Top Water Sports Destinations In The World

This post may contain affiliate links. (Disclaimer here).

It’s summer somewhere in the world right now! We’re lucky we live on a blue dot that has summer in some place no matter the time of the year; and there are always some nice holiday destinations that are perfect for water sports.

My friends and I have put together a list of the best vacation spots for water sport activities across the world, be it winter or summer. Here it is!

1. Snorkeling in Iceland

Snorkeling in Iceland is an amazing experience - Pic by Carol from Wayfaring Views
Snorkeling in Iceland
Pic by Carol from Wayfaring Views

Iceland isn’t your typical snorkel destination. They have beaches, but they aren’t warm and they have pools, but they are thermally heated. So why on earth should you consider snorkeling in Iceland on your stay? Because the crazy geology there makes it a singular experience.

Just east of Reykjavik lies the Pingvellir National Park. One of its unique geological features is that it sits on a joint of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This has created a deep fissure which fills with pure glacial melt that has been filtered through the volcanic rock.

The water is crystal clear down to 320 feet. But it is indeed glacial so you have to stave off hypothermia by suiting up in several thermal layers and a dry suit.

Ironically, this is better done on a winter Iceland trip when the air and water temperature are both so cold that getting into the water is actually not that much of a shock.

You are never going to get a tan doing this sort of snorkeling, but you will definitely give FOMO to all of your friends if you do it.

By Carol from Wayfaring Views. Catch up with Carol on Facebook at Wayfaring Views.

Snorkeling in Iceland is one of the amazing experience - Pic by Carol from Wayfaring Views
Snorkeling in Iceland
Pic by Carol from Wayfaring Views

2. Swimming with Sharks in New Zealand

New Zealand’s South coast and coming face to face with a great white shark is an incredible experience - Pic by Alan from More Passport Stamps
Sharks in New Zealand
Pic by Alan from More Passport Stamps

I’ve performed stand-up comedy in front of huge crowds, jumped out of a plane, performed on television to millions, I’ve even swam with reef sharks.

All of these brought me a certain level of nerves, but never have I felt as much fear as jumping into the ice cold waters off Invercargill on New Zealand’s South coast and coming face to face with a great white shark.

The shark stalks the boat as it would its’ prey, marching up and down using its’ senses to see what this potential meal is. My fellow shark watchers and I follow the fin nervously.

As I plunged into the cage off the back of the tiny boat, I remember the rush of adrenaline hitting my brain and feeling more alive than ever. I’d look left, then right, then down, then behind me. Where is it?

Then suddenly, as if from nowhere, the gargantuan beast appears. Nothing can prepare you for the size of these animals, another way of nature showing us how small we really are.

The shark calmly glides past with its’ nearside eye fixated on you as it does. It is worth the trip to New Zealand for this experience alone, they are truly majestic creatures.

By Alan from More Passport Stamps. Catch up with Alan on Twitter at More Passport Stamps.

3. Kelp Diving off the coast of LA

Channel Islands SCUBA diving is some of the best diving in the world because the islands, including Catalina and Anacapa, are home to giant kelp forest - Kelp Forest, Pic by Daderot from Wikimedia Commons
Kelp Diving Off in LA Kelp Forest
Pic by Daderot from Wikimedia Commons

Think of L.A. and great diving may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Usually, it’s the top food and drink spots in LA. But actually some of the world’s top dive sites are just of the coast of Los Angeles around the Channel Islands.  

Channel Islands SCUBA diving is some of the best diving in the world because the islands, including Catalina and Anacapa, are home to giant kelp forests. 

Picture of man called James on a boat.
Kelp Diving Off in LA
Pic by James from Parks Collecting

Diving through golden kelp (seaweed) stretching 30 meters or more all the way to the surface is like moving through another world.

You are never sure what is coming, as you swim slowly through a moving forest.  Small schools of fish swim by and the occasional playful seal can pop up to your mask.  This is truly a unique dive experience. 

Dive trips are possible from Catalina Island or from ports to the north and south of Los Angeles.

