World’s Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Dive Sites

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 Cave/Cavern/Grotto Diving category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Caribbean and Atlantic


An explosion in eco-adventure tourism has made the Mayan frontier an attractive destination for avid cave divers. Caverns as measureless as the imagination offer unique opportunities for novices, and miles of fresh exploration line present new adventures for seasoned explorers. Glass factories of intricate calcite ornaments fill passages with eye candy. Massive speleothems are stacked like wedding cakes left melting in the tropical heat. Swimming through nature’s time capsule, you’ll spot the exploration-line arrows of diving legends, and perhaps a few artifacts of cultures lost. Refreshing water and endless tunnels present hours of soak time every day. Accessible adventure, extraordinary beauty and a warm culture of colorful hospitality make Mexico the top of the list for cave divers. — Jill Heinerth

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2 Cayman Islands

3 Bay Islands

4 Belize

5 Bonaire

Pacific and Indian Oceans


Adventurous (and properly trained) divers know that Palau harbors dark secrets ripe for exploration. Over the eons, salt-water erosion carved caverns, tunnels and other exciting structures into the Micronesian archipelago’s limestone geography. At such world-famous sites as Chandelier Cave, Siaes Tunnel and Blue Holes, those brave enough to enter will find thrills and mysteries galore.
— Eric Michael

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2 Hawaii

3 Australia

4 Malaysia

5 Thailand

North America


With crystal-clear water, Florida’s springs offer alluring portals that beckon divers into labyrinthine museums of natural history. Cathedral-size galleries, pristine fossilized remains and a playground of the natural variety make Florida’s caves a seductive attraction for cave divers. The freshening flow, tepid water and easy dive access make a return visit mandatory.
— Jill Heinerth

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