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Best Coral Reefs to Scuba Dive

Posted November 10, 2022 in Top Contenders - Last updated June 1, 2023

Coral reef diving can be an incredible experience, especially if you love the water and enjoy interacting with wildlife. Every diver’s dream would often be to dive into The Great Barrier Reef. Now the bad news is that Greg Hunt, the Australia Minister for the Environment, has signed a Declaration that bans diving of any type in The Great Barrier Reef until 2030. But, there is still plenty of good news. Luckily, other coral reefs worldwide haven’t implemented such bans, and you have plenty of coral reefs to scuba dive in. This article looks at the best coral reefs to scuba dive globally.

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1. New Caledonian Barrier Reef in New Caledonia

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The second longest coral reef in the world, the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, is the perfect place to start your reef scuba diving experience. This is a wildlife wonderland, replete with thousands of species of marine line, many of which are still hardly researched by scientists. The lagoon in which this reef grows spans 9000 miles and is 80 feet deep in its deepest spot. The Daa Djare Ile des Pins and Donga Hienga Hienghene are splendid spots on this reef.

2. Wakatobi National Park in Indonesia

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The Wakatobi National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve renowned for some of the best marine life conservation efforts globally. The reefs here are spectacular and are home to pelagic fish, hawksbill turtles, and sea horses.

3. Mesoamerican Reef in the Caribbean Sea

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The 700 miles long Mesoamerican Reef connects four countries – Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. The reef has some of the world’s most celebrated dive sites, such as the Odyssey Wreck. However, the reefs here are endangered, and divers are subject to scrutiny and rules during the dive to prevent any harm to the corals and their citizens.

4. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines

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The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is tagged as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World by UNESCO. It has one of the most unique biodiversity on the planet and is even considered an ASEAN Heritage Park. When you scuba dive, you’re sure to spot at least one of the 13 different whale species that visit here frequently. You’ll also see manta and eagle rays alongside other endemic species.

5. Komodo Islands in Indonesia

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Another UNESCO World Heritage is the Komodo National Park on the Komodo Islands. While the Komodo dragon is the showstopper on land, the spotlight shifts to the spectacularly colorful corals underwater. You’ll see dolphins, rays, hundreds of fish species, reef sharks, and more. The botanical marine life here is also stunning and deserves multiple dives to truly appreciate.

6. Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea

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Papua New Guinea’s Kimbe Bay has over 200 coral reef dive sites, making it one of the most exciting reefs to scuba dive and snorkel in. The staghorn corals and sea fans make the reef look ethereal. Additionally, the barracuda and dolphins add zest to marine life.

7. Great Florida Reef in the United States

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If you live in the US, your best bet to start reef diving would be the Great Florida Reef. This is a gorgeous and lush reef you can reach via a short boat ride. If you enjoy kayaking and want to increase your adrenaline, you can paddle across the aquamarine waters. The Christ of the Abyss and Molasses Reef are two of the best dive spots here.

8. Fakarava Atolls in French Polynesia

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French Polynesia’s Fakarava Atoll is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The hard corals here are world-renowned for their unique beauty – which is seldom seen on other reefs. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see humpback whales here, in addition to the local denizens, such as manta rays, grey reef sharks, and dolphins.

9. Southern Attols in the Maldives

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If you’re looking for a quiet slice of heaven, Maldives’ Southern Atolls is the place to scuba dive or snorkel in. This is a collection of atolls where the corals are breathtaking. A few remarkable atolls to visit are the Meemu Atoll, Laamu Atoll, and Nilandhe Atoll.

10. Red Sea Coral Reef in the Red Sea

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Lastly, straddling the waters of Djibouti, Egypt, and Israel, the Red Sea Coral Reef is replete with amazing marine life. This reef dates back thousands of years and is considered one of the oldest coral reefs on the planet. This reef is considered an advanced diver’s reef, given how dangerous the waters here are. A popular dive site is formidably named “The Diver’s Cemetery,” referring to the many drownings that occur here.

Wrapping up

So, now that you’ve read about 10 of the best coral reefs to dive into, how about visiting them and experiencing them firsthand? Check out some itineraries made for the various locations of these coral reefs and plan a trip yourself. If you enjoyed this article, give it a thumbs up and explore more of our articles on Travel-Wise here.

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