By James from Parks Collecting. Catch up with James on Facebook at Travel Collecting.

4. Surfing in Sri Lanka

Surfing in Sri Lanka provides incredible surfing opportunities, for people of all levels - Pic by Bradley from Dream Big Travel Far
Surfing in Sri Lanka
Pic by Bradley from Dream Big Travel Far

If you are a fan of surfing, then you simply must visit Sri Lanka at some point in your life! All along the south and east coasts you’ll find incredible surfing opportunities, for people of all levels.

Perhaps the hottest surf spots in Sri Lanka are in Arugam Bay. It is here that Red Bull hold annual surf competitions, and it’s hard to see why.

The waves out at spots like Elephant Rock and Whiskey Point get pretty big and offer perfect, clean breaks. You’ll also find a nice mix of both reef and sand breaks, meaning the area is perfect if you are a little unsure of yourself.

You’ll also find ample surf instructors and places to hire boards. As well as spectacular nightlife where the local surf community gathers almost every night in peak season!

By Bradley from Dream Big Travel Far. Catch up with Bradley on Facebook at Dream Big Travel Far.

5. Swimming With Horses in Croatia

Swimming with horses was a totally different experience than your average horse ride - Pic by Shelley from Niche Travel Design
Swimming With Horses in Croatia
Pic by Shelley from Niche Travel Design

I am a native California. I grew up in and around water. I tend to seek out beach and water vacation spots and Croatia is one of my favorite destinations for water activities.

There are so many choices of water sports – kayaking, sailing, jet skiing, kite surfing, paddle boats, river rafting. We opted to swim with horses.

Swimming with horses was a totally different experience than your average horse ride. In addition to typical ride through the countryside, the added bonus is cooling off in the cool waters of a river, lake or sea, and feeling the odd combination of a massive animal swimming beneath you as you float.

It is an extraordinary feeling. Croatia is hot in the summer and the horses were eager to cool off. I’d venture to guess that the horses enjoyed the excursion as much as we did.

The stable that booked our excursion was just outside of Biograd na Maru – not far from Zadar. There are other stables that offer the same activity outside of Split and Istria.

If you get the chance, take a dip with a horse. It is an experience you’re not likely to forget.

By Shelley from Niche Travel Design. Catch up with Shelley on Facebook at Niche Travel Design.

6. Diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Diving at Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the most unique and memorable dive experience - Pic by Patti from Luggage and Lipstick
Diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Pic by Patti from Luggage and Lipstick

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, stretching out for over 1800 miles, encompassing over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays. The reef is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World and the only living thing on earth visible from space.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protects the ecosystems of the reef by limiting scuba diving excursions, so we were the only divers in the area.  The coral was vibrant, not bleached like some other spots, and marine life abundant.

About 15 minutes into the dive, we noticed a fairly large sea turtle circling our area. My dive master grabbed a piece of seaweed from the bottom, placed it in my hand, and pointed for me to hold it out. 

The friendly turtle swam over took the offering away! I’m a certified scuba diver, and that was my most unique and memorable dive experience!

By Patti from Luggage and Lipstick. Catch up with Patti on Facebook at Luggage and Lipstick.

7. Canyoning in Vanuatu

Millenium Cave trek will take you to a remote location for a great water-based adventure - Pic by Eloise from My Favourite Escapes
Canyoning in Vanuatu
Pic by Eloise from My Favourite Escapes

You already feel far away from everything when you visit Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, an archipelago between Australia and Fiji. But the full day Millenium Cave trek will take you to an even more remote location for a great water-based adventure.

It takes 30 minutes by car plus 40 minutes by foot to reach the Vunaspef village, where you leave the belongings you want to keep dry. The fun begins with a hike on a slippery track in the beautiful forest until the famous Millenium Cave.

At the end of the cave, the Sarakata River takes visitors back to the village. It starts with an easy canyoning part for half an hour. Locals have installed chains and carved steps into the rocks to make it accessible.

READ NEXT  The best traditional dishes to eat in Bali

There’s no abseiling required; it’s about fun scrambling in the canyon. Then, the rocks disappear, and the river entirely takes over to offer a refreshing swim in the breathtaking beauty of the gorge.

