Great Barrier Reef in Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is perhaps the most famous UNESCO site to go diving. With excellent visibility all year round and lots of big marine animals, such as barracudas, giant trevallies and Dogtooth tunas it is a diving region, that just can’t disappoint. While it is the largest coral reef in the world, it offers a lot more than coral and big fish, since there are world-class wreck dives and even a good chance to spot dolphins and whales ( from June to August). Due to the reefs dwindling condition thanks to climate change, you should not hesitate to visit right away!
Belize Barrier Reef in Belize
If you managed to check the Great Barrier Reef off your bucket list, consider venturing into the Caribbean. Belize boasts the second largest reef system in the world, which has been described by Charles Darwin as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies” over 160 years ago. This reef remains under constant threat from pollution, mass tourism, and shipping. Luckily conversational efforts have been put in place, that slow down the degradation of this unique ecosystem – bottom trawling and nearby offshore drilling have been banned. The majority of this reef still hasn’t been explored, which makes it an adventurous and beloved place to enjoy mostly unspoiled biodiversity. Over 100 different coral species and over 500 different species of fish call this place home.
Coiba National Park in Panama
Coiba is the largest island in Central America and a place with a lot of grim history. The Spanish conquered it in 1560 and enslaved the indigenous Indian population. In 1919 it served as a prison colony under Noriega’s dictatorship. However, there are a lot more uplifting facts to this place. Due to its sheltered location, it is protected from hurricanes which allows for unhindered evolution of marine species, such as tiger sharks, sperm whales, angel rays and more. Due to the warm oceanic currents, many corals and sea creatures thrive in this area. Around 760 species of fish have been recorded here.
Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary in Colombia
The unique draw to visit this sanctuary is its large gathering of different sharks. The area is home to schools of Galapagos sharks, as well as hammerhead sharks and also hosts hundreds of fish species. It is a no-fishing zone, and the president of Colombia recently pledged to expand to the sanctuary to twice of its current size. The deep waters and remote location allow large sea creatures to thrive undisturbed. However, the sanctuary is notorious for its strong and unpredictable currents, and as such you are required to have completed an advanced open water course with at least 25 recorded dives to get diving permission.