During the month of October, a lot of dive destinations are transitioning between seasons. This change can make choosing the right place to go a little bit more complicated. However, if you look hard enough, you’ll find options to satiate every underwater interest. Whether you’re looking in the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere, one of the top scuba diving destinations in October is sure to please.

From swimming with hundreds of manta rays in the Maldives to getting up close with sharks in the Seychelles, the Philippines or Sudan, there are plenty of countries capable of delivering a truly memorable trip. Furthermore, you can find great muck diving in Bonaire, playful sea lions in Mexico, or have a chance of witnessing an unmissable natural phenomenon on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Ready to jump into a diving adventure? Here are our picks for the top places to go scuba diving in October.

1. Baa Atoll, Maldives

For manta ray lovers, there is no better place to go in October than the Maldives. In particular, you’ll want to head for Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll.

Each year from May to November, the Maldives experiences a Southwest Monsoon. Conditions caused by the monsoon create a lunar tide that in turn provides a large concentration of plankton inside Hanifaru Bay. Naturally, this attracts a huge number of filter feeders so that you can swim with up to 200 manta rays and whale sharks, if you’re lucky.

While you can snorkel in Hanifaru Bay from a land-based resort, you’ll see the best dive sites in the area and get the most October diving for your dollar only with a liveaboard.

A blue-spotted ribbontail ray sitting on a sandy seabed in the Red Sea, one of the best places to scuba dive in October

2. Oman

A relative newcomer to the liveaboard diving scene, Oman delights visitors with several excellent diving areas, including the Musandam Peninsula, the Daymaniyat Islands, and the Hallaniyat Islands.

During October, you can find itineraries in all of the three major diving areas. And, occasionally, you’ll find two of them combined into one trip during the 10th month as boats move to reposition themselves for the change of seasons.

From October to February, Oman experiences a very pleasant mix of mild air temperatures and warm water of approximately 83°F (28°C). Visibility can be diminished, but that means October is one of the best months for spotting whale sharks in Omani waters.

If you’re ready to dive off the beaten path and would like to spot a whale shark, choose Oman as your October scuba diving destination.

A shark from diving in a live aboard while on vacation in October in Sudan

3. Sudan

Heading northwest from Oman, Sudan is also a great scuba diving destination in October. It’s essentially a year-round destination, but late autumn provides a nice mix of above-the-water temperatures and pelagic marine life.

October and November are the best months to spot thresher sharks and manta rays throughout Sudanese waters.

Although Sudan does not have the same number of dive shops as its northern neighbor Egypt, this part of the Red Sea can be dived by liveaboard or by using one of the PADI dive centers along the coast. The dive centers in Sudan offer five-star diving to those who prefer a land-based holiday, while liveaboards allow travel to remote dive sites for a more exploratory adventure. However, high demand and a limited number of boats mean that itineraries sell out quickly during the month of October. So be sure to book your holiday sooner rather than later.

A thresher shark, which can be seen in the Philippines while diving in October

4. The Visayas, Philippines

When liveaboard boats in the Philippines aren’t busy in Tubbataha, most travel up and down the Visayas, touching Cebu and Malapascua in the process. While you can usually find somewhere to dive in the Philippines year-round, October is the end of typhoon season, so it’s the right time to snag a great deal on a liveaboard in the Visayas region.

While in Malapascua, you’ll have the opportunity to dive with thresher sharks. Monad Shoal is one of the most reliable places on the planet to observe these wild-tailed creatures. In addition, you’ll see brilliant tropical fish and healthy coral reefs surrounding the island.

The Visayas are generally well-protected from typhoons by other islands, and the weather in Malapascua should be great for diving in October. Even still, it’s probably a good idea to take out travel insurance for your trip, just in case.

A diver in the waters of Bonaire, a great location for diving in October

5. Bonaire

Let’s not beat around the bush. Bonaire has some of the best diving in the world, and it’s perfect for beginners. There’s epic night diving, awesome macro critters, and one of the best wreck dives in the world. And almost everything is accessible from shore.

There’s not really a bad time to dive Bonaire. Its location in the southern Caribbean spares it from most hurricanes, and there are few seasonal changes. However, April to November represents the dry season with calm sea conditions and warm temperatures above and below the water.

If you’re looking for one of the best Caribbean destinations in October, and one that is feasible during hurricane season, look no further than Bonaire.

The azure waters and sandy white beaches of the Seychelles, one of the best destinations for scuba diving in the fall

6. Seychelles

About 1,000km (621 miles) northeast of Madagascar, these 115 tropical islands have ample delights on offer, whether you’re on land or liveaboard. At this time of year, you’ll also enjoy some of the calmest wind and sea conditions. This is undoubtedly one of the best travel destinations in October.

With mixed depths and easy diving, the 41 inner granite islands are well-suited for both beginners and seasoned divers. There’s an abundance of corals and creatures, including octopus, parrotfish, butterflyfish, stingrays, and reef sharks, to name a few. Mahé, the largest island, is home to some excellent wrecks and a great place to see migrating whale sharks. The 74 outer atolls and islands feature dramatic drop-offs, drift dives, and the world’s second-largest coral atoll, Aldabra. Look out for sailfish, turtles, manta rays, and bigger sharks, including hammerheads.

October waters are a balmy 81-84°F (27-29°C) with 100ft/30m+ visibility, making this one of the best vacations in October. Explore the Seychelles, and you’ll see why it earned the nickname ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’.

best wreck dives usat liberty bali indonesia

7. Bali, Indonesia

There are great reasons Bali is often rated one of the best travel destinations, and many of them lie below the crystal blue sea. In October, divers can choose between dive shops and liveaboards in Bali to drift with manta rays and Mola molas.

