Scuba Diving In Northern-Central Africa

The sweeping expanse of coastline around Northern Africa hosts an incredibly varied collection of scuba diving opportunities.

From the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean on its Eastern seaboard to the tepid waters of the Red Sea along the western coast, the African continent offers an abundant number of scuba diving sites in many countries. Though the majority of the scuba diving sites in Africa are found in countries bordered by the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, some countries including Egypt offer amazing dive spots at several locations in the Red Sea.

Egypt:

The diving in Egypt is mainly categorized into two chief regions. The first of these is the Sinai Peninsula, a renowned hub for scuba diving in the Middle East. Apart from the dive sites, it also offers wonderful resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh and the popular Dahab, which was founded exclusively for the enjoyment of scuba divers. The second diving region is the Red Sea, which offers a number of amazing scuba dive spots and scuba diving resorts.

Apart from open water scuba diving, the country also has a variety of cave diving – even technical diving – and wreck diving destinations. Cave dives in the Red Sea include the compellingly-named “Devil’s Crack” (for advanced undersea explorers only) and the labyrinthine tunnels of St. John’s cave.

The country’s numerous famous wreck dive sites include the Thistlegorm (a veritable underwater museum of the second world war) and the legendary wreck of the steamship Dunraven. The interesting metalwork of both wrecks provides peek-a-boo views of grouper, scorpionfish, glassfish, crocodilefish and jackfish through the many ruptures in the vessels’ respective hulls. Whale sharks and turtles sometimes also make an appearance.

Morocco, Essaouira and Marrakech:

Morocco is a magnificent North African country in the African scuba diving landscape, and it boasts numerous scuba diving sites. One of the best aspects of the unique scuba dive spots in Morocco is that they don’t just offer an ultimate aquatic adventure – they’re also delightful tourist destinations during surface intervals. Scuba diving here plunks a feather into any scuba diver’s cap, and it comes with the added bonuses of tropical warm water and plenty of rare marine flora and fauna.

Morocco’s beautiful Essaouira offers excellent scuba diving holidays, trips and underwater day tours for Africa-bound scuba divers. Operators offer a range of scuba diving vacation packages (from the budget-friendly to the highly luxurious), and the well-developed infrastructure makes the trip a breeze. The Marrakech towards the southwestern parts of Morocco also offers some of the amazing diving sites of Africa. With its favorable geographical conditions in the strait of Gibraltar, it has an abundance of marine life along with some spectacular collection of gorgonian, sponge and oceanic corals.

Nigeria and Tunisia:

Nigeria is no one’s definition of a popular scuba dive destination – and that’s what makes it so special. Niger’s pleasant climate, mountainous landscape and the magnificent Niger River all attract plenty of adventure-minded tourists, but not many of them are scuba divers. Niger’s dive sites are slowly becoming more popular, as its waters still hold much undiscovered treasure, but the sites are blessedly devoid of anything resembling a crowd.

Further along Africa’s uppermost rim lies Tunisia, which adorns the northern coastline with its gorgeous beaches and sunny Mediterranean climate. Tunisia’s superb diving opportunities, including the Gulf of Hammamet and the Gulf of Gabes, encompass all age groups and experience levels. While diving, you’ll no doubt see the appeal of scuba diving in Africa: colorful fish as far as the eye can see, robust sponge, corals and, seasonally, manta rays.

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Top Ten Scuba Dives in Malaysia and Indonesia

Glassy waters, endless ribbons of beach, Disney-movie undersea landscapes: it’s no wonder that Malaysia and Indonesia are such compelling destinations for a scuba diving holiday. There’s no dearth of diving here, as there are hundreds of popular diving spots in the region. Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei boast booming fish populations, awesome opportunities for surface interval fun and the perpetually warm water of South China Sea. The wide variety of dive centers in Malaysia and regional dive resorts make planning a scuba diving vacation a breeze.

Borneo

Located towards the northern tip of Australia, the sovereign state of Borneo is the largest island in the world. Its scope encompasses a number of excellent scuba diving sites. The country constantly makes it onto lists of the world’s best scuba diving destinations. Borneo’s appeal could be attributed to its year-round diving season, accessibility for Engish-speaking visitors and its favorable environment for both avid divers and hobbyists.

