Scuba diving and snorkeling are the two best ways of opening up the underwater world and really exploring the tremendously interesting environment that’s waiting under the surface. The chance to meet fish, rays and even sharks and dolphins in their own comfort zone is very exciting and it can be fantastic fun too.
However, not all dive sites are suitable for those who are just starting out. Here are three of the best holiday destinations for those who want to try diving or snorkeling for the first time:
1) The Great Barrier Reef, Australia. This is not just the biggest tropical reef in the world, but the biggest structure made by living organisms. The Barrier Reef is so huge that it’s visible from space and it’s even more spectacular close up. It’s home to countless different species of fish from tiny, garish clowns to massive groupers, as well as a full complement of rays, smaller sharks, sea turtles, giant clams, and of course corals.
About 2 million people visit it every year, although access is carefully controlled and managed to prevent damage. Nowhere in the world is it easier to find a boat ready to take snorkelers out to shallow, safe places that are incredibly rich in wildlife. You can also learn to dive on the reef, hire gear if you’re already certified, or even have a short ride in a tiny submersible.
2) Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Possibly the best destination for very nervous divers and snorkelers who aren’t 100% confident in the water, Grand Cayman is also a great place to introduce kids to the underwater world. The first stop on any family dive tour should be Cayman Turtle Farm- part zoo, part conservation project, and part dive spot. There are very few places in the world where snorkeling with sea turtles can be guaranteed. This is one of them, and it’s very safe and controlled.
The famous Stingray City lies just off Grand Cayman. Again, the water is very shallow (in some places the sandbars are only covered to waist depth) but the wildlife is first class. Swimmers and snorkelers can interact with dozens of wild but placid Atlantic Stingrays. The sight of a ray cruising slowly and gracefully by is something that everyone should experience at least once. Be aware, though, that as a tourist, you may be an all-too-easy target for people with bad intentions. You could easily let your guard down and it is common for tourists to not see when they’re being scammed. So take care!
3) The Costa del Sol, Spain. This area combines a relaxed culture with delicious cuisine and fantastic diving, and it does it all at very reasonable prices too. Some of the best diving is around the bays and inlets of La Herradura, which are well known for stable conditions even in poor weather.
There are plenty of shallow beach dives but also large caves to swim through, wall dives, and fantastic wildlife. The Costa del Sol is well known for octopi and large fish like grouper but seahorses can also be spotted if you look closely.
It’s also a great place to see large shoals. If you’ve ever wanted to see huge numbers of shining silver fish turning and traveling as a single unit like they do in the nature documentaries, the Costa del Sol is perfect. You’ll never look at a sardine in the same way again! Air travel within Europe has become pretty cheap so you can take advantage of these developments and check out Spain as well on a budget!
You want to try scuba diving or snorkeling for the first time but do not know where to go? Now that you’ve built up your comfort level in the water by heading off to surf camp it is the perfect time to take up scuba diving and snorkeling while the enthusiasm is still there. Just enjoy these few great locations for your first dive experience. Leave a comment and share with us your favorite dive spots. Enjoy!