visit the Azores. Home to the best diving in Europe, dive with mantas and mobulas in the offshore sites, or, if the seas are too rough the local sites consist of WW2 wrecks, caves, caverns and a wealth of pelagics.

Jacqui, Original Diver

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Emily C, Rachel and Jacqui are our 'Best Scuba Diving in August' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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Rachel Gaw
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