Going on holiday can often feel like you’re exploring a new world but when you’re scuba diving, you really are! Some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet can be found underwater, and diving during your beach holiday is the perfect opportunity to start seeing it for yourself.
The best thing about scuba diving is that there’s plenty for everyone to see, no matter how much experience you have. If you want to try diving but you don’t want to devote your whole holiday to it, you can always do a taster dive with an instructor at one of the following destinations and see how you feel. Or if you want to jump in with both flippers, here are some of best places to learn:
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
Sharm el Sheikh has given Egypt one of the best reputations for scuba diving in the world. Not so long ago, you would have had to trek through the Sinai desert to learn to dive, but now there is a whole host of affordable luxury hotels in the area and plenty of dive centres that cater for beginners.
It’s the crystal clear water, vibrant corals and rare tropical marine life that attracts thousands of would-be divers to Egypt every year. Dive holidays to Sharm el Sheikh are so popular because there’s so much to do when you’re not diving. There are golf courses, casinos, shops, discos, restaurants and you can even explore the desert on the back of a camel!
Top Things to See: Sharks, dolphins, rays, lionfish and the wreck of British ship the Kingston.
Mexico is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. The huge range of shallow reef dives in warm, tropical waters means it’s the perfect place for beginners. You could even do your Open Water PADI course. This is the qualification that lets you organise your own dives. It’s quite intense but easily done in less than a week on a holiday to Cancun.
Spend your downtime enjoying mouth-watering Mexican food, discovering Mayan ruins or exploring the amazing caves of Tulum.
Top Things to See: Lemon sharks, sea turtles and the spooky Underwater Museum.
Florida Keys, USA
The diving in Florida is unbelievably varied with salt water, fresh water and cave driving all available. Key Largo is probably the most popular area for beginners and some dive centres even offer 6 dives with a PADI Open Water course – 2 more than you’d usually get for the price elsewhere in the world.
Key Largo is also right next to the Everglades National Park if you fancied seeing some amazing wildlife above the waves and enjoying a white-knuckle ride on an airboat. Plus there’s Disneyworld to visit if you want to keep the kids entertained.
Top Things to See: Manatees, barracuda, eels, eagle rays and turtles.
For more information about diving holidays, check out our recent interview with Sport Diver Editor, Mark Evans.