Scuba diving offers and opportunity to explore the beauty of the ocean up close: from spotting rainbow coloured fish to exploring a shipwreck or cave, scuba diving is pure adventure. Almost everybody over the age of eight and in reasonable health can scuba dive; you can also tailor your diving to the amount of time you'd like to commit: a 'discover scuba diving' half day course allows you to dive to depths of 12 metres whereas a four day PADI open water course gives you a qualification that allows you to dive up to 18 metres, throughout the world.
When booking Caribbean Holidays be sure to check out the island of Utila, located off the Carribean coast of Honduras, in Central America. It is world famous for being one of the cheapest places to learn to dive: courses start from around $280 USD. It is also know for being one of the places where you are most likely to see the giant, placid, Whale Shark whatever time of year you visit with sightings peaking between the months of February and April. Utila is notorious for being one of those places where you go for a couple of days and leave a month later, if at all. Many divers are seduced by the lazy Caribbean charms of this scuba crazy island and end up staying on to become qualified dive instructors. If you are a diver who wants to take the next step, Utila Dive Centre offers PADI IDC, Divemaster and Scuba Instructor internships and courses. In 2004 the dive centre was voted No 1 Dive Facility worldwide for entry level training. On top of this from 2004 to 2008 and 2009 their PADI Course Directors (Instructor Trainers) received Certificates of Excellence for their Instructor Training Programs. They also have weekly BBQS and social events to help make divers feel like one of the family. As well as whale sharks, visitors to Utila can hope to spot Hawksbill Turtles, eagle rays, reef sharks and much more.
Sipadan Island, Malaysian Borneo
Explorer, ecologist and all around diving legend Jacques Cousteau once said of Sipadan 'I've seen places like Sipadan Island before, some 45 years ago. Now we've found again an untouched piece of art.' Sipadan Island remains gloriously untouched by ugly large scale resorts and provides on of the world's most impressive diving spots: fancy finding yourself in the middle of a tornado of Barracudas or school of Hammerhead sharks? Head to Sipadan! A macabe treat is the 'turtle tomb': a system of caves littered with the bones of turtles who failed to find their way out. Sipadan Scuba is the first Padi 5 Star instructor centre on the island and offers a 3 day PADI Open Water certificate for 870.00 RM (around £176).
A wildlife spotters dream would surely be a safari and diving trip combined. Africa is the one country in which you can do this and is luckily home to some world class diving spots (not to mention perfect white sand, palm fringed beaches!). Buccaneer diving is a five star PADI instructor development centre with locations in Kenya and Zanzibar. It offers a full range of courses from a childrens 'bubble maker' course to speciality courses such as 'wreck diver' and 'shark aware'. On the subject of Sharks, Safari Diver offers shark diving holidays in South Africa, including an experience with formidable Tiger sharks (in fact, the waters off Durban are a veritable shark fest, with appearances by Hammerheads, Bull, Ragged Tooth and Reef sharks). The company is run by keen divers with a passion for Africa and offers tailor made holidays throughout the continent. They also offer inland safari trips, mountain gorilla trekking, sample itineraries and a specialised honeymoon service.
Red Sea Dives offer diving around Port Sudan in the Democratic Republic of Sudan. Port Sudan is a small fishing village and offers uncrowded dive sites in warm waters. Divers are taken out on the 'Don Questo' ship, which has private cabins, a large sundeck and advanced equipment. Those interested in wreck diving can visit the 'Blue Bell' which is still loaded with Japanese cars.
Thailand is world famous for it's stunning beaches, warm clear waters and rock bottom prices. www.yougodo.com is the World’s biggest activities and experiences website, with a huge selection of great and unusual ‘things to do’ in over 200 countries around the world. The site offers a wealth of options for diving in Thailand; one of the most unusual of these is training to be an underwater videographer on the paradise island of Koh Tao (near Koh Phangan - site of the famous full moon parties). This training programme allows you to earn money as you travel whilst filming marine life and open water certifications.
Turks and Caicos
Diving can be a great way to add a bit of activity to a tropical beach vacation. The Turks and Caicos islands are located in the Caribbean sea, a short flight from Miami, and have English as an official language. Ocean Vibes specializes in scuba diving tours that bring their guests face-to-face with the aquatic beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands. They've established a dedicated following among divers who value personalized attention and small groups. Wayne Hall, the owner of Ocean Vibes has some great articles that capture the magic of diving with whales and the thrill of your first dive.
Say 'scuba diving in Australia' and most people automatically think of the Great Barrier Reef; and rightly so: it is the world's largest reef system and covers over 2,600 kilometres. There are thousands of animals species who make the Great Barrier Reef their home; including thirty six species of Whales and Dolphins and six species of Sea Turtles. There are a wealth of Great Barrier Reef Tours from luxury options suitable for couples and families, to budget cruises aimed at the backpacker market. Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with blindingly white sand surrounded by lush foliage and azure waters. There are numerous Whitsunday Tours that cover this famous beach as well as taking in the Great Barrier Reef and the rest of the Whitsunday Islands, which are often explored by 4x4s. Diving is possible throughout the islands. Finally Cairns Diving provides information on both snorkelling and live aboard dive trips in the area. If you want to combine diving in Australia with a trip to the paradisical azure waters of the South Pacific, Hideaway Holidays and Paradise Adventures run live-aboard trips from Oz to a variety of paradisical South Pacific destinations from Vanuatu to Fiji.
Egypt and Beyond
Egypt is one of the better known scuba diving hotspots with British tourists especially flocking to the country for cheap all inclusive deals, clear blue seas and soaring temperatures. Blue O Two offer worldwide scuba diving holidays. Specialising in luxury liveaboards, they manage their own award winning fleet in the Egyptian Red Sea; as well as offering a wide variety of liveaboards and resort diving holidays across the globe. Their expert travel team are always happy to help and as keen divers themselves, have the knowledge and experience required to find your perfect scuba diving holiday! Whether you’re a non-diver looking to learn, a novice diver wanting to gain some more experience, or an experienced diver seeking a new adventure Blue O Two's partner dive centres, beautiful resorts and luxury liveaboards in Egypt, Sudan, Maldives and Malta have something for everyone!