The best part of the experience is that it supports the community as all profits are used to create local schools.

By Eloise from My Favourite Escapes. Catch up with Eloise on Facebook at My Favourite Escapes.

8. Diving on Phi Phi Island in Thailand

Diving takes place around Phi Phi Leh Island and is a short boat ride from Phi Phi Don Island – where the only accommodation exists for the two chunks of land - Pic by Ben from Horizon Unknown
Diving on Phi Phi Island in Thailand
Pic by Ben from Horizon Unknown

Thailand is a haven for lovers of all types of water activities. With clear blue waters and such diverse marine life under the waves, it’s no wonder this south-east Asian country is home to many great spots to scuba dive.

One of my absolute favourite places to dive in Thailand is Phi Phi Island. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced diver, this is one dive location not to miss. Diving takes place around Phi Phi Leh Island and is a short boat ride from Phi Phi Don Island – where the only accommodation exists for the two chunks of land.

Depending on condition will determine the exact area that’s best to dive – chosen by experienced local dive instructors. No matter which sites you spend time under the waves, there’s a vast display of life and natural structures that will leave you wanting more.

If you’re travelling to Thailand to learn how to dive – just like I did, or you’re a seasoned diver, making the trip to Phi Phi Island is well worth the effort!

By Ben from Horizon Unknown. Catch up with Ben on Facebook at Horizon Unknown.

9. Diving in Budapest, Hungary

Diving in Budapest, Hungary is known as the best destination to enjoy water activities - Pic by Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys
Diving in Budapest, Hungary
Pic by Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys

As a landlocked country, Hungary is not exactly known as the best destination to enjoy water activities. Unless, of course, you know where to look!

Geologically speaking, Budapest sits on top of an active geothermal zone. As a result, there are many cracks underneath the capital city that put groundwater into contact with hotter areas deep in the earth. This heated waters seeps out through the earth surface and creates the famous Budapest Thermal Baths.

If you are interested and certified to do so, you can experience one of the most unusual things to do in Budapest, diving in a Budapest Cave – Molnar Janos Cave.

Located in a hidden part of Budapest, this national park will take you to the underground world that only a few others have seen. These heated waters fill an underground cave system that stretches for miles!

By Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys. Catch up with Halef and Michael on Facebook at The Round The World Guys.

Diving in Budapest, Hungary is known as the best destination to enjoy water activities - Pic by Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys
Diving in Budapest, Hungary
Pic by Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys

10. Wake Surf  in Vancouver Island, Canada

A boat full of friends, with the music pumping and someone wake surfing off the back of the boat is a recipe for a great day of water sports on Vancouver Island - Pic by Luke & Roxy from The Coastal Campaign
Wake Surf  in Vancouver Island, Canada
Pic by Luke & Roxy from The Coastal Campaign

Canada has more lakes than any other country in the world, making it the perfect destination for water sports. Vancouver Island, on the west coast, is home to some spectacular lakes. Surrounded by mountains and lined with tall evergreen trees it makes for the perfect place to Wake Surf.

Sproat Lake, a sprawling lake on central Vancouver Island is a mecca for water sports lovers. The low wind in the area leaves a glassy surface that is perfect for wake surfing – not to mention, the valley’s hot, sunny days means beautiful warm water all summer long.

Wake surfing involves riding the wake created by the boat while not being directly pulled by the boat itself. It is comparable to wakeboarding, but you are on a surfboard and you are not strapped in.

A boat full of friends, with the music pumping and someone wake surfing off the back of the boat is a recipe for a great day of water sports on Vancouver Island.

By Luke & Roxy from The Coastal Campaign. Catch up with Luke & Roxy on Facebook at The Coastal Campaign.

11. Kite Surfing in Antigua

Beaches in Antigua are famous for kite surfing. The most popular one is Driftwood Beach, a nice stretch of fine white sand caressed by crystal clear waters - Pic by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Kite Surfing in Antigua
Pic by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World

As far as water sports, it’s hard to bit Antigua. This beautiful small Caribbean island has a lot to offer to anybody who likes to get their toes in the water.

