Once you learn to dive and fall in love with underwater world, many divers plan their firsts dive trips. They have heard of the wrecks of the Red Sea, the Caribbean coral reefs, manta rays from Maldives… Suddenly, traveling has a new meaning, the world becomes twice as large and the wonders of the bottom of the sea have as much or even more value than the ones in the surface. Here you have the first part of my top 20 dive trips (with 20 awesome videos) that I dream complete… without ruin. Which ones do you have left to take?
1. COCOS ISLAND, COSTA RICA
Because it is believed that on this island you can dive with more sharks per cubic meter than anywhere else in the world. In Cocos Island you can see yourself surrounded by hundreds of hammerhead sharks in minutes, find huge schools of tunas, delve into schools of barracudas and jackfish, dive with manta rays, turtles, dozens of white tips in a single dive, whale sharks… The list of wonders is endless in one of the most coveted destinations for scuba divers from around the world.
Exactly, just what you thought, it is an expensive trip. And maybe uncomfortable if you do not like spending 30 hours on a cruise after a long flight to Costa Rica. If you want to dive in Cocos Island you need € 5,000 for, exactly, 10 days of unforgettable diving. Check the top 4 liveaboards in Cocos Island for your bucket list>>>
2. LEMBEH STRAIT, INDONESIA
For being one of the best muck diving places in the world, giving you access to the most rare and poisonous critters that you can find underwater: blue-ringed octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, mimic octopus, hairy frogfish, all kinds of nudibranchs, mantis shrimps or Bobbit worms are among the inhabitants of this paradise of mud.
A 6 days trip to Lembeh Strait costs about € 2,000 in a 4 star resort with 3 daily dives.
3. NORTH RED SEA SAFARI, EGYPT
It gives you the chance to dive in few days in some world-class wrecks like the Thistlegorm, the Giannis D or the Salem Express that simply you must dive. That week safari will also allow you to dive in some other interesting areas as the Strait of Tiran and the Ras Mohammed national park and dive among corals, marine mammals and hopefully sharks.
This, among the dive trips we will show in this series of two posts, is the cheapest of all of them. The dive offer here is huge, like the competition, lowering the prices. From just over € 1,000 you can find liveaboards in the north of the Red Sea and around € 800 dive trips with resorts and flights included. We have selected the top 5 value for money liveaboards in north route, chem them here >>>
4. THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA
The Great Barrier Reef is a well-known area of immense biodiversity and basic to life on the planet. Obviously, on a single dive trip you cannot know the 3,000 kilometers of the Great Barrier Reef, but there are certainly extraordinary dive points which you can know on a weeklong trip.
If is your first trip to Australia you must visit the SS Yongala, considered by many the best wreck in the world. After more than a century underwater, its hull is virtually covered with corals, sponges and millions of fish, from the smallest to turtles, napoleon fish, rays and even whale sharks visit it throughout the year. But in the Great Barrier obviously there is much more: reef sharks, mantas, seamounts full of corals, hammerhead sharks and even minke whales. You can dive with almost all the cast from «Finding Nemo»!
Diving options in such a large area are manifold. Whether it is a week liveaboard trip or dive excursions from a hotel, there are hundreds of dive sites to know and places to go, having many different prices. But think that you will need at least € 1,000 flight from Europe and € 1,000 a liveaboard.
5. PALAU, MICRONESIA
Because it hosts unique dives in the world and will make you believe you are entering a paradise on Earth. Palau is a small country made up of coral islands where you can dive with mantas, sharks, peaceful pelagic animals or in World War II wrecks. Some of Palau dive spots like the «Jellyfish lake» (an amazing place to snorkel surrounded by harmless jellyfish), «Blue Corner» or «German Channel» are considered among the best diving places in the world.
6. MAYAN RIVIERA, MEXICO
Despite being a diving destination pretty much exploded, the options offered are many and very varied. You can dive in cenotes, access to Caribbean coral reefs or dive with bull sharks, all on a journey of less than a week and with time to add visits to Mayan ruins.
From € 1,200 you can find good diving packages that will allow you to have enough dives very to know the area and very different from each other.
7. BEQA, FIJI
Beqa is considered one of the best places if the world for diving with sharks. This Fijian island is a paradise dedicated to tourism where to find dozens of great dives. Besides tiger sharks, nurse sharks, bull sharks or black tips sharks, you will be surrounded by carangids and all kinds of coral reef fish without many divers around… but where feeding is quite common, unfortunately.
This trip is not cheap either, but you can find a good package on a resort with two dives per day for € 2,500 per week.
8. RAJA AMPAT, INDONESIA
Raja Ampat is considered the place under the surface with the highest biodiversity, offering the best of macro and the best of diving with big animals. If you are the kind of diver who falls in love with coral scenarios, you should go to Raja Ampat, where you’ll find 600 species of coral, three-quarters of all known coral species.
The options here also vary from a resort to spending full holidays on a liveaboard, differing the final prices. But if you want to dive in Raja Ampat, you should know that prices range between € 3,000 and € 4,500.
9. YONAGUNI MONUMENT, JAPAN
Although I am sure you won’t ever see this destination in prestigious diving magazines as an outstanding diving place, I am interested in this blend of mystery and exoticism that it has. In case you do not know, Yonaguni Island has a dive called «The Yonaguni Monument» with very curious rock formation that seem sculpted by man. Some say that this is a submerged town belonging to a lost civilization, more than 12,000 years ago, and others advocate that it is just as curious as nature. Beyond this mystery, on the other hand is what really makes it interesting, we can also find whitetip and hammerhead sharks, corals or tuna.
From Reef Encounters in Okinawa they offer packages for € 1,500 € including 6 nights of accommodation and 17 dives.
Although Maldives is known throughout the world as one of the top destinations to dive with manta rays it also receives visits of many species of sharks attracted by the currents between the atolls, including whale sharks, and thousands of species of fish inhabiting coral in perfect conditions.
Again, the options are many, with different routes and expeditions. You can find complete travel packages with accommodation at a resort for only € 2,400 or a week on a dive sailboat all included for € 4,300.
Next week we’ll bring you the second part of this post with 10 other dream dive destinations. Don’t forget to share on comments your dream diving destinations!