SSI’s Top Picks for the Best Diving in May

The month of May brings changing seasons around the world and SSI is here to help you find the best diving in May. These seasonal changes often bring with them shifts in underwater encounters as many species start migrating from one area to another. Add this to near-perfect dive conditions in many locations and low tourist numbers, and you will see why some of the best diving occurs during the month of May.

May is the perfect time to visit some of the world’s most famous diving destinations. You can find calm, clear conditions in the vibrant waters of the Galapagos Islands, hundreds of manta rays gathering in the Maldives, big fish action in Fiji, and much more!

1.The Galapagos Islands 

The Galapagos has long been a famous bucket-list destination and for good reason. It attracts divers and naturalists from around the world year after year. The wild islands of the Galapagos sit in the middle of the Pacific Ocean as one of the most biodiverse places on earth and host a jaw-dropping list of marine life.

You will dive alongside marine iguanas feeding off the algae-rich rocky substrate, watch penguins dive and swim underwater, and get up close and personal with curious sea lions, sea turtles, and countless sharks. These once-in-a-lifetime encounters make the Galapagos Islands one of our top picks for the best diving in May.

Although the peak dive season runs during the dry season (July to December), the rougher seas at that time can be challenging for some divers. In May, the waters in the Galapagos are much calmer and have an average temperature of 20 to 25 °C. Pair this with sunny skies nearly every day, and you can clearly see why May is such a great time to visit, especially for less experienced divers or those that just enjoy easier dive conditions. Click here to learn more about diving the Galapagos.

2. The Maldives

May sees the arrival of the southwest monsoon in the Maldives, and it is one of the best months for diving with manta rays. During the southwest monsoon, the water temperature drops slightly, but it is still a glorious 25 to 29 °C. The monsoon season brings with it a high concentration of plankton, which reduces visibility but replaces it with concentrations of manta rays that come to feed.

Hammerhead and grey reef sharks also appear in large numbers, as well as large schools of pelagic fish that come in from the open ocean. All these exciting megafauna species make May an exciting time to visit the Maldives. 

A trip to the Northern Atolls will give you a classic Maldives dive experience but without the crowds of other divers or boats. These peaceful atolls have exceptional reef life and diverse underwater topography. However, the Central Atolls are an excellent choice if you want to step off your flight and get straight into diving without additional travel. The Southern Atolls can be harder to access, but the rewards of diving there are well worth it. Join a liveaboard safari to this remote area and explore pristine reefs with deep channels busy with hunting pelagics, including tuna, jacks, and numerous reef sharks. 

No matter which part of the Maldives you choose to visit, you are s sure to have the scuba diving adventure of a lifetime. To learn more about diving the Maldives, check out this blog on the 11 Best Dive Sites in the Maldives. 

3. Fiji

May marks the start of the cold season in Fiji when plankton blooms begin to fade, and the water cools to around 27 °C. Fiji’s rich waters turn a deep, clear blue, offering spectacular visibility and big fish encounters, putting this destination toward the top of our picks for the best diving in May. 

Fiji is well-known as the soft coral capital of the world and offers some of the most vibrant coral reef dives imaginable. The Somosomo Strait hosts dramatic, deep walls washed by currents and covered in white, purple, pink, and orange soft corals. At Gau Island, also called the ‘Amazon of the Seas,’ there are fringing and barrier reefs with incredible biodiversity. 

May, however, brings divers from around the world to experience the large marine life found here this time of year. Starting this month, you can swim with manta rays at Drawaqa Island and spot migrating humpback whales. You can also see bull, tiger, lemon, nurse, and silvertip sharks at the world-famous Beqa Lagoon in Viti Levu.

The hardest choice you will face when planning your Fiji diving adventure is whether to island hop, base yourself at a rustic eco-resort, stay at one of the many family-friendly hotels, or join a liveaboard safari. Whichever you choose, Fiji’s range of dive sites makes it one of the best places to dive in May for all experience levels. Learn more about diving in Fiji on SSI’s Mydiveguide here. 

4. Mexico 

Although you can find fantastic diving in Mexico throughout the year, it offers some of its best diving in May. This culturally rich country spans a vast geographical area and borders both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, making diving opportunities as varied as you can imagine, from large pelagics in the open sea of the Pacific to the rich coral reefs of the Caribbean.

Both coasts are excellent choices for diving in Mexico this time of year for many reasons, but the biggest one is that May is the last month to dive here without worrying about hurricanes. With hurricane season officially starting on June 1st every year, May brings warmer temperatures but less stormy weather. 

May is also the lull between the spring break season and the busy summer season, so there will be fewer crowds and lower hotel prices. Pair this with fantastic visibility both east and west, and the hardest part will be choosing where in Mexico to visit. Check out Mexico on our MyDiveGuide page here to learn about the different kinds of diving you can find in this vast country.

For more diving ideas or to explore these destinations featuring the best diving in May, visit SSI’s MyDiveGuide today!