Ring in the New Year underwater! Here are some amazing dive destinations to put on your travel radar for 2016:
Welcome to a true dream destination for 2016. Palau’s unique chain of rock islands in the western Pacific may be one of the most bio-diverse and unspoiled dive destinations on the planet. It is home to more than 1,500 fish species and has a vast array of underwater features with endless visibility—from incredible WWII vessel and aircraft wrecks, to stunning coral gardens, lakes, drop-offs, blue holes, and caverns. Dip into the iconic Jellyfish Lake where you can swim with hundreds of non-stinging jellyfish or boat to the world-famous Blue Corner to encounter sharks and large pelagics.
Dive into a fairytale by exploring the waters of the Vikings, and the setting of Disney’s popular animated film “Frozen.” With exceptional diving, pristine fjords, and marine life viewing opportunities, the cold is well worth it! It is one of the only places in the world where you can experience the magic of diving with killer whales—the largest predator in the ocean. Head to the Lofoten islands where you can dive with orcas by day, and witness the enchanting colors of the northern lights by night. In Narvik, discover German shipwrecks from World War II, rich kelp forests, and wall dives.
Get ready to relax in the jewel of the Indian Ocean. If you are opting for white sandy beaches, azure waters, and leisure diving this year, look no further. The Maldives is home to some of the best live aboard dive boats, surfing, and luxury resorts on the globe. This tropical paradise forms 26 atolls and includes a diverse range of tropical fish and reefs that will dazzle. Visit the Vaavu Atoll and explore swim-throughs, rock pinnacles, and overhangs patrolled by reef sharks and bejeweled with vibrant sponges and invertebrates. At Lhaviyani Atoll set your sights on clownfish, parrotfish, turtles, eagle rays and mantas.
Visit the Ecuadorian islands that captivated Charles Darwin and inspired his world-famous evolutionary research. This legendary dive destination is considered by many to be the ultimate diving experience and is easily among the top dives for the New Year. As a protected marine reserve, the archipelago teems with some of the widest range of wildlife in the world; dive with penguins, marine iguanas, turtles, sea lions, whale sharks, dolphins, hammerheads, and rays. Sites such as Darwin Island and Cabo Marshall will provide you with an underwater education that will leave you breathless.
Belize is the perfect escape for adventure, romance, and world-class diving. It is one of the most affordable dive destinations for 2016 and its turquoise waters and abundance of marine life will leave you in awe. Head to the infamous World Heritage Site, The Blue Hole, and experience reef sharks and stalactites and stalagmites millions of years old. At Glover’s Atoll observe eagle rays, colorful sea fans, large schools of jack and barracuda, and Loggerhead sea turtles. When you’re not diving with nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins, watch toucans fly in the rainforest, or even go cave tubing!
The article was originally published by PADI.com