Snorkelling is all well and good – and with a multitude of coral reefs, vibrant fish and moving marine life, it really is – but there’s nothing quite like diving to show how beautiful the world can be. Strapped to your own oxygen tank, heading deep underwater allows you to observe aquatic goings-on up close: you might catch a crab busy themselves in sand, or a starfish camouflage into their background. You’re also more likely to see some interesting sea creatures: the deeper waters are where turtles, seahorses and sharks reside.
While coral reef and its associated clear waters are decreasing thanks to a mix of pollution and climate change, there are still plenty of places for a dream dive. With Flexicover's insurance, dives of up to 30m are covered as standard – and if you’re led by a qualified instructor, you don’t need a PADI certificate unless the dive site calls for one. So where are the most astounding destinations? We’ve handpicked the top five sites that don’t go super deep, and are generally agreed to be the best. Get the underwater camera at the ready…
Here’s the Flexicover team’s guide to the best dive spots in the world.
Thistlegorm, Red Sea, Egypt
Wreck dives are among the most interesting; it’s a chance to revive a forgotten history – and the marine life that grows around it carries it own charm. One of the most popular is Thistlegorm off the Egyptian coast. The cargo ship was bombed in 1941 by Germany, and sank in two, still carrying motorbikes, train carriages and rifles. Today, divers can investigate these sea-fossilised remains that are still in tact, and take a peek at the creatures who now call it home – these includes giant moray eels, hawksbill turtles and barracuda. It’s easily accessible as a day trip, or try an early morning dive from a liveaboard to go in the early, quieter hours.
Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Known globally for housing thousands of chevron and blacktail barracuda, diving Sipadan Island will certainly earn you bragging rights. You need to be fairly experienced for this dive, and the depth usually stays above 30m but not always – so you’ll know how deep you are. Divers are rewarded with rich and diverse marine life; aside from the namesake animals, there are also sharks (the nice ones), turtles, and schools of triggerfish and parrotfish. Divers need a permit to attempt this dive, but the good news is that this limits how busy the dive site gets; only 120 permits are given out each day. The best time to head out to this remarkable site is March to July, and October to December.
Liberty Wreck, Bali, Indonesia
Nearly 80 years after the USS Liberty was torpedoed by the Japanese during World War II, it lives on as Indonesia’s most famous dive site, with divers coming from across the world to see its resting place. The huge ship can be accessed from Tulamben’s shorelines; it’s first viewed at 5m, and slopes down to 30m. Just be careful that the marine life doesn’t take your breath away underwater: there’s a staggering amount of activity as sand-coloured rays glide along the sea bed, reef sharks roam around the wreck and lionfish cleverly stalk their prey. The vicinity to the shore makes this a popular spot for night diving, which shines a different light on this aquatic kingdom.
La Paz, Mexico
Diver-adventurer Jacques Cousteau referred to the Sea of Cortez as “the world’s aquarium”, and a visit below the waterline proves why. The sea is heaving with underwater delights, the star of which is the submerged mountain El Bajo. The central peak is found 15m below the water, and it’s here that groups of hammerhead sharks congregate: get lucky, and you’ll see hundreds circling in in their trademark clockwise direction. Also look out for octopus, manta rays, a colony of moray eels and whale sharks. Because of the unpredictable current, this one is for advanced divers only.
Easter Island, Chile
Imagine diving down to a sea bed near Easter Island and – among the lines of fish, weird sea creatures and occasional green turtle – seeing the mossy remnants of a moai statue head resting on the ground. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that attracts divers to this remote part of the world. Admittedly, it’s not an authentic moai head, but a replica discarded after being used for a Chilean television show. But that doesn’t make the spectacle any less magnificent. The statue is 20m below the surface and there’s usually good visibility, but you’ll need a PADI license to visit this site.
Wherever you plan on heading to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.