The Best Freediving Hotspots On Earth

As a freediver, the world is your oyster. Freediving takes snorkeling to the next level by plunging deeper, for longer, giving opportunities for photos and footage you cannot capture in any other way. But when it comes to finding the perfect spot to dive, a global adventure just might be on your itinerary.

Top 10 Freediving Destinations on Earth

Freediving is a meditative test of endurance that rewards you with views of animals, shipwrecks, and natural wonders. The planet is full of beautiful freediving hotspots, and we’ve chosen ten of them for being among the best.

Ready for a thrill? Take a deep breath and dive in!

1. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Any spot on the many islands of Hawaii makes for a great excursion. But Kona, Hawaii Island is one of the best locations in the world for freediving. Both freediving pros and people only beginning their journey with diving love the Kailua-Kona. 

It only takes a few steps into the water to reach drop-offs that reach deep into the ocean. The area’s underwater topography is full of animal diversity and volcanically sculpted bays. 

Brand new freedivers can learn how to dive like a professional at one of Kona’s freediving classrooms. Once you’re ready for the challenge, Kona is an excellent location to experience night dives and up-close encounters with manta rays.

Lights installed along the ocean floor attract plankton, and the manta rays regularly come to the feast. The current can be intense at any time of the day, but you’re highly likely to see large manta rays nearby.

2. Anywhere in Antarctica

The top location on Earth for big animal encounters underwater is the frigid blue depths of Antarctica.

While danger levels are high here, an experienced freediver will find swimming alongside humpback whales well worth the risk. Divers here must be wary of predators, such as leopard seals. 

It’s a higher-stakes experience among the ocean’s giants and in near-freezing water. The icy arctic dive isn’t everyone’s forte, but it’s a dive you’ll never forget. Just make sure to adequately prepare beforehand.

Also, the surroundings are difficult to put to scale if you haven’t been to Antarctica. Prepare to be blown away by the sheer size and scope of the distant hills and fields of thick snow, along with seals, penguins, and enormous walls of ice. 

Witnessing megafauna swimming amidst a sea of icebergs, some as large as skyscrapers. Such a world awaits you as a freediver in Antarctica.

3. The Red Sea, Egypt

The Red Sea of Egypt is a magical place for freediving. Freedivers tell legends of the Red Sea Blue Hole in Dahab, Egypt — a submarine sinkhole that drops 92 meters into the void.

Explore Egypt’s Ras Mohammed National Park, where you can freedive along the Sinai Peninsula. Coral reefs line the sea walls, with vertical overhangs over 100 meters deep.

The Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez’s meeting creates a wide variety of fish and corals. The Egyptian government placed the national park under its protection in 1983, making it one of the Red Sea’s most vibrant freediving locations. 

For a freediver, the appeal of effluent discharge-free water is not to be understated. Thankfully, Ras Mohammad is very clean when compared to many tourist locations.

Don’t miss Shark and Yolanda Reef, the two most renowned scuba and freediving areas in Ras Mohammad. You’ll have the chance to spot nearly every species of fish that live in the Red Sea. Look for the pelagic fish, the hammerheads, snappers, barracuda, and enormous tuna. 

4. Mahibadhoo, Ukulhas, and Rasdhoo, The Maldives

The Maldives is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most freedivers underwater in a single location, so chances are it offers a lot to freedivers of all experience levels. 

Freediving sites in the Maldives include the steep dropoff at Mahibadhoo and the Ukulhas and Rasdhoo islands’ reefs. There are many octopuses in the area, and also eels, turtles, and mantas. More experienced divers can swim with hammerhead sharks near Rasdhoo.

Explore the Kuda Giri wreck along the South Male Atoll, a moderate dive (31 meters) suitable for beginners. The warmer water (average of 28 celsius) and a regular 15-meters of visibility make this an excellent spot to break into nature freediving.

People report a sense of renewal when they see the soft corals and sea life inside the ship wreckage. 

5. Barracuda Point, Malaysia

Barracuda Point along Sipadan Island, Malaysia, is easily one of the best freediving sites on the planet. Thousands of divers arrive at Barracuda Point each year to experience the clear waters and over 3,000 species of fish in the Celebes Sea. More adept divers will enjoy the 800-meter dropoff, but many of the best areas in the region for diving go no lower than ten meters, and are full of life. 

