6 Of The Best Places In The World For A Scuba Diving Holiday

After the two years we’ve all endured, of lockdowns and isolation, of closures and restrictions, suddenly dry land doesn’t seem to appeal all that much. To truly, comprehensively escape from the trial and tribulations of terra firma and find a moment’s peace away from it all, how does a scuba diving holiday sound?

Since 71% of the world is covered by water, with oceans holding 96.5% of the planet’s water, we’re not exactly short on fantastic destinations for scuba diving here on earth. If you’re keen to narrow down your itinerary, then you’ve come to the right place; here are 6 of the best places in the world for a scuba diving holiday.

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF 

We had to start here. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, and it can be found in Australia. This destination has over 900 islands and 3000 reefs that are home to thousands of marine species including turtles, dolphins, manta rays, sharks, and dugongs (related to manatees). The diversity of sea life in this area is so prevalent that there are at least 200 different types of corals alone. With so much variety you can scuba-dive in this area for your entire life and still see something new with every trip. 

Read: 5 adventure activities to experience on your holiday to Queensland, Australia

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

THE MALDIVES 

The Maldives is a small country with over 1,000 islands. The scuba-diving in this destination can be done from the shore as well as aboard a boat to reach even more remote areas of the atolls and reefs that surround many of these islands. Some of the greatest dive sites in the world are within the 200+m visibility range along with an amazing array of sea life. With so much to see it will take years to explore everything near this destination.

A scuba diving getaway in the Maldives offers something for every level of diver, from beginner to expert. There are many liveaboard boats available that will take you to some of the more remote dive sites that are only accessible by boat. These boats provide all of your meals and accommodation, as well as tanks and weights, so all you need to bring is your dive gear.

Photo by Jailam Rashad on Unsplash

THE CARIBBEAN

Caribbean diving can also include both shallow dives for recreational divers as well as deeper dives for those who have achieved certification to do so. This vast area is home to marine habitats from coral reefs, shipwrecks, and the occasional sea mountain. The biodiversity in the Caribbean is amazing with over 25% of marine life being endemic to this region. 

Popular scuba diving tours here will leave you breathless (actually, perhaps that’s the wrong term!). There are many different types of diving available in the Caribbean, depending on your desired level of challenge and your bravery, but perhaps our favourite destination is Cozumel, a Mexican island brimming with brilliant diving opportunities.

Aside from the world-class diving and heritage sites, the Punta Sur Ecological Park (which includes the island’s best beach) covers 2500 acres and contains a rich ecosystem, including crocodiles in the marshland, sea turtles close to the shore and exotic plants native to Cozumel. 

You’ll also love diving in Belize, which is home to the Belize Barrier Reef, the world’s second-largest coral reef and one which is just too good to miss. A water taxi from the capital, Belize City, to the famous (and frightening) Shark Alley Reef should only take about an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s not only about swimming with sharks though, the Southern stingray is an even bigger draw to scuba and snorkelling enthusiasts.

Read: 5 IDEAL Caribbean destinations to visit

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

VANUATU’S ESPIRITO SANTO ISLAND

Located in Vanuatu, northeast of Australia in the South Pacific ocean, you will find Espirito Santo Island which is also known as “the hidden gem” of Oceania. You can dive both in the lagoon or at one of the wild beaches around the island for an amazing experience no matter what time of year you choose to go. 

Espirito Santo Island and the surrounding area are home to many species of turtles, reef sharks, and even whale sharks that can be spotted from May through October each year. The diversity of life around this island is what draws divers from all over the world to explore the waters here.

Photo by Mariano Carpentier on Unsplash

SIPADAN, MALAYSIA

Located in Sabah, Malaysia, this island is known to be one of the best dive sites globally and is the country’s only oceanic island, formed by living corals and extinct volcano. Beginners and keen divers alike will find the visibility excellent and the waters teeming with life, from bright fish and spiraling schools of barracuda to turtles, schooling reef sharks, dolphins, and precious corals filling the underwater world. 

Note that here, you’ll need to have a permit to be able to dive around the island (just 120 permits are issued per day) and you won’t be able to stay on the island. As such, many tourists here choose to stay on the nearby islands of Kapalai and Mabul so the diving of Sipadan is as accessible as possible for day-to-day diving excursions.

Photo by Johnny Africa on Unsplash

PALAU

The main attraction in Palau (part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean) when it comes to scuba-diving is Jellyfish Lake, where you can swim with millions upon millions of golden jellyfish while taking a guided tour of one of the 7 underwater lakes located there. When visiting this destination you will feel like you’ve ventured into another world with all that you get to see. Being surrounded by so many different kinds of sea life makes Palau one of the best places on Earth for divers!

Palau is a country filled with many pristine dive sites. The best island for scuba diving is also the capital, Koror. Jellyfish Lake has seven different types of jellyfish plus plenty of fish swimming around them to make it an unforgettable experience. There are three other lakes where you will find even more species of jellyfish.

Photo by Johnny Africa on Unsplash

SAFETY MEASURES & EQUIPMENT

If you’re thinking of trying out scuba-diving for the first time, it’s always best to do your research beforehand. Try getting in touch with people who have done similar dives and ask more experienced divers about what safety measures to be aware of before entering the water. Also, keep in mind that underwater conditions can change quickly so remain alert during your dive.

When it comes to scuba diving equipment, there are a few essentials that you will need in order to enjoy your dive. 

Mask 

A good mask is important for two reasons – it keeps the water out of your eyes and nose, and allows you to see clearly underwater. 

Fins

Fins help you move through the water more quickly and easily, allowing you to cover more ground. 

Wetsuit 

A wetsuit provides insulation and buoyancy, keeping you warm and afloat. 

Boots

Boots keep your feet warm and protect them against sharp objects on the ocean floor. 

Gloves 

Gloves protect your hands from cuts, stings, and even cold water. 

Learn more about diving equipment and scuba accessory must-haves here.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It can be a thrill to embark on unknown waters, and these 7 places are some of the best in the world for doing just that. Good luck and happy diving!

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