10 Bucket List Dive Sites
At Reefscape Travel, we are regularly asked about our top 10 bucket list dive sites. Being passionate divers, naturally we spend a lot of time discussing just this (and all things scuba diving!). We have scoured the globe searching for the very best places to dive, so with our first-hand knowledge and expertise, here are 10 bucket list dive sites that are an absolute must for any diver:
Darwin's Arch, The Galapagos
Most liveaboards in the Galapagos will do multiple dives at Darwin’s Arch, as it really is the jewel in the crown of Galapagos diving. During the whale shark season (June to November), large, pregnant whale sharks the size of buses can be seen as well as schooling scalloped hammerhead sharks. Many other shark species can also be encountered including Galapagos, silky and tiger sharks as well as schooling barracuda, jack, tuna and eagle rays, turtles and dolphins to name a few.
Roca Partida, Revillagigedos Archipelago (Socorro), Mexico
The Revillagigedo Archipelago is often thought of as one of the best big fish diving destinations on earth, and Roca Partida is one of the best dive sites in the region. A small pinnacle just west of Socorro and San Benedicto, it has a sheer wall that drops down to around 300m and acts as a navigation point for pelagic species travelling along the eastern Pacific’s volcanic ridges. The giant oceanic manta rays are the stars of the show, circling divers and hovering above their bubbles. Schooling scalloped hammerheads, silky, Galapagos, dusk and blacktip sharks are also seen.
Fakarava South Pass, French Polynesia
Home to the famous Blue Planet spawning grouper scene, this is one of the most exciting dive sites on earth. In little to no current, divers will observe over 200 grey reef sharks circling in crystal clear waters whilst Napolean wrasse and blacktip sharks will patrol the pristine hard coral gardens.
Magic Mountain, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
At Reefscape, we find it hard to pick our favourite dive site in Raja Ampat as there are so many but Magic Mountain just about pips the others to the post. Alongside the incredible biodiversity and pristine corals, this is one of the few places on earth where you can see both reef and oceanic mantas.
Red snapper or bumphead parrotfish spawning, Palau
On either the full moon for red snapper or new moon for bumphead parrotfish, these spawning events are bucket list stuff and some of exciting natural spectacles on earth. Whilst the aggregations themselves are impressive, the spawning brings in some big predators including oceanic blacktip sharks, grey reef sharks and occasionally hammerheads.
Bradford Shoals, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea
An offshore dive site around 1.5 hours from Walindi Plantation resort in Kimbe Bay, New Britain, Bradford Shoals is a seamount rising up to around 20m depth. Divers will find a resident school of over 1,000 barracuda that swirl above the reef organising themselves in tornado-like formations. White tip reef sharks patrol the healthy reef and other pelagics can be seen in the blue including big eye trevally, dog tooth tuna and grey reef sharks.
Astove Wall, Outer Seychelles
Running along the western side of Astove Atoll in the Outer Seychelles, this is a dive site that few other divers have experienced. The dramatic 90-degree drop-off is home to incredible soft coral coverage, macro life and a wealth of fish life including grouper, snapper, Napolean wrasse, tuna and healthy populations of green and hawksbill turtles. Being so close to the drop-off there is also a great chance of seeing pelagics including bull and hammerhead sharks.
Fuvahmulah Atoll, Maldives
The southernmost atoll of the Maldives bar one, Fuvahmulah is a magnet for pelagic species including tiger sharks, thresher sharks, oceanic mantas and mobulas to name a few. Hammerheads can also be seen out in the blue, effortlessly swimming against the current. The remote location of the atoll means very few other divers are here, either staying on the island or arriving by liveaboard.
Elphinstone Reef, Egypt
Located in the southern Red Sea, 12km offshore and around 30km from Marsa Alam, Elphinstone is an offshore reef that is 375m in length and home to some incredible marine life. With visibility often exceeding 30m, descending on to the finger-shaped reef is spectacular with the shallow plateaus drenched in pristine soft and hard corals. The biggest draw for divers are the oceanic whitetip sharks, usually extremely elusive in most other destinations, but are regularly seen on Elphinstone reef and curious of divers. The best season for the oceanic whitetips is October to December.
Monad Shoal, Malapascua, Philippines
Diving Monad Shoal at dawn in Malapascua, scuba divers can encounter thresher sharks, who come from the depths to be cleaned at this hour before the sunlight gets too strong for their eyes. This is one of the few spots on earth where thresher sharks are almost guaranteed.