Dive Destinations with the Best Visibility in the World | Scuba Diving

Dive Destinations with the Best Visibility in the World

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 Visibility category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Scuba diving Cayman Islands underwater photo

Cayman Islands

Best Visibility in the Caribbean and Atlantic

See what you’ve been missing: It’s a bonus to drop over the edge into 150 feet of visibility — perhaps 50 or so feet more than what you may be accustomed to in the Caribbean. Beyond the sheer pleasure of the far-reaching panorama, there’s a practical application. You get more time to set up shots of big animals approaching, plus you can track your entire dive party, doubling back when the last in the group has just spotted a green sea turtle. Call it a bonus, or perhaps it’s time to redefine the standard. — Brooke Morton


Caribbean and Atlantic

  1. Cayman Islands

  2. Mexico

  3. Curacao

  4. Bonaire

  5. Bahamas

Scuba diver silhouetted in Florida spring

Florida Springs

Best Visibility in North America

It’s almost cheating, the way Florida’s springs score so well every year in this category. But if you’ve ever submerged in one of the Sunshine State’s pools of liquid light, you know why: You’re tempted to hold your hand in front of your face and ask, “I am underwater, right?” The constant 72-degree temps are alternately a pleasing break from the Florida heat or a toasty antidote to the rare Florida freeze, when you’ll find many sandy bottoms stacked with manatees enjoying their winter homes; either way, these natural playgrounds give divers a perfect climate-controlled playground — or training ground — year-round. — Mary Frances Emmons


Sea turtle underwater photo Hawaii


Best Visibility in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

The Islands of Hawaii are world famous for stellar views — and that reputation continues underwater, thanks to consistently amazing visibility. And there’s plenty to marvel at in the deep blue off Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Lanai and the Big Island, including exciting pelagics, colorful endemic tropical fish and dramatic volcanic topography that ranges from towering arches to dark lava tubes. — Eric Michael


Pacific and Indian Oceans

  1. Hawaii

  2. Red Sea

  3. Palau

  4. Maldives

  5. Malaysia