Antigua is especially famous for its sailing week, which usually takes place between the end of April and the beginning of May. But such beautiful waters are perfect for kayaking, snorkeling and diving, thanks to the incredible marine life of the Caribbean Sean.

Yet, one of the ultimate things to do in Antigua is kite surfing. Thanks to the strong wind that regularly sweeps the island, lovers of this adventure sport find plenty of opportunities to get out.

Several beaches in Antigua are famous for kite surfing. The most popular one is Driftwood Beach, a nice stretch of fine white sand caressed by crystal clear waters.

By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World. Catch up with Claudia on Facebook at My Adventures Across The World.

12. Snorkeling in Daymaniyat Islands, Oman

The Daymaniyat Islands are a heaven for the diver - Pic by Rahma from The Sane Adventurer
Snorkeling in Daymaniyat Islands, Oman
Pic by Rahma from The Sane Adventurer

Oman is one of the most naturally diverse countries in the Middle East. From crystal clear blue water beaches to long stretches of golden sand desert, the country has everything to offer.

Oman is home to a long stretch of 3000 km coastline which makes it an ideal location for water sports. Though there are different kinds of water sports activities offered all around the country, my favorite one is snorkeling at the Daymaniyat Islands.

Situated 70 km away from the coast of the capital city of Muscat, the Daymaniyat Islands are a cluster of nine small islands, which also is a nature reserve.

The island is famous for its highly diverse marine life. With vibrant healthy coral reefs to different species of sharks and turtles, the Daymaniyat Islands are a heaven for the diver! Snorkeling at the islands is very popular among the locals and the tourists alike.

The crystal clear waters of the island offer great underwater visibility to enjoy the views of naturally preserved corals and diverse species of marine life.

By Rahma from The Sane Adventurer. Catch up with Rahma on Facebook at The Sane Adventurer.

13. Scuba Diving at Scapa Flow in Scotland

Scuba diving at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, Scotland is one of the most interesting experiences in the water sport world - Pic by Helena from Through an Aussie's Eyes
Scuba Diving at Scapa Flow in Scotland
Pic by Helena from Through an Aussie’s Eyes

Scuba diving at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, Scotland is one of the most interesting experiences in the water sport world. Guided dives are conducted over the top of the blockships at the Churchill Barriers.

These blockships were purposely sunk in an attempt to protect the British Naval Fleet that were anchored at Scapa Flow during both of the World Wars. This is a really historical dive and one that will really make you think what the waters would have been like during the World Wars.

When you are under the water, you feel this eerie silence but yet these feelings of calmness as you glide through the water. Not far from the blockerships are two war graves, the HMS Royal Oak and the HMS Vanguard. They are both off limits to everyone.

Most of the guides require PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent qualifications and will need recent dry suit experience.

By Helena from Through an Aussie’s Eyes. Catch up with Helena on Facebook at Through an Aussie’s Eyes.

Related post: Things to do in Edinburgh

14. Snorkeling at Crab Caye, San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia

The best spot to go snorkeling is around Crab Cay, a small island off the coast of Providencia and Santa Catalina islands - Pic by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker
Snorkeling at Crab Caye, San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia
Pic by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker

The small archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia is a Colombian territory in the Caribbean Sea. Even though it’s part of Colombia, English is spoken here because of British colonial history.

It’s a dreamy paradise with beautiful beaches and clear waters. This makes it an excellent spot to go snorkeling and marvel at the – mostly friendly – creatures under the surface.

Arguably the best spot to go snorkeling is around Crab Cay, a small island off the coast of Providencia and Santa Catalina islands.

It’s protected in a Natural Park (€10 entrance) and very easily accessible by boat. The water is a comfortable temperature, and just by sticking your goggles into the water you’ll already find all kinds of small colorful fish very close to the island.

To combine water sports, rent a kayak from Providencia to dock at Crab Cay and paddle across in about 15 minutes (€17 for a two-person kayak, 3 hours).

By Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker. Catch up with Iris on Facebook at Mind of a Hitchhiker.

15. Windsurf in Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda has become a popular place for, especially, kitesurfers, windsurfers, sailors and other water sports lovers - Pic by Arzo from Arzo Travels
Lake Garda has become a popular place for, especially, kitesurfers, windsurfers, sailors and other water sports lovers – Pic by Arzo from Arzo Travels

Located in Northern Italy, it is a popular hotspot for visitors from Germany, Australians and of course for many water sports lovers from all around the world.

READ NEXT  Famous Must Try Latin American Food List

Due to constant and strong winds, Lake Garda has become a popular place for, especially, kitesurfers, windsurfers, sailors and other water sports lovers (of course, you can also do “boring” things like swimming or exploring the beautiful towns and shores along the shores).

Especially in the northern shores of the lake, and here mainly Riva del Garda and Malcesine, windsurfing is extremely popular.

If you haven’t ever windsurfed you don’t have to worry, there are several clubs that teach kids and adults how to windsurf (kitesurf, or sail) and windsurf and sailing centers along the lakeshores organize national and international events and courses. 

So, it does not surprise that Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy, is the place in Italy for water sports love.

By Arzo of Arzo Travels. Catch up with Arzo on Facebook at Arzo Travels.

16. Scuba Dive in the great blue hole, Belize

A diver in the blue hole in Belize, one of the Top Ten Dive Destinations in the world - Pic by Becki from Meet Me in Departures
Scuba Dive in the great blue hole Belize Pic by Becki from Meet Me In Departures

There are loads of Blue Holes around the World’s oceans, however, The Belize Blue Hole is the largest one in the world. It’s also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the Top Ten Dive Destinations in the world too.

Located in Lighthouse Reef approximately 70km from Mainland this massive sinkhole has a diameter of 318metres and is 124m deep. Of course, you cannot dive to the bottom of it. You wouldn’t actually see much down that deep anyway.

What you can do is a dive to about 30metres depth where you stop at columns and stalactites which were formed during the last ice age.

IF you’re lucky you might see sharks, however, I didn’t see them on this particular dive.  What you will experience on this dive is out of this world and although comparatively expensive compared to general diving in Belize, it’s easy to see why it’s Scuba Diving in The Great Blue Hole is 100% worth it.

By Becki from Backpack Becki. Catch up with Becki on Facebook at Meet Me In Departures.

17. Kayaking on Brighton Beach, UK

Kayaking on Brighton Beach is a beachy Sussex spot with lashings of seafront - Pic by Danni from Live in 10 Countries
Kayaking on Brighton Beach
Pic by Danni from Live in 10 Countries

One of the top things to do in Brighton and Hove is to take to the water – as its a  beachy Sussex spot with lashings of seafront. The water is nice and temperate between May and Sept, but you should know the locals actually plunge in on New Year’s Day as a way to cure their hangover. This is not recommended!

At the front you can do everything from diving between the wind farm sites on the horizon to boat trips, windsurfing and more.

The best, however, is kayaking, which is ideal for groups and a great bonding experience for friends and family. You can rent your sea kayak on Brighton Beach and the time of a well qualified instructor. Basically, it’s all there for you.

The beach is a great place to get some experience and an audience of sunbathers, but if you’re just getting started you might prefer Hove Lagoon in the west of the city. Safe from winds and waves, this is a great place to get your confidence up!

By Danni from Live in 10 Countries. Catch up with Danni on Facebook at Live in 10 Countries.

18. Scuba diving at Bunaken, Indonesia

Scuba diving at Bunaken is like diving in a tropical aquarium - Pic by Lisa from ScubaAroundTheWorld
Scuba diving at Bunaken, Indonesia
Pic by Lisa from ScubaAroundTheWorld

Bunaken is an island off the coast of North Sulawesi’s Manado. Bunaken’s top notch wall dives are famous and counted among the best dive spots worldwide.

