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Learning to scuba dive has featured on the bucket list of many a travel enthusiast.

The ability to increase the number of environments that you can explore excites anyone with a sense of adventure.

With shipwrecks, caves, volcanic tunnels and coral reefs all waiting to be discovered why not take the opportunity to get certified while you travel?

But where are the best places to take the plunge and learn to dive?



WHY // A multitude of reefs, wrecks and diverse marine life

WHEN //  Year round although Minke Whale season is June – July

Composed of 900 islands and over 2,900 individual reefs the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system.

With a wide range of depths, marine life and environments to explore the reef is a great place to learn to dive. Protected from the open ocean the reef is home to an awe inspiring diversity of life that is guaranteed to inspire you to spend more time with your head under the water than above.

For those considering taking their open water course as part of a vacation the Queensland coast is a superb place to start your underwater adventures.

The reef stretches for around 2,000km and provides the opportunity to dive sheer coral walls, sunken ships, bommies, island archipelagos and if you time your visit right you can swim with Minke Whales.

READ | A Coral Sea Safari On The Great Barrier Reef


Learn To Scuba Dive BelizeCredit | CC Flickr / Alan Cox

WHY // Excellent visibility and warm waters

WHEN // March – August

Situated on the Caribbean coast of Central America, Belize is a veritable playground for a newbie scuba diver.

With over four hundred islands and the longest stretch of reef in the western hemisphere there is plenty of opportunity for exploration once you’ve qualified.

For the more adventurous among you there is the opportunity to dive with nurse sharks and get your cave diving certification. However if an open water cert is all you crave the excellent visibility and abundant marine life at Turneffe North make it the perfect spot for diver training.


Learn To scuba Dive costa rica philippe guillaumeCredit | CC Flickr  / Philippe Guillaume

WHY // Good mix of macro life as well as large species like rays and sharks

WHEN // November – May

Costa Rica actually means ‘Rich Coast’ in Spanish and not surprisingly provides a superb place to learn to dive.

Home to some of the richest waters anywhere on earth it is bursting with life and a great place to start your scuba adventure. Although gin clear waters are infrequent you are guaranteed to see a wealth of macro life along with the usual pelagic species of fish, sharks and rays.

With the opportunity to take your wreck speciality qualification and dive with manta rays at the Catalinas and bull sharks out at Bats Islands getting certified in Costa Rica opens up a whole range of opportunities to explore the underwater world.

READ | Confessions of a Divemaster


Learn To Scuba Dive A Camoflaged Scorpion Fish

WHY // Pristine underwater environment and volcanic architecture

WHEN //November – April

Established as a marine reserve in 1981 the Poor Knights Islands are fiercely protected.

Home to a diverse spectrum of life the area is completely undisturbed by human influence. Those fortunate enough to dive here will notice that the marine life is unfamiliar with the destruction usually associated with a human presence and is much more inquisitive than their relatives located elsewhere.

With spectacular volcanic underwater architecture and a huge array of life this is one of our favourite places to dive. For those new to scuba the chance to learn on such a world famous diving playground is not one to be missed.

READ | Diving the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve


Learn to scuba dive cozumel joedutyCredit | CC Flickr / Joe Duty

WHY // World famous dive sites and the opportunity to dive different environments

WHEN // June – August

Home to the reclusive “Splendid Toad Fish” reputed to live nowhere else in the word Cozumel is a divers paradise.

With a mix of reefs, tunnels, caves and wrecks it’s a great place to get your head wet and take the plunge certifying as an open water diver. Visibility is in excess of 1ooft throughout the year and the tropical waters make diving incredibly comfortable. So why not follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau and explore this technicolour wonderland.

READ | Underwater Adventures In Mexico

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We spent three months undertaking our PADI Divemaster training in Costa Rica and went from scuba noobs to PADI pros in just over ninety days.

If you’re a fellow scuba fan we’d love to hear where you first got your head underwater and if you’d recommend the location to scuba newbies.

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16 Responses

  1. Julie

    I did my open water till my rescue cert. at Ko Tao, probably one of the cheapest places in the world to learn to dive. Now I am here in Bali, starting my dive master next week. Two weeks ago I was at the great barrier reef, but I would not recommend it at this time of year because of the rain season. Bad viz. July till November should be great they told me.

    • Charli Moore

      I found my Divemaster training to be really rewarding. It gave me the confidence in my abilities as a diver and in my opinion made me more conscientious under the water. Thanks for sharing your tips re diving the GBR!

  2. Steph | 20 Years Hence

    Love the photos (especially as I know first hand how difficult underwater photography can be!). So far all of my diving has been limited to Asia, which I take it you guys haven’t explored yet? I’d say that Indonesia, Borneo, and the Philippines have some of the best diving in the world and at really affordable rates too! We are thinking we might head to Mexico in late 2014/early 2015 so it is good to know there is good diving for us to look forward to there!

    • Charli Moore

      Wow, sounds like you’ve seen some great parts of our coastline Steph! Underwater photography is tricky, the key is to get as much light on your subjects as possible and use a great photo editing software to bring the colours back. Wishing you all the best for your diving in Mexico, we’re hoping to get into thse beautiful cenotes one day!

  3. Tamara | Turtlestravel

    I was first SSI Open Water certified in Venezuela (Margarita Island) in about 2002. I did my Advanced with PADI in the BVI a year or two later. Just got Nitrox certified in the Gili Islands (Indonesia) in 2011. Would recommend all of those spots for divers. So much to explore!

  4. Jessica | A Passion and A Passport

    I recently tried Scuba diving for the first time last summer in Santorini. We took a discover scuba class, and although I loved EVERY SINGLE SECOND of being down there in the water, it was much more difficult than I had originally imagined. Most definitely want to go again, and possibly get my PADI eventually. But for now, it will be snorkelling with the sea turtles in Hawaii shortly.

    • Charli Moore

      Snorkelling with Hawaiian turtles sounds like a great plan! Diving is a relatively involved exercise, but once you’ve learnt the basics it’s easy to expand your knowledge and build your confidence. I hope you manage to get your PADI cert soon!

  5. Sacha

    Fantastic stuff, i am yet to do my padi certificate but am living in Thailand so will hopefully get to do it later on this year. I dived for the 1st time on the Great Barrier Reef a few years ago now, such an amazing experience!

    • Charli | Wanderlusters

      We’ve heard great things about diving in Thailand. The marine life and gin clear waters sound very appealing! The one point a few people have made about getting certified there is to make sure you dive with reputable companies. I hear there are a few shonkey ships claiming to be dive operations.

      You’ll have to let us know how you get on 🙂

  6. Ellen | The Time-Crunched Traveler

    You know, as much as I have always wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef, if I had to pick just one of these places, I would pick Belize. We were there last summer and did quite a bit of snorkeling. It was so amazing, I could go back again and again! Great list, guys!

    • Charli | Wanderlusters

      Thanks Ellen. We’ve yet to explore the underwater world on the shores of Belize but after researching this post we can’t wait! Fingers crossed we’ll be over there in 2015!

  7. Jennifer

    Great photos! We haven’t learned to dive yet but really want to. Time to take the course always seems to be an issue. Maybe this summer!

    • Charli | Wanderlusters

      Thanks Jennifer.

      The Open Water section of the course takes just two days and you can do the PADI learning portion online at home before you leave :)I’m sure you’ll take the plunge soon, it really is spectacular to be able to explore another environment within the locations you visit.