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With our planet being over 70% water, there is so much to explore. When you learn how to scuba dive, you’ll see destinations in a way you might not have thought possible before. Discover a world of colors, shapes, and creatures that you won’t find on land by getting your open water certification at one of the coolest dive destinations in the world.
Why go: Great visibility, warm water, ideal for divers on a budget.
What you might see: Sharks, sea turtles, rays.
With crystal clear water that is warm all year round, a coral reef second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef, and amazing marine life, the tropical paradise island of Roatan is the perfect place to learn how to scuba dive.
Roatan is located 30 miles off the northern coast of Honduras with some of the best diving in the Caribbean. With plenty of dive schools located on Roatan, you’ll find an affordable course without sacrificing the quality of training. There are many different amazing dive sites close to the island, best explored on foot or by scooter. The island’s vibe is relaxed and slow paced, with plenty of places to stop and laze the day away.
The diving around Roatan is really spectacular in the clean, warm water with big fish, rays, sharks, turtles and more on pristine coral reefs. This is also a great place to continue your dive education with beautiful wrecks, deep reefs and unreal night dives.
Consider diving with Roatan Divers West End, a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center has a reputation that’s well deserved thanks to friendly and experienced instructors. The location of the center is perfect in the West End between Half Moon Bay and West End Bay, right on the beach. Doing your course you spend a lot of time at the dive center and they have great facilities, air conditioned lecture rooms, complimentary coffee and drinks and even a hot water shower which is great to warm you up between dives.
- Recommended by Alya and Campbell from Stingy Nomads
Why go: Top tier cave diving, interesting landscape
You might find: Shipwrecks, pipefish, sea horse, barracuda
Gozo is a bit of a forgotten gem in the Mediterranean and diving around Gozo is the ideal introduction to the underwater world. With beautiful little streets in each village and unusual landscapes, learning to dive on this island is a magical experience both during the dives and after each day of diving is complete.
From the moment you first enter the water there is life. The small shallow harbors have octopus, pipefish, nudibranchs, and many other forms of macro life. As you become more experienced and confident there are large shipwrecks and sheer walls to explore. One of the more unusual features of Gozo are its intriguing caves, a top site for technical divers. There aren’t many dive locations in the world that provide large caves with stunning swim-throughs on your first few dives.
- Recommended by Suzanne from Meandering Wild
Why go: Offbeat dive destination in the Caribbean
What you might see: Vibrant corals, sharks, eels
Taganga, Colombia ticks the three boxes of what to look for when choosing a dive center:
- Calm conditions
- Experienced staff
- Interesting marine life
The offbeat dive destination of Taganga, Colombia ticks all the boxes. Taganga is a small town on the Caribbean coast. Coral here is in fantastic conditions, and dive centers tend to offer good value for money. You’ll be enjoying the conditions of the Caribbean without the high price tag you might find elsewhere. There are plenty of shallow, sheltered sites ideal for beginner divers.
Most of the diving in Taganga takes place in the famous Parque Tayrona, a national park that has is famous for its biodiversity both on land and underwater.
I worked at Ocean Lovers, the highest rated Dive Centre in Taganga. The Dive Centre is owned by a woman, an advantage if you are female! Rental equipment is well-maintained and there are courses in multiple languages. who teach in multiple languages. The vibe in Taganga in general is very sociable, as there are many backpackers in the town learning to dive.
- Recommended by Demi from Around the World with Her
Why go: Uncrowded dive sites and some of the best diving in the South Pacific
What you might see: Sea turtles, sharks, soft coral galore
Imagine a destination where sharks were revered and walls of corals welcomed those who visited. Jacques Cousteau once called Fiji the “Soft Coral Capital of the World.”
In between the two islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu is the Somosomo Strait, a deep strait with walls of corals lining its side. Sharks, rays, eels, dolphins, sea turtles, and occasionally whales pass through this biologically abundant passage. Two dive sites, the Great White Wall and the Purple Wall were named after the corals that cloak them.
There are many dive sites around Taveuni with calm, quiet conditions perfect for beginner divers. Resorts in Fiji tend to operate on a high caliber, with instructors who are familiar with handling nervous divers. Once you have your certification card in hand, head to Viti Levu’s Coral Coast for the Fiji Shark Dive.
- Recommended by Chantae from Chantae Was Here
Read: 7 Cool Places to Learn how to Scuba Dive in Southeast Asia
Jeju Island, South Korea
Why go: UNESCO world heritage site and plenty of things to do.
What you might see: Soft corals galore
Jeju Island is a stunning and popular holiday destination among Korean and foreign tourists. Here, visitors can hike, dine, explore, and enjoy the tens of different ways to explore the sea.
All around the island, there are many different diving spots and schools. But the creme de la creme diving spot is around Seongsan Ilchulbong (sunrise peak). This natural site is a volcanic crater created more than hundred thousands years ago and is the result of volcanic eruptions. It is now a protected UNESCO heritage site.
The warm water around the peak attracts an array of tropical marine life and soft corals. Diving in Jeju Island and the rest of South Korea is mostly a summer activity as the rest of the year the water will be too cold for divers and instructors. On top of that during autumn and winter, the currents around the island are rather strong and dangerous for inexperienced divers.
Dive with is Seongsan Diving Resort, a resort that offers certification courses and fun dives. It is recommended to rent a car and drive around Jeju, but the school is also accessible using public transportation. When visiting Jeju Island, stay in Jeju City and use this as a base to explore the island.
- Recommended by Marie from Be Marie Korea