Liveaboard diving offers you the chance to go further out into the ocean to see more exciting dive sites. Liveaboards vary from a few days, to over a week, and provide you with everything you need for a relaxing dive vacation. Your meals and your bed are provided, as are your tanks. Your holiday starts from when you step onboard.
We can all agree that a liveaboard trip is a perfect getaway for scuba divers. But with so many options, where should you go? The Bahamas? The Maldives? Australia? …We have put together a list of our favorite places for liveaboard diving for you to look forward to next year.
Here are our top six liveaboard destinations for 2023
1.Bahamas – Caribbean
Over 700 islands, cays and islets make up the Bahamas. Lying in the Atlantic ocean, the Bahamas is a family-friendly holiday location in the Caribbean that boasts white sand beaches …and incredible diving.
Best known for shark sightings, dolphin spotting, and shallow shipwrecks, Grand Bahama Island does not disappoint. Tiger Beach is the most famous dive site, around 20 miles from Grand Bahama island and home to big, beautiful tiger sharks that swim as shallow as 20ft (6m) between the months of October and January.
Want to learn more about sharks? Check out the SSI Shark Ecology program.
The Bahamas are very popular with liveaboard diving, with many boat companies to choose from that allow you to explore further than on a single day diving trip. Most liveaboard boat trips leave from Nassau port on Nassau island. The best time for a Caribbean liveaboard trip is between the months of November and May.
2. Cocos Island – Costa Rica
Cocos Island should be on every scuba diver’s bucket list! Suitable for experienced divers and shark lovers, Cocos Island was once called “the most beautiful island in the world” by Jacques Cousteau himself.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for hammerhead sharks in large numbers, Our top recommendation for a dive site is Bajo Alcyone, where the most hammerheads are found. Whitetip, blacktip, galapagos, silky, and bullsharks can all be spotted, too, as well as untouched corals, and turtles, dolphins, and various types of rays.
350 miles off-shore in the Pacific Ocean, it takes about 36 hours to get to Cocos Island by boat, so Liveaboard diving is the only way to go. Liveaboard diving boats leave from Puntarenas port. Most divers visit Cocos between June and November, when the most hammerheads can be spotted.
3. Marsa Alam – Egypt
On the west coast of the Red Sea you will find the small, bedouin town of Marsa Alam. Previously a small fishing port but now a diving haven that delivers stunning coral reefs and large marine life.
Dolphins, crocodile fish, turtles, tuna, and mackerel are on the list of marine life you might spot, as well as a curious dugong if you are lucky. Elphinstone is the most famous dive site in the whole of Egypt, and where you are most likely to spot sharks including oceanic whitetips.
You can dive from the shore in Marsa Alam but most divers agree that a liveaboard is the best way to see the many dive sites on offer there. The best time to visit is between April and June, or September and December, when the water temperatures are comfortable, and the air temperature is not too hot.
4. Great Barrier Reef – Australia
The Great Barrier Reef runs 1400miles down the east coast of Australia and has nearly 3000 individual reefs. The world’s largest reef system and a protected World Heritage area, you can expect untouched corals and thriving marine life.
Are you interested in learning more about corals? Have a look at the SSI Coral Identification program.
Various sharks, turtles, manta rays, parrotfish, giant clams, wrasse, clownfish, grouper, and if you are lucky, maybe even a Dwarf Minke whale are just a handful of the marine life you are likely to spot on a Great Barrier Reef liveaboard. Nathan Reef is an excellent dive spot for beginners, offering a kaleidoscope of beautiful colors.
The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef for liveaboard diving is between June and October, and the best way to explore the thousands of reefs is by liveaboard, to see all you can.
Have a look at our 13 unmissable diving experiences in Queensland, Australia.
The Maldives is a nation of 1,192 islands in total, 187 of which are inhabited. Each with white sand beaches and an abundance of marine life on their pristine coral reefs. Drift diving is common in the Maldives as the Indian monsoon current moves across the island chains.
Fuvahmulah in the Maldives could be the perfect dive spot for you if you love big marine life. A cleaning station for giant oceanic manta rays, which grow upto upto an incredible 7m wide, Fuvamulah is considered one of the best dive spots in the world. It is also home to the dive site Tiger Zoo, where massive tiger sharks live year-round and swim close to divers in shallow waters.
To get around some of the islands and atolls of the Maldives, a liveaboard is the way to go. Diving is good year-round and suitable for divers of all levels.
Check out our 11 best dive sites in the Maldives.
6. Raja Ampat – Indonesia
Raja Ampat has the best marine species diversity in the world. In 2001 just in this small area of Indonesia, a survey recorded around 1000 species of fish. 80% of the world’s coral species also reside in the surrounding areas of Raja Ampat.
In the West Papua province, Raja Ampat is well renowned amongst scuba divers and considered by many as the best diving in the world. Cape Kri is a popular dive site in Raja Ampat; it holds the record for the most marine life species spotted on one dive at one dive site. These species include manta rays, sharks, dolphins, turtles, and hundreds of species of molluscs.
A liveaboard is the best way to explore Raja Ampat and see all it has to offer. Most liveaboard diving trips leave from the town of Sorong, and the best time to go is between September and April, when manta rays come to the area to enjoy its cleaning stations.