Jacques Cousteau once said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” Even a child could attest to the wonder of the sea, for it is usually when we are young that the immensity and mystery of the ocean captures our imaginations and our hearts. It only takes one glimpse beneath the rippling waves to uncover a whole other world beyond our comfort zone on dry land. For many travellers and holidaymakers it’s not enough to simply peak beneath the watery veil, they must submerge completely. For almost a century, human beings have tested the limits of underwater exploration and through the advancements of SCUBA, short for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus; everyone has the opportunity to experience the weightlessness and beauty found in the depths of the sea. We share our favourite destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling across the globe. So next time you feel the sea calling, you'll know exactly where to go.

Silhouette of Scuba Diver near Sea BottomTop 3 Snorkeling Destinations

For those who love the idea of underwater exploration but aren’t ready (or willing) to take the plunge (literally) into scuba diving, there is always snorkeling. Snorkeling is an easy and fun way to enjoy marine life and behold all the beauty beneath the waves. Snorkeling also has many benefits, it’s cheaper, there's no training required and snorkeling tends to be much more accessible, since beaches and resorts all over the world offer some type of snorkeling opportunity or tour. Here are three of our three favourite places to snorkel. What all three locations have in common are that they are easily accessible, provide a range of professional snorkel tours and of course, they’re all gorgeous.
Fiji
snorkelling in clear oceanFiji is holiday paradise both on land and under the sea. In many cases, you need only to dip beneath the surface a few metres off shore, to be greeted with a burst of bustling aquatic life. Two popular snorkeling spots are Matamanoa and Navini. Both sites offer excellent snorkeling right off the beach with the option to take day-long boat excursions to other reef as well as enjoy some fishing and dolphin spotting. The marine life at Matamanoa includes a vibrant array of tropical fish, coral, schools of grouper, lobsters and tiny baby reef sharks. The blue lagoon at Navini is something really special, its crystal blue waters offer fantastic visibility and the soft coral is making a comeback  after the 2012 typhoon.
Malta
maxresdefault-1Closer to home, Malta offers some of Europe’s most superb snorkeling sites off the coasts of all of the Maltese islands. The crystalline waters of the warm Mediterranean mean snorkelers have excellent visibility to view the area’s lively underwater community that includes; bream, parrot fish, octopus, eels, scorpion fish and cuttlefish. Some of Malta’s best snorkeling sites include Qarwa Point, the Crystal Lagoon, Coral Garden and the Santa Maria Caves. All sites promise outstanding scenery, calm, clear water and tons of colourful fish.
Hawaii
snorkeling bay hawaiiThe lush islands of Hawaii are blessed with dozens of pristine snorkeling spots, so no matter where you are, there is bound to be an underwater paradise to explore. Two primetime locations in Hawaii are Papalaua Wayside Park off the coast of Maui, and Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii where you’ll have to use a kayak to paddle out if you want to spot larger marine life like turtles, whales and dolphins. Papalaua Wayside Park’s aquatic gem is Coral Gardens, found on the park’s eastern end. The popular island of Oahu also offers plenty of snorkeling options right of its curving beaches like in the photo above.

