Are you fascinated by the underwater world and looking to explore it in a unique way? Whether you are a seasoned freediver or a beginner just starting out, there’s no denying that the world of apnea offers an incredible adventure. From encountering breathtaking marine life to experiencing the peacefulness of the deep blue sea. Freediving opens up a world of endless possibilities. If you’re wondering where to take the plunge, look no further. We’ve curated a list of the top freediving destinations for you. Join us as we dive into the best destinations for freediving.

Beautiful coastline of Italy showing why it is a top freedive destination.

1. Italy

We might as well start where, as folklore would have it, modern freediving came to be. It all started near Naples in 1949 when Raimondo Boucher set a new record by diving to 30m on a dare, defying the odds of being crushed by the pressure. Not surprisingly, soon after this accomplishment, the competitions began and so did the start of freediving as we know it today.

Italy lies in the heart of the Mediterranean. With over 350 islands off its coast and more than half of its border surrounded by the sea, Italy offers a diverse range of diving for all levels. The warm and clear waters coupled with calm conditions make it an ideal location for both beginners and experts alike. Whether you are interested in exploring archeological sites (click the button below), wrecks, reefs, or practicing line-diving, there’s something for everyone. So stop thinking about all the delicious food and find the perfect dive shop to get your certification or an instructor to teach you the techniques that will enable you to dive to new depths.

Whale shark off the coast of Thailand.

2. Thailand

While you might believe that the food and friendly people are the main attractions of this Southeast Asian paradise, don’t underestimate the vibrant reefs and amazing freedive community. The affordable travel, food, accommodations and attractions, combined with the region’s rich history and wide range of underwater landscapes, make it one of the top freedive destinations.

The southern coast of Thailand, with its numerous lush islands, offers warm water and year-round diving opportunities. The average water temperature of 28°C (82.4°F) allows divers to relax and enjoy the experience without shivering at the surface. If you want the best opportunity to not only improve your times and depths but also see some of the abundant marine life, visit between March and June.

Green sea turtle off the coast of Hawaii.

3. USA

As the third-largest country in the world, the United States provides divers the full gambit. From the crystal-clear waters of Florida to the rugged coastline of California, and the palm tree-dotted shores of Hawaii, there’s something for everyone. What truly makes the USA one of the top freediving destinations is the abundance of dive centers, instructors, and accessibility. Due to the sheer size of the USA, it’s crucial to have an idea of where you’d like to dive, as each of its 50 states is nearly the size of most countries. Here are some suggestions:


The coconut-kissed breeze of Hawaii offers divers the opportunity to swim right from the beach into the vast expanse of the Pacific. With spectacular visibility and the chance to see anything from passing pelagics to a myriad of colorful reef fish, this Polynesian enclave is always on the top diving destinations lists. It is also a year-round home to a wide variety of sharks, including the famed whale and tiger sharks. Whether you’re seeking a memorable training session or looking to hone your skills with a few more lessons from the local dive shops, the instructors know exactly where to take you.

Freediving the kelp forests of California's, Channel islands.


California on the other hand boasts the three-dimensional, light-ray-inducing allure of the kelp forests and all the species that call it home. The cooler waters are home to a plethora of marine life. From the sea otter dotted surface of Northern California to the clear waters of Catalina Island in the south. As a sport, freediving has exploded in California, making it easier than ever to find a shop for your next session.


On the opposite coast, lie the sun-kissed white sands of Florida. From the picturesque, postcard-worthy reefs of the Keys to the freshwater springs of the Panhandle, the “Sunshine State” offers freedivers a vast range of locations and skill levels. Additionally, there are caves, reefs, wrecks, and even abandoned oil platforms that have become artificial reefs. Divers of all levels can take advantage of the abundance of not only marine life but also dive locations here.

Top freedive destination, Cenote dos Ojos, Mexico.

4. Mexico

Mexico offers more than just tacos and tequila. Its treasures extend to its vast aquatic and cultural diversity. With over 7,000 miles of coastline and three distinct climate zones, Mexico provides an abundance of aquatic and cultural experiences that cannot be fully explored in a single trip.

Although diving is possible throughout the year, conditions may vary. The peak season for pelagic sightings is from December to May, but diving from June to November often offers better conditions. The average water temperature in the summer is almost 80°F (27°C) and between 68°F and 75°F (20°C and 24°C) in the winter, making for comfortable yet refreshing dives.

The cenotes and national parks are among the most significant attractions in Mexico. With top freediving locations like Tulum, Cozumel, Dos Ojos, and Cabo Pulmo, the list of dive sites is endless. Inexpensive accommodation and great food, combined with easy in-country travel, keep divers entertained and content as they can easily explore multiple diving locations and types in one trip.

Freediving in South Africa. Shark Hunting in the Sardine run.

5. South Africa

Wherever two bodies of water meet, the ensuing currents collide, creating the potential for some amazing pelagic encounters. South Africa is an excellent freediving destination for encountering whales, mega-pods of dolphins, and the world-famous sardine run, ensuring that it will be at the top of many freediving enthusiasts’ lists. From exploring the coral gardens and rock caverns along the shoreline to blue water drops with some of the top predators, including white sharks, South Africa is full of adventure!

During June and July, the waters surrounding KwaZulu Natal fill with sardines following the warmer waters. The huge schools of fish attract predators of all types and sizes, making for some exhilarating diving experiences. The water temperatures here can vary wildly from 57°F to 80°F (14°C to 27°C), depending on currents and location, so be prepared. The best time to dive with pelagic life, especially sharks, is from November to June. On the off chance that you can pull yourself away from the sea for a day, a little inland travel here can be the icing on the cake.

South Africa is on the wild side. The extra work it takes to reach some of the more remote locations makes freediving here that much more rewarding.

Large grouper on the reef shows why Australia is a top freedive destination.

6. Australia

Last but certainly not least on this list of the best freediving destinations is Australia. With such a vast area to explore, one can always find amazing diving spots. However, even in Australia, there is a season for everything. Freediving in Australia is popular year round, however the calmest sea conditions tend to be between July and February.

Freediving opportunities in Australia are endless, with wrecks, caves, seemingly endless reefs, and the Great Barrier Reef. One could dive here for several lifetimes and still be surprised. Additionally, Australia has a vibrant freediving community, with many clubs and organizations dedicated to the sport. These groups offer a welcoming environment for newcomers and provide a wealth of local information to get started with freediving.

Julian Rocks, Lord Howe Marine Park, Gordons Bay, and Shelley Beach are some of the best spots for freediving in the country.

Any one of these destinations for freediving will offer you everything you need to make it not just a memorable experience but a truly incredible one. With options ranging from freshwater caves to the limitless depths of open-ocean line diving, there is something for every level of diver. Whether you’re seeking to obtain your first certification, continue your education, or push yourself to new depths, each of these favorite destinations should be on your ever-expanding bucket list of dive trips. So, pack your gear and get ready for an unforgettable underwater adventure!

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