Top Ten Locations For Scuba Diving Around The World. There is nothing quite like scuba diving, it’s like taking a trip to another world… For the uninitiated there are plenty of beautiful and accessible locations around the world, and those who have their open water licence are always on the lookout for another scuba experience. Here we examine the world’s best scuba locations.
1. Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the worlds great natural marvels, stretching for around 2,600 kilometres along the side of Australia’s east coast. Cairns is the one of the best locations for dive tours but all the way down the coast there are numerous towns and islands where you can access the reef – The Whitsundays and Fraser Island being some of the best known. Variety of marine life is exceptional, massively diverse coral and the visibility is normally fantastic. If you want to start to scuba or you have your licence, you need to visit the Great Barrier Reef this lifetime… A full open water course is around AU$850 – a day’s dive is around AU$60 – 100.
2. Caribbean (Cayman Islands/Turks and Caicos)
The Caribbean is awash with excellent dive sites, but perhaps the best locations are the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. Excellent visibility combined with good variety of sea life – sharks, barracudas and all manner of coral – make these islands some of the scuba world’s dream locations. An open water course in Cayman Islands will be US$350 – 500 – or a single dive around US$100.
The seas off Hawaii are teeming with manta rays, sharks and at the right time of year, whales. With an excellent choice of dive schools too Hawaii should be on most scuba divers’ wish list. PADI certification varies between US$350 – 500 (2 or 3 day courses). A day’s dive for the experienced will be around US$100 all in.
4. Bali (Gili Islands)
The Gili Islands near Bali are one of the cheapest places to to learn to scuba dive – combined with phenomenal sea life and normally good visibility making the Gili Islands more than just great value for money! Full PADI certification can be awarded for around US$250 – normally taking around 4 days to complete. Many packages include accommodation so shop around. A days diving for those with PADI licence will be around US$30.
5. Mexico (Cozumel)
Cozumel on Mexico’s Caribbean coast offers some of the most cost effective scuba diving in North America. With around 19 offshore dive sites including tunnels and reefs, beautiful clear waters and abundant sealife including turtles and sharks, Cozumel offers plenty for the experienced and the learner. Those with licences can dive for around $60 for three days, full courses are around US$500. Visibility can be poor at certain times of the year, normally in the storm season.
As an archipelago of beautiful islands in the Pacific, of course Fiji is going to offer stunning dive opportunities. Excellent visibility, beautiful reefs, abundant sea life including game fish like sail fish and different species of shark. Full PADI certification can be bought for around US/AU$600 – 700. Shop around before you arrive as there are sometimes deals with accommodation.
7. Central America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Belize)
Similar to Mexico with the variety of sea life, but cheaper and with less people. Any of these countries offers an excellent opportunity to explore the sea. Open water certification in Costa Rica costs around US$400.
An up and coming dive location Mozambique is still relatively unspoilt by the influx of tourists – both the country and the seas. Combine a cut price safari with a cut price open water course for under US$300. Visibility varies from excellent to moderate and the sea life is as varied as you would expect in the Indian ocean, with sharks, rays and turtles to be seen.
Simply for the choice of dive schools and the price, Thailand is a good stop for those looking to learn. Turtles, a variety of sharks and a massive assortment of dive sites make places like Koh Tao one of the great places to learn to dive. US$250 normally nets you a 4-5 day dive course and accommodation. It can be very crowded though and visibility veers from poor to excellent.
If you’re taking a holiday in Dubai or Abu Dhabi then there is also some good diving to be had, including some excellent wreck diving. The sea life is still abundant although not as varied as in some places and visibility can be poor. The best diving is done at Musandam which is technically part of Oman. Full open water courses can be found for around US$300.