Additionally, migratory sharks are more likely to be off the coast of Bali in September and October. Diving in Bali can come with additional adventures as divers can traverse to the sites in various locations. 

With reefs, wall dives, muck diving, the famous Liberty Wreck, and conservation diving opportunities, there is something for everyone on this beautiful island. On surface intervals, make sure you enjoy the delicious food, nightlife, and land-based adventures, like rafting. October marks the end of the dry season and is a great time to explore this beautiful paradise.

The annual mass coral spawning event - a natural marvel and a top reason to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef

8. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Stretching 2,300km (1,429 miles) along Queensland’s coast, the world’s largest coral reef is brimming with over 1,500 fish species. If that wasn’t enough, then visit in October for the start of turtle breeding season and the chance to witness one of nature’s greatest reproductive displays.

A few days after October’s first full moon, when temperatures are right and darkness falls, around 600 species of coral release millions of eggs and sperm. The resulting ‘snowstorm’ can create coral spawning slicks many kilometers long and is an astonishing sight to behold. The GBR also lays claim to world-famous wrecks and reefs, as well as a plethora of life, including pufferfish, seahorses, lionfish, barracuda, rays, sharks, morays, dolphins, whales, and so much more.

The annual mass coral spawning event begins in October around the inner reefs, while the outer reefs follow in November or December. Australia‘s dry season has the best weather, but it’s also the busiest time, so book early.

best scuba diving destinations papua new guinea

9. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is located in the Coral Triangle. Circled by the Bismarck, Coral, and Solomon Seas, there is a lot to see in the country. Divers can explore wall dives, a plethora of coral reefs, World War II wrecks, and seagrass beds. The best diving in the Bismarck Sea is around May to November, with manta ray season starting in September. With warm water, between 77-86°F (25-30°C), around the island and incredible visibility, divers will find it easy to enjoy these beautiful dive locations.

October isn’t peak tourism season. And the large, dividable area means you likely won’t run into other dive groups underwater when on vacation in October.

Additionally, don’t forget to pack your camera and some extra lenses! Diving in Papua New Guinea is famous for gorgeous macro photography and wide-angle shots. Jungles and mountains offer great photo opportunities when you are topside as well.

10. Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Nestled between the Baja California Peninsula and mainland Mexico, the Sea of Cortez entices visitors from all over the world with its vibrancy above and below the water. Bringing warmer waters and heightened shark action, October is one of the best times to visit.

Dubbed the ‘world’s aquarium’ by Jacques Cousteau, this sea is home to rays, dolphins, marlins, and nearly 1,000 fish species splashing color onto an epic canvas of rocky topography. In particular, October is prime time for whale sharks and hammerheads. Near La Paz, another top attraction is Los Islotes’ 400-strong colony of sea lions. These ‘puppies of the sea’ jostle for position in front of cameras, nibble on fins, and create all-around merriment for anyone who visits.

The Sea of Cortez offers year-round diving, but liveaboard season falls between August and November. Diving in October also promises the best visibility (80ft/25m+) and water temperatures between 79-86°F (26-30°C).

A yellowbar angelfish swimming above a colorful tropical coral reef, and just part of the best diving in October

Celebrate Halloween During Your October Dive Trip

Remember that the 31st of October is the spookiest day of the year — Halloween. And while being underwater may not allow for traditional trick-or-treating, there are still plenty of fun and fright-filled ways to celebrate All Hallows Eve. From seeking out the world’s spookiest dive sites to dressing up for the occasion, here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Find Creepy Crawlies – Setting out in search of some of the ocean’s creepiest residents is a great way to celebrate Halloween. Even though a lot of the weirdest residents live well below recreational diving limits, there are still plenty of cool critters to be found within them. Bobbit worms, sarcastic fringeheads and wolf eels can all be found nearer to the water’s surface.
  • Underwater Pumpkin Carving – Even if you’re diving, there’s no reason you can’t partake in a pumpkin carving contest. You can find PADI dive resorts and scuba clubs across the globe offering the opportunity to test out your pumpkin carving skills underwater every October 31st. 
  • Costume Diving – Yes, you can even partake in a costume contest during your Halloween diving. In fact, some dive shops and resorts host their own competitions to see who can come up with the best Halloween-inspired underwater attire.
  • Take a Halloween-Inspired Specialty – Did you know that there’s a distinctive speciality which has been designed to help you deal with a zombie apocalypse? Additionally, there’s no better time to take the PADI Zombie Apocalypse Diver distinctive specialty than around Halloween. Plus, if you are really concerned about the possibility of an apocalypse, check out PADI’s horror movie survival guide for some more top preparation tips.
  • Try Fluorescence Diving – Probably more awe-inspiring than fear-inducing, fluorescence diving is some of the coolest night diving you will find. Enjoy all the colors of the rainbow as you night dive in one of these memorable marine environments. 

PADI Travel Eco Collection includes dive resorts and liveaboards that champions sustainable practices, cultivates environmental awareness, empowers local communities and protects marine life.

The Best Dive Resort Destinations in October

Are you looking for a top dive resort to visit this October? No problem. Here is a selection of the top dive resort destinations in October:

a while and blue scuba liveaboard boat with a smaller dhoni boat

The Best Liveaboard Destinations in October

October is a great time to explore the underwater world via a diving boat. Here are our top destinations for liveaboard exploration during the tenth month of the year:

Explore the Best Scuba Diving in October

See a destination that interests you? Or want more advice on where to dive in October? Download the PADI Adventures App for further inspiration. Alternatively, call or live chat directly on the PADI Travel webpage to speak with one of our scuba diving experts today!

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