Finding the best place to scuba dive for beginners can give you a multitude of experiences you wanted to have since receiving your scuba diving certification. You’ve likely spent a lot of time browsing through photos of spectacular locations around the world, but you’ll want to make sure they are recommended for beginners.
Instead of heading to an international destination only to find there aren’t very many starter-friendly underwater places to navigate through, it’s much better to make a plan. Here are our favorite locations for beginning scuba divers. They are easy to manage but also give you jaw-dropping experiences.
Best Place to Scuba Dive for Beginners: Our Five Picks
1. The British Virgin Islands
By far, some of the most popular destinations for starting scuba divers are the British Virgin Islands. What we love the most about the place is that there are also plenty of land activities for the non-divers in your family. However, when you get into the water for the first time, you’ll see exactly what you’ve been missing out.
According to a dive instructor from Cuan Law, Marcus Lyng said that it’s difficult to find diving sites deeper than 80 feet. This is the perfect depth for beginners to navigate through different locations without worrying about going too far below the surface. In addition, you can build your confidence with diving below depths of 30 feet, for example.
There is plenty to experience in the waters off of the islands, especially if you’re someone who is interested in getting some experience with exploring wrecks. For example, the RMS Rhone is one of the most popular wrecks to explore off any island.
You’ll also be able to navigate through Wreck Alley just off Cooper Island. As a beginner, it is highly recommended you sign up for a guided tour, as it can help you to build your confidence so that you can feel more comfortable in wreck environments.
Thailand has a variety of locations for beginner scuba divers to explore, and it’s also one of the most popular destinations for beginners to get certified in diving. Not only are there brilliant places for you to see marine life that you’ve never experienced before, but the scuba classes cost a fraction of what they would cost back at home. Koh Tao, for example, has a huge concentration of dive centers, which means the prices are more competitive than you’ve ever seen before.
Once you’ve gathered more experience in the Koh Tao area and are ready to explore some of the best destinations Thailand has to offer, we highly recommend visiting Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. That is because they are easily two of the most popular dive sites in the entire country. You’ll be able to spend a lot of your time with plenty of types of marine life, including manta rays, whale sharks, and more.
If you ask any scuba diving enthusiast where the best place for a beginner to go to is, they will likely say Bonaire, as it’s known as one of the easiest diving spots in the world. Do note though that there are some sites which are a little more difficult to enter and exit since they contain broken corals, sea urchins, and volcanic bottoms.
We’d like to think there is a little something for everyone, regardless of your experience level. For beginners, all of the resort house reefs are easily accessible straight from the beach.
There are also plenty of guided tours for you to sign up for if you’ve just received your certification and are going reef diving for the first time. Beginners will also love the ladders available to make entering and exiting the water easier as well as rentable lockers for your gear and rentable gear.
Some of our favorite locations to visit in Bonaire include:
- Buddy Reef
- 18 Palms
- Bari Reef
- Oil Slick Leap
- Bachelor’s Beach
If you’re not interested in visiting an international destination and are instead looking for a fantastic scuba diving experience right in your own backyard, Florida is a fantastic option. In fact, it has been rated number one for plenty of beginner diving spots in North America for years.
If you’re looking for the North American equivalent to the Caribbean, we highly recommend visiting the Florida Keys. There is a multitude of beginner-friendly locations for scuba diving in Florida, including Eagle, Vandenberg, and Spiegel Grove, for those of you who are looking for wreck exploring.
With that being said, you’ll likely spend most of your time in the 35-foot diving locations, depending on your level of confidence. Similar to many of the other places on this list, you can also opt to sign up for guided tours for a little extra encouragement.
When you get into the water, you can experience some of the most interesting types of marine life that Florida has to offer, including damselfish, goatfish, yellowtail snapper, and grunts.
Our highest recommended beginner-friendly dive locations in Florida include:
- French Reef
- Christ of the Deep
- Davis Reef
- Sombrero Reef
- Looe Key
- Dry Rocks
5. The Maldives
There’s nothing better than being able to take a luxurious scuba diving vacation, and The Maldives is one of our favorite high-end areas to visit. It’s an especially perfect destination for beginner divers as the visibility in the water will make it a brand new experience. In plenty of the most popular locations, you’ll have visibility at up to 100 feet, so you can see ample marine life below the surface for a better diving experience.
Located in the Indian Ocean, all of the waters are incredibly calm during every season and with the immense visibility, you’ll not only feel more comfortable in the water but have the ability to look at all of the most beautiful marine life.
We highly recommend visiting the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve that is filled with fish and turtles, as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Above all else, the numerous resorts feature a ton of house reefs for you to explore either on your own or with the help of a professionally guided tour. There are also plenty of dive schools you can visit to get your own certification while on vacation.
There are numerous destinations for beginners to visit when you are looking for a destination to explore with your newly minted scuba diving certification. From local destinations such as Florida to more exotic locales such as The Maldives, there is surely something for everyone who is looking for the best place to scuba dive for beginners.