The 10 Best Liveaboard Diving Destinations in 2023

Harmony III yacht anchoring at beach

All scuba divers love liveaboard diving.

There is just something about waking up to the sound of the water and waves around you and getting ready for the first dive of the day as the sun is rising.

Here you will find a list of the 10 best liveaboard diving destinations in 2023 curated and tested for you!

Without further ado, here are our recommendations for the best liveaboard diving in 2023

10 Best Liveaboard Diving Destinations in 2023

A liveaboard dive cruise is the best (and often the only) way to explore remote and far-off dive sites that are often near untouched by mass tourism.

Intact reefs, large pelagics and so much more are just a few aspects scuba divers love about it.

These are the 10 best liveaboard diving destinations in 2023 for any budget in no particular order:

  1. Socorro Islands, Mexico
  2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  3. Cocos Island, Costa Rica
  4. Maldives – Deep South
  5. Red Sea, Egypt
  6. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
  7. Komodo, Indonesia
  8. Similan Islands, Thailand
  9. Chuuk Lagoon (Truk Lagoon), Federated States of Micronesia
  10. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Philippines

Make sure to check out all our current liveaboard deals to see if you find a nice discount on an upcoming cruise!

Socorro Islands, Mexico

Humpback whale jumping out of the water.
Humpback whales can be spotted at Socorro Islands

Liveaboard diving at Socorro Islands, off the coast of Mexico, is often named one of the best dive sites in the world.

The reef is essentially a large rock that sticks out from the ocean and serves as a cleaning station for large pelagic species like humpback whales and sharks.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Socorro Islands

Diving SeasonNovember – May
Best time to diveJanuary-March for bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, and several shark species
What to seeHumpback whales, sharks, manta rays, dolphins, whale sharks. Species sightings will vary depending on when you visit.
Water Temperature~28ºC (82ºF) in November, ~21ºC (69ºF) in February, ~25ºF (68ºC) in May
Best forLarge pelagics
DifficultyAdvanced. Strong currents, sometimes low visibility
Recommended duration7/10 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Socorro Islands.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Hammerhead sharks swimming underwater
Hammerhead sharks can be found in the hundreds in Galapagos.

Galapagos Islands are famous for their wildlife above and underwater.

Shark lovers will find hundreds of hammerhead sharks in the depths, while whale sharks, manta rays, and seals are other frequent visitors.

Galapagos is, therefore, one of the best liveaboard dive trip destinations in the world.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Galapagos Islands

Diving SeasonNovember – May
Best time to diveMay is usually the best time to dive in Galapagos. Whale Shark Season (June-November) and Manta Season (December-May) which is warmer.
What to seeWhale sharks, manta rays, whales, sharks, seals, dolphins. Sightings depend on the season.
Water TemperatureJune-November: ~16-24ºC (60-75°F), December-May: ~21-30ºC (70-86°F)
Best forLarge pelagics
DifficultyIntermediate. Rather cold waters, currents, choppy water, and rough conditions. Many blue water descents.
Recommended duration5-7 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Galapagos Islands.

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Whale shark at surface
Whale sharks are a frequent sight at Cocos Island.

Cocos Island is part of Costa Rica and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

The ocean around Cocos Island is filled with wildlife such as Giant Manta Rays, whale sharks, hammerheads, dolphins, and many more.

It’s another destination where hammerhead sharks are abundant and you don’t have to look for long to find them.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Cocos Island

Diving SeasonYear-round
Best time to diveDecember – May is dry season. Whale sharks and mantas can be seen between June – October
What to seeWhale sharks, mantas, bull sharks, dolphins, turtles. Sightings depend on the season.
Water Temperature24-29°C (75-84°F)
Best forGreat diving all around
DifficultyIntermediate. Currents and surges
Recommended duration10 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Cocos Island.

Maldives – Deep South

Manta ray at surface
Manta rays are an almost guaranteed sight in the Maldives.

The Maldives comprises of 1192 small islands and you can dive at many of them.

Each of them features unique reefs and the best way to explore them is by boat.

The Deep South liveaboard diving tours in the Maldives are often named some of the best scuba diving in the world.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Maldives

Diving SeasonYear-round
Best time to diveAugust-November for manta rays and whale sharks. Jan-April is the dry season.
What to seeWhale sharks, manta rays, sharks, dolphins, turtles. Sightings depend on the season.
Water Temperature26-30°C (80-86°F)
Best forPelagics and tropical fish
DifficultyEasy – Intermediate. Sometimes strong currents, depending on the location
Recommended duration7/14 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Maldives.

Red Sea, Egypt

Yacht on water
The Red Sea is one of the best diving locations in the world.

The Red Sea is one of our personal favorite diving destinations in the world.

What truly stands out is the great price-value ratio as Red Sea liveaboard dive trips are often very affordable and you can visit some truly outstanding dive sites.

Sharks, reefs, dolphins, turtles, and even whale sharks and manta rays can be spotted here, in addition to numerous wrecks.

