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Love shore diving? These are the 10 best places to explore

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Shore diving unlocks a world of awe-inspiring beauty beneath the surface. Unlike boat dives, which can be limited by schedules and crowded dive sites, shore diving offers you the freedom to explore at your own pace, whenever you desire, and with whomever you choose as your dive buddy. In this article, we’ll unveil the top ten destinations around the globe where you can experience the magic of shore diving, each with its unique charm and allure.

Whether you’re an experienced diver seeking new spots to explore or a novice looking for accessible and captivating underwater destinations, this guide has something for you. We’ll dive deep into each location, highlighting the unique dive experiences and marine life on offer. We’ll also cover the practical information you need, so you can spend less time planning and more time diving!

Sea to Sky

Prepare to be inspired for an unforgettable journey to some of the best shore diving on our planet.

1000 Steps, Bonaire
1000 Steps, Bonaire
Photo by Johnny Africa on Unsplash

1. Bonaire, the Caribbean.

Often referred to as the ‘shore diving capital of the world’, Bonaire is a haven for underwater enthusiasts. What makes Bonaire truly special is its accessibility to breathtaking dive sites right from the shoreline. You can step in and immerse yourself in vibrant coral gardens, where you’ll encounter a kaleidoscope of marine life, from colorful parrotfish to curious sea turtles.

Liquid Diving

The best time to visit is between December and April when the waters are calm, and visibility is exceptional. With dive sites suitable for all levels, including beginners, Bonaire is a must-visit destination for shore diving. 

On non-diving days, explore the island’s pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and delectable cuisine. Accommodation options range from beachfront resorts to budget-friendly apartments.

Roatan, Honduras
Photo by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash

2. Roatan, Honduras.

Venture to Roatan, Honduras, and you’ll find yourself immersed in the wonders of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system. The island’s shore diving sites offer a diverse range of underwater experiences, from exploring colorful coral reefs to intriguing underwater caves. Roatan is a year-round destination with warm waters, but the best diving conditions are during April and May. 

Dive sites cater to various experience levels, making Roatan a suitable choice for both beginners and advanced divers. On your surface intervals, indulge in the island’s pristine beaches, visit Roatan’s sloth sanctuary, and join an island tour. Roatan offers a variety of accommodations, including eco-friendly resorts and charming boutique hotels.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

3. Maui, Hawaii.

Maui, the jewel of the Hawaiian Islands, is a paradise for shore divers. Dive into crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, including graceful manta rays and curious green sea turtles. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the water temperature is comfortable for diving – but honestly, diving in Maui is fabulous all year. 

With calm, sheltered bays and plenty of marine life, Maui is a great place to become an Open Water Diver and start your scuba diving adventures. On dry land, explore lush rainforests, visit volcanic craters, and experience traditional Hawaiian culture. Accommodation options range from luxury beachfront resorts to cosy vacation rentals and hostels, ensuring a comfortable stay for all budgets.

Sataya Reef, Red Sea, Egypt
Red Sea, Egypt
Photo by Veronica Reverse on Unsplash

4. Marsa Alam, Egypt.

For a Red Sea shore diving experience, look no further than Marsa Alam. Sharm el Sheikh is the hub of Egypt’s dive scene but Marsa Alam is just as good, if not better, and has access to some of the best diving in Egypt.

This destination is quieter than Sharm and has fantastic shore diving, with the chance to encounter dugongs and sea turtles. A little further offshore, lie Egypt’s most famous dive sites, including Elphinstone Reef, the Brothers, and Daedalus Reef; all home to an array of vibrant Red Sea reef species and pelagics.

You can enjoy diving all year in Marsa Alam but visit during spring or fall to avoid crowds. Dive conditions here are best suited to experienced divers due to the depths and currents. Beyond diving, you can explore nearby desert landscapes, visit historic temples, or unwind at luxurious beachfront resorts.

Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia
Photo by Johnny Africa on Unsplash

5. Bali, Indonesia.

Bali, with its stunning shore diving opportunities, is a magnet for divers. Amed, located on Bali’s northeastern coast, is known for its vibrant coral gardens and the famous USS Liberty shipwreck – which is just a two-minute swim from the beach. 

