Fabulous Powder-blue Surgeonfish occur on many coral reefs around the world. These were photographed in the Seychelles by Marie-France Grenouillet.
The destinations listed and linked below are the ones we believe are the best in the world for shallow water coral reefs.
If there are any other destinations you think should be on the list then please Email us.
The destinations are listed alphabetically with very brief summaries. For more details click on the destination name.
Australia - Eastern (Queensland)
The Great Barrier Reef!
Australia - Western
Ningaloo Reef, famous for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks, but also rich in other fish.
One of the best places in the world to swim with dolphins, as well as sharks, Sting Rays and many more fish.
500 fish species on a 300 km long barrier reef, the second longest in the world, with cayes, small islands surrounded by reefs.
Superb reefs especially around the islands of Lankayan, Mabul and Sipadan, and the atoll of Layang Layang help make this A Top Ten Destination.
The tiny island famous for its Red Crabs is surrounded by a fringing reef.
Thousands of cays and lots of colourful fish.
Quintessential tropical islands with about 1000 fish species living around them.
Cold water penguins swimming with warm water tropical fish.
The Bay Islands fish species include Whale Sharks.
The wildlife below the Indian Ocean is as spectacular as the wildlife on land hence this is the best overall wildlife experience in the world and therefore A Top Ten Destination.
Komodo - Indonesia
Over a thousand fish species in a large 'protected' area.
Malaysia - Malay Peninsula
Some of the best coral reefs in the region.
Hundreds of coral atolls and hundreds of fish species including Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.
Mexico - Southern (Yucatan)
One of the best places in the world to swim with Whale Sharks.
Especially good for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks.
Arguably the largest and most beautiful coral lagoon in the world, inside a 1600 km long barrier reef, where about 2000 fish species live.
One of the best areas in the Middle East, renowned for big fishlike groupers.
Palau and Yap - Micronesia
One of the best places in the world to snorkel or scuba-dive with Manta Rays.
Coiba NP's reefs are particularly impressive and support Manta Rays.
Papua New Guinea
Some of the richest coral reefs in the world, with 900 fish species around Walindi Dive Resort on New Britain for example.
Numerous islands with adjacent reefs, pristine in places and alive with coral and fish.
Island paradises completed by the fantasy fish living around them.
Numerous fish species around the coral islands such as Bird and Denis.
South Africa - Eastern
Over 1200 fish species on the Aliwal Shoal alone. A particularly good area for sharks.
Sulawesi and Halmahera - Indonesia
Some of the richest and most pristine coral reefs in the world lie to the east, at places such as Bunaken Marine Park and the Lembeh Strait.
Tanzania - Northern
The sea life around the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia together with the greatest diversity and numbers of large mammals on Earth help make this A Top Ten Destination.
Thailand - Southern
Many top sites including the Similan Islands, regarded as one of the top scuba-diving destinations in the world.
Trinidad and Tobago
Tobago's nutrient-rich waters support healthy, multi-coloured corals and fish.
West Papua - Indonesia
The islands of the Raja Ampat Archipelago, including Batanta, Salawati and Waigeo, where Wilson's Bird-of-paradise lives, lie in an area with the greatest concentration of marine life in the world, with over 1300 fish species, twice as many as there are in the Red Sea and the Caribbean.