The Best Pacific Islands for Scuba Diving

Explore the exotic marine life the Pacific has to offer
Explore the exotic marine life the Pacific has to offer | © Jeff Hunter / Getty Images

The Pacific Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in the world. The water is warm all year, wetsuits are optional in the summertime heat, and the coral and marine species thrive. From Fiji to Samoa, here are a few of the top Pacific islands for scuba diving on the planet.

Explore these Pacific diving spots by chartering a boat for the day through SamBoat, or book a week-long sailing adventure with Dream Yacht Charter.

1. Palau

Natural Feature

A diver explores a shipwreck off Palau
© Global_Pics / Getty Images

Divers from all over the world come to Palau, an archipelago with more than 200 pristine islands, for its variety of incredible scuba diving adventures. Palau boasts healthy reefs, great visibility, big schools of fish, World War II boat wrecks, more than 1,500 species of fish, and 700 species of coral and sea anemone.

2. Fiji

Natural Feature

Sicklefin Lemon shark (Negaprion acutidens) in the Beqa lagoon, Fiji
© Sascha Janson / Alamy
Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world, with popular dive spots in the town of Savusavu and the island Taveuni. Currents sweep through the waters off the Fiji Islands, bringing nutrients to coral and fish. Shore diving off the islands is great for beginners, and boat diving takes more experienced divers out to spots brimming with marine species and sharks. One of the most famous dives in Fiji is the Beqa Shark Dive, where divers descend into an arena full of species, including bull sharks.

3. French Polynesia

Natural Feature

Bora Bora underwater: fish, including sharks, swim in shallow waters
© BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy

For underwater biodiversity, French Polynesia ticks a lot of boxes. From shallow lagoons to steep coral walls, there are dozens of sites to explore. Mo’orea is one of the best places in the world to scuba dive with sharks; species living in these waters include lemon, tiger and gray reef sharks. Charter a boat through SamBoat, or book a week-long sailing trip with Dream Yacht Charter to explore the waters around Tahiti and Bora Bora.

4. Niue

Natural Feature

A diver swims in an underwater cave
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy
Niue is the tiny Pacific Island many people have never heard of. However, scuba divers know that it is a special place. This coral atoll has no gentle sandy slope into the water, just a sudden drop-off into the deep blue sea, which makes the water visibility some of the best in the world. There’s no river run-off into the ocean, either, so there’s no sediment in the sea. Expect to see underwater caverns, caves, chimneys and pinnacles.

5. Vanuatu

Natural Feature

A diver explores wreckage at Million Dollar Point, Vanuatu
© Ashton East / Alamy

One of the major draws to Vanuatu is the chance to dive the SS President Coolidge. The vessel was originally an American luxury ocean liner, which was completed in 1931 and then served as a troopship from 1941-1942. The ship was wrecked when struck by mines, is now home to marine life, and different areas can be accessed depending on diver experience. Vanuatu has a number of other wrecks including the Star of Russia and Million Dollar Point.

6. Papua New Guinea

Natural Feature

Hawksbill turtle swimming over the coral reef, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea.
© wildestanimal / Getty Images
Papua New Guinea remains untouched by mass tourism, meaning the waters surrounding the islands have suffered little diver impact. Diving is available year-round thanks to the warm waters. The marine life is exceptionally diverse, and you can expect to see barrier reefs, coral walls and World War II wrecks among other exciting underwater marine displays.

7. Tonga

Natural Feature

Humpback whale, mother and calf
© tswinner / Getty Images

Tonga is one of the few places in the world where you can scuba dive with humpback whales. Between July and October, these majestic creatures visit Tonga to mate and give birth, before leaving to feed in Arctic waters. Manta rays, tuna, barracuda and marlin are among the other marine species you’ll see here. Don’t miss visiting Hot Spring Cavern, entered at 25 metres (82ft) – inside you’ll find a spacious cave with its own hydrothermal vent.

8. Samoa

Natural Feature

Shallow coral reef with several Acropora species, Fagaalu Bay, Pago Pago, Tutuila Island, American Samoa
© ArteSub / Alamy

Two main islands make up Samoa – Upolu and Savai’i – which are home to 200 coral and 900 fish species. Excellent visibility is characteristic of diving here. Most dives are walk-in shore dives. However, there are still opportunities to see towering underwater caverns and incredible wrecks (such as Juno off the coast of Savai’i).

Visit these scuba diving hotspots by hiring a day boat from SamBoat. Alternatively, Dream Yacht Charter organise multi-day sailing trips, allowing you to dive further afield.

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