Top Ten Destinations for Diving and Snorkelling

Whether you’re a diver travelling with a non-diver, a snorkeller interested in becoming scuba certified or fancy spending your surface intervals snorkelling some seriously epic sites, discover the top ten destinations for both diving and snorkelling…
1. Diving and Snorkelling in Fiji

Fiji is blessed with some of the most colourful reefs in the world with endless sites perfectly suited to both divers and snorkellers. If you want to experience the aptly named Rainbow Reef, Qamea Resort & Spa is just the ticket, with daily trips to the Somosomo Strait as well as boasting an excellent house reef to explore whenever the mood strikes.

2. Diving and Snorkelling in Mexico

Mexico's underwater landscapes are legendary. Starting with the Yucatan's hugely diverse cenotes - a network of underground caverns across the peninsula - from The Pit (for divers) to Casa Carwash (perfect for divers and snorkellers), there is something for everyone; discover the best here. Over on the Pacific coastline, liveaboard trips to Isla Guadalupe offer the chance for marine-mad travellers to get up close to great white sharks (from the safety of a cage), while the Sea of Cortez is home to playful sea lions basking in the shallows.

3. Diving and Snorkelling in the Philippines

The islands that scatter the Philippines offer hugely diverse marine environments for both snorkellers and divers. Just off the shores of Moalboal you'll find a resident bait ball of millions of sardines shimmering against the ocean's surface as they dance in union over the reef; over in Bohol colourful coral reefs harbour all manner of marine life in calm shallow waters, while for muck critters galore Atmosphere Resort and Spa in Dauin is not to be missed.

4. Diving and Snorkelling in Hawaii

You've probably seen photos of the epic manta ray night dive off Kona at some stage. But did you know you can also snorkel it? Head out just after sunset where, armed with a torch, divers shine up to the ocean's surface while snorkellers point theirs down, attracting huge swooping manta rays from the darkness who come to feed on the plankton-soup waters.

5. Diving and Snorkelling in Iceland

No matter whether diving or snorkelling, experiencing Silfra is a truly unforgettable experience. The thin aquamarine fissure that cuts through Thingvellir National Park, just outside of the capital of Reykjavik, is the only place in the world you can glide between tectonic plates.

6. Diving and Snorkelling in Bonaire

The tiny island of Bonaire is literally surrounded by coral reef, with some of the Caribbean's best preserved coral a few fin kicks from the beach - so no matter whether diving or snorkelling, keep your mask and snorkel in your beach bag as there are endless opportunities to explore at your own leisure.

7. Diving and Snorkelling in Belize

Home to the second longest barrier reef in the world, snorkellers and divers alike will relish the reefs that run against the coastline. Escape the hustle and bustle of mainland Belize for Ray Caye Private Island, which is perched next to Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserves so some of the best reefs are conveniently close.

8. Diving and Snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands

You don't need to be an advanced diver to see some of the Galapagos famed endemic species. Dip into Chinese Hat to see Galapagos penguins, reef sharks and green sea turtles, while Isla Lobos, off San Cristobel island, is famed for its friendly sea lion colony. For the chance to see huge schools of golden and spotted eagle rays, head to Devil's Crown off Floreana Island, while Tagus Cove off Isabela island offers prime viewing of marine iguanas nibbling away at algae covered rocks.

9. Diving and Snorkelling in Indonesia

While Komodo is famed for its epic liveaboard trips more suited to advanced divers, there are some beautiful resorts nestled away from the hustle and bustle with excellent house reefs, ideally suited to the whole spectrum. And believe the hype, Komodo has some of the best reefs in Indonesia that you don't want to miss.

10. Diving and Snorkelling in Tanzania

Chole Bay in Mafia Island Marine Park offers sites for every spectrum of watery wanderer. Inside the calm, bath-warm waters of Chole Bay, sites range from five to 27 metres with beautiful coral formations and macro critters (Nudi City, located just off the beach, is particularly excellent for spotting critters). Outside the bay, deep walls and thrilling currents will attract more experienced divers, with regular sightings of sharks, dolphins and other passing pelagics.

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Jacqui is our 'Top Ten Destinations for Diving and Snorkelling' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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