Scuba diving continues to increase in popularity as we all look to get more from our holiday experience, get active and learn something new. With the added attraction of a magical underwater world to discover, few look back from the experience of taking their Open Water course. For many, it is the ticket to a lifetime of adventure.
Choosing the right destination to learn to dive is crucial and there are many factors to consider. The professionalism of the dive centre, safety, access to suitable dive sites for student divers and consistent underwater conditions are just some of the factors to consider.
Here, we give our tips on the top ten diving destinations for beginners.
Back on the map, Sharm el Sheikh has all the ingredients for the perfect learn to dive holiday. Just 5 hours from the UK and Europe this area boasts a range of sites that are perfect for beginner divers with safe, shallow coral reefs on which to get comfortable with being underwater. Add in professional dive centres, year round sunshine and great marine life and it is not hard to see why Sharm kicks off our list.
Possibly Europe's premier dive destination, the Mediterranean islands of Malta & Gozo feature excellent dive centres and a range of shore diving sites well suited to those looking to learn to scuba dive. Spend your time on one island only, or extend your holiday to combine both. A great choice for those on a tighter budget.
Conveniently located less than an hour south of Hurghada and with a range of convenient and cost effective flight options, Soma Bay is another winning option. Boasting an award winning dive resort and excellent facilities, the house reef provides ideal conditions for training dives. As your get your confidence, a range of suitable dive sites are also available a short boat ride away.
Another excellent value option with many direct flights, Lanzarote arguably offers the best diving in the Canary Islands and is well suited to those looking to take their Open Water course. Based on a family friendly sandy beach, our award-winning partner dive centre is blessed with suitable dive sites starting right from the shore.
Dubbed the Spice Island of the Caribbean, Grenada is blessed with year-round sunshine and ideal conditions for learning to dive. Oozing charm, Grenada has extremely professional dive centres and plenty of dive sites suitable for the beginner. More adventurous souls should stay longer to check out Grenada's lesser known twin Carriacou, known as the land of reefs.
World-famous for its picture perfect atolls and azure blue waters, the Maldives has been a diving mecca for years. Learning to dive here is more expensive than other destinations, but the rewards are plentiful. Well established, professional dive centres offer very high levels of tuition, with excellent shore diving available from the best dive resorts. Providing diving opportunities on a par with many more remote spots in the Maldives, we recommend using the North or South Malé atolls as a base to learn, leaving some of the outer atolls to explore once you are qualified divers.
Possibly less well known for its diving than some of the other destinations on this list, Oman never-the-less has much to shout about. Year-round sunshine and good flight options combine with excellent diving just a short distance from the country's capital, Muscat. European dive centres provide a high standard of tuition, with a good choice of dive sites available to suit those new to the sport.
This group of islands in the central Philippines offers a range of great options, many of which can be combined to make a longer holiday. One could head to the vibrant reefs of Bohol to learn to dive with highly professional European-run dive centres, before exploring the delights of Moalboal, Malapascua or beyond. The choice is yours! Warm, tropical waters, wonderful marine life and a friendly welcome add to the appeal for new divers.
With outstanding Caribbean beaches and fascinating archaeological sites, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has plenty to enjoy and inspire topside, but that's not where the appeal ends. The coastline around Puerto Aventuras and the island of Cozumel offer wonderful reefs and great conditions for beginners. You'll be looked after every step of the way by an experienced, professional dive team to get your diving odyssey off to a flying start.
Located just off the coast from Manado and easily reached from the UK and Europe, Bunaken National Marine Park offers everything a beginner diver could possibly wish for. This region boasts a wonderful climate, while the warm tropical waters are famed for their colourful coral corals and marine life. One of Indonesia's most famous diving areas, Bunaken has a range of outstanding dive resorts offering professional instruction and excellent facilities. Oh, and don’t forget to look out for turtles!
If you are considering learning to dive, get in touch with our friendly team of dive professionals today on 01353 659999. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have and advise on the best options for you.
With over 30 years' experience, we tailor our holidays to suit your precise needs. Our small, dedicated team offer a personal and attentive service to ensure every detail of your holiday is covered.