With roughly 70% of the earth’s surface covered by water inhabited by some 230,000 documented species of marine life, there’s a whole world under the sea waiting to be explored. If you’re interested in regular dives becoming part of your lifestyle, consider setting up a permanent home base nearby. Take a look at some of the best scuba destinations on the globe.
Get up close and personal with the largest extant fish species in the world when you take the plunge in the waters of Isla Mujeres. During the summer months, fleets of hundreds of whale sharks gather north of the island to feast in the plankton-rich waters. Swap your scuba tank for snorkelling mask, as these pelagic swimmers often stay close to the surface to keep warm. Despite their enormous mouths, these sharks pose no risk to humans—meaning a real swim with the sharks is possible. Then take a weekend trip down the coast to Cozumel, where you’ll find a healthy Caribbean reef and dives for every level of skill.
Recount your under-the-sea adventures over dinner on the terrace at this Isla Mujeres manor located just a short distance from North Beach. With breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea available from each window, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. In need of a little more R&R after an exhilarating dive? Travel a little further down the coast and retreat to this Playa del Carmen property—complete with its own private spa and pool.
It’s hardly surprising that the Great Barrier Reef has been a top aspiration for many a diver. Over 2,900 individual reefs and 300 coral cays comprise this vastly diverse UNESCO-listed landscape—the only living structure on earth observable from outer space. Alongside more than 1,500 species of fish, navigate through kaleidoscopic displays of brightly-colored coral, crustaceans, and other critters.
Beach, eat, sleep, repeat might just become your new routine at this coastal Queensland home. Often considered the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the city of Cairns plays host to this glamorous oceanfront home, situated on a dramatic beachfront on the northeastern shores of Queensland. After descending the depths of the Coral Sea, cap off your adventures by sinking into a hammock suspended between two palms, or sunning on the deck of the spacious saltwater swimming pool.
A Manta Ray Night Dive should definitely be on every diver’s bucket list. Kailua-Kona, located on the west coast of the Big Island, is one of the few destinations in the world where it’s possible to experience a nocturnal swim with these gentle giants. Safer than their stinging counterparts, manta rays pose no harm to divers. After taking in the blazing Kona sunset, enter the depths to see these 16-foot creatures hunt for plankton. Use this gated Hawaiian residence as a launch pad to explore all that the Big Island has to offer, from crashing waterfalls to tropical rainforests.
Follow the barks of sea lions to the small volcanic island known as Anacapa in California, one of North America’s best diving sites. Drift through lush kelp beds and watch the harbor seals putting on their finest acrobat routines. Life is but a California dream at this oceanfront beach house located just a few nautical miles northeast of the island, with secluded decks perfect for entertaining or soaking in every moment of sunset.
SoCal is home to still more first-class diving sites: La Jolla Underwater Park, a short distance from San Diego, guarantees sightings of a wide range of marine life including sharks, nudibranchs, and octopi. Explore the depths of nearby Wreck Alley, featuring the remains of eight different ships, including a 366-foot Canadian Mackenzie-class destroyer known as the Yukon, and the Ruby E, a 165-foot Coast Guard cutter. Enjoy all the sights and sounds of the ocean with all of the grandeur of Old Hollywood from this sprawling 1940s-era La Jolla Estate.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Sotheby’s International Realty
When it comes to photographing marine life, the reefs off the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are among some of the world’s most camera-friendly. Forests of black coral, haunting sea caverns, and a wide range of photogenic sea creatures including reef sharks, Hawksbill turtles, and seahorses offer an abundance of subjects and backdrops. A nearby Pirates Cove escape provides an apt berth for discerning adventurers looking to explore the archipelago, with close proximity to dive sites and volcanoes.
There’s so much more to oceanfront living than what can be found on dry land. You never know what you might encounter when you explore the depths of the world’s most fascinating underwater ecosystems.
Previously published on Sotheby’s.