The 9 Best Scuba Destinations for Year-Round Diving

Traveling for a diving holiday has to be one the most eagerly anticipated activities for all water enthusiasts. But some fabulous scuba destinations can sometimes be affected by bad weather, cold water temperatures, or the arrival of certain animals that might hinder the ability to dive easily.

To make planning your vacation easier, we have made a list of some of the best regions and locations that offer excellent dive conditions year-round.

The world’s best scuba destinations for year-round diving

The Caribbean

The Caribbeanhas some spectacular diving and idyllic locations to explore as a diver which are available year-round. Warm water, species unique to this region, and vibrant cultures, make Caribbean diving highly sought after by divers around the world.

1. Belize

The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is home to the second longest barrier reef in the world and is brimming with marine life. Water temperatures vary from 25 °C (77 °F) in February/March up to 29 °C (85 °F) in August/September. A 3mm wetsuit is fine in the cooler months and many divers are fine in swimwear and a rashguard in the summer months.

Huge eagle rays are common sight when diving in Belize, and healthy coral reefs with huge schools of grunts and blue chromis are a feast for the eyes!

There is also the opportunity to spot manatees at Belize’s seagrass beds.

The Blue hole is not to be missed and Lighthouse Reef has some excellent dive sites with the southern end of the atoll having the best diving. Fly to Belize city and then transfer out to the smaller cayes and islands such as Ambergris Caye to enjoy the diving available there.

All certification levels are welcome in Belize, making this one of our top Caribbean scuba destinations.

Want to dive in the Blue Hole? Here is everything you need to know before you go: Belize Blue Hole: The Ultimate Diving Guide.

2.Little Cayman

One of the smaller sister islands to the well-known Grand Cayman, this tiny rock of only 10 square miles boasts some of the best Caribbean diving available. Water temperatures ranging from 24-32 °C (75-90 °F) mean that it is warm and pleasant year-round.

The Bloody Bay marine park has some of the best wall dives in the region with a plethora of marine life available to divers.

Great hammerheads in the blue abyss are not uncommon. With seahorses, nudibranchs in the shallows, three sea turtlespecies, and huge friendly Nassau groupers, Little Cayman diving is action packed and exciting!

Bloody Bay Wall is the dive site request to make to your captain. Due to the steep drop offs, and deeper dive sites, you need to maintain excellent buoyancy control there. It is advised that divers are Advanced Open Water diver certified or higher.

Only an hour from Miami and also served by several other US flight hubs, Little Cayman is one of the most accessible scuba destinations in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean is lucky that it does not have a defined rainy season. Summertime rain showers can be intense but are usually very short lived and the sunshine soon returns. Although hurricane season is in place June to November, these are often the best months of the year to dive and bargain flights and packages can be picked up at the last minute.

The Red Sea

The Red Sea is renowned for having excellent diving, year-round great weather, and plenty of additional activities for tourists traveling to the area. There is of course the incredible history in one of the most important countries in this region, Egypt.

3. Sharm El Sheikh

…Or just "Sharm" as it is affectionately known in diving circles, has it all. Blue water, coral reefs teeming with life, and plenty of accommodation options for all budgets. It is the center of diving in Egypt and has something for every diver. Whether you want to enjoy easy, warm-water shore dives, day-boat diving, or explore by liveaboard, Sharm el Sheikh diving will meet your needs.

Having its own international airport served by hundreds of carriers in Europe means getting there is easy to arrange. The water in Sharm varies from 24-32 °C (75-90 °F) and has very manageable diving conditions year-round.

There are so many dive sites to choose from, but the straits of Tiran are home to some of the best, including Jackson Reef. This is an incredible area to see schooling fish and often big pelagics on the drop off.

As a very easily accessed shore dive, El Fanar is also a great place to explore and has spectacular coral formations along the wall. It is also a very nice place for non-divers to hang out so everyone can stay happy on holiday.

It would be remiss of us to not mention Ras Mohamed national park. This underwater paradise is located right at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula and has drop offs, shallow reefs, wrecks, you name it!

Yolanda and Shark Reef is one of the most famous dive spots around Sharm. Make sure you also take a trip out to the spectacular SS Thistlegorm wreck.

All levels of diver are catered for, but some dive operators may require a high level of skill and experience than others.

4. The Southern Red Sea

If you want to explore more of the fantastic diving that Egypt has to offer, take a trip to the Southern Red Sea. There is excellent diving in Marsa Alam, with dolphins, sea turtles, and dugongs to encounter. Hurghada diving offers beautiful reefs and wrecks with easy dive conditions.

