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Diving opens up a whole new and glorious underwater world, where you can get up close and personal to brilliantly-hued tropical fish, colorful corals and perhaps even sea turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins and more. Whether you’re a novice, highly experienced or somewhere in between, plan a memorable scuba diving vacation at these top diving resorts that are some of the best on earth.
Anthony's Key Resort - Roatan, Honduras
Roatan, part of the Caribbean-side Bay Island in Honduras, is a water lovers paradise. Much of the island actually revolves around diving activities. And, Anthony’s Key Resort is renowned as one of Roatan’s best resorts. If you aren’t certified, you can also get your diver certification here as well as join island field trips, watch marine life shows and enjoy beach picnics. The resort offers dive and snorkeling packages that include dive and snorkeling excursions as well as accommodation in stand-alone bungalows and day trips to Maya Key and Island Fiesta Night on the Key. While on Maya Key, visitors have access to a beautiful beach ideal for snorkeling, as well as interactive presentations with sting rays, nurse sharks and sea lions, and an exotic animal rescue and rehabilitation center housing jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, and a variety of tropical birds. There are a number of shipwrecks located just off the island’s coasts that make for fascinating dives, and more advanced divers can also complete specialty certifications.
Boutique Hotel Ilio - Elba, Italy
Elba, the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, part of the largest marine park in Europe, boasts incredibly clear surrounding waters and an almost always stunningly brilliant blue sky. Hotel Ilio makes a great base for underwater explorations. A PADI dive center is just next door, offering diving trips where participants can drift among seahorses and coral sea fans as well as to explore the remains of ancient Roman merchant ships. The center also offers snorkeling tours with marine biologists, and swimmers will even find a variety of local fish swimming through vibrant seaweed in the shallows nearby.
Huvafen Fushi - North Male Atoll, Maldives
For divers and snorkelers, there are few better places to head than Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives, one of the best underwater hotels in the world. The resort is made up of over-water and land bungalows, and nearly all activities revolve around the underwater world. Experience incredible night snorkeling, which uses technology for illuminating all the treasures that lie beneath the water, get a bottle of vino from the underground wine cellar and indulge in underwater treatment rooms at the world’s first underwater spa. The resort offers multiple programs like discover scuba courses and water certification courses. Of course, you can always relax in between all the activities, lounging on the extraordinary, soft powdery sands and gaze at some of the most luminous cyan-blue waters you’ll ever see.
Four Seasons Resort Sharm el Sheikh - South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
The Four Seasons is renowned for offering the utmost in luxury, and the Sharm el Sheikh is one of its most alluring properties with multiple pools, a full-service spa, upscale dining and a spectacular Red Sea setting. Divers can explore 76 recognized dive sites within a day’s boat trip, offering drift, wreck, wall and night diving, while nearby Tirland Island features drift and mooring dives. Snorkelers can head to the House Jetty to embark on a snorkeling excursion, and kids can get an introduction to diving at the house reef. At Ras Mohammed National Park, full moon night dives are absolutely amazing with visibility up to a depth of 30 feet.
Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort - Marathon Key, Florida
If you don’t want to travel out of the country, Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in Florida is ideal. Perfect for families as well as divers and snorkelers of all types, you’ll find a 2.5-acre white sand beach and exceptional snorkeling sites just minutes away. This top family beach resort in Florida is a great place to visit The Turtle Hospital, located right next door. Unwind in one of the private, standalone beach houses that boast private entrances and large private porch, with turquoise water so close you can almost touch it.
Tanjong Jara Resort - Dungun, Malaysia
Tanjong Jara Resort is focused on the restoration of the body and spirit. It offers the chance to unwind and relax through rejuvenating treatments at the spa, as well as to participate in all types of adventurous activities, including water sports. The Water Sports Sports Centre can be reached with just a short speedboat trip, located on Tenggol Island, part of the spectacular Terengganu Marine Park. The island is famous for its tropical jungle and sandy white beaches, but mostly for its unspoiled coral gardens and rare marine life species that make it one of Malaysia’s very best diving destinations. There are more than 20 dive spots, renowned for its experiences for beginners, to exciting adventures for the more advanced. PADI open water certification can be arranged in this idyllic paradise that’s home to blue-spotted stingray as well as Moonraker, an especially awe-inspiring site with hard coral structures that soar 30-feet-high.
Zeavola Resort - Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Zeavola is ideal for divers of all skill levels. It features a saltwater training pool along with an experienced dive team and easy access to Phi Phi National Marine Park’s legendary dive sites. Visitors can swim with hawksbill turtles in Palong Bay, go on an unforgettable night dive in Nui Bay, experiencing the incredible magic of the bioluminescent “light show,” and visit the colorful gorgonian sea fans at Shark Point. After a day of play, back at the eco-friendly Zeavola, the tranquil spa offers an ideal place to relax and soothe sore muscles with a variety of treatments, while the on-site restaurant is perfect for easing hunger pangs with its outstanding classic Thai cuisine.
