From barrier reefs and blue holes to seabed sculpture parks, we don our wet suits and explore 5 of the best underwater attractions.

Great Barrier Reef,

Australia the world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, is under threat from a recently approved coal port and may be downgraded by UNESCO as an endangered World Heritage Site. But for now, this 1,400m (2,300km) reef, which can be seen from outer space, remains one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Its kaleidoscopic coral shelves are home to an abundance of marine life including turtles, sharks and more than 1,500 species of fish.

Underwater Sculpture Park,

Grenada Imbued with beautiful beryl blues, Grenada’s dazzling west coast becomes all the more spectacular when you dip below the waves and discover its sunken art museum. The Underwater Sculpture Park, featuring installations by Jason deCaires Taylor and Troy Lewis, is located on the seabed and is the first of its kind. Man on a Bike, a life-size gent cycling along a reef, and Ring of Children, a circle of kids holding hands, are among the inspiring artworks that double up as a substrate for marine life.

Galapagos Islands,

Ecuador A miracle of Mother Nature, the Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most diverse marine life on the planet. The archipelago’s unique flora and fauna – Galapagos penguins, Galapagos sharks, marine iguanas and many more – have evolved in isolation from the rest of the world, inspiring Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution there. For whales and sharks, the best time to visit is between June and September.

Belize Barrier Reef, Belize

Charles Darwin described it as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies,” a statement that still rings true today. Forming part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, this underwater World Heritage Site is home to a cornucopia of marine life, including 500 species of fish and 106 species of coral. The jewel in its crown, though, is the Great Blue Hole, a large submarine sinkhole that attracts divers and snorkelers from around the world.

Ithaa Restaurant, Maldives

 If you’re looking for a seafood restaurant with a difference, Ithaa might be for you. This underwater eatery in the Maldives turns the aquarium theme on its head, exhibiting diners to the local marine life in a transparent dining room. The first of its kind, Ithaa seats just 14 guests at a time, who can quaff their way through a six-course seafood dinner in full view of nosy – and, presumably, disapproving – fish.