1. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Stretching 2,300 km along the Queensland coast and including around 940 islands and over 2,900 reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Blessed with breath-taking beauty, the Great Barrier Reef guarantees magical experience to those who dare to dive and explore its treasures, including the world's largest collection of corals (over 400 different kinds of coral), dolphins, molluscs, rays, coral sponges and over 1500 species of tropical fish. Sea snakes, dugongs, sharks and turtles are also among the exotic inhabitants of the amazing reef.
2. Belize Barrier Reef, Belize
Brilliant colours like red, purple, yellow and pink stand out against the hues of blue in the second largest coral reef system after the Great Barrier Reef - the Belize Barrier Reef. The huge variety of marine and coral life of Belize is estimated at 65 types of coral, 300 different species of fish and hundreds of invertebrate species. This is, beyond any doubt, one of the few places left where one can observe nature at its best. The deep transparent water, warmed by Caribbean currents, is refuge to a stunning diversity of incredible marine life, including manatees, whale sharks, dolphins and countless seabirds.
3. The Palancar Reef, Mexico
Located on the southwest side of Cozumel Island off the Yucatan peninsula, the Palancar Reef is truly magnificent place. Mostly popular with scuba divers, it is divided into several sections based on coral formations and depth. Very garden like, the Palancar Reef will enchant you with its marvellous coral colours, which peek from canyons and caves. Rest assured that such a profusion of colour cannot be seen anywhere else and resembles a scene of the "The Little Mermaid" movie. But it is also bound to take your breath away and astonish you with lots of exotic selections of lobsters, sting rays, crabs and barracudas.
4. Andaman Sea Reefs, India
Situated on the east bank of the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Sea Reefs boasts biodiversity of marine life that is among the most varied in the world. More than 500 fish species and about 200 coral species have been recorded there. Dugongs (sea cows), crocodiles and turtles are some of the examples of the wildlife that abounds in the region. The islands and the reef are also crucial breeding and feeding grounds for endangered sea turtles. Among the hottest spots of Andaman are Cinque Island and Corbyns Cove Beach, which attract all the tourists that are not afraid of crocodiles with snorkelling and scuba diving.
5. Raja Ampats, Indonesia
If you are searching for the ultimate underwater experience, Raja Ampats is the place that offers the worlds best marine sights and this is the place where divers can explore vertical underwater walls.The reef contains an abundant array of coral species among diverse population of molluscs, fish and other marine life. Up to the moment, the reef biologists have discovered around 600 species of hard coral and more than 1,200 species of fish. Undoubtedly the best way to see the colourful heart and experience the coral diversity of this region is to hire one of the larger boats and a local guide or to join a sailing party.
6. Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
Rising from the volcanic depths of the Sulu Sea in the western Philippines, the Tubbataha Reef is home to some of the most beautiful and colourful coral reefs in the world. Tubbataha is the first national marine park of the Philippines and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands out with literally hundreds of species of coral and fish live, such as: sharks, sea turtles and the mighty manta ray. It also serves as sanctuary and stopover for frigate birds, boobies and migratory terns. Because of its fragile and unique underwater ecosystem, the Tubbataha Reef is extremely popular diving destination.
7. Grand Central Station and Chimneys, Fiji
Covering an area of 207,000 square kilometres, Fiji is known as the "soft coral capital of the world". The best diving destination in Fiji is certainly the Namena Marine Reserve. Namena is remarkable for being home to over 400 known corals, 1000 species of invertebrates and 445 documented marine plants. With its soft and bubble corals, grand range of Gorgonian fans, plenty of fish and aquatic wilderness, it offers an outstanding diving experience that you will be amazed with. Diving in the Savusavu Bay, on the other hand, will reveal in front of you small world of Manta rays, nudibranchs, Hammerhead sharks and tiny shrimps. This wonderful adventure is an absolute must for all enthusiasts, craving for new unusual experiences.
8. Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles
For both professional and amateur naturalists, Aldabra is a true marvel and a sort of Mecca. There is the largest number of coral atolls found, 150,000 tortoises and four beautiful coral islands, widely famous for their wonderful flora and fauna. Many manta rays, rare species of bird and tiger sharks make the place even more spectacular. To the charm and fascination of Aldabra Atoll contributes the fact it has always been tucked away from human intervention and is really hard to reach. However, the reward for finally reaching Aldabra Atoll is incredible, as there is a brand new, pure and extremely beautiful world, waiting to be discovered.
9. Little Cayman
One of the Caribbeans most untrammelled and unspoiled destinations, the Little Cayman and is a truly delightful island and the perfect place to head for tranquillity, solitude or in case you are keen on some opportunities for extraordinary diving. The Island hosts some of the best diving spots in the world such as Jackson Point and Bloody Bay, which makes it the perfect getaway for the bold and adventurous tourists. Little Cayman may offer a wide range of unique dive sites, approximately 50, which makes it an ideal diving destination, as one could achieve a level of experience that is really hard to find anywhere else. Among the other attractions of the Little Cayman are also coral gardens, sea plumes, and many various species of tropical fish.
10. Roatan, Caribbean Sea
Famous for its biggest variety of sponges and coral in the whole Caribbean, Roatan will tempt you explore the underwater reality and make you appreciate those little things your eyes can't usually reach. The island was a hidden gem with the best snorkelling and diving spots in the Caribbean, with its splendid white beaches and turquoise waters. Around 2005, however, it has been discovered by hotel developers and cruise ships, and is nowadays one of the most popular tourist destinations, when it comes to diving. What makes it even more alluring is the fact that the island boasts the cheapest Open Water courses, which you may find in the Caribbean. You are bound to have a glimpse of all the underwater views this amazing place has to offer and experience all the escapades available there.
Robert Gillbort on 27 Jan 2012
mery potter on 27 Jan 2012
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