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So you’ve taken the certification courses, gotten a bit of experience, and are ready to explore the world of underwater adventure. Scuba diving and traveling is a perfect match because the world’s best scuba locations are scattered around the globe! Scuba diving is the best way to see tropical fish, explore underwater shipwrecks, and get exercise in an extreme adventure environment. Whether you’re new to scuba or an experienced veteran just looking for your a little travel inspiration, these are some of the top destinations for a scuba diving vacation to consider.
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The city of Cozumel is easy to access for divers from all over the world and offers many guided tour experiences for beginner divers. This is an area to experience luscious coral reefs and colorful fish life, and exploring this underwater world is one of the best things to do in the area. It is a popular dive location, but to beat the crowds, you can head south of town to explore the reefs there. Popular dives in the area include Horseshoe on Palancar Reef and Punta Sur, which features unforgettable swim-through coral tunnels.
If you enjoy warm waters that rarely dip below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then consider Tobago as your next diving destination. Some favorite dive sites in this area are the London Bridge, Sisters, and Maverick wreck, as well as less-crowded sites like Blackjack and the Japanese Gardens. Both the Speyside sites and the south sites are worth a visit, and Tobago enjoys warm sunshine and ideal beach weather all throughout the year.
For U.S.-based divers, you don’t even have to leave the country to find a great dive. Head to Palm Beach County, Florida, for wrecks to explore and aquatic life encounters that are just a few strokes from the beach. There are dozens of dive sites along the county’s coastline, and this is becoming a favorite area for underwater photographers as well. Some recommended dives in the area include the Mizpah wreck, Amaryllis wreck, Juno Ledge, and Blue Heron Bridge. There is a lot to see and do in this area other than diving too, such as catching a baseball game and going kayaking on the Intracoastal Waterway.
There are many amazing dive sites around Thailand, which is why it’s becoming one of the most popular dive destinations in the world. Some of the top destinations here are the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui, as well as Pattaya and Koh Chang. Some recommended dives in Thailand are Bida Nok — with its eels, leopard sharks, and giant clams — and Racha Noi & Racha Yai, which are near Phuket and are home to whale sharks and large schools of tuna. Diving conditions in Thailand are typically good all throughout the year.
The Dominican Republic is another top diving destination, and one of the big draws here are the humpback whales that migrate through the area. The Silver Bank is between the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and winter is the prime time to dive in the area for humpback whale sightings. Keep in mind that many dive trips here only permit free diving and prohibit tank usage. However, some of the best marine animal sightings take place right on the surface anyway, so this is an ideal trip for diving beginners.
Grand Cayman is one of the most versatile dive locations in the world because it offers many opportunities for beginner, intermediate, and experienced divers. It’s also a family-friendly destination that has lots of reefs, wrecks, walls, and marine animal encounters. Some of the top sites here are the Trinity Caves, Eagle Ray Rock, and Orange Canyon. There are lots of resorts, restaurants and bars in the area to have a well-rounded vacation that involves much more than just diving.
Hawaii has continually been a favorite travel destination among divers, and Oahu is one of the best places in Hawaii to dive. This is a wonderful spot for divers who love exploring wrecks, and the most famous wrecks in the area are YO-257, San Pedro, and Sea Tiger. Each of these wrecks is near Honolulu and frequently visited by tour operators. The USS Nashua wreck site is more suitable for beginners, and divers often see pelagic sharks and dolphins swimming by during their time in the water.
Maldives is comprised of over 1,100 islands in the Indian Ocean and is home to some of the most beautiful seascapes on the planet. Current diving is the biggest thing here, so you’ll have the opportunity see lots of fish, manta rays, and sharks. The premier dive sites are located on North Male Atoll, Ari Atoll, and South Male Atoll. This is a great year-around travel destination with some luxurious resorts that take your tropical getaway to the next level.
Fiji is an island paradise for divers, beachgoers, and water sport adventurers. This is an excellent place to see turtles, corals, manta rays, and other species of aquatic life. One recommended island to dive from is Wakaya, which is near the Sunset Wall and home to corals and brightly colored fish. Some tour operators even provide accommodations to stay onboard a boat for a few days to get the most out of your diving vacation. Another great place to dive is along Namena Reef.
Not all of the top dive sites are in the Caribbean and Pacific. The Red Sea near Egypt is a wonderful dive destination, especially around the Blue Hole and Dahab area. These sites are easy to access and offer excellent visibility underwater. Unlike some other dive areas, the coral reef here is in very good condition because of the region’s climate and natural landscape features.
For a Mediterranean dive destination, consider Cyprus, which has warm and clear waters and diving opportunities for all skill levels. There are some sandy bottom dives here for beginners, and Zenobia is a favorite shipwreck viewing site. Dive season runs between March and November each year, and there are plenty of other local attractions to check out while you’re in the area. Some recommended dives to check out include the Amphorae Caves, Copper Reck, and the Chapel. Divers will often see loggerhead turtles, octopus, and crustaceans while diving around Cyprus.