The World’s Best Scuba Diving Locations

Sand Tiger Shark Swimming in North Carolina

Marc Montocchio

Top 100 Best Overall Diving 2016

Get ready for the No. 1 winning destinations of our annual Top 100 Readers Choice Awards.

Why do the Top 100 Readers Choice Awards, now in their 23rd year, still matter to divers? Because these are your picks, based on thousands of votes from the most experienced dive travelers on the planet. Why do they matter to us? Because every month you hear from our editors on what we think matters in the world of dive travel. For the January/February issue of Scuba Diving we get to listen to you, and we’re taking notes.

Here, we proudly present the No. 1 ranking destinations in the Best Overall Diving category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

A jellyfish underwater in Indonesia

Eric Madeja

1. Indonesia

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

If the host of accolades from this year’s Top 100 alone don’t convince you of Indonesia’s greatness — Best Macro, Healthy Marine Environment, Best Underwater Photography, not to mention Best Overall Diving — we’re not sure what will. But we’ll keep piling on until we prove this archipelago of more than 17,000 islands has something for everyone. For metalheads, Bali is home to the most photogenic wreck on the planet — and perhaps most accessible — a U.S. Liberty-class ship lying 25 yards off Tulamben’s rocky shore. Healthy reefs and fish overload more your style? Eastern Indonesia’s Raja Ampat has hundreds of sites with colorful reefs where schools of fish are so thick you won’t be able to see your buddy. Macro divers will go gaga for the nudibranchs and weird critters in Lembeh; big-fish aficionados will love Komodo’s manta trains; and wall divers will get vertigo in Wakatobi. One trip to Indonesia and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. Just remember to tell your friends. — David Espinosa

Diver at Misool's Boo Rocks Indonesia

Brandon Cole

1. Indonesia

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

A diver swims through the famed opening at Misool’s Boo Rocks, a favorite site for photographers.

Micronesia Underwater Best Dive Destinations

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2. Micronesia

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

Aerial View Palau Scuba Diving

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3. Palau

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

School of Hammerheads in Galapagos Underwater Photo

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4. Galapagos

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

Thistlegorm Wreck Red Sea Egypt Trucks Underwater

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5. Red Sea

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans


Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

Scuba Divers on Bonaire Shore Dive Salt Pier

Allison Vitsky Sallmon

1. Bonaire

Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

Diving is such an integral part of this spunky desert island not far from South America that it’s hard to separate the underwater and topside experience. Luckily, you don’t have to, because 24/7 access to its vibrant near-shore reefs is what sets Bonaire apart. If there’s a place you can have more fun than piloting your rental truck around Bonaire’s cactus-lined ring road, pulling off to submerge almost anywhere — slowing down just long enough to admire the flamingos or grab a burger at the kiteboarders beach — we haven’t heard of it. — Mary Frances Emmons

Underwater Photo Diver in Devil's Grotto Cayman Islands

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2. Cayman Islands

Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

Underwater Photo Diver in Cenote in Mexico

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3. Mexico

Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

Pier Beach Bay Islands Honduras Scuba Diving

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4. Bay Islands

Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

Sharks Underwater Photo in the Bahamas

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5. Bahamas

Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic


Best Overall Diving in North America

Underwater Photo of Seal and Kelp in British Columbia

Brandon Cole

1. British Columbia

Best Overall Diving in North America

Your first B.C. dive will likely take your breath away, and not just because of the refreshing 50-degree water. Novice and expert divers alike regularly rate Vancouver Island the planet’s finest coldwater diving. The mix of engaging critters, hot invertebrate colors, artificial reefs extraordinaire, rugged scenic beauty and warm Canadian hospitality ensure your return. — Brandon Cole

Underwater Photo Diver with Plumose Anemone British Columbia

Brandon Cole

British Columbia

Best Overall Diving in North America

Bountiful marine life awaits divers in British Columbia, including giant plumose anemones and sunflower sea stars.

Underwater Photo Red Irish Lord in British Columbia

David Hall

British Columbia

Best Overall Diving in North America

Red Irish lords are one of the fascinating creatures found when scuba diving in the 50-degree waters of British Columbia.

Sand Tiger Shark Underwater North Carolina

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2. North Carolina

Best Overall Diving in North America

Underwater Kelp Scuba Diving California

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3. California

Best Overall Diving in North America

Manatee Underwater Photo Crystal River, Florida

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4. Florida

Best Overall Diving in North America

Coral Underwater

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5. Washington

Best Overall Diving in North America


How We Got the Numbers Thousands of Scuba Diving subscribers and online users rated their experiences at dive destinations in a variety of categories on a scale from one to five. Final scores are an average of the numerical scores awarded. A minimum number of responses was required for a destination to be included in these ratings.

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