Kuala Lumpur

The city of Kuala Lumpur (or “KL,” as it has come to be known by its droves of happy expats) is known for its lush rain forests and turquoise blue beaches. The underwater extension of the city is just as interesting, offering a delightful opportunity to enjoy an adventurous scuba diving excursion. Dive sites around the city offer divers a peek at lots of WWII shipwrecks (such as the H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse), as well as a variety of deep, shallow and muck dives.

Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai and Lankayan

The islands of Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai, and Lankayan are scuba diving jewels in Indonesia’s crown. The dive industry here is quite developed, so it’s easy to find a dive operator almost anywhere you look. The bathtub-warm water that surrounds the tiny islands is the blood that pumps through the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin; more than three thousand species of fish and coral have been classified here.

Indonesia

Unlike super-crowded Bali, Indonesia’s beauty isn’t spoiled by the constant appearance of other divers — unsurprisingly, since there are approximately 15,000 islands to choose from (possessing a collective 80,000 kilometers of beach). The endless ribbons of reef that envelop this 5,000-kilometer-long archipelago are generously peppered with dive sites, and the dive shops in Indonesia that can take you to them are plentiful and high-rated. Out of the water, Indonesia is famed for its cultural diversity and gee-whiz natural settings, so your surface intervals won’t disappoint.

Gili Island, Brunei

Gili Island is a shark-lover’s dream — shark points (and manta points) abound here. Scuba diving in Brunei reliably turns up a diverse range of sharks (white tip, black tip, reef sharks and gray sharks among them). Stingrays, sea turtles and mantas are always close at hand, as well. Brunei dive shops offer the full technical range (from PADI training to Nitrox dives), so mixed groups of divers will find their comfort zone.

Singapore

Staying in ultra-clean, city-of-the-future Singapore avails much more diving than you may at first think. The city’s most famous local dive spots include Chebeh Island, Labas Island, Fan Canyon, Malang Rock and Kador Bay. While swimming in the turquoise blue sea, the divers bump heads with beautiful bumphead parrotfish, reef fish, lionfish, tropical angelfish, barracuda and spotted green turtles. Sharks are rare — nice to know, if you’re shark-shy — and dive centers in Singapore are well-equipped and easy-to-find.

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Top Seven Dive Sites in Southern India and Sri Lanka

India is renowned for its diverse culture and innumerable tourist destinations. With the majestic Himalayas bordering the north and Indian Ocean surrounding the south, the country always fascinates tourists with its splendor. If you’d rather explore underwater mountains than higher, drier elevations, India has even more to offer.

Since India is surrounded on three sides by ocean — the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea — it’s no wonder that there’s so much diving here. Southern India and Sri Lanka are especially popular. The Coromandel Coast, between Cape Comorin and False Divi Point, is home to lots of friendly dive shops. The legendary diving sites in Kerala, Goa, Pondicherry, and Coromandel provide a yogalicious (and affordable) setting for a scuba diving vacation.

Arguably, Goa offers the best-known, best-developed scuba diving in India. You’ll find loads of dive shops in Goa, most of which offer training centers. Popular spots include the turtle-and-barracuda-filled waters of Pigeon Island and the starfish-carpeted Angria bank.

Kerala’s pastoral quiet, gorgeous beaches and soaring mountains are familiar to most lucky travelers to India. That said, the weather’s mild enough to support year-round diving, so you won’t have to get your kicks looking at above-water scenery. Many dive centers in India offer 2-3 day diving trips to Kerala.

Another southern Indian city, Pondicherry, is a great place to unpack your mask and fins. Nestled on the bay of Indian Ocean, this city has more than 15 varied dive sites within the range of twenty miles.

Sri Lanka is a popular destination for natural surroundings, magnificent scenic spots and coral reefs. With several beaches and diving spots, the country offers a wide range of water activities for every flavor of tourist. You’ll be reminded immediately upon arrival that Sri Lanka is not India. It may be just next door, but its hundreds of popular dive sites are cleaner and more vibrant than India’s.

