Where should we go to SCUBA dive?
January 20, 2011 3:07 PM   Subscribe

TravelFilter: Looking for a tropical vacation spot with awesome diving and other adventures this spring or summer.

We're 4-5 twenty-somethings with varying levels of diving experience (0-100 dives, with a median of maybe 25). The newbie diver would be getting certified before we go. 3 of us have our advanced open water certs, but places with challenging dive conditions are not a good idea. We're also not looking for a liveaboard.

We're open to all tropical locations, but we also want to go to a new place. That eliminates Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Palau, Belize, and the Maldives. Thailand and Singapore are also less than desirable, as one guy has been there before (but not for diving).

We’re looking at about 10 days for $3,000/person total (for accommodations, flights, and diving at least). We’d be flying out of LAX.

We don’t need ritzy hotels, but I don’t think anybody wants to stay in backpacker hostels either. We’re all outdoorsy, so ideally there would be hiking and other land-based adventures as well. Beautiful beaches for lazing around on are also a must. Excellent diving is paramount, however.
posted by natabat to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Anthony's Key in Roa Tan was fantastic. They do not allow spear fishing on the reefs, so the fish are friendly.

There was a deep water dive that was on the edge of the continental (?) shelf. It was like standing on the edge of a cliff.
posted by JujuB at 3:23 PM on January 20, 2011

Highly recommend the Bay Islands off the north coast of Honduras. I loved Roatan and have also heard great things about Utila. The diving is amazingly inexpensive, fantastically gorgeous, and the people are super nice.

JujuB recommended Anthoney's Key specifically; I tend to lean away from resorts, myself, but you can pick either option in the Bay Islands, as you prefer.
posted by rosa at 3:50 PM on January 20, 2011

I grew up diving Anilao almost every weekend through my teens. The place is experiencing a bit of a scuba renaissance in recent years as former dynamite-and-cyanide fishermen have discovered they can make more money as charter boat operators for local dive resorts, so the reefs and sea life have recovered nicely. Lots of beginner-friendly dive sites with lots of fish and scenery.
posted by brownpau at 3:54 PM on January 20, 2011

I loved Caye Caulker in Belize. Cheap, backpacker-friendly, close to the famous Blue Hole. Great diving!!
posted by np312 at 4:00 PM on January 20, 2011

Bunaken, off Sulawesi in Indonesia. The currents of the Pacific and Indian Oceans come together there, and the diving was like being in a nature documentary. We did our Advanced Open Water certification there. Many of the dives were drift dives, we'd just hang out and watch huge schools of fish, turtles, amazing coral life. Because you don't have to go down very far,and you're riding the current , some of the dives would last 80-90 minutes before running out of air. I would go back again in a heartbeat. The night dives were fantastic too.
posted by ambrosia at 4:04 PM on January 20, 2011

Bonaire is good for beginners (and enjoyable for everyone), but not beach-worthy.

I'd go to Sipadan-Kapalai, off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. Jacques Cousteau called it one of the best dive sites in the world, and after a number of trips it's still the place I go back to.

(Fly into and overnight in KL, then cheap AirAsia flight internally.)
posted by cyndigo at 5:20 PM on January 20, 2011

Boracay, Philippines
posted by Fiat124 at 5:50 PM on January 20, 2011

My last dive was at Sipadan. It's got to be seen to be believed. I had no idea one could see that many turtles on a single dive.
posted by fso at 8:38 AM on January 21, 2011

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