How about swapping your flip flops for a pair of fins on your next holiday? If you’re a confident swimmer, scuba diving should be on your bucket list if you’ve never given it a go. There’s a whole other world to discover under the waves. So rather than jumping over them as they roll onto the golden sand, pop on some scuba gear and dive in to get a little closer to the local marine life.
If it's looking at all the different types of coral dancing on the rocks, or seeing little Nemo in person, scuba diving will open your eyes to the incredible life that lives in the sea, and you never know, you might find a brand new hobby!
Here are the best scuba diving spots in the Canary Islands, Mexico, Malta and Florida.
Arona Wreck - Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Ignite your inner pirate and explore the Arona shipwreck. Largely intact, the huge ship is just a twenty-minute boat journey from Las Palmas. It's a spectacular dive, though it's best for experienced divers, as it's quite deep. Expect to see large shoals of barracudas, sardines, damselfish and grunt fish darting around as well as plenty of fauna.
This one is interesting as all the machinery and rooms are still there, so you can really get the feel of what the ship would have been like when it was sailing.
For those who want to keep dry, use the time to explore Las Palmas. The El Muelle Shopping Centre is a great place to have a bite to eat and a refreshing glass of wine while you wait for the divers in your party to emerge from the sea.
There are 24 RCI-affiliated resorts on the island including Holiday Club Amadores Beach Club (5887). The resort is in a prime location for shopping and activities.
This dive is suitable for beginners and snorkellers too. It is quite special, as it is one of the few places in the world where you can swim alongside loggerhead turtles, so don’t miss the chance! They are said to be quite friendly too, as they're used to having humans around, so you can get quite close to them.
Armeñime is close to the pretty town of Costa Adeje, so if you want to dry off, head into the Old Town for a bite to eat in one of the traditional Spanish restaurants and enjoy a stroll around the shops. For those who still want to get their toes wet, Siam Park - one of Europe's biggest water parks is a great day out.
Apartamentos Tropical Park (2403) is one of 59 RCI-affiliated resorts on Tenerife. It has an on-site diving centre where you can learn all the basics from a qualified instructor.
Mexico is full of interesting historical sites, and the coastlines brim with nautical adventures to be had. Though, don’t feel like you have to spend all your time under the waves. Soak up the sun and relax from the comfort of your beach sun lounger.
Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, Cozumel
The Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park is a must-visit for divers looking to come face-to-face with lots of different species. As the second largest barrier reef in the world, it is home to some incredible marine life, and interesting rock formations. There are around 26 different types of coral, as well as over 500 different species of fish. You can’t consider scuba diving in Mexico and not give this park a visit.
Allegro Cozumel (3603) is one of 653 RCI affiliated resorts in Mexico, and has its own dive school. It has a fantastic schedule of activities and water sports.
Manchones Reef, Isla Mujeres
The Cancún Underwater Museum, is perfect for beginners and experts alike. It is a man-made site that was created to preserve the reefs and encourage new coral growth. It consists of over 500 spectacular life-sized structures on the seabed, and they have definitely increased the beautiful coral. It's a unique dive, so if you're looking for something a bit different, this is the one for you.
The all-inclusive Sunset Lagoon (A133) is in a fabulous location for exploring historical spots and underwater worlds. There’s also a dive school where instructors will take you through everything you need to know.
With islands Gozo and Comino both famous for diving, Malta can sometimes be overlooked, but don’t miss out! There are some very interesting places to discover and there are lots of shipwrecks littered on the seabed that are just waiting to be explored.
Bristol Blenheim Bomber Wreck
If you’re looking for something a little different than the typical shipwreck, then how about a World War Two aircraft? Largely intact, the Blenheim Bomber is a rather interesting dive as it’s not every day you get to see a real relic of World War Two in this way! The water is crystal clear as well, so you'll have no problems seeing all the marine life.
Riviera Resort and Spa (6681) has an SSI, CMAS and PADI approved diving school that arranges trips to some of the many underwater delights. The resort is also close to the port so exploring Gozo and Comino is an option if you fancy a change of scene.
Blue Hole, Gozo
When you get under the waves here, you will enter an enchanting cave which is home to beautiful coral and sponges - and is one of the best cave diving spots in the area. While exploring, if you are lucky, you might come across some visiting tuna and a few seahorses too.
Be warned, it is a pretty long walk, lugging all your kit with you, but it is absolutely worth it when you do get in the water.
Gozo is a stunning island, and the RCI-affiliated San Lawrenz Leisure Resort (5534) is close to Blue Hole, and perfect for revelling in everything Gozo has to offer on dry land too. The resort boasts plenty of sports activities, as well as a spa to relax in.
Florida’s coasts are crammed with places to dive, especially the Keys which are brimming with wonderful coral and fish to see. You definitely want to add the diverse and beautiful Sunshine State to your diving bucket list.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
This underwater park has 40 coral species and 650 varieties of fish, so if you only have one chance to dive in Florida, this should be it. On the seabed there is a bronze statue of Jesus which is a great opportunity for a photo.
When you've finished the dive, there's plenty to do on land. Cannon Beach is a must-visit - though if you really can't keep out of the water, there are remnants of an old Spanish shipwreck close by.
Mariner’s Club of Key Largo (A713) is adjacent to the park and one of 414 RCI-affiliated resorts in Florida. It offers guests the opportunity to hire boats, kayaks, canoes and waverunners to explore the water in different ways, and there's also a pool to relax by too.
Fort Lauderdale's wrecks
There are lots of wonderful dive sites off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, you’ll be spoiled for choice. For many, you can just free-dive from the beach, which is handy if you want to lounge on the sand in between dives. This is a great way to get acquainted with scuba diving, before tackling some of the more complex dives.
Fort Lauderdale's coastline is a shipwreck explorer’s paradise as there are so many of them close to shore. For an easy dive, the SS Copenhagen ran aground in just 25 metres of water, so the shallower waters are easier to explore.
Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort (2121) is in an ample location to enjoy relaxing, diving, and the fantastic shopping that Fort Lauderdale boasts. There’s so much to do, you'll never get bored on holiday here.
There are some incredible locations to scuba dive all over the world, you are spoiled for choice when picking the perfect destination for you.
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If you're a member of the RCI Holiday Exchange programme there are plenty of resorts to choose from to experience diving. To see what there is on offer, check out our Resort Directory below.