Blue Waters Inn - Batteaux Bay, Tobago
The aptly-named Blue Waters Inn was made for divers, tucked within a 46-acre tropical estate, boasting one of the most spectacular locations in Tobago. The historic beachfront boutique resort sits at the edge of a secluded private bay, with all of its rooms facing the ocean. While bird watchers are drawn here since it sits opposite of Bird of Paradise Island, a nature sanctuary, the main reason to come here is for diving. It features dive boats along with an expert staff that can transport divers to fabulous sites just minutes from the private dock. Advanced divers will appreciate London Bridge and Blackjack Hole while beginners will find Angel Reef ideal for testing the waters and searching for manta ray and parrotfish that call the area home.
Amankila - Bali, Indonesia
Amankila is in a picture-perfect location in eastern Bali overlooking Lombok Strait. The beautiful resort cascades down the hillside, with expansive views as well as the heavenly fragrance of island flora that drifts in on the pleasantly cool sea breezes. Freestanding suites, all with thatched roofs, canopied beds, double terrazzo vanities and patios with coconut-shell tables offer some of the most incredible views on the planet. Just below is the resort’s private stretch of sand with surrounding waters that are home to manta rays, oceanic sunfish and giant tuna. The guest assistants are ready and waiting to offer advice on the best places to swim with turtles and moray eels as well as to see the brilliant coral gardens laden with feather stars. They can also arrange for PADI certification courses for the chance to explore deeper depths and get up close to all sorts of marine creatures.
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Despite its relatively small size, Costa Rica is renowned for its abundance of marine life and diving spots, and the Four Seasons Resort is an ideal base for exploring it for those who are looking for a luxury diving vacation. It sits on the Pacific coast overlooking two golden sand beaches with its surrounding, nutrient-rich waters often filled with dolphins, whale sharks and humpback whales, and offers complimentary snorkeling equipment as well as scuba lessons and diving excursions. The resort also makes a good starting point for those who want to explore uninhabited Cocos Island, one of the world’s most-treasured diving spots, renowned for its Hammerhead, ray and dolphin sightings. It’s normal to see dozens, and sometimes even hundreds, of these animals on every dive.
Capella Lodge - Lord Howe Island, Australia
This breathtaking island in the Admiralty Island group sits in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, and is practically untouched by humans, with a tiny native population and only 400 tourists allowed to visit each year. The limit is in place to protect the jaw-dropping natural landscape of the island which is home to a beautiful crystal lagoon and the southernmost coral reef in the world as well as the exclusive Capella Lodge. Just a two-hour flight from Sydney and you’ll be in an entirely whole new world with lush rainforests, rugged volcanic peaks and crystal clear turquoise waters. The lodge can arrange a variety of dive courses and tours for exploring the multitude of underwater trenches, volcanic drop-offs and caves. There are over 30 dive sites in the Admiralty Islands, so you’ll have plenty to choose from. You also won’t want to miss visiting Ned’s Beach, where you can wade through shallow waters to feed massive kingfish and silver-drummers by hand.
Green Turtle Club - Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
Green Turtle Cay in the Outer Abacos is far away from the busy, mega-tourist destination of Paradise Island, a hidden treasure, where you can often enjoy an entire beach to yourself. This is the home of Green Turtle Club, with its dive center drawing guests from far and wide. Top-notch dive masters bring divers to an amazing array of underwater marvels, including dolphins, turtles, manta rays, lionfish, a variety of sharks and caves.
Half Moon, Jamaica
Jamaica is an ideal destination for beginners and less experienced divers, with its warm, ultra-clear waters and easily accessible location from the U.S. While the reefs have taken quite a hit, from both natural and human causes, thanks to multiple preservation efforts fish populations are beginning to thrive once again. Half Moon, in Montengo Bay, offers multiple dive trips to unique locations teeming with a variety of fish, caverns and coral through its dive center, as well as diving lessons, equipment rentals and PADI open water certification.
Bohio Dive Resort, Turks & Caicos
This intimate resort boasts beachfront rooms at the edge of transparent, cerulean seas. It offers the chance for some of the most outstanding diving on earth. Its pristine waters provide up to 150 feet of visibility, and you can expect to see a wide range of creatures, from seahorse, pipefish and batfish to barracuda, spiny lobster, turtles, dolphins and humpback whales. This premier dive resort is surrounded by a marine reserve with a multitude of dive opportunities from night excursions to wall diving and wrecks. After a day of fun, enjoy satisfying a hearty appetite at the gourmet restaurant or enjoy sipping drinks at the waterfront bar on Pillory Beach.
Palau Pacific Resort, Koror Palau
The ultimate tropical getaway, particularly for divers, Palau Pacific Resort sits on the western shores of Ngerkebesang Island in Palau, tucked within lush, exotic gardens with a picture-perfect white sand beach and the glistening Pacific at its edge. Guests enjoy a casual South Pacific style atmosphere along with strikingly clear waters with visibility of up to 150 feet as well as over 1,300 types of fish and more than 700 types of hard and soft coral. Divers can also explore dozens of World War II wrecks, including airplanes and Japanese warships. The advanced can even visit the shark-filled underwater ridge that plunges for thousands of feet, known as the Blue Corner. With a dive center located just in front of the resort, you can arrange trips to many of the most remarkable dive sites in Palau as well as the surrounding islands.