Chile is paradise for scuba diving fans thanks to its varied ecosystems and despite the cold Pacific waters of its central and southern regions.
Destinations within continental Chile, Iquique is known for its pleasant temperatures and weather conditions where diving can be practiced all year long. In calm waters you can find kelp forests, sea lions and attractive historic shipwrecks like the frigate Esmeralda and Independence.
Near Coquimbo, in Punta de Choros, is located Damas Island with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Here you can dive with Humboldt penguins, otters and an occasional bottlenose dolphin. This site highlights the presence of a variety of schools, algae and a fish collection representative of central Chile. And as the waters of Iquique you can meet the wrecked Almirante Lynch and a labyrinthine path of rocks.
In the Central Coast, in the Valparaíso Region, Los Molles beach highlights with great marine diversity. The seascape shows a beautiful mosaic of sponges. Also in the city of Valparaiso you can dive and meet a variety of algae, fish and sunken vessels.
Easter Island is a wonderful diving destination. Its waters are temperate, clean and crystalline and offer terrific visibility (between 40 and 60 meters). Here you’ll find a wide variety of colorful native fish as well as underwater caves that attracted Jacques Cousteau himself. One of the area’s advantages is that there aren’t too many divers. The best spots on the island are Anakena Beach, El Arca Perdida, Las Áncoras Reef (where you’ll find a submerged Moai statue) and Moto Nui Cliff, an 80-meter precipice adorned with coral.
Juan Fernández is home to another of Chile’s undersea paradises, with clear waters and a wonderfully dense fish population, as well as moray eels and lobsters. Don’t miss your chance to dive alongside playful Juan Fernández seals, of which there are more than 40,000. The seabed drops sharply to depths of 4,000 meters all around the island, but there are areas for beginners and more experienced divers alike. We recommend checking in advance to see if the lodging and diving conditions are adequate given that the area suffered a great deal of damage during the devastating tsunami of February 2010.
You can also dive at the southern tip of Chile, on the Strait of Magellan in Punta Arenas. This place has a rich history of shipwrecks, which is why diving tourism is heavily exploited. This area is under the influence of the current Cape Horn, which gives it a unique flora and fauna in the country.