Scuba Diving And Travel: The Best Places To Dive And How To Get Certified On Vacation

Learning to dive while on vacation has been a bucket list activity for many travelers. “With the world opening up once again, we are seeing an upward trend in people going on holiday and becoming certified,” says Julie Andersen, Global Director, Brand for PADI Worldwide.

And for those already certified, there are amazing spots around the world just waiting to be explored.

Getting Certified on Vacation

Learning to dive has always been a bucket list experience for those who love adventure. After many people have had to place their travel wish lists on hold for the past few years, people are now prioritizing these must-do items and making them a reality.

“Current travel trends are showing that people are traveling more slowly and for longer now, with an emphasis on enriching, fulfilling and holistic experiences,” says Andersen. Learning to dive on holiday provides people with a chance to truly disconnect from the outside world and be in the moment–focusing on themselves and being with nature. And as a bonus, diving offers an incredible wellness experience too, both physically and mentally.

Traveling to get certified means you can start your scuba diving journey anytime, anywhere and have an incredible experience both above and below the surface.

Those who get certified to dive while on a trip—in a beautiful location—are usually the ones who make diving a part of their lives. “As someone who was certified in a lake near Chicago in 40-degree water, I’m always jealous of someone who saw a whale shark on their first diving experience in Mexico,” says Andersen. “Especially since I spent seven years chasing that experience. Of course, it does make me more appreciative of tropical destination diving.”

The best way to make the most of your trip to become certified is to complete all of your training locally – both online and in a pool – ahead of time. PADI offers eLearning so you can complete your education anywhere, and with over 6,600 dive centers around the world, there is likely to be one near you to complete your pool skills. This way, your vacation time can be spent doing your four open water dives over the course of the first few days, maximizing the rest of your time as an official certified PADI Open Water diver.

You can get certified as a PADI Diver in 186 countries around the world at over 6,600 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts.

Best Diving Destinations in the World

Literally, every continent has incredible diving destinations for every level of diving. Whatever your speed – from gliding in crystal clear waters with schooling manta rays and whale sharks, to diving in the underwater forests off the coast of Cape Town with cape fur seals and seven-gill sharks – there are far-flung and local destinations to explore.

Places like Egypt, the Bahamas, Mozambique, Tahiti, Mexico, Bonaire, the Maldives, Australia, Belize, Fiji, St Lucia and Thailand have incredible visibility underwater, warm water, low current, easy surface conditions and epic coral and marine life are favorites for new divers and advanced divers alike. Once you’ve got your PADI Advanced Open Water certification, more adventurous diving destinations are on the table, including Galapagos, South Africa, Tonga, Iceland, California, Costa Rica, Yap, and even the Antarctic could be on your list.

One of the most amazing things about diving is the incredible places the sport can take you to. “I’ve been to destinations I had never dreamed of before I was a diver – from the Solomon Islands and Mapelo Sea Mounts to the Okavango Delta and Myanmar with my PADI certification card in my wallet,” says Andersen. “It’s not just about the time underwater, but also the time spent in these incredible destinations meeting the local community, learning about the culture and adventuring far beyond what you thought imaginable. Diving will forever change you.”

Diving is a “choose your own” adventure experience. It could be getting into the water with marine megafauna like orcas navigating fjords in Iceland or swimming with whale sharks in the waters off the coast of Madagascar with lemurs calling in the distance. If you were to ask a dozen divers what a great diving destination is, they’d have a different answer. Wherever there is a coastline, likely a great adventure is waiting.

The Benefits of Diving

There are many benefits when it comes to diving. Many travelers find that they feel better mentally and physically. Diving is a great opportunity to become more conscious of your breath, enhance your fitness, improve your quality of sleep and become connected with a community whose values are similar to yours.

Of the more than one million individuals that are certified each year, half of them are Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) courses that people take before taking the next step to officially become certified. The DSD program is a good way to give diving a chance.

Also, there’s a big push in the community to make diving accessible to all. “Not only are we actively encouraging a lot more women, families and youth to enter the sport with initiatives like Women’s Dive Day , we also launched an adaptive diving program and work with several non-profits to enable individuals with physical or mental challenges to dive as well,” says Andersen.

PADI Travel is one way for travelers to book diving trips and it offers a large selection of liveaboards and dive resorts. From solo and family-friendly trips to immersive local experiences, seeing the world from both above and below the water is a bucket-list vacation.

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