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Liveaboard Diving in 2024

Many of the world’s prime diving destinations are situated on remote islands or atolls, far from the convenience of day trips, making them perfect for liveaboard diving.

Prominent locations like Raja Ampat and Komodo in Indonesia and Fuvahmulah in the Maldives demonstrate the benefits of liveaboard scuba divingThe far-flung nature of sites like Socorro in Mexico and Malpelo Island in Colombia also underscores the necessity of such expeditions for adventurous scuba divers.

Given the long journeys required to reach these spectacular dive spots, booking a liveaboard diving holiday is the most effective way to explore them. Options range from traditional Indonesian phinisi schooners to luxuriously equipped safari boats and rugged expedition vessels with submarines and research facilities. 

For those interested in how to embark on a liveaboard dive adventure, it’s essential to know the best liveaboard diving locations and what to expect on these specialized boats, with tailored guides available to streamline the planning process and enhance your diving holiday.

How to Book a Liveaboard Dive Holiday

If you’re exploring the idea of liveaboard diving, it’s crucial to start by understanding what factors to consider when booking your trip. Like any holiday, the goal is to ensure your seamless and enjoyable experience.

Begin by establishing your budget. Liveaboard scuba diving trips cater to various financial plans, from economical, no-frills options to lavish, high-end excursions. Next, assess your diving expertise. Select a diving liveaboard with an itinerary that matches your skill level and features the necessary facilities to support your dive needs. 

Find an inclusive operation that offers plant-based menus, supports individual requirements, and supports environmental initiatives. We recommend dive liveaboards that actively protect the reefs they visit and dive on instead of having a heavy net negative impact.

Before delving into the best liveaboard diving destinations, consider the importance of the fleet itself. Each liveaboard diving company has its unique approach and philosophy, influencing every aspect of their voyages. Once you identify a fleet that aligns with your style and budget preferences, picking the perfect vessel becomes significantly easier.

The Best Liveaboard Destinations in The World

White Pearl Maldives | Infinite Blue Dive Travel

Liveaboards in The Maldives

Spanning over 800 kilometres along the equator in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives offers some of the world’s most extraordinary liveaboard diving adventures. With its opulent resorts and pristine atolls, this destination is famous for its vibrant coral reefs and frequent sightings of whale sharks. Due to its vast size and varied dive sites, the Maldives is particularly well-suited for liveaboard scuba diving.

Maldives Central Atolls

In the heart of the Maldives, the central atolls offer some of the best liveaboard diving experiences in the region. These areas feature extensive dive sites, including North Male, South Male, and Vaavu Atoll, and extend to South Ari, North Ari, and Rasdhoo Atoll. Divers here often encounter manta rays and whale sharks amidst dynamic reefs and historic wrecks.

Maldives Southern Atolls

The southern atolls, known for their avant-garde dive sites, are among the Maldives’ most sought-after destinations for diving liveaboard holidays. 

Travelling south from Male, popular stops include Vaavu, Meemu, and Laamu Atolls, finishing at Huvadhoo, Fuvahmulah, and Addu. This route is renowned for encounters with an array of sharks, including tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah, in addition to experiencing pristine reefs and exploring the largest wreck in the Maldives.

Maldives Northern Atolls

The northern journey from Male Atoll unveils a tranquil side of the Maldives, with lesser tourist footfall and captivating island vistas. Dive itineraries generally cover Baa, Raa, and Lhaviyani Atolls and may include dives in North Ari and Rasdhoo. 

A significant highlight is visiting Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, a famous spot for observing large groups of manta rays and diving into fascinating wrecks and vibrant reefs.

Ilike liveaboard. Thebest dive destinations in Indonesia. Infinite Blue Dive Travel

Liveaboard Itineraries in Indonesia

Indonesia’s sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands is a paradise for divers, offering some of the best tropical diving globally. With spectacular spots like Raja Ampat and the manta-filled waters around Bali and Komodo, Indonesia is tailor-made for liveaboard diving. The vast array of destinations within the country makes it perfect for a liveaboard dive trip, with traditional phinisi boats or modern luxury vessels.