The gorgeous, palm-fringed beaches of Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, give way to fish-filled coral reeds. Bentota, near Colombo, is another popular diving spot with beautiful diving sites for all experience levels. Here, you’ll swim alongside undulating giant marble rays and blue-spotted stingrays.

Beruwala, with its magnificent underwater formations and strong, fish-rich currents, attracts lots of intrepid, adventurous divers to Sri Lanka. You’ll play hide-and-go-seek with the reef sharks in the site’s vast networks of passages and crevices.

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Best Scuba Diving Destinations in Chile

When divers plan a scuba diving vacation, their thoughts often go to equatorial paradises. There’s no denying the magnetic pull of bathtub-warm waters and the classic underwater scenery of the tropics. However, although palm-shaded resorts attract the majority of world-traveling scuba divers, try to think inside the wetsuit: more temperate water has its own unique appeal.

The South American country of Chile is an excellent example of a non-tropical scuba diving paradise. Most travelers know Chile as the seat of a thriving tourist business trading on the beauty of the Andes Mountains. What many don’t know is that Chile boasts scores of diving operations nationwide that service some very unique and varied diving opportunities. It’s no surprise that this is the case — after all, the country has 6,400 km of coastline.

Chile’s secret status as a scuba diving vacation destination means that fewer people visit these waters. The result? Incredibly healthy, abundant flora and fauna. It’s no wonder this country is called “the land of possibilities.”

The Cauldron of Death

Care for a game of wet Russian Roulette? If you’re an advanced diver, you can pit yourself against the heavy surge of Chile’s Cauldron of Death. This splendid wall/cave combo dive is well worth the effort of its nail-biting entry: visibility is exceptional and marine growth is downright luxuriant.

Easter Island

Although well off the South America coast – almost 2,500 miles offshore – the enigmatic Easter Island rests on an underwater volcanic ridge inhabited by more than 100 species of tropical fish. The island has limited scuba diving; however, those few dive sites’ visibility is some of the best in the world. The offshore dive sites at Easter are a labyrinth of arches and caves, they can be rough and there is limited marine life.

Dive site Hanga Roa provides a chance to be one of a select few to have ever seen an Easter Island statue underwater. The Cathedral, another dive site, is light on current but heavy on interesting rock structures and corals. Many different species of fish display themselves in the Cathedral (including butterfly fish, several varieties of piranha, parrot fish, and tuna).

Juan Fernandez

The islands closer to Chile’s shoreline host warmer water and good diving. The Juan Fernandez archipelago, very popular among regional scuba divers, is home to Robinson Crusoe Island, which hosts a menagerie of marine life and hundreds of dive sites. The underwater visibility is consistently top-notch, so you’ll clearly see the moray, cod-fish, pampanito, breca and corvine you’re hanging out with.

Roca Chungungo

Roca Chungungo, a dive for experienced divers and novices alike, is punctuated with large fish and sea lions. Although the visibility is often poor, the current is very light and the site’s resident otters and sea lions often follow divers around. Roca Chungungo’s depths bottom out at 47 meters.

Valparaiso

Valparaiso is the most important Chilean port, located 115 kilometers northwest of Santiago, Chile’s capital city. The Valparaiso area on the central coast is a solid jumping-off point to many good dive sites, but the water can be quite cold. If you’re willing to give it a shot, the waters around Valparaiso offer soft corals, towering sponges, tie-dyed starfish, flower corals and colonies of playful sea-lions.

There are a number of serviceable beach dives from Valparaiso itself. A bit further afield lies the wreck of El Falucho. It’s a good “starter” wreck dive for less-experienced divers. El Falucho is resplendent with colorful marine life, and a gentle current carries the divers along on a pleasant drift dive.

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Mediterranean Diving – The Birthplace of SCUBA

Warm water, classic dive sites, mild currents – the Mediterranean’s where it’s at. ‘Nuff said!

