When asked to reveal my top 6 all time ultimate scuba and snorkeling destinations, I felt a bit of reticence to write about them. This is not because I don't like to reveal my secret sources, on the contrary I feel its a win win to help vendors who have helped me. Instead it has to do with the fact that I hate to see any piece of this earth become over populated as destroyed as one so many beautiful places become exploited. Examples of this are places like Kosamui, Thailand, a once remote village island with 2000 inhabitants, now filled with large Burmese migrant worker shanti towns that service large resort hotels. The fish have mostly fled due to heavy sewage problems making it necessary to take a 45 minute speed boat ride the only option to see any sea life of note. Even places like the Cayman Islands, once one of the worlds top scuba destinations has lost much of its coral reef as result of pollution.
For me there are two things in addition to exotic sea life that make it worth the trip. Those two elements are being exposed to exotic foods and exotic cultures. The further away from home and the hardest to get to make a destination highly desirable to me. Ultimately the beauty of scuba diving and even snorkeling for that matter, is to be transformed into a new world to which you are truly a stranger. You must be taken a bit out of your normal day comfort zone to truly grow and reflect back on the pros and cons of the city and country that you live in. Because so many places are now just "America" transplanted - it is refreshing to be in an area that still doesn't have Mc Donalds and not everyone speaks perfect English.
For me the following destinations have phenomenal diving - but even better they are places that one can take a significant other or maybe even meet one - they are not just "diving only" destinations but have luxury or eco-friendly accommodations. There are things to do in addition to diving as well as the obvious do nothing option. The list is as follows: Bora Bora, Seychelles, Borneo - Langkawi, Bali, Maldives, and Mauritius. Depending on your budget if you dig deep you an find great deals - even at the Four Seasons if you are willing to go in off season times or long or short term notice. You will have to do a little work on the internet to find the best secret scuba spots or go there and ask the locals as some places change seasonally - but trust me the scuba diving is like no others on earth because the areas are protected ecologically and because of the time it takes to get to these little pieces of paradise there simply are not that many tourists there...yet. - Inson Wood
( Mr. Wood is a New York City residential designer with 5 projects on going in Asia and Europe. )