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Best Countries for Scuba Diving


An old friend recently reached out for some advice on planning a tropical beach vacation where her husband could pursue his passion for scuba diving. One of the great things about scuba diving is that you can dive just about anywhere there is water and you don't always need to travel far. But we loved her idea of planning a romantic getaway for her and her husband combined with a visit to some great dive sites.


Read below to see some of the ideas we came up with for her.


The Blue Hole, Belize


In addition to being one of the world's top dive sites, we love to recommend Belize for two main reasons. First, it has something for everyone. Obviously, we have to include the diving and snorkeling at the world's second-largest barrier reef including the Blue Hole, but we also love the Mayan ruins, beautiful unspoiled beaches, jungle adventures, delicious food, and some of the most friendly locals of anywhere we've ever traveled. The second reason we love to recommend Belize is that it's relatively inexpensive and easy to visit. Multiple airlines fly direct to Belize City from several US hubs. We routinely find flights to Belize from all over the US in the $300-400 range.


Book a stay on San Pedro Island at Alaia Belize. This beautiful hotel is 600 yards from the Belize Barrier Reef and has an on-site dive and excursion shop.


Manta Ray Night Dive on The Big Island, Hawaii



Who doesn't love Hawaii? Just like Belize, Hawaii is pretty easy to get to from the US and there is something for everyone here. We especially love the Big Island for the many unique adventures you can enjoy there. Try a guided night hike to the lava flow, a doors-off helicopter flights, and hikes to waterfalls. It is not uncommon to see sub-$200 flights to Hawaii from the west coast.


If you're looking for a unique scuba diving experience, give the Kailua Kona manta ray night dive a try. Using special lights that attract plankton, you’ll be immersed in the dark water. Giant manta rays then come to feed on the plankton. These rays have huge wing spans and are incredibly playful. They will roll and dive right before your eyes. Trust us, this is an experience you won't forget.


Maldives



If you're looking for a dream romantic getaway, look no further than the Maldives. Yes, it will probably take you at least 24 hours of travel to get there but believe us when we tell you it is so worth it. We Go ahead and splurge on an overwater bungalow. Bonus points if it also has a private pool like our bungalow did at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. We occasionally see flight deals to the Maldives in the $600-800 range. If you see one of these deals, book it quickly and don't look back.


The best time to visit the Maldives is January-April when the weather is warm and dry and the visibility is best. This is also when you are most likely to see manta rays and whale sharks. Your resort will be able to recommend the best dive and snorkel sights and will be able to help book tours.


Thailand



Thailand is one of the world's greatest scuba destinations. Be sure to include Suran Islands National Park in your Thailand itinerary. Suran Islands National Park is open October-May, which is the best time to visit Thailand as it is the driest part of the year. This dive site is huge, so plan on spending several days exploring it.


In addition to the excellent diving, we love Thailand for its friendly people, unique food, magnificent temples, tranquil beaches, and colorful history. Once you get there, Thailand is an affordable destination.


The Red Sea



Combine an adventure-packed vacation to Egypt or Jordan with a few days (or more!) to dive in the Red Sea.


The Red Sea is one of the most popular dive destinations in the world and rightly so. You'll find some amazing shipwrecks, tons of sharks, healthy corals, and tons of colorful fish. Dolphins also abound, and in the right spots, you are very likely to dive with some Dugongs (Manatee).


The Great Barrier Reef, Australia



As the largest living structure on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world, offering a variety and abundance of marine life seldom found elsewhere in the world. Much of the reef falls within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and so many of the dive sites enjoy protected status.


Australia is a beach lovers paradise, but don't miss out on the many other things that make Australia a must-see destination. From natural wonders, a variety of wildlife, cosmopolitan cities, and the wide expanse of the outback, it's easy to see that this country captivates so many.



We love the idea of planning traveling around a hobby, and scuba diving takes this concept to a whole new level. Traveling internationally as a diver can take you to some of the most adventure-filled and beautiful locations around the world.



Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite scuba diving spot to add!







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