Beginner-Friendly Scuba Diving Destinations You Can’t Miss!

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seahorses on the reef

Bonaire

Bonaire is a small Caribbean island and Dutch municipality located in the southern Caribbean Sea, just north of Venezuela. It is a Dutch municipality and a popular tourist destination known for its warm, crystal-clear waters, and world-class scuba diving.

Bonaire is one of the best places in the world for shore diving! Shore diving sites are marked with yellow-painted rocks along the coast, making it easy for divers to find them. Additionally, many of the dive resorts on the island have their own private access to the shore, offering even more dive sites for visitors to explore.

Dive resorts also offer boat dives, both on the main island and Klein Bonaire, an uninhabited island off the west coast.

Here are 5 great dives sites for beginners on their first trip to Bonaire.

Bonaire skyline
  1. Something Special – This shallow dive site is perfect for beginners with a maximum depth of 15 meters (50 feet). It is home to a variety of colorful marine life, including angelfish, parrotfish, and seahorses.
  2. The Lake – Located on the island’s east coast, The Lake is a calm dive site with a maximum depth of 9 meters (30 feet). It is home to a variety of marine life, including stingrays, tarpons, and a variety of reef fish.
  3. Oil Slick Leap – This dive site is located on the island’s southern coast and is suitable for beginner divers with a maximum depth of 12 meters (40 feet). It features a variety of hard and soft corals, and divers can spot marine life such as sea turtles, angelfish, and moray eels.
  4. Bachelor’s Beach – Located on the island’s western coast, Bachelor’s Beach is a shallow dive site with a maximum depth of 9 meters (30 feet). It is home to a variety of colorful marine life, including damselfish, trumpetfish, and parrotfish.
  5. Andrea I – This shallow wreck dive site is perfect for beginners with a maximum depth of 14 meters (45 feet). The wreck is home to a variety of marine life, including schools of fish and sponges

Please note that most of the east coast, known as “The Wild Side” is generally unsuitable for beginner divers due to the strong currents.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, located in the Caribbean Sea, is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is the second-largest coral reef system in the world! With more than 40 dives sites to explore, dive sites for all levels, including beginners, is easy to find.

Diving in Cozumel is typically boat diving and there are numerous reputable dive operations on the island.

Here are a few favorite dive sites that are suitable for beginners.

  1. Paradise Reef – This shallow reef is located close to shore and offers a variety of colorful marine life, including angelfish, parrotfish, and moray eels.
  2. Chankanaab Reef – This reef is located in a protected marine park and is known for its clear water and calm currents. Divers will likely see sea turtles, rays, and barracuda.
  3. Yucab Reef – This reef is located close to shore and features shallow depths and easy currents.
  4. Tormentos Reef – This reef is located in a protected marine park and features a variety of coral formations and marine life, including seahorses, stingrays, and octopuses.
  5. Santa Rosa Wall – This wall dive is a bit deeper than the other sites on this list, but it is still suitable for beginners.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is known for its rich culture and stunning landscapes.

Known as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali is renowned for its beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and diverse range of activities and attractions.

The island is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Bali has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity year-round. The island is also known for its lush rainforests, rice terraces, and volcanic mountains.

Top locations for beginner divers in Bali include:

  1. Tulamben Bay – This is a popular dive site in Bali due to the USS Liberty wreck that lies here. The wreck is easily accessible and offers a great opportunity for beginner divers to explore.
  2. Amed – Amed is a peaceful fishing village that offers some great diving opportunities. The dive sites are easy to navigate, making it a great spot for beginner divers.
    Nusa Dua – Nusa Dua is a sheltered bay on the southern coast of Bali that offers calm waters and a variety of marine life, including colorful reef fish, turtles, and occasionally, reef sharks.
  3. Menjangan Island – Menjangan Island is located off the northwest coast of Bali and is known for its calm waters and clear visibility. The island offers a variety of dive sites suitable for beginners, including shallow coral gardens and walls.
  4. Padang Bai – Padang Bai is a small coastal town located on the east coast of Bali and is known for its excellent dive sites. The waters here are calm.
Beach in Bali

In the evenings, enjoy traditional Balinese dances and music performed regularly in numerous locations throughout the island.

Bali is also known for offering yoga and wellness retreats – combine this with a scuba diving trip for the ultimate vacation!

Red Sea, Egypt

The Red Sea is located between the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula, and it stretches for over 1,200 miles along the coastline of Egypt.

Both liveaboards and resorts offer excellent diving opportunities in the Red Sea, and which one is better depends on personal preferences and priorities.

Liveaboards are an excellent option for those who want to explore remote or less accessible dive sites. Liveaboards typically travel to several dive sites, and this allows divers to experience a wider variety of marine life and underwater landscapes. They also offer a more immersive diving experience since you’re living on the boat and diving multiple times a day.

Resorts are more suitable for those who prefer to dive at their own pace and enjoy the amenities of a land-based accommodation. Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh are two of the most popular cities for diving along the Red Sea.

A few popular dive sites for beginners in the Red Sea include:

  1. Marsa Mubarak -This site is located in the southern Red Sea and is known for its calm waters and shallow coral gardens. It’s a great site for beginners to experience the colorful marine life of the Red Sea, including sea turtles and octopuses.
  2. Shaab El Erg – Shaab El Erg is a shallow lagoon located in the northern Red Sea. It’s known for its beautiful coral reefs and sandy bottom, making it a great site for beginners to explore.
  3. Ras Mohammed National Park – This national park is located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula and is a popular dive site for both beginners and experienced divers. The coral reefs here are teeming with marine life, including schools of colorful fish and sea turtles.
  4. Giftun Island – Giftun Island is located near Hurghada and is a popular destination for day trips and beginner dives. The waters around the island are calm and clear, and divers can explore the coral reefs and spot a variety of marine life, including rays, eels, and clownfish.
Camel on the beach in Egypt

Palau, Micronesia

Palau is an island country that is comprised of more than 200 islands, the majority of which are uninhabited. Welcoming locals, lush forests, and gorgeous beaches make Palau a fabulous destination.

A few dive sites that are appropriate for beginners are:

  1. Chandelier Cave – This is a unique dive site that is perfect for beginners. The dive begins with a swim through a maze of underwater tunnels and chambers that are illuminated by shafts of sunlight.
  2. German Channel – This is a shallow dive site that is famous for its manta rays. Novice divers can enjoy watching these gentle giants as they glide through the water.
  3. Ulong Channel – This is another shallow dive site that is ideal for beginners. It is home to a wide variety of marine life, including colorful fish and vibrant corals.
  4. Turtle Cove – Love turtles? Then this dive site is for you! As the name suggests, this dive site is home to numerous sea turtles. The site features a sandy bottom with scattered coral heads, making it a great place for beginners to practice their skills.
  5. Ngerchong Inside -This site features a sloping coral reef with plenty of fish and other marine life. It is a great place for beginners to experience the vibrant underwater world of Palau.

Enjoy Your First Dive Trip!

Wherever you end up, enjoy the magic that comes during your first dive trip.

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