There are plenty of places on this watery planet where diving is a casual activity. But there are a few locales where it absolutely permeates the culture, taking over every resort, beach parking lot and waterside bar where fish tales resonate across the sand. These are dive islands, places where no one would think of doing anything but. Here are eight of our favorite specks of land where the dive flag rules, and why we keep coming back.
A tropical escape where dive tanks are as requisite an adornment as leis, what keeps Big Island divers coming back is the five marine-life-conservation districts — twice as many as any other Hawaiian Island.
When the full moon rises high over the mangroves in Yap, it shines down on Colonia Town like a heavenly beacon.
If you were given your choice of afterlife and you chose a diver’s heaven, chances are it would look a lot like the the Republic of Palau.
A constant stream of divers has helped shape the economy and culture of Cozumel like no other island.
Bonaire is known as “the shore-diving capital of the world,” and it really does feel purpose-built for divers, with gently sloping reefs, sheer walls, world-class wrecks, and colorful corals and marine life all within a few steps of the coastline.
Diving on Heron Island is pretty much like having the master key to Disneyland and the ability to lock the gate behind you.
There’s no question that people recognize Grand Cayman as a diving mecca, but Little Cayman, just 90 miles from its big-sister counterpart, seems to be solely dedicated to the sport.
Roatán is one of the most laid-back of the Caribbean islands, which, when you think about it, is quite an accomplishment.