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Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Diving and snorkeling lets us explore the unique ocean world first hand and come face-to-face with an incredible biodiversity of fish, mammals, corals and seas creatures. With the ocean covering over two thirds of the planet’s surface, there are a huge range of possibilities of where to dive and what can be seen beneath the surface.

It is the tropics where most divers really experience the thrills of the underwater environment. In warm clear waters from the South Pacific to the Caribbean, The Galapagos to Borneo, these adventures will consume your senses and finishing the day at a breath-taking resort makes it even more enjoyable. Even for those who don’t want to take the ‘full plunge’ with scuba diving, snorkeling offers similar experiences very close to the surface – particularly for viewing a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes in expansive coral gardens.

There are a variety of dive tour options including live-aboard vessels, land based resorts, dive and qualification courses, and small dive boat operations. All the operators seek out the best opportunities for sea life viewing, whether it be Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, Turtles, Reef Sharks, Humpback Whales, Humboldt Squid, Fur Seals or Giant Australian Cuttlefish. As Jacques Cousteau said, “the best way to observe a fish is to become one”. Whether you are taking your first dive experience day, or a seasoned dive pro, there are a world of possibilities for where to dive next. Let us show you some of the best!

Ability

For learners - no specific ability or skills required apart from being relatively fit and strong with an ability to swim and be comfortable around water.

For intermediate or advanced divers, depending on the dive spots you intend to visit you may require specific certifications coupled with a logged history of the type of dive(s) you have done in the past. We also recommend doing your own research on local conditions so you know what to expect. Locals are always a great source of knowledge about their ‘backyard’ and we strongly suggest connecting with people who know the dive spots or wrecks well.  

Gear Required

For beginners who want to experience diving or complete their first course or two, generally all gear is provided including all technical dive equipment and wetsuit (if required for local conditions). For those on a targeted dive-based holiday, generally bringing your own dive gear is recommended. Snorkellers are pretty simple – mask, snorkel, fins as a minimum (even beginners may choose to buy their own for personal fit, in particular the mask).

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exploreGO Top Experiences

  • Exploring the Blue Corner Wall in Palau, Micronesia
  • Barracudas and sharks at Barracuda Point - Sipadan, Malaysia
  • Dive with whale sharks at Richelieu Rock, Thailand
  • Wreck diving the SS President Coolidge off Santo, northern Vanuatu
  • Swim with white tipped sharks, octopuses and huge manta rays at Navy Pier, Western Australia
  • Descend into the Great Blue Hole, Belize
  • Manta Ray night diving at Kailua Kona, Hawaii
  • Anemone City, Shark Reef and the Yolanda wreck in the Egyptian Red Sea
  • Exploring the Yongala wreck with immense sea life off the coast of Queensland, Australia
  • Gaining experience or your first dive qualification at one of the many amazing Pacific Island sites

Best time to travel

January – Whale watching in Baja, shark viewing in Tahiti, whale sharks in Honduras, and loggerhead turtles in Western Australia

February – Sharks in the Bahamas, pilot whales in Fiji, whale sharks in Thailand and Zanzibar

March – Stingrays in New Zealand, jawfish in Borneo, hammerhead sharks in Malaysia

April – Manta rays in Bali, leatherback turtles in Tabago, whale sharks in Belize

May – Galapagos for incredible underwater wildlife, Maldives for sharks and manta rays

June – The spectacular ‘Sardine Run’ near KwaZulu Natal, minke whales in Australia

July – Humpback whales in Madagascar and Tonga, turtles in Costs Rica, orca in Canada

August – Sipadan for green turtles, Gulf of St. Lawrence for blue whales, great white sharks off Guadalupe Island, Eastern Canada for northern right, minke, humpback, and fin whales

September – Coral spawning in Bonaire, the Cook Islands’ whale season is September and October

October – Hammerhead sharks in the Canary Islands, great white sharks at Guadalupe Island

November – Bull sharks in Costa Rica, orcas in the fjords of Norway, ‘Squid Run’ in South Africa

December – Eagle rays in Cozumel, gentle manatees in Florida, humpback whales in Hawaii

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exploreGO Top Tips:

  • Definitely take your own mask/snorkel and probably fins. The most frustrating thing is using a dive schools mask that doesn’t fit your face and constantly letting water in – even if you’re just snorkelling or about to do your first dive course – such as a PADI Openwater course, get this gear before you go and make sure it fits well for you.
  • Contact a PADI Dive Shop or Dive School in the area where you’re traveling to find out about special permits and/or prohibited items. Some diving destinations do not allow spearfishing equipment. Others prohibit dive gloves. Also, don’t forget your PADI C-Card. For convenience, order a PADI eCard for your smartphone. eCards are available from any PADI Dive Shop or via padi.com.
  • When choosing your dive school, check to see if you’ll be diving in warm or cold water, what sea life the area is known for, local features, and how much the accreditation costs. Getting your open water certificate takes three full days of training or longer, so you’ll want to ensure you are somewhere both comfortable and memorable.

Related Experiences

Dreaming of going on a Scuba Diving or Snorkeling adventure but can't right now? Check out some suggested experiences below or click the link to browse our full suite of activities.

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