Top 5 Scuba Diving Destinations

Australia
Aerial view of Oystaer coral reef at the Great Barrier Reef Queensland AustraliaScuba diving in Australia is one for the bucket list. The coasts off Australia offer an extraordinary experience for both beginning and expert divers. From the famous Great Barrier Reef with its abundance of fish and coral species to the Magnetic Islands and the sunken wreck of the S.S. Yongala, that now serves as a home for many marine creatures.
Belize
Blue Hole, BelizeAnother destination on the bucket list of many avid divers is Belize's signature scuba spot, the unmissable Blue Hole. This giant natural feature was formed over hundreds of thousands of years and measures 300 metres across and 124 metres deep. Diving in the Blue Hole is an otherworldly experience where divers can explore an eerie underwater cave system and come in close range to a variety of sharks including reef, bull and sometimes hammerheads. Diving here requires a full day tour which can be easily arranged on the mainland in Belize City.
Egypt
The warm waters of the Red Sea are an underwater playground for experienced divers. The six distinct dive sites off of Egypt's coast each offer their own unique experience. shipwreck in red sea
  • Pharaoh’s (or Farun) Island-This small island offers a relatively uncrowded dive spot brimming a diverse population of endemic marine life including the incredibly odd frogfish.
  • Dahab: The Blue Hole-Take the plunge down 130 metres and you'll enter one of the world's most popular dive spots, home to the famous arch that extends to the outlying coral reefs.
  • Sharm El Sheik: Straits of Tiran-The straight sits at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba where steady currents mean a constant procession of eye-catching marine life such as barracudas, jacks and several species of sharks. When diving around the coral, be on the lookout for gigantic moral eels slithering about.
  • Sharm El Sheik: Ras Mohamed National Park-This large protected area was Egypt's first national park and is still one of the country's best dive sites. The park's location between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez means the mix of water promotes health coral reefs which in turn attract a variety of fish species.While diving in this area, be sure to check out the submerged remnants of the SS Thistlegorm, a British vessel that sank in 1941 after an aerial attack.
  • Hurghada: Giftun Island-As a protected marine reserve, the waters off of Giftun Island are home to an abundance of difference species including barracuda and tuna that frequent the sea caves and ledges. Dive deeper into the steep drop off and you'll encounter the massive gorgonians.
  • Safaga: Seven Pillars-Aptly named Seven Pillars for the seven coral pillars that lie in Soma Bay, this spot is a popular night diving destination. The large coral formations almost reach the surface of the water and provide shelter for vibrant reef fish.
Iceland
Mission Iceland underwater - WWEIceland might not jump to mind as a world-class scuba diving destination, but off the shores of Silfra lies a subaquatic gem. Silfra, Iceland is the only place on earth that allows divers to float between the American and Eurasian continental plates.
Maldives
two divers among fishThe Maldives are widely known as a luxury holiday destination, but their intoxicating beauty extends off-shore as well. Diving around the Maavaru Kandu at Baa Atoll is an enchanting experience due to the technicolor coral and fluttering schools of reef fish. The visibility here is excellent and gentle tides will help you glide across the numerous coral-covered shelfs and overhangs.

Top 3 places to get scuba certified

Caribbean
honduras-utila_whaleshark-rights_freeRenown for it's breathtaking beaches, relaxed atmosphere and tropical beauty, it's no surprise, the Caribbean is flooded with hundreds of picturesque dive sites, so choosing a diving school all depends on where you stay. Calm and clear water, easy flight access and tons of PADI-certified dive schools make learning how to dive in the Caribbean a breeze. For the best value for money, think about heading to the islands of Roatan or Utila in the Bay Islands, all are off the coast of Honduras. Some notable dive schools in Utila are: Underwater Vision and Utila Dive Centre. In Roatan, check out Ocean Connections. Also, Utila is the only place in the world where you can swim with whale sharks year round, but if you want to go 'in-season' for a chance to see several, February-April and October-December are the best times to dive.
Koh Tao, Thailand
green sea turtleKoh Tao is a small island in the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Over the past two decades, this tiny island has transformed from a sleepy backpacker haven to one of the most prominent diving destination in the world. Over 50 different dive outfitters mean prices are extremely competitive, so divers and those getting certified get fantastic value for money. Ban's Diving Resortand Scuba Junction are both located in the lively Sairee Beach and rank as some of the best outfitters on the island. Getting scuba certified in Koh Tao means you have the rare opportunity to see whale sharks (March-April) along with a tremendous diversity of tropical fish and rays. Some of the best dive spots include Shark Island, where you can swim with baby reef sharks and the shallow Japanese Gardens.
Lake Malawi
lake malawiLake Malawi stretches along the eastern border of Malawi between its border with Mozambique. While not an obvious choice for a scuba diving, the translucent waters, cheap prices and stunning array of tropical Cichlids, the endemic tropical fish, make it one of the best freshwater dive spots in the world. There are a handful of PADI certified operators up and down the lakeshore, usually attached to one of the lodges or resorts. In the north there is Aqua Africain Nkhata Bay and at the southern point is Cape Maclear Scuba. In Cape Maclear students can explore Lake Malawi National Park home to the Usipa Wreck, a ferry that sank in 1998 and is now an artificial reef and the Zimbabwe Rocks, a huge underwater pinnacle. 

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