1. Venice and environs: Italy is one of the world’s most magnificent and storied countries, and its underwater grandeur is on par with the scenic tourist spots perched above sea level. There isn’t much in the way of scuba diving within Venice itself – after all, you’d have to be a bit mad to splash into the city’s filthy canals. Not far from Venice, however, you’ll find truly fabulous scuba diving sites such as Elba, Ponza and Ventotene. Seekers of aquatic recreation flock to Italy’s shores from April to October.

If you’re planning a scuba diving vacation specifically to this country, don’t spend too much time in Venice. Instead, head south – that’s where you’ll find the majority of scuba diving sites in Italy.

2. Sardinia: Divers love the island of Sardinia for its beautiful, varied dive spots: caves, coral reefs and colorful marine life abound. The Ciclopi rocks, a famous igneous formation, hosts a stunning overview of rich red corals and a who’s who of regional sea life. The island offers titillating underwater rock formations, reefs and overhangs populated by groupers, octopus, barracuda and beautiful corals and sponge. Calabria and Latium also offer crystal-clear water and abundant fish.

3. Secca del Papa: Renowned as the puzzle island, Secca del Papa has the diving spots with near-transparent water. Best of all, it’s a virtual synopsis of the Mediterranean diving environment, including well-preserved wrecks from the Roman times and the World Wars.

4. Sicily: The largest Italian island, Sicily has changeable weather throughout the year. History buffs will dive wrecks off the island’s coast that they’ll be talking about for months.

5. Mykonos Islands: Better-known as a sailing destination, Mykonos is a dark horse candidate for an ideal scuba diving holiday. It shouldn’t be, though: this Greek island boasts some of the best dive shops in Greece, as well as lots of fun dive sites. “Super Paradise Reef” and “Octopus Island” are here, after all! The water temperature around Greece is in the high 70′s, with great visibility.

6. Santorini: Santorini’s iconic volcanic explosion gave the island some of the most magnificent underwater scenery in Europe. Santorini’s underwater formations are aflutter with vibrant sea creatures. Lots of colorful sponges, groupers, nudibranchs, snappers, barracuda and many other fishes crowd around the island’s underwater caldera, its sleeping volcanoes and the wrecks that the island’s bizarre underwater topography has taken down over hundreds of years. One dive site, Mansell Reef, comes to within 10 feet of the surface in open water. The reef is rife with pelagics and the wall drops down to the abyss at over 600 feet.

7. Corfu: Corfu, another busy little Grecian dive site, is rife with beautiful wrecks, ancient sculptures, walls, and other artifacts, coral reefs and many diverse species swimming around.

8. Malta: Of all the Mediterranean dive sites, the island of Malta may be the best. Malta hosts clear waters, a myriad of marine life, caves, caverns and a graveyard of wrecks. Paradise Bay is a delightful dive with dropoffs, boulders, large fish and amazing fire worms. Two tug boats at Zonqor point are easy dives and with proper training make good penetration dives. The HMS Maori, a destroyer sent to the bottom during an air raid in 1943, is remarkably penetratable (but, due to its age, it’s unstable – so check your six).

9. France: France has a wide variety of dive sites and is well-known for its numerous wrecks. The wreck of the Togo lies in the Bay of Calvaliere, with the top of the ship reaching up to 150 feet. Bottom time is short, but the diver will be rewarded with a colorful kaleidoscope of seafans, gorgonions and a myriad of marine life. The lle de Hyeres, three French islands with great visibility, host many of these venerable old wrecks (as well as the brown merou, a giant grouper once thought to be extinct).

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Hot Tips: Scuba Diving in the Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf, located at the northern point of the Arabian Ocean, is a vital part of the ocean system. Since the Gulf of Oman separates the Persian Gulf from the ocean itself, with Saudi Arabia on one coast and eastern Asia bordering the other, it could almost be called a “private” gulf for Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Kuwait City is perched at the top of the Gulf, and the twinkling “instant city” of Dubai is at the southern end (in the U.A.E.).

The waters may not always be as crystal-clear as the tropical dive sites you’re used to, but the sheer sense of adventure makes scuba diving the Persian Gulf well worth the effort.

