Few new travel experiences can be compared with the same level of grandeur and awe that one feels when diving into warm, tropical waters and discovering an entirely different beautiful world. A world filled with astounding color that is full of life, beauty, power, and grace. The journey into this world has inspired a lifelong passion in many people and a story of the wonder that unfolds underwater inspires many to seek the experience for themselves.
So put on your fins, secure those goggles, and let’s explore some of the best island reefs around the world.
10 Best Island Reefs around the World:
10. Andros Island
The largest island of the Bahamas is Andros, which is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world. The island reef is over 230 km (140 miles) long, which provides numerous opportunities to observe undersea life at its most brilliant. The shore side of the reef is perfect for the beginning diver, because here the reef is quiet, calm, and semi-deep (about 2.5 meters/8 feet). But the ocean side of the reef is anything but docile and only an expert should attempt it.
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9. Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat also known as the Four Kings is a fast archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands and cays. It is located off the northwest tip of the island of New Guinea. According to the Conservation International, marine surveys show that the marine life diversity around the Raja Ampat islands is the highest recorded on Earth. It’s incredibly low human population density is part of the causes of the staggering abundance of marine life there.
Mahe is the largest island in the Seychelles chain in the Indian Ocean, which has an impressive amount of sub aquatic scenery to offer to a diver. Mahe is home to several marine parks and it boasts the opportunity to dive with hawksbill turtles, bottlenose dolphins, Whale sharks, lobsters, and Moray eels. One of the prime tourist locations in the Indian Ocean for scuba-diving is The Ste Anne Marine National Park, which is located 5 km from the capital Victoria.
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7. Little Cayman
Located in the Caribbean Sea, Little Cayman is one of three islands comprising the Cayman Island. It is situated approximately 60 miles northeast of Grand Cayman and five miles (8 km) west of Cayman Brac. Even though Little Cayman is a small island, it arguably hosts some of the best dive spots in the world such as Bloody Bay and Jackson Point.
A diver will gain a level of experience that is hard to find anywhere else with approximately 50 unique dive sites. This island contains sea plumes, coral gardens, and many different species of tropical fish. We keep Little cayman at number seven in our list of top 10 best Island reefs around the world.
As the third largest island in the Fiji chain, Taveuni is often called the “Garden Island” because of its abundant flower and plant life. But the name could equally apply to the remarkable and colorful scenes beneath its waters. It is home to the magnificent Rainbow Reef, which is famous for its excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. The reef is made up of a white, luminous coral and offers the facility to observe the Blue Ribbon Eel, barracudas, white-tip reef sharks and leopard sharks.
Boracay is located 315 km (200 miles) south of Manila. It is a tropical island with long white sand beaches that rival the best beaches of neighboring Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. At the north and south ends of Boracay there are nearly two dozen dive sites. For example, Camia wreck is an artificial reef that offers a high visibility and a large number of fish. The most exciting dive sites around the island are the two walls of Yapak. But they are only for the experienced diver due to rough waters and strong currents.
Cozumel is located just off the Yucatan Peninsula. It is a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. In 1959, Jacques Cousteau discovered the underwater world around Cozumel. According to him it is one of the best diving areas in the world. Since that time Cozumel has become a National Marine Park for the protection of the delicate balance of its beautiful coral reefs and amazing variety of tropical fish.
The marine park offers the best visibility that a diver might encounter. Visibility often extends to 30 meters (100ft) or more. A bright, colorful fish species known as the splendid Toadfish is the most distinctive part of this location because this fish cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.
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Roatán is located near the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean and the second largest barrier reef in the world. It is one of the Honduras Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea and a major scuba diving destination. Diving sites are rarely affected by weather and teaming with sea life. This makes them some of the most ideal beginner sites available. The cheapest Open Water courses in the Caribbean can be experienced in the nearby Utila Island.
2. Koh Tao
Koh Tao literally means Turtle Island. It is a small island located near the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Every year around 7000 new divers get certified on Koh Tao, which makes it one of the most popular places in the world to learn to dive. Koh Tao is a popular tourist attractions in Thailand. Diving around koh Tao is very easy and entertaining.
With the average visibility of around 15-20 meters, you can see an impressive variety of marine species such as coral, turtles, lots of small fish, barracudas. There is also a very small chance of seeing a whale shark.
Bonaire is also located in the Caribbean. This Dutch island is surrounded by reefs for miles in any given direction. Due to lack of sandy beaches, Bonaire is almost exclusively dedicated to scuba divers and snorkeling. Most of the dive sites around the island are easily accessible. In fact, Bonaire is the top location in the world for shore diving. More than 80 dive sites of Bonaire are being right offshore. Bonaire is our first pick as the best Island reef around the world.