Bali to Komodo

This renowned diving liveaboard itinerary can feature stops like the Gilis, Satonda, and Moyo Islands in Lombok and the Sangeang and Banta Islands in Sumbawa. The trip typically concludes at the renowned dive sites of Komodo, rounding off in Labuan Bajo. 

For added adventure, some liveaboards might also visit Saleh Bay, which is known for its whale shark sightings.

Komodo North and South

Komodo liveaboard diving is an exhilarating experience combining picturesque islands with dynamic, current-driven dive sites. Dive into beautiful reefs, enjoy the thrills of drift diving at places like The Shotgun, and encounter manta rays at Karang Makassar and Manta Alley. On land, trek in search of the legendary Komodo dragons and watch sunsets from Padar Island.

Alor and Pantar

The remote islands of Alor are perfect for exploratory liveaboard scuba diving. The Pantar Strait boasts unspoiled reefs teeming with diverse marine life, including hammerhead sharks, facilitated by powerful currents. The area is also known for excellent muck diving at locales like Beang and Kalabahi.

The Banda Sea

Take a liveaboard diving ‘crossing’ trip through the fabled ‘Spice Islands’ of Banda, Run, and others. Watch schooling hammerhead sharks at Nusa Laut, discover pristine corals and sea snakes at Manuk and Gunung Api, and explore the Forgotten Islands’ rich reefs and abundant fish life.

Raja Ampat

Known as the pinnacle of tropical reef diving, Raja Ampat offers an unmatched liveaboard diving experience. This destination combines incredible dive sites and a wide variety of marine life, with scenic karst landscapes, hidden lagoons, and pristine beaches, making it the best liveaboard diving locale.

Triton Bay and Cenderawasih Bay

Explore unique reefs adorned with glowing black and soft corals in Triton Bay or delve into the lesser-known waters of Cenderawasih Bay, where wrecks and exploratory diving liveaboard adventures await. Both areas are renowned for their whale shark populations, which congregate around local fishing platforms known as bagans.

Sangalaki and Maratua

Venture beyond Indonesia’s famed liveaboard diving spots to Sangalaki and Maratua, off the coast of Kalimantan. These sites offer a diverse diving experience, from thriving reefs and exciting drift diving to encounters with marine life like whale sharks, manta rays, and various sharks, alongside a unique jellyfish lake.

Liveaboards in Mexico

Mexico’s vast landscapes make it a prime location for liveaboard diving. With diverse coastlines spanning thousands of miles, liveaboard safaris are ideal for experiencing the top dive sites throughout the country, offering a comprehensive glimpse into Mexico’s dynamic underwater ecosystem.


Renowned for some of Mexico’s best liveaboard diving experiences, the Socorro Islands within the Revillagigedo Archipelago are teeming with extraordinary marine life. While the journey across the open ocean is lengthy, the reward is immense: swarms of whale sharks, oceanic manta rays, dolphins, large schools of tuna, and various shark species. 

The area’s isolation and protection as a marine park ensure the waters remain untouched and teeming with life, making it a popular destination for diving liveaboard enthusiasts.

Baja California

The expansive Baja Peninsula offers a dual diving experience: the wild Pacific on the west and the biodiverse Sea of Cortez on the east, dubbed “the world’s aquarium.” Divers can explore habitats of sea lions, navigate shipwrecks, and sight large sharks alongside seasonal appearances by whales, dolphins, orcas, and rays. With its diverse range of marine environments, Baja California is ideal for liveaboard diving, providing access to some of the world’s best liveaboard diving spots.


Situated over 200 kilometres off the Pacific coast, Guadalupe Island is a globally recognized hotspot for observing great white sharks. During the four-month season, more than 300 sharks migrate here, allowing divers to encounter these magnificent animals up close in cage dives. This unique, open-water experience makes Guadalupe a thrilling liveaboard scuba diving destination. A disclaimer here: Liveaboard diving in Guadalupe has been put on hold by the government for now. Also there are important ethical questions involving cage diving, for more information check out this article.

