The world is a pretty big place and 70% of the world is covered in water so there’s actually more places to visit underwater than there is on the surface, but as with all things in life; there are some that are a tad more amazing than others, I mean; sure I can dive just down the road from my house, but there’s not much there and I certainly wouldn’t dive their twice. These dive sites are worth investing in and taking your time so you get the most out of it. Many of them are seasonal so you get to see migrating species and don’t visit during monsoon season so do your homework and plan ahead, as a rather unfortunate rule of thumb; the more expensive the trip the better it is in my experience.
Let’s take a look at a few Bucket List Dive Sites For 2020
The Galapagos Islands are just another world when it comes to unique and rare animals. Sitting pretty much on the Equator out in the Pacific Ocean, South of Mexico and West of Ecuador, Galapagos, at the right time of year can be packed with countless hammerheads cruising past, Giant Whale Sharks doing their thing, dolphins, sea snakes, turtles, iguanas, all sorts and some species that are endemic to their waters so you won’t find them anywhere else.
Not the easiest to get to and not for beginner divers, the Galapagos Islands will reward those who venture to them, just check out who you’re diving with because some dive centres have exclusive access to certain parts and you need to check the best time of year to visit if you want to spot schools of migrating sharks and rays.
Yucatan in Mexico sits level with many of the Caribbean islands and caters for a whole range of divers. If you search online for Yucatan diving then you’ll see beautiful shots of cave and cenote diving but remember that Yucatan is just around the corner from the Caribbean so there are beautiful ocean dives too. Catering for all sorts of divers, Yucatan is a beautiful place to visit and you can very easily visit again and again and not do the same dive site twice.
If you plan your trip for the right time of year you can see whale sharks and all sorts of other marine life but if you feel like you’ve already seen it all then sign up for a cave or cavern course and explore one of the many cenotes and experience what very few divers have ever imagined. The further you take your training the more cenotes open up for you and you find new and exciting places that very few people have ever visited.
Truk Lagoon, Micronesia
Truk or Chuuk Lagoon, as it’s more commonly known now Is the spot for you if you love shipwrecks. Truk Lagoon is one of the most wreck-rich areas on the planet, with many of the shipwrecks at recreational depths. If you want to fully explore the shipwrecks then you’ll need your deep-dive training and wreck training to see them all safely but you can get your wreck fix at recreational depths and still have plenty to choose from.
Some of the wrecks are pretty deep and require decompression dives so you can slowly tick them all off your list gradually as your training allows you. But there are plenty, some 30 odd shipwrecks to explore so either a whole month, diving a wreck each day or maybe split it up into multiple trips. Remember it’s hard to explore all of a shipwreck all on one dive, you need to zip through it, so take your time, choose your favourites and explore them properly.
The Philippians consists of hundreds of islands in the Tropics that create unique, sheltered reefs and greate opportunities for marine life encounters. So far my favourite is Malapascua, a small-ish island, that sits just off Cebu. Malapascua has dive sites all around it from flat reefs and underwater cave systems to cleaning sites for Thresher sharks. Just getting to Malapascua can feel like an adventure because there are no direct flights and the best way to get there involves a drive along half the length of Cebu and a boat hop to the island.
Once you get to the island paradise that is Malapascua you cruise to dive sites on a unique outrigger boat that is built purely for diving. The dive sites are packed with small crevices and swim-throughs and unders so you can explore to your heart’s content.
Silfra Fissure, Iceland
Something out of the ordinary for our last pick and unless you want to do some truly deep diving then this is the only place on earth that you can scuba dive between two tectonic plates that are actually moving, granted they only move millimetres a year, but they’re still moving. This in-land lake boasts crystal clear waters, because all the sediment sinks to the bottom and the glacial water has filtered through the volcanic rock for centuries for pristine water. The cold environment means that algae doesn’t bloom but it does mean that you do need to dive in a drysuit.
Iceland itself is a unique place to visit. If you want to get your winter wonderland fix then this will tick that box in the winter and so far this is the only place I’ve been where they put liquorice on the butter at the diving table.