Why is the Persian Gulf so special? First off: It’s possessing of a certain untouched loveliness. The balmy ocean waters that flow into the Persian Gulf are clean and full of plankton, feeding over 900 species of fish. Dive shops in the Middle East will take you out among pristine reefs and wrecks that support abundant aquatic life.

Secondly: there are no underwater crowds. Even though the gulf itself is only 650 miles long, the dive sites feel remarkably “secret.” Considering the relatively small, manageable size of the region (many divers take the opportunity to dive several sites in one trip), it’s surprising that these incredible sites aren’t teeming with divers.

If you’re ready for some desertside diving, check out a few of our favorite dive sites in the Persian Gulf:

1. Bahrain: The tiny island of Bahrain is an excellent place to start your Middle Eastern adventure, with its wide expanses of coral reef and frequent sightings of white-tip sharks. But be warned — if you start here, you might enjoy it so much that you’ll stay! You may even pay for your scuba diving vacation while you’re underwater: As the ocean floor is literally covered with oysters, the Bahrain government allows divers to collect as many shells as they can carry (along with all the pearls they find).

2. Saudi Arabia: The wreck of the Boiler is the most popular dive spot in Suadi Arabia, and for good reason! To get to the wreck, you’ll actually swim through a coral-encrusted tunnel — a commuter route for reef sharks, snappers and goatfish. These and many more colorful reef fish now staff the sunken vessel, makign it a bustling artificial reef.

3. Oman: Whether you’re toodling around inside the wreck of the Al Munassir or circumnavigating the Muscat islands, Oman will impress you. The waters around Oman are home to 85 genera of both hard and soft corals (including the elusive black and teddy-bear corals). You’ll see enormous table corals, too! Dive sites in Oman host almost a thousand species of fish — from the diminutive cleaner wrasse to the hulking whale shark.

4. Musandum Peninsula: Musandam, right above the U.A.E., overflows with marine life. There are 30 established dive sites within proximity. Stringent fishing restrictions put in place by the Sultanate of Oman mean that you’ll enjoy hundreds of species of spectaular fish (as well as frequent sightings of sharks and rays). Expect dive shops in the Musandum Peninsula to provide you with a huge glut of options when you arrive, based on the current conditions, and your input will tailor the experience.

5. MV Dara: When the MV Dara sank in 1961, 238 of its passengers went down with it. The remains of that gruesome day — a massive man-made reef — are now patrolled by turtles, batfish, snapper, rays, angelfish, barracuda and moray eels. (If you’re queasy, don’t worry: there are no public accounts of divers coming across human remains within the site.)

6. Kish Islands: Awesome diving! You’ll find a ship wreck, pinnacles and coral reefs with water depth up to 33 meters. Even with all this on-hand, it’s entirely possible that you’ll see no other divers. Angelfish, stingrays, turtles, barracuda, reef sharks…the list of occupants goes on and on. It’s no wonder that the Kish Islands are often called “The Pearls of the Persian Gulf.”

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Discovering The Gambia: Scuba Diving in Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a small country located about 570 kilometers/350 miles off the West Coast of Africa. It is made up of 10 islands. The islands were used as a trading point during the Atlantic Slave Trade and heavily trafficked by ships.

Perennially Delightful

The first thing you’ll notice when you land in The Gambia is the atmosphere. There are many places in the world that can be said to be rich in both history and culture, but Cape Verde and The Gambia absolutely exemplify the hospitality and generosity that Western Africa has grown famous for. Much of the region’s original way of life operates here as is has done for centuries, and the sense of timeless tranquility is delightful.

More Diverse Than You Think

Cape Verde served a historic purpose as a trading center, so the culture in the country is surprisingly diverse. The Gambia was originally settled by the Portuguese, then conquered by the Europeans during the height of the slave trade. The result is a gumbo of cultures: Carribean, African, Brazilian and Portuguese. The people who live on the Cape Verde islands are as diverse as their histories. This combination has brought forth a style of music in The Gambia that’s a unique fusion of sound, and it really sets the rhythm of the place. The food’s terrific, too!