Liveaboards in The Red Sea

Egypt’s Red Sea is a treasure trove for divers. It features a stunning mix of vibrant reefs, historical shipwrecks, and diverse marine life set against dramatic cliffs and remote islands. 

Extending over 2000 kilometres from north to south, the Red Sea is ideal for liveaboard diving adventures, catering to brief safaris and extensive dive expeditions.

Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, and Dahab

Liveaboard dive safaris originating from Hurghada typically navigate the northern Red Sea. These trips boast visits to extraordinary sites like Ras Mohammed National Park, known for its spectacular reefs; the Straits of Tiran, which feature strong currents and shark sightings; and world-renowned wrecks such as the Thistlegorm, Dunraven, Giannis D, and Carnatic, celebrated for their photogenic allure.

St Johns, Rocky Island, and Zabargad

Departures from Port Ghalib lead to some of Egypt’s most thrilling liveaboard scuba diving sites. Week-long itineraries include Fury Shoal, Zabargad, Rocky Island, and St. John’s Reef. In these locations, divers are treated to untouched coral reefs and secluded wrecks. The crystal-clear waters and abundant aquatic life, featuring species such as oceanic whitetips and hammerhead sharks, make for an unforgettable liveaboard diving experience.

Marsa Alam, Brothers Islands, and Elphinstone

From Port Ghalib near Marsa Alam or Hurghada, liveaboard itineraries in Egypt’s central Red Sea focus on coastal and offshore dive spots. Coastal dives offer encounters with dugongs and dolphins. At the same time, remote destinations like Elphinstone and the Brothers Islands promise stunning reefs and dramatic underwater landscapes frequented by diverse shark species, including hammerheads, threshers, and oceanic whitetips.

The Hammerhead Triangle

The ‘Hammerhead Triangle’ is not just a myth; it’s a fascinating reality. This triangular configuration of remote islands in the eastern Pacific, over 500 kilometres off the mainland, includes Cocos Island, Malpelo Island, and the Galapagos Archipelago. These destinations are celebrated as top spots for encountering hammerhead sharks and provide some of the best liveaboard diving experiences for hammerhead enthusiasts.

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are famed for their unique biodiversity, offering distinctive dive encounters. Here, divers can swim alongside equatorial penguins, marine iguanas, whale sharks, manta rays, and sea lions. 

However, the pinnacle of Galapagos diving is found at the remote Darwin and Wolf islands—accessible only by liveaboard diving—where divers regularly encounter large schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks, making it a premier destination for liveaboard scuba diving.

Cocos Island

Reaching Cocos Island requires a 36-hour journey reserved for the most adventurous liveaboard divers. Known as the ‘Little Galapagos,’ the diving here justifies the lengthy trip. 

The island boasts around 20 dive sites, including walls, pinnacles, and drift dives, where divers often encounter massive schools of scalloped hammerheads. 

The marine life here also includes tiger and whale sharks, manta and devil rays, dolphins, and even humpback whales, highlighting why Cocos Island is a coveted diving liveaboard destination.

Malpelo Island

Situated 500 kilometres from the mainland, Malpelo is on a 300-kilometre-long submarine ridge encircled by deep waters. It’s a renowned gathering spot for scalloped hammerhead sharks, which school here in the hundreds. The island also supports large silky sharks, sometimes reaching up to a thousand. Unique to Malpelo, its marine park is accessible to only one liveaboard at a time, offering an exclusive liveaboard diving experience in this isolated paradise.

To Wrap it Up

Warning! Liveaboard diving can become incredibly addictive. Being able to dive the best locations on the planet, at the best times to dive them, without hordes of other divers, is an experience you will want to repeat again and again. Recently, getting to the embarkation points and back from the disembarkation points of some of these dive liveaboards has become more convenient. Better flights, airports and highways have all contributed to you making it to the best dive holiday of a lifetime more simple. Contact us for more information on the world’s best, most inclusive dive liveboards.

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