Best Scuba Diving in July

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

Europe is the quintessential summer destination for British travellers and July is a fabulous month to scuba dive in places like Gozo and the Azores. There are still plenty of reasons to head further afield though... Indonesia is one of the best places to dive in July, with endless opportunities for adventure, from liveaboard diving across Komodo to exploring the remote reefs of Alor to photographing weird and wonderful macro critters while muck diving in Northern Sulawesi. Sing with the ocean serenaders, the humpback whale, in French Polynesia, or head to Bora Bora to dive with hundreds of sharks. On the other side of the world, slip into the water to snorkel with whale sharks around Isle Mujeres or witness the shimmering bait balls off Socorro Island in Mexico. Ready to plan your summer dive holiday? Read on for our guide to the best scuba diving in July.

Close image of a orange shrimp on some coral underwater

Northern Sulawesi:

Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo, with shaggy mountains and crystal-clear waters, welcomes divers into its warm waters. Scuba diving in July brings all manner of marvellous macro critters in the Lembeh Strait (a narrow strip that separates the mainland of north Sulawesi from Lembeh) from flamboyant cuttlefish to nudibranch, mimic octopus and frogfish... the list goes on. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the delicate Lembeh Sea Dragon. And at night, the ocean floor comes alive with the chance to spy stargazers in the sand and Spanish dancers gliding by in the darkness. July is a wonderful time to scuba dive in North Sulawesi for underwater camera lovers, with the slightly cooler temperatures (we're talking in the range of 25°C) improving the visibility.

Bunaken Marine Park, spanning an impressive 220,160 acres, is one of the oldest marine protected areas in Indonesia. As a result, it's a hot spring of biodiversity and is now home to certain rare and endangered species including 390 species of coral and 2,000 fish species. And while you're here, head south of the marine park where you can find dugongs grazing in seagrass meadows.

Recommended by Emily Chappell

underwater close up image of a pink seahorse resting on pink coral

Raja Ampat:

Raja Ampat, an archipelago off the west coast of New Guinea, dazzles year-round. While diving in July does mean diving during the wet season, there is a special charm - the manta rays. The water temperatures remain warm, hovering around 28-30°C and the water visibility can extend up to 20m. The lack of crowds has an extra benefit within the waters, tempting the diverse marine life out from the shadows. With so many dive sites to choose from, we suggest opting for a liveaboard, although there are several land-based accommodations available too. Due to the wet season, the usually calm waters may be slightly rougher and potentially more difficult for inexperienced divers.

Recommended by Emily Chappell

Above water view of manta rays swimming in blue water


While we're on the topic of manta rays, Manta Point in the southeast of Komodo is a must-visit destination in July for those hoping to dive with these graceful creatures. Komodo National Park, located in the Lesser Sunda Islands east of Bali, is home to some of the most exciting waters in Indonesia. The meeting of cold and warm water currents results in nutrient-rich thermoclines, attracting the big stuff such as manta rays and dolphins while supporting pristine reefs packed with bright corals which, in turn, are home to schools of reef fish.

While there is suitable diving for beginners, the currents can be strong. For those who love a drift dive with a dramatic ending, check out the Cauldron site to experience the 'Komodo shotgun'. Alongside manta rays, you'll find whitetip reef sharks, sweetlips and trevallies.

The average water temperature in Komodo in July typically ranges from 25°C to 28°C. Water visibility during this time of year is generally excellent, often exceeding 20m making this an ideal month for diving and snorkelling in the Komodo region.

Recommended by Rachel Gaw

close underwater image of a whale shark swimming at the water surface


Isla Socorro (Socorro Island to us Brits) lies off the western coast of Mexico and is the largest of the four islands in the Revillagigedo archipelago - a UNSCO world heritage site since 2016. Known as the 'Mexican Galapagos', these volcanic islands are home to an abundance of bucket-list species including hammerheads, silky sharks, giant oceanic manta rays, humpback whales and dolphins. Summer is also bait ball season, making it ones of the best places to go scuba diving in July, attracting increased numbers of manta rays which gather to feed among the bait balls.

