As an advanced diver, it is time to explore more challenging dive sites, put your skills into action and tick off those bucket list dive destinations. Whether you want to dive with ocean giants, explore far-flung islands, drift over untouched reefs or visit the world’s wreck diving meccas, you can. Here is our pick of 8 idyllic destinations that are perfect for advanced diving.
With over 17,000 islands strewn across azure seas and more than 54,000km of coastline, diving in Indonesia has something for every diver.
From Raja Ampat’s thriving current-swept reefs and manta ray cleaning stations, to Cenderawasih Bay’s friendly whale sharks and muck diving at Lembeh Strait; there is so much advanced diving to choose from.
To make the most of Indonesia’s many and varied dive sites, you need to be comfortable with currents. Upskill with the SSI Waves, Tides and Currents specialty to get the experience and skills you need.
Indonesia – top advanced diving experiences:
Experience some of the best house reef dives in the world at Wakatobi National Park.
Swim with the famously-friendly whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay.
Dive with huge Mola mola at Nusa Penida’s Crystal Bay.
Untouched reefs, 992 tropical paradise islands and wreck diving galore have put the Solomon Islands firmly on the map of bucket list destinations. Sitting on the western edges of the Pacific, these stunning islands offer an excellent array of dive sites for advanced divers.
The many and varied advanced diving highlights include diving with reef sharks and stingrays at Marovo Lagoon, exploring underwater volcanic formations, mangrove diving, plunging steep walls, pinnacles, healthy reefs and wrecks. All of which are busy with diverse and colorful marine life.
It you are looking for a break from daily life and the chance to try a range of dive styles, this destination is for you!
Solomon Islands – top advanced diving experiences:
Dive amongst more than 1000 wrecks at Iron Bottom Sound in the Eastern Solomon Islands.
Visit Mary Island for thrilling open ocean dives with huge schools of barracuda and tuna.
Tubbataha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is one of many great reasons to go diving in the Philippines. There you will find 10,000 hectares of protected reef that host hundreds of coral species, 13 different whale species, numerous sharks and huge shoals of fish. It is a perfect spot to try underwater photography and surround yourself with marine life.
Keen wreck divers won’t want to miss the Philippines WWII wreck diving mecca Coron, and Dauin is perfect for trying the addictive sport of muck diving. Added to that, the Philippines is one of the only places in the world where you can dive with thresher sharks.
The Philippines – top advanced diving experiences:
Go pre-dawn diving with elusive thresher sharks at Monad Shoal.
Hop over to nearby Kimud Shoal for the chance to dive with hammerhead sharks
Experience the Philippines’ world-famous sardine run and incredible pelagic action at Moalboal.
Northern Atolls, The Maldives
The Maldives is an iconic scuba diving destination with something for every diver, but you need to know where to go for your experience level. Each group of atolls has its own characteristic dive sites, dive styles and marine life highlights, with the Northern Atolls being ideal for advanced diving.
The Northern Atolls opened relatively recently to tourism and offer classic Maldives diving without crowds of divers or boats. The dive sites there are famous for their reef marine life and varied underwater landscapes, with abundant fish and pelagic visitors from the big blue.
Maldives – top advanced diving experiences:
Experience the rainbow-hued soft coral landscapes of Maavaru Kandu.
Dive at the Far Northern Atolls for mantas, sharks, guitar rays and exceptional water visibility.
Need a rest? Go snorkeling with hundreds of feeding mantas at Baa Atoll’s Hanifaru Bay.
A classic winter getaway for sunshine and warm waters, the gorgeous Cayman Islands have over 350 dive sites to choose from and some of the clearest waters in the world.
Diving in the Cayman Islands is synonymous with sheer, deep walls, impressive wrecks and thriving coral reefs. Wherever you dive, the landscapes are covered in vibrant corals and sea fans, with pelagic fish, numerous sharks and sea turtles passing by. Whether you want to explore the deeper sites or relax in the shallows, there will be numerous dive sites to meet your needs.
Cayman Islands – top advanced diving experiences:
Dive the famous USS Kittiwake. Sitting in gin-clear shallow water, it’s the perfect place to go wreck diving.
Experience the most spectacular drop-off in the Caribbean at Bloody Bay Wall.
Take it easy with the friendly stingrays at Grand Cayman’s Stingray City.
If you want to try a range of dive styles in one vacation and explore landscapes that grace the covers of magazines, go diving in Palau. Test your skills at Palau’s picture-perfect islands with thrilling open ocean current dives, go wreck diving and relax with easy-going reef dives; all at one special destination.
Palau has hundreds of islands with numerous dive sites, hosting over 1300 fish species and 700 species of coral, plus plenty of prized critters. Sea turtles and reef sharks are commonly seen by divers, and you can go swimming in a lake teeming with millions of harmless jellyfish.
Palau – top advanced diving experiences:
Go deep diving at a natural corner in the ocean and surround yourself with pelagics at Blue Corner.
Ready for a challenge? Go fast-paced drift diving and meet the manta rays of German Channel.
Dive the world-famous Iro Maru At 143 meters long, she is a truly impressive sight.
Turneffe Atoll, Belize
Turneffe Atoll is the most biodiverse of Belize’s outer islands and has over 200 cayes made up of mangroves, lagoons and flats that act as spawning sites for juvenile fish. Manatees and crocodiles can sometimes be spotted there and there are plenty of big pelagic fish and passing sharks. All in all, this is a fantastic destination for underwater naturalists.
Enjoy calm diving at shallow reefs on the Western side of Turneffe Atoll or go in search of exciting currents at the eastern and southern sides. With great drift and wall diving opportunities as well, there is enough variety to satisfy every advanced diver’s experience and comfort level.
Turneffe Atoll – top advanced diving experiences:
Explore stunning drop-offs and dramatic reefs with large groups of eagle rays at The Elbow.
Dive a coral-encrusted wreck and search for prized macro life at the Sayonara
Go in search of rare black corals at the Black Beauty dive site.
Dive destinations do not get more romantic or luxurious than French Polynesia, and the diving is spectacular. This sought-after location is a marine megafauna hotspot with jaw-dropping reefs and pristine beaches to boot. Go diving by day, indulge yourself at world-class resorts each evening and try day boat, shore and liveaboard diving with ease.
Fakarava atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is so diverse that you could spend your entire dive trip there and not get bored. It is one of the best places in the entire Tuamotu Archipelago to see sharks and there are numerous manta cleaning stations there.
Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago is one of the world’s largest atolls and has everything from epic dive sites to famous pearl farms and even a wintery. It’s most famous dive site, Tiputa Pass, gets washed by ripping currents and has huge schools of grey reef sharks.
Be aware that French Polynesia’s best dive sites are deep, so make sure you have the right experience before you visit. The SSI Deep Diving specialty will provide all the skills and practice you need and certifies you to go diving up to 40 meters deep.
French Polynesia – top advanced diving experiences:
Love sharks? Visit French Polynesia from December to March to dive deep reefs with hammerheads and schooling eagle rays.
Dive with ‘walls of grey reef sharks’ at world-famous Garaue Pass.
Whilst you’re there, make time to go swimming with charismatic humpback whales at Moorea Island (July to November).
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