Where to go on a scuba diving holiday

Diving holidays come in all shapes and sizes and you can go for as little as a week to as long as month, helping out with marine conservation, travelling closer to home, or as far flung as the islands of Fiji. It’s all too easy to get wowed by a location though, so when deciding where to go on a scuba diving holiday, you also need to consider what it is you’re going for. Every trip offers something different in terms of the type of diving and how far you can push your skills, so let these factors help you choose where to go on a scuba diving holiday. Click on the blue map points below to find out more about the types of diving holiday available in each location.

1. Antarctic

Dive off ice floes, and around giant floating icebergs where you might witness penguins leaping en masse into the freezing depths. Antarctica diving expeditions are just as suited to non-divers too of course – it’s not as though there isn’t plenty of incredible spectacles on land as well. Trips are timed to coincide with the highest visibility, and the best chance of watching fearsome leopard seals in action.

2. Belize

Best time: Year round. Diving pairs perfectly with conservation in beautiful Belize – home to the second biggest barrier reef in the world – from short, non-intensive, and all-inclusive diving holidays with more free time, to a more full-on four-week conservation internship offering invaluable work experience for those thinking about studying or working in the field.

3. Cuba

A tailor made diving holiday in Cuba allows you to pick and mix some of the country’s top dive spots with other local highlights along the way. Why not sandwich three full days diving at Maria La Gorda with a full day private guided excursion through the tropical mountains of Sierra Rosario and a day spent diving off a catamaran at Trinidad Arcon Beach.
Dahab, Egypt

4. Dahab, Egypt

Best time: Year round. If you like the idea of relaxed scuba diving in small groups just a short walk from the water then Dahab is spot on. Diving here is mainly shore-based as the Red Sea drops quickly down to great depths, making it an ideal destination for beginners. With over 1,000 species of fish and 150 species of coral, it’s known for its unbelievable underwater scenes.

5. Vietnam

Diving holidays in Vietnam can be combined with a host of other adventurous activities such as mountain biking, kayaking and motorbike city tours are, making them ideal for sporty types and families. You’ll likely be based for the diving at Nha Trang, a secluded beach resort, and the PADI centre on Whale Island just offshore. And for those not wanting to get their feet wet there is still lots to do nearby.

6. Greece

Best time: May-Oct. A liveaboard diving holiday in Greece is about a combined sailing and diving adventure in the depths of the east Mediterranean, a body of water known for its crystal clear visibility up to 40m and for its incredible biodiversity from micro anemones to huge loggerhead turtles. One week sailing around the Cyclades includes a minimum of five dives.

7. Indonesia

Indonesia’s Raja Ampat is an archipelago comprising 1,500 small islands as has the highest known concentration and diversity of marine life on earth containing a staggering 80% of the world’s coral species. The reefs need as much help to thrive as possible and volunteer divers can combine grass-roots research with survey dives and additional scuba courses.

8. Maldives

Best time: Year round. Pigeonholed for its status as a romantic getaway, the Maldives also offers exceptional diving. The islands are peppered with dive centres, suiting divers of all levels and the warm, azure water is known for its abundance of big aquatic animals like whale sharks and manta rays as well as a huge diversity of coral and fish in every size and colour.

9. Oman

The little bubbles floating up from your regulator would, if translated, say “Oh Man”. Tailormade diving holidays in Oman are often twin-centre, covering Muscat (over 40 dive sites available) and Salah (40km of coast to explore). Usually you’ll do two dives each day, leaving time for roaming wadis, or desert camping.
South Africa

10. South Africa

Best time: Year round. A diving holiday in South Africa is an amazing opportunity to work alongside marine biologists assisting with shark research along the Cape Whale Coast Route, a beautiful stretch of coastline just two hours outside of Cape Town. You’ll need to be confident in the water; research involves photographing sharks from underwater cages.

11. Tanzania

Best time: Late Jun-Feb. A virtually unknown diver’s mecca, the Mafia Islands sit quietly in the Indian Ocean, a short flight from Dar es Salaam, and make up one of the most intriguing archipelagos in the world. Covered in lush rainforest, the islands are surrounded by barrier reefs and dotted with tiny Swahili villages that you can snorkel and scuba dive between.

12. Thailand

Best time: Year round. Known for its incredible diving, many people flock to Thailand’s idyllic islands to qualify as a diver and help protect the all-important coral found off the country’s stunning shores. Studying turtle behaviour and nesting patterns is popular too with the aim to understand why the beautiful leatherback, green and olive turtles there are sadly dying out.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Scuba diving or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Polly Humphris
Photo credits: [Page banner: Rich Carey] [Antarctica: Christopher Michel] [Belize: moctavio] [Cuba: momo] [Dahab, Egypt: Ignor Klisov] [Vietnam: Mondo79] [Greece: Berit Watkin] [Indonesia: Lakshmi Sawitri] [Maldives: Sebastian Pena Lambarri] [Oman: esyckr] [South Africa: Chris Martin] [Tanzania: Abdul255] [Thailand: Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten]