Move over, Vitamin D: It’s Vitamin Sea we’re craving this summer. But we're not all about just lounging poolside (OK, not the whole time): No, we're also about adventure on the water with our goggles and a GoPro. From the Island of Palawan in the Philippines to Iceland’s Silfra Canyon, here are five dream destinations to get your scuba on.
1. Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
Home to more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines tops our list of exotic scuba locales. To be fair, there are several major dive spots here — but Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park on Palawan is among the best. For one, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and reknown for it's marine biodiversity. Fish, sharks, dolphins, and whales all roam these waters, with birds flying overhead and coral drifting below. Puerto Princesa is the nearest city but for beginners, opt for Tagbao Island in El Nido (also on Palawan), instead.
2. North Male Atoll, Maldives
If you're short on time, head to the Maldives for a one-stop-shop scuba experience. Depending on your dive spot of choice, you're likely to see anything from shipwrecks and drop-offs to reefs and caves. Manta Point is where — you guessed it — you'll see lots of Manta rays, while Miyaru Faru is a shark hangout. For less-experienced divers, head to Kikki Reef where there are no currents and there's a surplus of colorful marine life. Make Banana Reef your last stop before jetting back home — it’s right by the airport.
3. Silfra Canyon, Iceland
Time to tick off freshwater diving from your bucket list! Silfra Canyon is unique in many ways, starting with its location. Divers swim between North America and Eurasian tectonic plates that separate two centimeters more each year. In fact, the water you'll swim in has made a tremendous journey, too: Due to a volcanic eruption a few thousand years ago that blocked the river, it can take up to a 100 years for the water to trickle through the lava rock. It comes through the glaciers, though, so be prepared for barely above-freezing temperatures.
4. Bora Bora Lagoon, French Polynesia
Bora Bora might be better known as among the most romantic honeymoon destinations on the planet, but it's also called the "Shark Capital of the Pacific." If you're brave enough to participate on a chum excursion, you'll come face to face with sharks of every shape and size: black-tip, lemon, and grey reef sharks to name a few. Scared? We're with you! There are also plenty of other less-threatening marine wildlife varieties like manta rays, moray eels, and rainbow jack fish to grab your attention. For something less heart pumping, stick to the shallows.
5. Champagne Reef, Dominica
Dominica, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, is often coined the "Nature Island" of the Caribbean — and for good reason. Curious as to how Champagne Reef earned such a baller name? Well, it's all thanks to the active fumaroles on the seafloor that continuously produce millions of tiny bubbles, thus giving divers the sensation of swimming through a fresh flute of sparkling wine. This is also a premier snorkeling site, so if you're not ready to take the plunge, this is a smart option.
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