Jul 16 2014 / Travel Tips & Advice

The Monarch Guide to Coral Reef Diving

Imagine the perfect place to go diving – the chances are you’re picturing an immense coral reef that’s full to the brim with tiny, brightly coloured fish, while turtles swim by and sparkling shoals shimmer overhead. Fancy taking the dip? For your chance of a winning a free trip for two to one of these fabulous locations take a look at our diving holiday competitionGoing diving in a coral reef is like being transported to another planet but don’t worry, you don’t have to travel quite that far to explore one of these exceptional ecosystems. Here’s a list of our top reef dive sites that aren’t a world away from home:

Egypt

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If you want to go diving in a destination with some of the world’s best coral reefs – but without taking a mammoth flight – then you need to visit Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh. This Egyptian paradise is home to glorious beaches and further out to sea you’ll find breathtaking reefs filled with species you’ll have never seen before. There’s everything from easy dive sites like Ras Ghamila, stuffed with impressive coral formations as well as stingrays and barracuda, to the wreck of the Kormoran, which is better for experts and home to lots of hard coral. Jackson Reef is also a popular dive spot, with its descending wall full of marine matter and the chance to see schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks!

Tobago

Tobago-Reef-Diving
The waters that surround the exotic getaway island of Tobago are peppered with coral reefs, with a massive 39 species of reef-building coral to be found around the island in its protected marine park. The Buccoo Reef is often referred to as the jewel in the crown of the Caribbean reefs as it has so many colourful corals and vibrant fish to see. There’s a 10-acre coral reef and the rich waters mean that the coral is able to grow to giant sizes – some over six meters wide – as well as resulting massive barrel sponges! If that isn’t enough, there’s also all the aquatic residents from shoaling species like tuna, tarpon and barracuda to the impressive one-offs like manta rays, hammerheads, reef sharks and turtles!

Tunisia

Tunisia-Fish-Reef

There isn’t an abundance of reefs in the Mediterranean but Tunisia is an exception. Its coastline is home to some outstanding underwater areas and surprisingly vibrant reefs that boast an abundance of diverse fish species. Tabarka is the top spot for diving and as well as attracting the crowds for that it’s also the location of the festival of underwater film and photography! For the best reefs then you must set sail for the National Marine Park and areas around the rocky islands of La Galite. There are around twenty diving spots to explore – one of the best-known is Pigeons Cave, with bright coral and minute, vibrant fish. Other species you’ll be faced with include anemones, octopuses, crawfish and even rare black corals!

Cyprus

Fish-Reef-Sea

If you’re willing to wander further than the beach on the beautiful island of Cyprus, you’ll be rewarded with some seriously impressive coral reefs! There’s Zephyros, a place where divers of all abilities will feel at home. While learners will want to stay on the plateau, more experienced individuals will like the exposed drop-off with it sponges and corals in a rainbow of colours hiding groupers, drum fish and squirrelfish. The Wall of Paradise also has a deep descent and the further down you go the more of this stunning underwater world will unfold before your eyes! You stand a chance of seeing turtles here as well as colossal amber jacks, stingrays, morays, sea urchins and octopus!

For unforgettable coral reefs – not to mention stunning beaches – book a flight to any of our top locations and you’re guaranteed to see a glimpse of underwater life that will stick with you forever!

 

About the Author: Jessica

Jessica is a passionate traveller and regular contributor to the Monarch blog.

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