After you’ve had a moment to take in the mood of the place, you’ll probably head straight for a dive shop. The Gambia and Cape Verde have incredible weather year round, with almost no rainfall between June and November. The beaches are breathtakingly beautiful — and as uncrowded as you might imagine them to be.

Plentiful Shipwrecks

Fascinating scuba diving fact: Cape Verde is the perfect setting for a wreck scuba diving vacation. Due to Cape Verde’s geography and volcanic geology, the islands created a serious hazard for ships. Over 70 shipwrecks have been recorded between the 16th and 19th centuries off the coast of the islands. Therefore, the seafloor around Cape Verde looks something like a playroom scattered with boat toys. Intermediate and advanced scuba divers will think that the playroom metaphor extends way beyond the look of things — there’s loads for the savvy diver to explore.

Multifaceted Dive Sites

The scuba diving sites in Cape Verde are choice: bursting with marine species, geologically interesting and blessedly uncrowded. For example: off the South coast of the Island of Sal is an incredible spot for wall diving that begins at 28 meters and digs down to to 65. All manner of Pelagic fish call the site home. In this same area are three caves (in local parlance, “Tres Grotes”) that offer varied, accessible cave diving. The maximum depth at Tres Grotes is 18 meters, and lobster, turtles and tropical fish abound within the three (very accessible) caves. The site even features a wall for wall diving.

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Five Top Scuba Dives in Hawaii

The waters are always warm in the South Pacific! That’s not the only reason that Hawaii is such a fantastic place to rack up some scuba dives, either: it’s easy to travel here from the States, it’s easy to find a great dive shop in Hawaii, and each of the islands adds a delightful personality to the dive. Once there, it’s becomes dazzlingly easy to island-hop from site to site.

Hawaii holds some great treasures in scuba diving (especially reef and wreck scuba diving), and boasts the kind of dreamlike visibility that reveals them all to scuba diving visitors.

1. Hanauma Bay, Oahu

You’ll be shocked to see such spectacular scuba diving without having to bring a passport. It’s a volcanic crater that’s a state-protected marine sanctuary, so it’s a full-on underwater neighborhood. If you’re planning on doing much scuba diving in Oahu in general, be aware that scuba diving is a summertime activity on the island’s north shore; when the winds come in, the surfers take over.

2. Kingman Reef

Hawaii’s Kingman Reef is not to be mistaken for the non-diveable American marine reserve about 950 miles into Oceania. (If you want to dive there, you’ll need to be with a scientific expedition.) Hawaii’s Kingman Reef is pretty darn cool, too! It’s a series of finger reefs — noted for large game fish, octopus and anemone crabs. Bring your baby-shower gifts: it’s also a major nesting area for white tip sharks.

3. The Wreck of the Sea Tiger

Also on the Town side of Oahu, a hulking old smuggling vessel is inhabited by spotted eagle rays, squirrelfish, filefish and more than a few reef sharks. It’s diveable both during the day and at night. You’ll dodge the submarines and moray eels as you make your way down to the wreck and through its cargo holds, stairwells and passageways. Since antiquity, scores of ships have found their way to the seafloor in the Hawaiian islands; if the Sea Tiger whets your appetite for wreck scuba diving, there’s plenty more to explore!

4. Five Caves, Maui

Nestled next to a sunken volcano, Maui’s Five Caves dive site offers turtle-filled crevasses with depths to 130 ft. Its previous name was “Five Graves,” but the local dive shops in Maui have begun to refer to the site more scientifically in the past few years. Try to get someone to tell you the story as you make your way to the entrance!

5. Tunnels Reef, Kauai

The most back-to-the-land of the Hawaiian island, Kauai, has a delightfully slow rhythm. You wouldn’t expect to find such modern, well-run dive shops on Kauai, but they’re there! Tunnels Reef is a more advanced dive site than many others in Hawaii — you’ll first need to make it over the lava shelf, and then you’ll need help navigating to the lava tubes. If you want to see sharks, you can: you’ll just have to go farther afield.

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Way Off The Radar: Scuba Diving In Morocco

Most folks who go to Morocco will come back with a camera full of parched desert scenery. If you’re looking for damper vistas than camels trekking across picturesque sand, you may be surprised to learn that Morocco is an absolute scuba diving gem.