Look for the green turtles, bannerfish, parrotfish, and magnificent coral walls. If you’re lucky, you may find yourself in a whirlwind of barracuda.

6. Cape Kri, Indonesia

Try a liveaboard while freediving in Cape Kri, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, a place unique for its abundance of fish species and bustling coral gardens. You’ll see manta rays, barracuda, sharks, and giant trevallies. Cape Kri may hold the world record for the largest number of species referenced in a single dive.

Many readers know about another not-so-secret Indonesian paradise. Bali, Indonesia, is a hotspot for freediving, with sites like Liberty Wreck (down to 30 meters, with a still current). The Liberty Wreck is a photography diver’s dream come true — a cargo shipwreck 120 meters long that has sat on the ocean floor for half a century.

Look for the leaf scorpionfish, angelfish, and pygmy seahorses. Stay around long enough, and you may spot an eagle ray or even a whale shark.

7. The Yongala Shipwreck, Australia

Considering this country is also a continent, where does a freediver begin? The Yongala is a shipwreck off the coast of Queensland, Australia, and it’s a perfect place to start your dive in the Pacific.

The wreck dates back to 1911 and has had ample time to become a green wildlife haven. Unique coral structures form the surroundings, and the area has protection under the Historic Shipwrecks Act. 

You’ll spot tiger sharks, manta rays, bull sharks, turtles, and a bit of everything here — just don’t touch.

8. Riviera Maya, Mexico

The Riviera Maya in Mexico is a crowd favorite. Swim along the reefs, spot occasional bull sharks and American crocodiles, or dare to try cave diving. The land here is mostly undeveloped and ancient, but tourism has made its mark with luxurious hotels and tourist resorts.

Divers will love exploring the vast Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. You may spot morays, lobsters, turtles, rays, and several other beautiful creatures in the Riviera Maya.

9. Roatan Island, Honduras

About 35 miles off the North Coast of Honduras is Roatan Island, a Caribbean island and freediving gem. Roatan is a 2018 Scuba Diving Magazine Reader’s Choice winner, well-known for whale shark encounters, coral reefs, and swim-through shipwrecks like El Aguila. 

Roatan island’s waters are full of seahorses, fireworms, arrowhead crabs, filefish, and garden eels. The sea walls here will blow your mind with the diversity, color, and swim-throughs like Mary’s Place.

Visibility in Roatan is top-notch. The region is host to one of the world’s largest freediving competitions, the Caribbean Cup.

10. The Bahamas

The Bahamas has so much to offer to a traveler, and wait until you try freediving there. Dean’s Blue Hole in Long Island, Bahamas, gets a well-deserved mention. If you’re ready to dive deep, the world’s most bottomless blue hole awaits. It’s a record-setting dive spot, and many agree that it’s one of the best dives on the planet.

Long Island is the resting spot of the Comberbach, a 94-meter British freighter roughly 30 meters below water. Nearby Conception Island Wall is full of sea sponges, but only go if you’re okay with looking down into an abyss!

For another incredible shipwreck dive, check out the Willaurie in New Providence, Bahamas. The wreckage has become a stunning sight now that the corals and wildlife have made it home.

Honorable Mentions

The ten freediving treasures we’ve shared will get you started, but we had to mention these runner-ups for the best diving spots on Earth.

  • Gardens of the Queen, about 60 miles from Cuba’s southern coast, is home to Caribbean reef shark and silky shark that live among the enormous coral spirals on the gently sloping seafloor. 
  • Christ of the Abyss statue off the Italian Riviera, Portofino: An easily accessible freediving attraction that’s become a pilgrimage for freedivers worldwide.

We also have a list of other articles related to Free Diving that will make your interest:

Conclusion

Freediving is a magical sport, as it allows you to experience so much diversity and mystery in natural and human-made locations. Diving is full of variety, from shipwrecks to fields of coral towers, giant animals, and natural anomalies.

We’re confident that this top ten list will help you choose your next big freediving adventure, wherever you plan to travel.

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