Discover the 7 Best Places to Dive in May

The seasons are changing around the world during May, offering the best dive conditions at some of the world’s most famous dive destinations. There is spectacular visibility and big fish action in Fiji, calm dive conditions at the Galapagos Islands, and hundreds of mantas gathering at the Maldives. You might be wondering where else you can go diving this month. Get inspired with our guide to the best places to dive in May.

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

As the humidity and rainfalls eases, the dry winter season is edging closer at the Great Barrier Reef. You can leave your winter clothes behind if you go Great Barrier Reef scuba diving in May. The air temperature ranges from 23 to 26 °C this month and the water is a balmy 26 °C.

With more than 1500 fish species, over 400 hard coral species, 134 species of sharks and rays, and 6 sea turtle species, this is surely one of the best places to dive in May.

The Great Barrier Reef is also a great place to get your Open Water Diver certification and treat yourself to a short liveaboard safari in calm, warm waters.

Join a liveaboard trip from Cairns to experience all of this and more:

  • Explore pinnacles covered in vibrant soft corals.
  • Dive among schools of pelagic fish in clear, blue waters.
  • Enjoy shallow reefs busy with colorful reef life.
  • Go night diving with hunting whitetip reef sharks.

When you have finished diving, hire a car and explore the many highlights of Cairns and surrounds. Cape Tribulation is a must; this UNESCO World Heritage site is where the oldest rainforest in the world, the Daintree, meets the Great Barrier Reef.


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 during May. Hammerhead sharks and grey reef sharks start to congregate in large numbers and there are large schools of pelagic fish.

A trip to the Northern Atolls will give you a classic Maldives dive experience but without crowds of other divers or boats. These peaceful atolls have exceptional reef life and diverse underwater topography.

If you want to step off your flight and get straight into diving without any fuss, the Central Atolls are an excellent choice.

Enjoy these Central Atolls dive highlights:

  • Relax with easy reef diving at your resort house reef.
  • Hop on a day boat for exciting drift dives and pelagic action.
  • Swim with whale sharks at world-famous South Ari Atoll.
  • Snorkel with dozens of cyclone-feeding mantas at Hanifaru Bay.

The Southern Atolls can be a little trickier to access, but the rewards of diving there are well worth it. Join a liveaboard safari to this remote area to explore pristine reefs and deep channels busy with hunting pelagics, including tuna, jacks, and numerous reef sharks.


3. The Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands is a bucket-list destination that attracts divers and naturalists from around the world every year. These wild islands in the Pacific Ocean are one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and host a jaw-dropping list of marine life.

Diving with feeding marine iguanas, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, and countless sharks is the norm, making the Galapagos Islands one of our best places to go diving in May.

Whilst 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 of the Galapagos are 20 to 25 °C, it is sunny, and the seas are calmer.

May is a great month to join a Galapagos diving trip if you are a newer diver or just prefer easier dive conditions.

The official whale shark season starts in June, but you still have a good chance of spotting these ocean giants in May, plus manta rays and huge schools of hammerheads.


4. Oman

Despite having pristine dive sites, a warm desert climate, and year-round diving, scuba diving in Oman is still relatively unknown. There you can enjoy diving with few other divers in the water and explore by liveaboard, day boat, or shore diving from Muscat.

Muscat has numerous dive sites in the shallows and at depth, making it a great destination for all scuba divers.

There is excellent shore diving at Muscat, but most people head offshore to Oman’s best scuba diving spots. All of these are within easy reach:

  • The UNESCO-listed Daymaniyat Islands.
  • Fahal Island.
  • The Al Munassir wreck.
  • The Musandam Peninsula.

The Daymaniyat Islands is Oman’s premier dive destination and consists of nine islands sitting in warm, azure waters just north of Muscat. These islands are fringed with ancient coral reefs and stunning white sands that host nesting sea turtles.

There are around 20 dive sites at the Daymaniyat Islands, with pristine coral gardens and deep walls covered in blue corals and sponges, plus passing zebra and lemon sharks.

Nearby Fahal Island has some of the most diverse coral reefs in all of Oman and hosts various shark species – earning it the name Shark Island.

The Al Munassir wreck is a thriving artificial reef covered in corals and home to moray eels, schools of snapper, sea turtles, and rays.

Just make sure you leave time to go diving in Musandam as well. From May to October, this popular dive area hosts whale sharks in shallow waters.


5. Cornwall, United Kingdom.

Cornwall’s hidden coves, sandy beaches, and cute seaside villages, make it a classic UK holiday destination for families. This popular holiday spot also offers great scuba diving in blue-green waters that host basking sharks, blue sharks, and seals.

The start of basking shark season in Cornwall varies each year, but May onwards is the time to look for these ancient-looking sharks if you go diving in Cornwall.

Take a road trip around Cornwall to discover the dive highlights and wildlife of this charming county:

  • Go scuba diving or freediving at Newquay’s numerous dive sites.
  • Search for grey seals at Trevose Head.
  • Hop on a day boat to snorkel with blue or basking sharks.
  • Explore the Manacles’ famous wreck dives, from 5 to 70 meters deep.
  • Dive among swaying kelp forests and picturesque Cornish coves.

Newquay in North Cornwall is known for its world-class surfing and also has numerous scuba and freediving sites along its coastline, with the chance to spot grey and harbor seals, and snorkel with blue sharks.

In Southern Cornwall, the Manacles are famous for their diverse shallow and deep wrecks, plus pinnacles and drop-offs that host an astounding array of marine life.

At nearby Penzance, there are thriving kelp forests with huge spider crabs and rocky landscapes covered in bright jewel anemones.

If you go diving in Southern Cornwall, a detour to Lamorna Cove is a must. This small, picturesque cove is tucked away in a forested valley and offers an easy, shallow dive among sea grasses and kelp, plus night diving with cuttlefish.

With its gentle entry and sheltered waters, plus a cozy beachside café, Lamorna Cova is one of our best places to dive in May and discover the joy of shore diving.


6. French Polynesia.

It is the start of the dry season in French Polynesia, offering great weather and French Polynesia diving at its finest! This is one of the best places to dive in May to forget daily life and hang out on idyllic paradise islands.

The Society Islands boast the most romantic and luxurious islands in the world, including Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora. Between them, they offer shallow reef diving in warm, clear lagoons, snorkeling with friendly stingrays and blacktip reef sharks, plus exciting offshore dives.

Rangiroa and Fakarava, French Polynesia’s premier liveaboard destinations, are just a short flight away from the Society Islands. These enormous atolls offer thrilling pass dives with hundreds of grey reef sharks, resident dolphins, and schools of pelagic fish.

Exploring the remote Marquesas Islands is unlike any other French Polynesia diving experience.

These volcanic islands are the farthest from any landfall on Earth and have unique underwater landscapes busy with life.

The waters are not as clear as at French Polynesia’s other islands, but the Marquesas host unusually large mantas, melon-headed whales, hammerheads and silvertip sharks.


7. 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 water visibility and big fish encounters.

Fiji is 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.

If you love big marine life encounters, a trip to Fiji will meet your needs:

  • Swim with mantas at Drawaqa Island (May to October).
  • Dive with bull, tiger, lemon, nurse, and silvertip sharks at world-famous Beqa Lagoon.
  • Spot migrating humpback whales (June to October).

You can go island hopping, base yourself at a rustic eco-resort, pick from numerous family-friendly hotels, or join a liveaboard safari. Whichever you choose, Fiji’s range of dive sites make it one of the best places to dive in May for all experience levels.