From swirling schools of fluorescent fish to massive manta rays, the underwater wonders of the Pacific rival the terrestrial treasures you know from postcards. We explore these marine marvels in living color, on snorkeling and diving excursions amid pristine seas that reveal a window onto oceans of the past. Dive into these unique underwater realms seldom seen by travelers.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, an epicenter of sea life, this reef system’s tapestry of corals harbors 1,500 types of fish, five of the world’s seven sea turtle species, seven kinds of giant clams, and much more.
Identified by National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project as one of the richest marine ecosystems on the planet, Palau’s undersea world has been protected by ancestral tradition for thousands of years.
Photo: Justin Hoffmann
Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
Dive into this submerged volcanic crater, where the shallow-water reefs and crystalline pools reveal up-close views of the lagoon’s many soft and stony coral species.
Photo: Michael S. Nolan
Rowley Shoals Marine Park, Australia
This marine park’s isolated location—nearly 200 miles from the Australian mainland—ensures that visitors are kept to a minimum and that the 233 species of coral found here are preserved.
Palmerston Island, Cook Islands
Our Zodiacs take travelers into Palmerston Island’s seven-mile turquoise lagoon to explore a 3,600-acre coral reef sheltering sharks, rays, migrating whales, and hundreds of species of fish.
David Doubilet & Jennifer Hayes, National Geographic Photography Experts