Scuba Diving South America: The Top Locations

scuba diving south america
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If you are looking for the best diving spots in the world, you’ll want to consider a trip to South America. Scuba diving South America locations can truly take your breath away. The vast array of scuba diving available will keep you entertained. Enjoy the very cold waters where you can view whales, volcanic ridges, and tropical reefs.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to scuba diving or are a seasoned professional, you will find something unique in South America. Here, we are going to highlight the very best locations for scuba diving in South America.

Scuba Diving South America: The Best 8 Locations

There is something for every type of enthusiast in South America. Not only is the scuba diving breathtaking, but South America has much to offer on land as well.

The terrain and culture will keep you occupied even when not underwater. However, the top locations below will make for some exceptional scuba diving.

There is something for everyone that you can find in South America. If you are looking for beautiful reefs, you can find them. If you want to see sunken pirate ships, South America has them. If you want to view marine life up close, you can do it there.

1. Galapagos Islands 

Anyone who takes their scuba diving seriously knows that the Galapagos Islands are an area that must be visited. The area offers just about everything. The islands are known for conservation and biodiversity.

In fact, almost 20% of the life found in the Galapagos Islands isn’t found anywhere else. This unique makeup has a lot to do with the nutrients that are found in the waters. Nearly the entire region has been preserved as a national park, and scuba diving here will show you sea lions, Galapagos sharks, turtles, dolphins, whale sharks, marine iguana, and rays.

It is possible to scuba dive here in just one day. However, to get the full experience, it is always recommended that you live-aboard if planning to scuba dive in the Galapagos Islands. This area is absolutely one of the best places to visit if planning on scuba diving South America.

2. Malpelo, Colombia 

Malpelo is best known for its wide variety of marine life that can be viewed by divers. Malpelo is an island that is pretty far off the coast of Colombia. This makes it a far less crowded, touristy location that can make for easier diving. The island is quite small at only about eight square kilometers.

The vast marine life can be attributed to the underwater volcanic ridge and the current convergence. The marine life you’re likely to see includes hammerhead sharks, pelagic fish, and silky sharks.

scuba diving south america

This location is not the best option if you are just beginning your journey in scuba diving. In fact, you need to have your advanced open water certification in order to dive here. 

You also have to have your own dive computer, as well as your own surface marker buoy. One thing to keep in mind is there is no decompression chamber available for hundreds of kilometers.

3. Fernando De Noronha 

Located in Brazil, this is a great location for diving and somehow is still one of the lesser-known spots on our list. You can fly to the area in just about two hours. The island offers some of the best visibility at just about 164 feet, which means you get a good view of all the marine life the area has to offer. 

Some of the marine life you’ll see include manta rays, tropical fish, reef sharks, and sea turtles. This area also boasts one of the largest colonies of spinner dolphins in the world, as well as the largest sea turtle colony in all of Brazil.

There are a set number of tourists allowed on the island at one time, and you can expect a pretty sizeable tourism tax. The views you’ll get make it worth it, though.

4. Abrolhos Marine Park

Another Brazil location, the Abrolhos Marine Park, is located just 43 miles from the coast. It looks barren from land, but the marine life is in full swing underwater. The area really isn’t inhabited, with the exception of a couple of park rangers, and you can only get there by a live-aboard boat.

The water is quite warm and comfortable, and you’ll get to view 270 different species of fish. You won’t just see fish, though. You can also expect to view manta rays and dolphins. If you happen to visit sometime between July and November, you may also get a view of a humpback whale.

5. Peninsula Valdes

This location in Argentina will require you to get comfortable with the cold. However, once you do, you will get up close and personal with plenty of marine life. You’ll likely get to view penguins, southern right whales, fur seals, and might even have the chance to see an orca.

The marine life of this area migrates, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when planning your trip. That said, this location is certainly one of the best if planning on scuba diving in South America.

6. Easter Island 

Easter Island in Chile will give you some of the best diving you’ll ever encounter. Visibility is usually around 60 meters, and you’ll get to view caves, arches, and rock formations. There is also an inauthentic Moai statue that sits right on the bottom of the sea, which is a huge attraction for many divers.

You can dive Easter Island just about any time of year, but the best time is between September and May.

7. Providencia 

Providencia is an island in Colombia that, along with its neighboring island of Santa Catalina, offers the world’s third-largest coral barrier reef. This offers a total of 40 different sites from which to dive.

You can expect to see wrecked pirate ships, caves, and blue holes when diving here. It is also a UNESCO protected area, which means the corals will be some of the most beautiful you will likely ever see.

8. Los Roques

If you plan on visiting Venezuela, it is really imperative you see Los Roques. The area is beautiful and very well-kept, as it has just 1,500 residents. The water is crystal clear, and the reef is thriving.

You’ll get a great view of nurse sharks, manta rays, and tropical fish, and there are plenty of dive sites. This location is a must-visit if you are planning on scuba diving South American waters.


Having a hard time finding a scuba diving spot in South America? The top options we have listed above will surely get you excited about your next trip!

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