You will find the most famous dive sites in Egypt, however, Sudan is a close contender.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Red Sea, Egypt

Diving SeasonYear-round
Best time to diveMay – November
What to seeSharks, dolphins, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, turtles. Many shipwrecks.
Water Temperature18-28°C (65-82°F)
Best forVariety of dive spots, lots to see, very affordable
DifficultyEasy – Difficult. Extremely variable diving environments, sometimes strong currents, large drop-offs, blue water descents.
Recommended duration7/10 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Red Sea, Egypt.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

All Star Aurora liveaboard
The All Star Aurora in Indonesia is one of the coolest liveaboard vessels you’ll find.

The region Raja Ampat features the richest marine biodiversity in the world both in shallow, and mesophotic reefs.

Over 1,700 species of reef fish can be encountered here, so if you love underwater photography and macro life, this is your region.

Besides that, you will encounter many other cool species, such as manta rays and sharks.

Unsurprisingly, Raja Ampat is on most top 10 best scuba diving destinations in the world lists.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Diving SeasonYear-round.
Best time to diveMay – September as it is the driest season.
What to seeWhat’s not to see? Some highlights: Large schools of fish, manta rays, reef sharks, wobbegong sharks, walking sharks, turtles, Spanish mackerel, tuna, barracuda, pygmy sea horses, nudibranchs galore, ghost pipefish, cuttlefish, crustaceans, beautiful coral reefs
Water Temperature27-30°C (80-86°F)
Best forThere’s so.much.fish.
DifficultyMostly easy diving
Recommended duration7/10 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Raja Ampat.

Scuba diving trip packing list

Komodo, Indonesia

Underwater reef in Komodo
Komodo features some stunning underwater reef life.

Indonesia is full of amazing scuba diving opportunities, which is why Komodo is a separate destination here, too.

In addition to the already gigantic marine biodiversity, you will be able to dive many WWII wrecks around Komodo Islands national park.

It is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Komodo, Indonesia

Diving SeasonYear-round.
Best time to diveMay – September as it is the driest season.
What to seeSuper large biodiversity and many WWII wrecks
Water Temperature22-24°C (66-74°F)
Best forThere’s so.much.fish.
DifficultyMostly easy diving
Recommended duration7/10 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Komodo.

Similan Islands, Thailand

Master Diver swimming through reef
The Similan Islands are great for beginner divers with mostly easy dive spots.

Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea in Thailand is a great diving destination and great for liveabaord diving.

What makes them stand out is that dive trips here are super affordable and usually a little shorter (3-5 nights) than at other destinations.

Richelieu Rock is often named one of the 10 best dive spots in the world and was first discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. As it is too far off the coast for normal dive boats, this spectacular dive site can only be reached by liveaboard.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Similan Islands, Thailand

Diving SeasonNovember – April
Best time to diveDecember – March
What to seeManta rays, whale sharks, Mola Molas, an abundance of macro life
Water Temperature28-30°C (82-87°F)
Best forThere’s so.much.fish.
DifficultyMostly easy diving. Some negative descents
Recommended duration4-7 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Similan Islands, Thailand.

Chuuk Lagoon (Truk Lagoon), Federated States of Micronesia

Shipwreck on its side underwater
Truk Lagoon features some of the best wreck diving in the world.

Chuuk Lagoon (often referred to as Truk Lagoon) in Micronesia is one of the best wreck diving destinations in the world and a must for any wreck diver in the world.

As the atoll was a naval base of the Japanese Empire in World War 2, you can find many military shipwrecks around here that can be dived.

Besides the fabulous wreck diving opportunities, you can encounter many pelagic species and over 250 species of fish.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Chuck Lagoon, Micronesia

Diving SeasonYear-round
Best time to diveDecember – April
What to seeSome of the best wreck diving in the world, coral reefs, pelagic marine animals
Water Temperature27-28°C (81-84°F) in the winter, 28-30°C (83-86°F) in the summer
Best forWWII wreck diving
DifficultyAny level of diving available
Recommended duration7 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in Chuck Lagoon.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Philippines

All Star Infiniti liveaboard
The Tubbataha natural park can only be dived on liveaboards like the Infiniti.

It comes as no surprise that UNESCO World Heritage sites like Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park make for incredible liveaboard diving destinations.

While scuba diving in the Philippines is already superb, the Natural Park can only be reached by liveaboard.

The entire area is very well protected and features intact coral reefs and many different species of marine life.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving at Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Philippines

Diving SeasonMarch – June
Best time to diveThe Natural Park is only open from March – June
What to seeCountless dive sites, whale sharks, manta rays, even whales in the winter
Water Temperature27-28°C (81-84°F) in the winter, 28-30°C (83-86°F) in the summer
Best forBeautiful underwater world
DifficultyAny level of diving available
Recommended duration7 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving at Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

Conclusion

This concludes this list of the best liveabaord diving destinations in 2023.

If you want to read more about what liveaboard diving is, what happens on a cruise and why it’s the best thing since sliced bread, check out our ultimate liveaboard diving guide!

We also update our liveaboard diving deals every week. Check them out!

What’s your favorite liveaboard diving destination?

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Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃

Cheers

Julius

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