When we talk about scuba diving, especially in a world tour, it is often in Asia, Oceania, or the Pacific that it happens. We must say it that the reputation of the waters of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is well established; globetrotters are also very familiar with the best places in Thailand to dive, while some Polynesian islands are among the most spectacular dives in the world.
Central America is also home to wonderful places, including Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, or the West Indies. But what about South America? Is it a trek and mountain destination only? Does the adventure end where the altitude begins? Nonsense! Despite an ostensibly wild Pacific coast, we can still make surprising underwater encounters.
The Galapagos Islands, the archipelago of Ecuador
In the Pacific Ocean, it is a veritable paradise for divers; for good reason, its protected waters are home to rare species, in particular sea lions, manta rays, marine iguanas, dolphins, and several species of sharks. The Wolf and Darwin Island, particularly renowned for their unique biodiversity in the world, are only accessible as part of a diving expedition. Some consider their waters as one of the last animal sanctuaries on the planet! You can dive all year round in the Galapagos, however, the best time to see whale sharks is during the dry (coolest!) Season from July to December. Find more about Galapagos here.
San Andres Island, Colombia
It is also full of real underwater wonders. We may say that this is cheating because the archipelago is closer to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama (and therefore to Central America) than to Colombia. But San Andrés remains a Colombian island. To explain to what extent San Andres is a paradise for divers, we understand that its waters are nicknamed the “sea of seven colors”, due to its impressive coral reef, the second most important in the world after that of Australia (the famous Great Barrier Reef). And to preserve its biodiversity, UNESCO declared the archipelago a World Biosphere Reserve in 2000.
Fernando de Noronha is an unusual place, off the coast of Brazil
This Natural Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fernando de Noronha is not overwhelmed by mass tourism since its number of visitors is controlled there. Everyone must also pay a daily “preservation tax”, thereby helping to preserve their nature and biodiversity. It is then quite natural that the dives are spectacular; not for its coral reefs, but for its rock formations with caves, tunnels, narrow passages, wrecks, making the places a mysterious and fascinating universe. On the fauna side, it is easy to find dolphins, turtles, rays, and sharks in the waters of Fernando de Noronha.
The Dos Abrolhos Archipelago, south of Bahia State, Brazil
Forms a territory classified as a national park. Its nature is preserved there, and one goes there specially to observe the animals and the seabed. The renowned place for diving, the visibility underwater is excellent and promises beautiful encounters with barracudas, moray eels, eels, sharks, dolphins, turtles, and all kinds of small multicolored fish. From June to November, it is not uncommon to see humpback whales that come to give birth to their young.
In the north of Peru, and in the corner of Piura
It is possible to dive in waters comfortably warmed by tropical currents. It is not uncommon to come across turtles, sea lions, and whales, besides the countless small fish of all colors that inhabit the area. Beginner divers will prefer El Nuro, while experienced divers will venture to Los Organos, an old oil platform now abandoned, to admire the incessant ballet of fish that come to feed on the mollusks and other coral.