The best time for diving in Bali is from April to November when the weather is dry and the water temperature is comfortable. Dive sites cater to divers of all levels, and you’ll encounter diverse marine life, from pygmy seahorses to reef sharks. On land, discover Balinese culture, pristine beaches, and lush rice terraces. Accommodation options in Bali range from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts, ensuring a place to stay for everyone.

Playa Porto Marie, Curacao
Playa Porto Marie, Curacao
Photo by Stephan van de Schootbrugge on Unsplash

6. Curaçao, the Caribbean.

Curaçao, nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, offers an array of shore diving experiences. Explore thriving coral reefs that lie just offshore and swim with playful sea turtles. There are numerous shore diving sites off the beaches of Curaçao’s southwestern coast and drop-offs a short swim from shore.

Diving in Curaçao is great year-round, thanks to its consistently warm waters and excellent visibility. The main dive season runs from December to April. If you want to see coral spawning, visit from September to October.

Dive sites are suitable for all levels, making it an ideal destination for every diver. On non-diving days, explore the island’s vibrant culture, unique architecture, and Christoffel National Park. Accommodation options range from beachfront bungalows to upscale resorts.

Photo by Hoodh Ahmed on Unsplash

7. The Philippines.

The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7,600 islands, of which more than 5,000 are uninhabited. This stunning destination beckons divers with its diverse marine life and shore diving opportunities. Explore underwater worlds filled with vibrant corals, schools of fish, and muck diving sites that host weird and wonderful critters.

The best time to visit varies by region but generally falls during the dry season from December to May. Dive sites cater to all experience levels, making the Philippines suitable for beginners and advanced divers alike. When not diving, discover the country’s rich history and delectable street food. Accommodations vary from budget-friendly hostels to luxury beachfront resorts.

Photo by CALIN STAN on Unsplash

8. Malta and Gozo.

The Mediterranean waters surrounding Malta and Gozo are a treasure trove for shore divers. Explore historic shipwrecks, thriving reefs, underwater arches, and spectacular night dives. Dwejra is one of the best places for shore diving on Gozo and hosts the famous Blue Hole. 

The best time for diving is during the summer months when the water is comfortably warm. Dive sites range in difficulty, accommodating divers of various experience levels. When you’re not diving, delve into Malta’s 7,000-year-old cultural heritage, visit ancient temples, and savor some Mediterranean cuisine at Malta’s waterfront cafes. Accommodation options include charming boutique hotels and waterfront apartments.

9. Cozumel, Mexico.

Cozumel, situated off the Yucatan Peninsula, is an ever-popular dive destination with stunning coral reefs and abundant marine life. Drift along the Mesoamerican Reef and encounter nurse sharks, eagle rays, and vibrant fish species.

November to April is the best time to go diving in Cozumel; the waters are calm and its eagle ray season. Dive sites cater to various experience levels, making Cozumel suitable for all divers. On land, explore Mayan ruins, relax on pristine beaches, and savor authentic Mexican cuisine. Accommodation options range from all-inclusive resorts to beachfront bungalows.

Jervis Bay, Australia
Jervis Bay, Australia
Photo by NADIA LEVENETS on Unsplash

10. Jervis Bay, Australia.

Jervis Bay, on the New South Wales coast of Australia, offers an underwater paradise for shore divers. Dive into crystal-clear waters, swim with resident dolphins, and encounter the famous Weedy Sea Dragon.

With mild water temperatures even in winter, you can dive at Jervis Bay all year, and dive sites cater to all experience levels. On land, there are white sandy beaches, national parks, and charming coastal towns to explore on your non-diving days. Accommodation options range from beachside campsites to boutique lodges.

Now that you’ve had a taste of the enchanting world of shore diving, it’s time to take the plunge. Whether you’re drawn to vibrant coral reefs, captivating marine life, or intriguing wrecks and caverns, shore diving offers an easy and fun way to explore the depths. So, pack your dive gear, choose your dream destination and enjoy!

Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.



About Author

Kathryn is a marine conservationist, a dive travel writer, and an award-winning author based in New Zealand. She is the author of No Damage and co-founder of the marine conservation cause Friends for Sharks

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