Guest Post by PADI
Every dive site is different and reasons for visiting are too. As ocean lovers, divers and travelers, we’re lucky enough to have some incredibly picturesque scuba diving locations available that offer beauty both above and below the surface.
Here are six locations well worth visiting for the best of both worlds.
Located between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is the perfect destination for exploration, relaxation and romance. With more than 400 islands, white sandy beaches, the longest unbroken barrier reef in the western hemisphere and 298 kilometers/185 miles of coastline, Belize is a world-class scuba diving destination. When you’re not diving with nurse sharks, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins, visit rainforests, hike or go cave tubing. Explore Belize and you’ll experience something truly amazing.
The scenery, culture and locals in Hawai’i have attracted divers, travelers and surfers from around the world for years. Great diving can be found on all of the Hawaiian Islands, each unique in their own way. There’s a range of marine life that includes frogfish, reef octopus, dragon morays, sea turtles, big tiger sharks, pilot whales, mantas, oceanic white-tip shark and pods of spinner dolphins. For incredible topside scenery, check out Waipio Valley Overlook in Oahu or the Waimea Canyon.
The Greeks have long had an intimate relationship with the sea and it continues today. With more than 240 inhabited islands and a significant coastline, you’ll find a wide variety of diving that includes wall, wreck, cavern and reef where you’ll swim with seahorses, dolphins, sea turtles and more. On land, the blue roofs and whitewashed buildings that form the skyline of almost every seaside village make this part of the world unmistakably breathtaking.
Located at a major intersection of several ocean currents, these islands are home to a staggering array of marine life, nearly 20 percent of which is found nowhere else. With 13 major islands and seven smaller islands, there is a lot to see and do in the Galapagos archipelago, most of which involves observing the unique flora and fauna – tortoises, penguins, marine iguanas, finches, etc. You can also explore volcanoes and lava tubes. The water can be cool and the current wicked, but it’s all part of the experience. While land-based dive and snorkeling adventures can be arranged, live aboards allow divers to reach the more distant sites in comfort. On land, you’ll definitely want to see the giant tortoises and the blue-footed and red-footed boobies nesting on the beach.
The Whitsunday Islands are located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. When you’re not under water viewing vibrant corals and stunning marine life, you can enjoy long stretches of white sandy beaches and gaze out at the crystal blue water (Whitehaven Beach has been consistently rated as one of the top beaches in the world). Popular dive sites include Bait Reef and Garys Lagoon Dive Site, Hook Reef and Blue Pearl Bay.
Thailand is known as the “Land of a Thousand Smiles” it is a country proud of its unique culture and famous for its authentic cuisine. In addition to good food and plenty of smiles, Thailand offers miles of tropical beaches, lush rainforests, exhilarating cultural attractions and excellent scuba diving. With over 1931 kilometers/1200 miles of coastline, divers have many choices as to where they want to dive. Thailand diving offers fringing reefs, deep drop-offs, wrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles or open ocean seamounts. Topside Attractions – You are spoiled for choice for top side attractions in Thailand. Popular choices include pampering yourself with a traditional massage, visiting cultural centers or marveling at the many temples across the country.
Contiki and PADI, the world’s leading scuba diver training organization, have partnered up and want to add a little “depth” to your travel adventures. Why? Because travelers like you love to travel the world and seek adventure! Find more info at www.Contiki.com/PADI.
PADI Divers carry the most respected and sought after scuba diving credentials in the world. No matter where you choose to dive, your PADI certification card will be recognized and accepted. In fact, on most scuba diving adventures, you’ll be surrounded by other PADI Divers (23 million PADI scuba certifications to date) who made the same certification choice you did – to train and dive with PADI.