If you're a whale shark lover, head to Isla Mujeres, an island just eight miles off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Every year, hundreds of whale sharks come to this area, where the Caribbeans joins the Gulf of Mexico. The whale shark swimming window is from May to September and it's illegal to swim with them outside of this window, so be sure to plan accordingly and avoid any issues by going with trusted suppliers.

While not strictly a diving destination, the sun-kissed white sand beaches and a laid-back atmosphere will tempt you into the warm waters (hovering around 28°C) to snorkel with whale sharks and turtles among the coral reefs. With calm waters and visibility extending up to 20m, Isla Mujeres is suitable to all levels and those who are advanced can go further afield to some deep wrecks.

Recommended by Rachel Gaw

Aerial photo of the Great Blue Hole in Belize with a small boat


South of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize is a land of rugged mountains, rich culture and, of course, the Blue Hole. It's also home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world and, as a relative newcomer to the tourism world, much of the dive sites remain pristine and unexplored. The 174-mile coastline, fringed with numerous cayes (atolls), is home to groupers, barracudas and yellow tube sponges.

While there is no bad time to dive in Belize, July is relatively quiet due to the rainy season (don't worry water temperatures are still around 27-29°C). Head south for plunging walls and canyons and watch out for the resident sea turtles, moray eels and dolphins. Of course, while you're here, head to the Blue Hole, a UNESCO-protected site, located on Lighthouse Reef, where you can see groups of sharks circling in the 100m-deep waters.

Recommended by Charlotte Dunn

underwater photo of eagle rays swimming in clear blue waters

French Polynesia:

Sitting pretty in the middle of the South Pacific, the 118 islands and atolls of French Polynesia remain relatively raw and you can expect plenty of shark action. It's not a question of if you'll see sharks, mantas or eagle rays but more how many you'll see and which species. July is a great time to swim with the ocean's greatest singers, the humpback whale, with these gentle giants arriving at the turquoise lagoons of Mooera at this time of year.

If you're looking for lots of shark action, then head to Bora Bora. Roughly 165 miles northwest of Tahiti, this is a glorious island with white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons teeming with life, and a laidback luxury atmosphere that will make you never want to leave. On a typical dive, you can expect to see an eye-popping number of shark species - such as black tips, lemon, gray, white tips and hammerheads - while groups of mantra rays glide nearby, swimming over colourful hard and soft corals. And when you don't feel like finning, there are plenty of drift dives ready to carry you along.

Speaking of drift diving, head northeast of Bora Bora to Rangiroa, in the heart of the Tuamoto archipelago. The Tiputa Pass is home to a huge array of pelagics from sharks to rays and dolphins. For the advanced divers, there is the option of deep dives that brings the chance to interact with tiger and great hammerheads. The sites are easily accessible from the land accommodations, and when the sun begins to dip below the surface, keep an eye on the horizon for jumping dolphins.

Tikehau, declared by famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as being richer in marine life than any other lagoon in the world, is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for those looking to scuba dive in July. With sunlight piercing through the gin-clear waters, vast coral reefs and schools of colourful fish darting around fearlessly, the underwater world here is truly magical.

Feel like going off the well-finned track? Check out a fast drift dive through the Tuheiva Pass and enjoy the presence of manta rays and hammerheads and the absence of fellow divers.

Recommended by Emilly Chappell

Ready to book your July diving holiday? Reach out to our dedicated dive specialist to plan your tailor-made scuba diving holiday.

Original Highlight
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For a truly unique experience, dive in Iceland in July when the Silfra fissure is covered in long green algae locally referred to as “troll hair” – it’s very surreal, even more so considering you are diving in no-man’s land between the North American and Eurasian continents.

Jacqui, Original Diver

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

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