The Bunaken Marine Park, established in 1991, was one of the first marine protected areas in Indonesia. Bunaken has a very rich marine ecosystem with over 2000 species of fish and 390 species of coral. Scuba diving at Bunaken is like diving in a tropical aquarium!

There are both low budget homestays and guesthouses as well as full board dive resorts on Bunaken and some more upscale resorts on Siladen Island. We stayed at Happy Gecko Dive Resort, which is owned by a Dutch lady and her local husband. It’s very reasonably priced and we really enjoyed it there with our 2-year old.

With around 30 dive sites around the 5 islands that make up Bunaken Marine Park, Bunaken caters to both beginners and advanced divers. The local guides are absolute geniuses at finding the tiniest of critters that live underwater.

By Lisa from ScubaAroundTheWorld. Catch up with Lisa on Facebook at ScubaAroundTheWorld.

19. Kitesurfing in Cape Town

Cape Town is a great place for learning and practicing water sports; surfing, kitesurfing, supping, bodyboarding, windsurfing and kayaking here you can find the whole range of different water activities.

Many locals do both surfing and kitesurfing as different seasons are good for different activities. Winter is a great time for surfing, around Cape Town off-shore winds dominate, more swell, water is clear and on a good day you can have  long rides.

Summer is a very windy time in Cape Town it’s a real paradise for kite and windsurfers, from November till March on the west coast section of Cape Town, past Blouberg the southeast wind blows across the beach, so the riders can tap the wind back and forth parallel the shore.

The best spots for kitesurfing in the city are around Blouberg Beach and Big Bay, every evening you can see many  people kitesurfing there.

It might be not the best place for learning in summer when the wind gets very strong. The best place not far from Cape Town for learning is Langebaan – a small beach town on the West Coast.

It’s located at the bay protected from the waves. Even in summer water around Cape Town is cold; between 12°C and 17°C wearing a wetsuit is compulsory.

By Campbell & Alya from Stingy Nomads. Catch up with Campbell & Alya on Facebook at Stingy Nomads.

20. Canoeing in Muskoka, Ontario

Canoeing in Ontario’s famed Muskoka region comes with many perks: clear blue lakes, pristine forests, and wildlife in their natural - often untouched - habitat - Pic by Eric and Lisa from Ontario Away
Canoeing in Muskoka, Ontario
Pic by Eric and Lisa from Ontario Away

If you want to go canoeing in Canada, there are few better places than in the classic “cottage country” region of the Muskokas, Ontario.

Stretching from Algonquin Park in the north to Georgian Bay in the west, there is an incredible network of lakes and rivers that cut through the region – creating a network of canoeing routes that can take days to explore.

Canoeing is not only a fun and relaxing sport to do, it’s a mode of transportation that dates back centuries. It was used by Canadian Indigenous peoples since there was no better way to cross the many lakes yet be light enough to pick up to cross over land as well!

Today, canoeing in Ontario’s famed Muskoka region comes with many perks: clear blue lakes, pristine forests, and wildlife in their natural – often untouched – habitat. The most popular lakes in the region — Lake Muskoka and Lake Joseph — are where you’ll find plenty of “wilderness outfitters”.

Here, you can rent your canoe, paddles, and other necessary gear for a day or longer on the water. Just be sure to grab a map, know your skill level, and always be safe on the water!

By Eric and Lisa from Ontario Away. Catch up with Eric and Lisa from Ontario Away on Youtube.

21. Kayaking in Cala Blava, Mallorca, Spain

Kayaking at Cala Blava in Mallorca - By Abby from TheWingedFork
Kayaking at Cala Blava in Mallorca

There’s nothing that’s more fun than water sports. But when it comes to kayaking in Mallorca, you don’t just have beaches to follow.

If you follow a particular stretch from Cala Blava to Cap Rocat, you can kayak or paddle into and around a number of rocky coves. In some of these caves, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks is all you can hear. Definitely one for the books!

