"Moorish Idols" by Richard Ling via Flickr Creative Commons

Although the world’s coral reefs are disappearing at a frightening rate, there are still many places where strong government and grassroots intervention have conserved many areas for future generations. You’ll quickly discover that marine reserves are ideal for divers and all aquatic life. The South Pacific, Red Sea, and Caribbean are diving and snorkeling paradises, but a few other small sites scattered around the globe are just as attractive. So here we have it: The best scuba diving in the world!

  1. Red Sea, Egypt Many of the world’s top dive sites are found in this ancient waterway: Thistlegorm, Shark and Yolanda Reef, Eliphistone Reef, Ras Mohammed, and many more. Dive conditions are unbeatable: high visibility, extremely warm water, and few waves.
  2. Palau, Micronesia From Corner Wall to hundreds of drop offs, channels, tunnels, whale sharks, salty water crocodiles, jellyfish, soft coral, and wrecks of warships. Palau may be the world’s dive paradise.
  3. Hin Daeng and Hin Mouang, Thailand These two sites are way out there in the Andaman Sea, but worth the trip. There are huge schools of fish, good chances of seeing pelagics, walls, plateaus, and caves. Anemone carpets, whale sharks, rare bryazoan, and manta rays are all here waiting.
  4. Great Barrier Reef, Australia Mecca for scuba diving and snorkeling, this is the top of everyone’s list. Seen from outer space, this collection of more than 3,000 individual reefs is the largest earthly creation made by living organisms.
  5. Moorea, French Polynesia There’s not much current, making Moorea a great spot for beginners. They won’t have to work hard either, fish feeding is standard here so expect to be surrounded by heaping schools of fish.
  6. Dominica Well preserved and protected dive sites such as Champagne, a bubbling underwater hot spring, and many others are among the reasons why Dominica is voted again and again as one of the world’s best. Reefs are well known for hard and soft coral, seahorses, frogfish, and small critters.
  7. East Timor Political unrest has kept the crowds away, but now that the situation has stabilized people are finding some of the most unspoiled diving anywhere. Many come away saying they have seen more fish than anywhere else in the world.
  8. Ambergris Bay, Belize Belize’s 185 mile barrier reef sits just minutes off shore from this small island. Famous sites include Lighthouse reef, the Turneffe Islands, and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
  9. Cape Town, South Africa Your best chance to see a Great white face to face is at shark alley, where you’ll climb into a cage with your dive gear while these ferocious creatures swim around you. Not for the faint of heart.
  10. Similian Islands, Thailand The brilliant turquoise waters have up to an incredible 590 feet of visibility in each direction. Corals, sea fans, an astounding fish population, and the occasional whale shark make these lonely islands unforgettable.

Click here for Top 10 Scuba Diving Vacations in Europe