When we travel, we tend to discover the destinations we visit by land – and sometimes by air. And while there is certainly more than a lot to see this way, there is also an entire underwater world to explore off these destinations. Whether you are an advanced diver or a total beginner, there are countless places to go across the world where you can not only enjoy a relaxing vacation on land, but also jump into the water and familiarize yourself with spectacular underwater sites. and an enchanting navy. life. Here are six favorites from experienced globetrotting divers.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
In Playa del Carmen there is “a mix of beginner, advanced and technical diving – something for everyone,” said Rami Hatamleh, founder of Scuba Sensations. In winter, he noted, you may encounter eagle rays and bulldog sharks, the latter of which are a big draw for divers visiting this area.
But perhaps the biggest draw is the Yucatán Peninsula’s vast array of cenotes, or ancient natural sinkholes. “Cenotes are magical caves with crystal clear waters that feel like you’re in a whole different world,” said Jennine Cohen, general manager of global sales at GeoEx. Exploring this world through diving can be an amazing experience, although it is important to do your research ahead of time and make sure it suits your skills and comfort. According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), you don’t necessarily need advanced certification to dive in cenotes (according to the website, “as long as you maintain a minimum of natural light … anyone holding a basic scuba certification may head you into that underground environment ”); but if you are new to diving, get easily claustrophobic or dislike hiking to the cenote while lugging gear heavy diving might not be for you.
Bay Islands, Honduras
“Honduras is not usually the first destination travelers think of when it comes to scuba diving, but only a short ferry ride from the coast are the Bay Islands, which truly are a diver’s paradise. “said Ben Zweber, a certified advanced diver. and one of the bloggers behind Two stray soles. The islands of Roatán and Utila in particular, he added, are popular places for new divers to obtain certification. “With warm waters and incredible visibility, these islands are perfect for beginners,” he said. “And with a high chance of spotting whale sharks, there are plenty of reasons more advanced divers flock to these islands as well.”
Hatamleh specifically recommended the dedicated diving and snorkeling resort, CoCo View Resort. “The resort sits on its own small peninsula,” he said. “You have a feeling of estrangement, but you are not that far from civilization. ”
Better yet, for those who don’t have enough diving: “It’s unlimited diving,” he said. “There are boat dives for the day, but you can dive from shore 24 hours a day. You have a great mix of deep and shallow dives, reefs and walls, a wreck you can swim to from the shore [and] night dive. It’s perfect.”
Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands, each surrounded by dazzling blue water; and below the surface it just gets better. “It’s worth every penny, and so much more, to venture into Indonesia to scuba dive,” said Nikki Bruno, who has logged more than 500 dives around the world.
Komodo Island – home to the lizard of the same name, the enormous Komodo dragon – is a popular spot, especially for advanced divers (colder water temperatures and currents make dives more difficult) . “During one dive, we spotted a shark, dolphins, manta rays, a school of barracuda and many other fish,” Zweber said. “On another dive, our instructor counted 32 manta rays, my new favorite animal. Zweber recommended booking a cruise ship, which is a multi-day boat trip, to get the most out of your Komodo diving experience.
If you are still developing your diving skills, there are many other Indonesian spots you can visit, such as Lembeh Strait and Bunaken. The former, Bruno said, is ideal for muck diving; or explore areas where wildlife may hide among the sediment at the bottom of the site (rather than near a coral reef). “Diving in the mud is like a treasure hunt,” Bruno said. “When you first descend on the gray, muddy sand, you think, ‘Why the hell do people Pay dive here? But as you advance, well-camouflaged alien creatures emerge before your eyes and you discover that half of the species you see on a given dive will be new to you. Beginner divers will particularly appreciate the calm waters, shallow depths and long dive times in Lembeh. ” Bunaken, which Bruno says is suitable for beginners as well, can provide a completely different – but equally worthy – experience. “If … offer from the Lembeh Strait[s] a slow revelation of marine life in a mundane setting, the walls of Bunaken overwhelm divers with technicolor wonder, ”she said.
To get to the tiny island of Tsarabanjina, you’ll first need to fly to another island in Madagascar, Nosy Be – but the payoff is a dream vacation destination. and indelible diving experience. “The waters around Tsarabanjina are still relatively remote – it’s really only the resort’s customers who will be in the area,” said Starla Estrada, general manager of global sales on Africa at GeoEx. “[The island] also has one of the most professional diving teams in Madagascar. Guests can expect a classic tropical experience – white sand beaches, coral reefs, sunny skies [and] Hot water.”
Estrada said Tsarabanjina is doable for divers of all skill levels; and if you’re not looking to fill your entire itinerary with diving, you can pair your trip to Tsarabanjina with time on mainland Madagascar, where Estrada said you might encounter different types of wildlife, like lemurs.
This European island, located between the southern end of Italy and the northern end of Africa, offers numerous possibilities for diving in the surrounding Mediterranean waters. “Malta offers a range of scuba diving options for all ability levels, and the Mediterranean climate means it is possible to dive all year round,” said Alex Trembath, an advanced and co-certified diver. founder of Career Gappers. “However, what makes it a particularly attractive diving destination is the country’s history of involvement in conflict. The Maltese Islands are full of authentic war wrecks to explore, such as the HMS Maori, sunk at Grand Harbor in 1942 during World War II. It is also possible to dive around some of the country’s iconic coastal sites, such as the Azure Window ruins. [a rock formation that collapsed into the Mediterranean] and the Blue Grotto. Keep in mind that depending on Scuba diving magazine, some wreck dives may require advanced certification or skill testing. If you are unsure of the requirements or if your skills are up to par, contact the dive operators at the sites you wish to visit to discuss them before booking your trip.
Blue Corner, Palau
Palau in general is considered one of the best dive sites in the world, with stunning clear waters and abundant wildlife, much of which is protected thanks to the creation in 2015 of a huge marine sanctuary. But perhaps the best-known dive site is the Blue Corner, where reef walls are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including sharks, barracudas and more. Currents can be quite strong at the Blue Corner, so it is best for experienced divers; and, as PADI noted, divers typically anchor to (dead parts) of the reef so that the current does not take over. Lisa Niver, founder of We Said Go Travel, did just that. “The divemaster hooked us into the reef, and we literally hung on the current like kites as sharks and other underwater creatures swam close to us,” she said. “It was magical.”