The underwater world is a unique universe that is no longer inaccessible. When the waters are clear, warm, and abound in colorful marine life, there's nothing more relaxing and peaceful than scuba diving. Whether you wish to explore sunken ships or have a close look at multicolored fish, scuba diving is suitable for everyone; children and adults alike. It allows you to get in contact with the magical world beneath, a submerged paradise, home to pristine coral reefs, amazing landscapes, and long forgotten shipwrecks.
Scuba diving allows you to travel to dream places, the kind Captain Nemo wandered to onboard his submarine, Nautilus, in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The best thing about it is that both beginners and professional divers can enjoy it. However, it is one of the most expensive hobbies out there, as you need to pay big bucks for courses, equipment, boat rentals, and dives. All those that are passionate about the underwater world, who wish to explore its hidden gems and fascinating wildlife are invited to have a look at our list of fabulous diving spots, and decide where they'll take the next plunge.
5 Red Sea, Egypt: $100 Per Dive
Most of us associate Egypt with sand dunes, the pyramids, and camels. However, we couldn't be more narrow minded. Egypt is in fact the proud owner of some of the best diving spots in the world. Hundreds of miles of corals, a rich sea life, and crystal clear waters make Egypt one of the most coveted scuba diving destinations on the planet.The warm water, even during the months of winter, the exquisite visibility, and the excellent instructors recommend the Red Sea as the perfect spot to learn how to scuba dive, especially during the months of December through May.
The most spectacular diving spots are found near Sharm-el-Sheick and Ras Mohammed National Park, such as the Blue Hole, El Minya, Small Giftun Island, Jackson Reed, and the famous SS Thistlegorm, a 426 foot long ship which sank in 1941, extremely popular among divers, offering an intense plunge that will take you through the ship's cargo area, engines, even motorcycles and trucks, all only 65 feet under sea level.
The price to explore this fascinating underwater ecosystem and its colorful reefs is $70 per person, per dive for certified divers, which includes equipment, guide, and fees. Introductory dives cost around $100 per person, per dive. If you wish to explore the SS Thistlegorm shipwreck, prices start at $200 per person, per two dives, equipment is not included, and you must be a certified diver.
4 Cozumel Island, Mexico: $300 Per Person
On the East coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel Island is known as the Paradise of Reefs. The area is home to no less than 19 renowned diving spots, with crystal clear waters filled with crabs, lobsters, and multicolored fish. Cozumel Island became famous thanks to explorer Jacques Cousteau, and has always been acclaimed as an underwater paradise, as it is found on the Mesoamerican Reef, which stretches all the way from Isla Contoy to the Bay Islands, the world's second largest barrier reef.
There are over 100 scuba diving operators on the island that offer dives both during the day and during the night. Diving season is between June and August, and the best diving spots are the Felipe Xicotencati shipwreck, Maracaibo Reef, Santa Rosa natural barrier, and Tormentos Reef. You can swim with fish, explore shipwrecks, or explore underwater caves, like the Taj Mahal Cenote, a labyrinth of caverns and caves with stalactites, stalagmites, and fossils.
Prices per boat dive for certified divers start at $70 and do not include equipment. You can expect to pay around $70 for equipment per day. Total cost will take you between $200 and $300 a day for certified divers, which includes boat dives, equipment, and fees. If you are not a certified diver, you can take a 3-5 day course for $400-500.
3 Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean: $400 Per Person
A famous scuba diving destination ever since the 1970's, the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean are the place where crystal clear waters meet colorful marine life. Most of the islands in the archipelago are uninhabited, making them the perfect retreat for those who wish to escape the crowds. The islands are part of the third largest coral reef in the world, and offer some of the most spectacular dives on the planet, as you can plunge thousand of feet into the abyss.
The best time to go is between December and May, and the best spots are Grand Turk, Salt Cay, Grace Bay, and West Caicos. The Caribbean is famous for its unusual color and limpidity, and the vast colonies of giant turtles and dolphins. Prices start at $135 per person, per dive, or $175 per person, per dive, with equipment. Total cost will take you to around $300-400 a day for certified divers if you wish to explore the in-depths of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Plus, if you want to make your own schedule, you can rent a boat for $400 per hour.
2 Fregate Island Private, Seychelles: $360 Per Dive
In the heart of the Indian Ocean, east of the cost of southeast Africa, Fregate Island is a private retreat in the fascinating Seychelles archipelago. Truly unique on the planet, the 740-acre island has only 16 hilltop villas which can accommodate maximum 40 guests at a time, and two swimming pools, making it the very definition of privacy.
There are seven beaches, out of which Anse Victorin is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. One of the most luxurious island resorts on the planet, it costs $2,195 per person, per night to stay on Fregate Island, with a three day minimum stay requirement. The island is home to more than 400 Aldabra Giant Turtles, a rare species that continues to thrive here, and offers spectacular guided scuba diving, either by day or by night.
Perhaps the best diving spot in the Seychelles islands, with diving suitable for all levels and exotic underwater flora and fauna, all complemented by colorful coral reefs, you can spot rare marine wildlife such as wahoo, tuna jacks, butterfly fish, dogtooth tuna, trevally, as well as the giant Napoleon Wrasse. There are whale sharks, eels, anemones, manta rays, and turtles. Diving season is from June through August. No more than two divers and the instructor can go in at a time. One dive costs $360 with limited license, pool training, and personal instructor. You will pay $1,000 for 4 open water dives with pool training, personal instructor, and PADI Certification, and $1,000 for 5 short range dives for certified divers.
1 Great Barrier Reef, Australia: $500 Per Person
The Great Barrier Reef is home to the largest coral reef in the world, spreading for more than 1,600 miles along the Australian coast. There are over 3,000 reefs and 900 isles to explore, all of which can be seen from outer space. The greatest attractions are the coral gardens, with over 400 different species of coral, home to sponges, catfish, dolphins, over 1,500 species of fish, turtles, and giant scallops, visited by more than 200 species of birds. What's more, you have every chance to see humpback whales and several other rare species. The Great Barrier Reef is a must on any diver's portfolio.
Located to the northeast of Australia, near the coast of Queensland, best visibility is between June and August, and the diving spots you simply must not miss are Osprey Reef, Blow Hole, Cathedral, SS Yongala shipwreck, and Bommies Lighthouse. As it is ecologically preserved, you need some paperwork and prior training to go on a diving vacation here.
Prices start at $500 per person for three-day liveboard diving tours, which include 2 nights on the boat and meals. Land based diving courses start at $500 per person, per day and liveboard diving courses start at $700 per person, per day. All prices include equipment rental. If you are a certified diver, prices start at $150 per person, per dive with equipment.