Scuba diving grants the opportunity to see the world from a wonderful new perspective. Exploring hidden caves, shipwrecks, and marine life completely unseen from the shores, can also be a deeply moving and therapeutic experience. If you’re up for embarking on this underwater adventure, we’ve curated the best places to learn to scuba dive on earth thanks to their calm, clear and beautiful waters.
Need to know:
To become a PADI certified diver you need to work through a certification process. Written work (we highly recommend doing this online before your trip) followed by a series of in-water skill demonstrations (in pools and the ocean, so it’s a good idea to do your research before diving in.
Off the coast of Honduras, you’ll find a tiny island named Roatan, home to some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean. The famously warm waters are calm and clear creating almost idyllic conditions for a beginner. Roatan is also part of the world’s second-largest reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, so it’s teeming with reef fish, seahorses, and thriving soft coral.
Tribe tip: If you’re traveling with a certified diver, there’s options to try more experienced divers including some with actual shipwrecks.
Best Beginner Dive Spots in Honduras: Seaquest Shallow, is shallow dive with incredibly colorful coral. A favorite with underwater photographers because it’s so big and bright. If you want to snap some photos of your own a GoPro is the perfect underwater companion.
Hotels + Resorts: Stay in luxury surrounded by nature at The Lodge and Spa at Pico Bonito, Honduras
Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao, 30 miles off the coast of southern Thailand hot spot Koh Samui, is a remote paradise accessible only by boat. Thanks to its warm shallow bright blue waters and palm tree covered beaches it’s popular with snorkelers and those learning to scuba diver. If you dream of diving with turtles you’ll be excited to know Koh Tao translates to “Turtle Island”, so expect to see some of the gorgeous creatures here.
Best Beginner Dive Spots in Koh Tao: The Japanese Garden is known for its abundant towering coral, compact coral, and lobed pore coral heads, interspersed by lettuce, staghorn, mushroom and slipper corals, inhabited by colorful Christmas tree worms and boring clams. And if you happen to visit in early spring you might just have the opportunity to dive with whale sharks.
Hotels + Resorts: Stay in an authentic tropical luxury-inspired villa at The Place Koh Tao.
Caye Caulker, Belize
Caye Caulker is a low-key Caribbean island littered with dive shops and casual beachfront restaurants where fresh fish is always on the grill. While The Blue Hole is considered the island’s best dive spot there are numerous dive experiences for all skill levels. The nearby Caye Caulker Marine Reserve where locals are working to rebuild the coral ecosystem, is another popular option. Tribe tip: Tropical rainy season lasts from December to April, so ocean conditions get a little unpredictable during this period.
Best Beginner Dive Spots in Belize: Try The Blue Hole, which is also great for advanced divers) or the beautiful waters of Turneffe Atoll to see dolphins, grouper, and reef sharks.
Hotels + Resorts: Stay at Victoria House Resort & Spa, an iconic oceanfront property on Ambergris Caye
Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt
Beyond its ancient Pyramids and desert temples, Egypt’s location off the Red Sea makes it a coveted global dive destination especially for beginners. Some of the best shore diving can be found here thanks to its consistently warm waters, year-round visibility over 100 feet and abundant marine life. Hammerheads, reef sharks and eagle rays, oh my.
Best Beginner Dive Spots in Sharm el Shik: The SS Thistlegorm wreck allows you to explore the remains and its cargo of this British navy ship that sunk in 1941 during World War 2.
Hotels + Resorts: Stay in an Egyptian style palace at Four Seasons Sharm el Sheikh.
We love Mexico’s famed Yucatan Peninsula for its stylish beachfront resorts, rich history, and vibrant culture. The fact that Cozumel with its calm warm Caribbean waters, manta rays in the Pacific, and idyllic cenotes is also a great destination to learn to scuba dive only further fuels our obsession.
Best Beginner Dive Spots in the Cozumel: Chankanaab Reef, which is filled with lobster and crab and even more beautiful after nightfall according to divers, is our number one spot.
Hotels + Resorts: Stay in the idyllic Caribbean oceanfront resort of InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef off Cairns in Australia’s far north Queensland is universally considered the top dive destination in the world for good reason. The balmy climate, laid back tropical atmosphere, abundance of marine life and huge famed coral reef, make it a bucket list dive trip for beginners and experienced divers. Keep in mind if you’ve learned to scuba dive in Cairns, few destinations will ever top it.
Best Beginner Dives in Cairns: A 90-minute high-speed boat ride from Cairns will bring you to the outer Great Barrier reef where you can expect to see dolphins, turtles, reef sharks, whales and over 1500 species of bright, tropical, unique fish.
Hotels + Resorts: Stay in laidback tropical Australian style at the beautiful Peppers Beach Club and Spa