The Best Dive Destinations for Beginners
Congratulations, you’ve received your PADI certification and you’re ready to dive! But even though you’ve done the time and earned that card, planning your first dive trip can be a little nerve-wracking. What if there are strong currents? What if the water is murky? What if there are (cue drumroll) sharks? Luckily, our oceans are pretty vast, and there are plenty of opportunities to dive no matter what your goal is. But just to help you out, we’ve put together a list of our favorite dive destinations for first-timers.
Hawaii, United States
Hawaii is a go-to tropical travel destination for ocean-lovers, so it’s no surprise that this state made the list for divers who are just starting out. Shallow reefs, purposely-sunk wrecks and craters that offer mellow currents all give rookies plenty of room to learn while ensuring a memorable first experience.
Located off the northern coast of Venezuela, Bonaire is a small island that offers easy diving at a unique location for beginning divers. The island's reefs are protected as a marine park and make for some of the best shore diving you'll find. Sandy banks continue underwater to a 30-foot depth before dropping off to about 140 feet. Many of the best spots can be found at your resort's back door, where you can explore the oceanic scenery at your leisure.
Known as one of the best dive locations for whale shark encounters, the Philippines offers tons of incredible spots around the islands for up-close viewings of underwater wildlife. Dive shops, local guides and even some fishermen regularly take visitors onto the water, where you can hop in as soon as they’re spotted for a thrilling brush with nature.
Among its 17,000 islands, Indonesia hosts nearly 15 percent of the world’s coral and 25 percent of fish species. Not only that, but scientists are constantly finding new marine species there to add to the catalog. Consistently warm temperatures year-round make for a comfortable first dive, while the incredible biodiversity and stunning reefs allow for plenty of excuses to go back the next day.
Florida, United States
Florida’s unique geographical advantage makes it an ideal location for tons of diving opportunities. Not only does this divers' mecca offer tropical fish and colorful reefs, but you can also bet that you'll get a glimpse at sea turtles, historic wrecks, manatees and more. In fact, some have reported manatees swimming right up to divers to say hello!
As you plan your first dive trip, you’ll find that it’s actually pretty easy to find clear waters and comfortable conditions for diving. Even if you go somewhere that’s a little more challenging, your dive instructor is trained to help you and guide you through the experience. Don’t panic — take a deep breath and dive in!
Credit: Photo by Jeremy Bishop (1), Jeremy Bishop (2), Michael Liao, Vlad Tchompalov and Johnny Chen on Unsplash & Florida Memory on Flickr