Liveaboards to the southern Red Sea leave frequently from both scuba destinations toexplore the Red Sea’s western coast. These areas include Dolphin Reef, Elphinstone Reef, and The Brothers – known as some of the best diving in the whole of the Red Sea! They are an option for experienced divers with a larger budget for trips.

Love a liveaboard vacation? Here are our Best 6 places for liveaboard diving in 2023.

The Indian Ocean

Crystal-clear blue seas, white sand islands, and fringing coral reefs make some of the Indian Ocean scuba destinations incredible spots for year-round diving. Our favorite? The Maldives.

5.The Maldives

Long hailed as a honeymoon destination, diving in the Maldives and the marine life is nothing short of incredible. Vibrant reefs, coral walls plunging into the blue depths, and lagoons with mantas and whale sharks are just a few of the reasons to visit.

Consistent year-round water temperatures of 26°C (80 °F) and higher make diving there a joy. Maldives is an international destination and flights can be booked very easily to Male to explore this island nation.

Swimming with mantas at Hanifaru Bay is one of the highlights for any diver visiting the Maldives.

There can be dozens of mantas around at a single time! Fuvahmulah is a new destination at the southern end of the Maldives. The tiger sharksthere are very consistent and it is rapidly becoming one of the best scuba destinations in the world to see them. All certification levels are welcome for diving around the Maldives.

The Pacific Ocean

This truly remote area of the world has some incredible underwater options available for the traveling diver. With thousands of islands to choose from, it is easy to see why the Pacific Ocean has so many popular scuba destinations! We think the best place to dive in the Pacific Islands is French Polynesia.

6.French Polynesia

French Polynesia has so many world-famous vistas and it rightly holds its place as one of the most coveted scuba destinations in the world. Bora Bora, Moorea and Fakarava Atoll are all high on divers wish lists. The latter is one of the best places on the planet to dive with numerous gray reef sharks.

The BBC documented diving with groupers and sharks at Fakarava in stunning fashion and is well worth checking out. After diving healthy coral reefs, you can move back to the shallows where the action never ends!

At Moorea, stingrays and blacktip reef sharks gather at a sandbar creating a wonderful experience in the water. Temperatures sit at a consistent 25-29 °C (78-84 °F) year-round, so light wetsuits or rashguards are fine for divers.

All experience levels are welcome when diving in French Polynesia but there are some dives that are best tackled by more experienced divers only, due to strong currents and depth. Flights can be a little longer than other destinations, but it is well worth the effort.

Fiji is another fantastic area for diving in the Pacific Ocean. Check out Diving Fiji: The World’s Most Colourful Coral Reefs.

7. New Zealand

With subtropical islands and 44 marine reserves, plus an abundance of marine life large and small, New Zealand is a paradise for divers and offers excellent year-round diving. Start at the top of the North Island and work your way down to Southland to experience the best diving in New Zealand.

In Northland, enjoy subtropical diving at the Poor Knights Islands, rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.

A little further south, there is beautiful reef and shore diving for all experience levels at Goat Island. You might be tempted to head to the South Island from there but visit the Mercury and Aldermen Islands on your way; both are known to host some of New Zealand’s best dives and have stunning beaches.

The MS Mikhail Lermontov is an unmissable dive in the scenic Marlborough Sounds. This wreck is one of the biggest cruise ship dives in the world and is surrounded by spectacular scenery. From there, continue your trip south to encounter whales, dolphins, and fur seals at Kaikoura, go diving in the eerie waters of Milford Sound, and even cage dive with great white sharks.

Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The areas at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia are wonderfully healthy and are far less crowded than the humid hot north of Queensland. With water temperatures ranging from 22-26 °C (72-80 °F), the Southern Great Barrier Reef has very easy diving conditions for divers of all levels. Easy access, just 6 hours north of Brisbane (or even shorter with a small domestic flight), make this area well worth a visit.

8. Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island is a marine reserve and eco hotspot famous as one of Australia’s best scuba destinations. Thousands of green turtles return there to mate and lay their eggs every year. It is also renowned for dolphin and manta encounters, as well as for supporting nesting seabirds.

There are wonderful dives and pristine underwater environments at Lady Elliot, plus a team of marine biologists to help with all the dive and identification questions you may have. This gorgeous island is also famous for hosting a bright pink manta ray.

9. Heron Island

Privately-owned Heron Island is another great dive spot, in the Capricorn group of islands on the southern Great Barrier Reef. It is well regarded as a jewel in the crown of this area of the reef for its biodiversity, reef health, and high quality of diving.

Once you have chosen which location you would love to go diving at, the next step is choosing a dive center there. The easiest way is to use the SSI Dive Center tool. Check it out!