I went on a guided tour along with my sis, brother and his wife, and a few others. But you can do this alone as well. Just rent a kayak and follow the coastline all the way to Cap Rocat. As long as you don’t get stung by jellyfish, you’re going to be fine. 😉

22. Scuba Diving in Sipadan, Malaysia

In Sipadan, you will find colorful coral walls and huge gorgonians while you spot dozens of turtles, sharks, Napoleon wrasse, stingrays, and of course the famous and huge school of barracuda - Pic by Miguel from Travelsauro
Scuba Diving in Sipadan, Malaysia
Pic by Miguel from Travelsauro

Voted as the best dive site in the world by many diving magazines and organizations, Sipadan is on the bucket list of every experienced diver. 

It was Jaques Cousteau, the famous marine explorer, who visited this island a few decades ago, discovering the submarine diversity of this little paradise. The island boasts many top-class dive sites, including Barracuda Point, Coral Garden and The Drop-off.

If you go to Sipadan, you’ll be diving among colorful coral walls and huge gorgonians while you spot dozens of turtles, sharks, Napoleon wrasse, stingrays, and of course the famous and huge school of barracuda.

READ NEXT  What to Eat in New Orleans - NOLA Favorites

To get there, you’ll need to travel to Semporna, located in the most eastern point of the Malaysian part of Borneo.

I highly recommend that you book your dive a few weeks before getting there as Sipadan is a protected area, and the local government only allows 120 divers per day.

By Miguel from Travelsauro. Catch up with Miguel on Facebook at Travelsauro.

23. Snorkeling with turtles in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Snorkeling with turtles in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia is the perfect location to relax after swimming with turtles - Pic by Greta from Greta Travels
Snorkeling with turtles in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
Pic by Greta from Greta Travels

If you’re looking for a destination that offers truly unique water sports opportunities, Gili Trawangan in Indonesia needs to feature on your 2019 travel bucket list.

Just off the coast of this beautiful island Indonesian island there is a stunning underwater world to discover. 

Close to the harbour of the island there are a lot of companies that offer turtle exploration excursions, or all along the beach you will find kiosks where locals will rent you snorkelling gear at cheap prices if you want to explore alone.

We had our doubts about how easily we could spot turtles alone, but they quickly went away after we jumped in the water and spotted turtles just after a 20 minute swim away from the beach.

Gili Trawangan is also the ultimate definition of chill island vibes; with lots of bars on the beach, no cars or scooters but only bicycles or horse carts to get around, stunning sunsets and lots of backpackers, it’s the perfect location to relax after swimming with turtles.

By Greta from Greta Travels. Catch up with Greta on Facebook at Greta Travels.

24. White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River in Zambia

White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River in Zambia is an adrenaline-high adventure - Pic by Niina from Bizarre Globe Hopper
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River in Zambia
Pic by Niina from Bizarre Globe Hopper

One of the most daredevil-like activities to do in Zambia is to go white water rafting on the Zambezi River. It takes courage to go paddling in a rubber raft down through the river’s volatile rapids that vary from grade 2 all the way up to grade 5.

The white water rafting indeed is not for the faint-hearted because the grade 5 rapids are the ones where everyone’s raft is guaranteed to flip over. And flipping over to the raging, white river is not a play.

You will have a life vest and a helmet, but sometimes situations may get dangerous. It’s an adrenaline-high adventure, but you have to recognize the risks, and based on that decide if you want to go.

The Zambezi River runs between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and it’s the 4th longest river in Africa. You can go rafting from both countries’ side, but we’d recommend Zambia.

By Niina from Bizarre Globe Hopper. Catch up with Niina on Facebook at Bizarre Globe Hopper.

25. Snorkeling in Belize

Belize is also a very popular diving destination, with spots like the Blue Hole and the White Hole bringing in thousands of divers every year - Pic by Stephanie from History Fangirl
Snorkeling in Belize
Pic by Stephanie from History Fangirl

My first experience snorkeling was at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley in Belize. Snorkeling in Belize is a great choice, since the Belize Barrier Reef System is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second largest barrier reef in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

While snorkeling, I saw dozens of nurse sharks. We even had to jump off the boat into a pool of them! They don’t bite, but it was still an intense experience. I also spotted several rays and a morae eel. That was intense as well, since I didn’t see it at first and it was close to my foot.

For those who want to do more than snorkel, Belize is also a very popular diving destination, with spots like the Blue Hole and the White Hole bringing in thousands of divers every year.

This is also a great place for first-timers, since they have a lot of experience teaching those new to water sports how to get their feet wet, so to speak.

By Stephanie from History Fangirl. Catch up with Stephanie on Facebook at History Fangirl.

26. Paddle Boarding in Anguilla

The best place to paddle board by far is Crocus Bay. Located on the northern part of the island - Pic by Fam OM from Travel Fun Fam
Paddle Boarding in Anguilla
Pic by Fam OM from Travel Fun Fam

There are 33 incredible postcard perfect white-sand beaches in Anguilla that one could easily admire and relax all day, every day.

However, something better than sunbathing on a beautiful beach is doing one of the many watersport activities offered on the island.

The calm and wave-less bays are ideal for Stand-Up paddle boarding specifically. There are many great locations across the island, but the best place to paddle board by far is Crocus Bay. 

Located on the northern part of the island, you will find Da’ Vida Restaurant where you can easily rent a board and paddle out about half a mile over to Little Bay; a quiet cove that can only reached by water or climbing down dangerous rocks.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert paddle boarder we consider Anguilla to be the best destination for anyone. The clear-blue and calm waters will make you fall in love with the blue tranquility.

By Mich & Charly from Travel Fun Fam. Catch up with Fam OM on Instagram at Travel Fun Fam.

27. Kayaking in Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard is absolutely stunning and it is best seen and witnessed from inside of a kayak - Pic by Megan from Megan Starr
Kayaking in Svalbard, Norway
Pic by Megan from Megan Starr

When people think of water sports, they often think of ones that can be done in warmer locations or somewhere in the tropics.  My mind actually goes back to Norway and my experiences from living there. 

One of the most unique settings for a water activity is actually on the island of Svalbard, an island so far north and detached from the Norwegian mainland that more polar bears call the place home than people! 

Glaciers dot the landscape and the climate and topography are extreme.  And naturally, the best way to view a lot of this incredible scenery is from inside of a kayak. 

In Longyearbyen, the main and most populous city on Svalbard (and it is also the northernmost inhabited town in the world), you can rent a kayak and explore the local area or you can go more extreme and go on a kayaking tour of Adventfjorden, a fjord that is surrounded majestically by mountains up to 1000 meters high on all sides. 

Svalbard is absolutely stunning and it is best seen and witnessed from inside of a kayak.

By Megan from Megan Starr. Catch up with Megan on Facebook at Megan Starr.

28. Cenote Diving in Tulum, Mexico

Diving in cenotes is a fascinating experience, there are a few fish and even a crocodile or two, but the water is eerily still - Pic by Claire from Tales of a Backpacker
Cenote Diving in Tulum, Mexico
Pic by Claire from Tales of a Backpacker

One of my favourite activities in Mexico was cenote diving in Tulum.  Cenotes are natural pools and cave systems formed when limestone bedrock collapses to leave a sinkhole which fills with water. 

They are found all over the Yucatan region of Mexico, with some of the best cenotes for diving around the picturesque town of Tulum.  Diving in cenotes is a fascinating experience, there are a few fish and even a crocodile or two, but the water is eerily still. 

There are no waves or currents in the cenotes, and usually, they are freshwater, but some have a mix of fresh and salt water.

Roots of mangrove trees reach down into the water like creepy fingers, and in some cenotes, you can even see the remains of Maya pottery, cast into the cenotes as an offering to the gods.  For any diver, cenote diving in Tulum is an experience you won’t forget!

By Claire from Tales of a Backpacker. Catch up with Claire on Facebook at Tales of a Backpacker.

I’ve just added so many more water sports to my bucket list. How many of these activities have you done? What water sport are you going to take up next? Comment and let us know!

Other Posts About Travel Around The World

Top water sports destinations around the world
Best Water Sports in the World
Best Vacation Spots for Water Sports - TheWingedFork