Morocco’s off-the-radar status as a scuba diving location makes it a fantastic option for dive travel. People travel to Morocco to go on a camelback safari in the desert or explore the exotic bazaars, not to see its offshore depths — so the country offers a golden opportunity to beat the crowds and enjoy the rich marine environments off of the northwest coast of Africa.

Misconceptions

A common myth about scuba diving in Morocco, especially among Europeans, is that recreational scuba diving is banned. Don’t worry! While it’s true that the country’s diving industry is underdeveloped, the sport is far from banned. You may have to do a bit more legwork to find a dive center, but ScubaSpy.com will help you sort out a top-notch scuba diving itinerary in Morocco without too much undue effort.

Diving Conditions

Considering that Morocco is about on the same latitude as Florida, the sea there is surprisingly chilly. The water temperature around central Morocco is in the mid-60s F in winter and the low 70s in summer. It’s gentle, though: sea currents off the coast of Morocco are rarely strong, and the ocean is generally placid.

Sea Life

One of the virtues of diving in Morocco is in its animal encounters, as it is one of the few places where swimming with dolphins in the open ocean is legal. Some boat dive trips combine diving with dolphin watching, including the chance to get in the water with the dolphins. Sea turtles are sometimes seen, and the reefs offer a home to slithering blue conger eels, crabs, grouper, tuna and sea bream.

Wide-Open Spaces

Because Morocco is such an off-the-beaten-track diving area, divers have the singular advantage of avoiding the crowds. This will go over brilliantly with divers used to visiting popular diving areas, where the challenge is to be the first dive group to reach a particular area before any other divers disturb the fish. This is hardly a worry for the infrequently-dived shores of Morocco, where you have a shot at being the first to discover a new scuba diving site!

Our Tips

Unlike in the neighboring Canary Islands, dive centers and clubs are few and far between. Those in search of scuba diving in Morocco must go straight to where the dive centers in Morocco are more concentrated, in places like Tangier. There are a couple of dive shops in Agadir, Morocco, too. Anyone who simply shows up at a beach and hopes to find a dive shop will probably be disappointed. Do your research first — you’ll be glad you did.

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Five Essential Scuba Dives In South America

The Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands, located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are on the ‘to dive’ list of any globetrotting diver worth their weight in seashells. We all learned that Charles Darwin’s 1835 visit culminated in ‘The Origin of Species,’ but it’s hard to understand the profoundness of the Galapagos experience without seeing it for yourself.

Diving around the archipelago’s islands and rocks is an experience of a lifetime. Galapagos scuba divers are likely to encounter whale sharks, sea turtles, schooling hammerheads, a boggling diversity of colorful tropical fish, and marine iguanas (yep — you read that right).

Valdes, Argentina

Diving the Valdes peninsula of Argentina is an undersea explorer’s dream. After all, filmmakers from around the world come to Valdes to capture the almost-endless variety of whales in the area. Orcas make common appearences, too. The sea lions play incessantly, and their underwater acrobatics seem to be a performance for their scuba diving visitors.

The Valdes waters are cold year-round, so bring your booties and be ready for a scuba dive that tests your limits as it blows your mind.

Pedras Secas, Brazil

When one thinks of Brazil, visions of white-sand beaches, bikini-clad lovelies and nonstop parties come to mind. Somewhat off-the-radar is Brazil’s secret identity as an exceptional scuba diving vacation spot.

One of Brazil’s premier dive sites, Pedras Secas, is known for a sheer volume of marine life that mirrors Copacabana Beach on a Saturday. Divers will jostle their way through crowds eagle rays, mantas, reef sharks, hammerheads, lobsters, and octopus in these crystal-clear waters.

Peru

Peru is known for its towering, snow-capped mountains, headwaters of the mighty Amazon River, Inca ruins and a deep, dark jungle. Who knew there was more off-shore? Believe it: Peru has some of the most outrageous scuba diving in the world.

The Pacific waters tend to have a greenish tint year-round, due to nutrient-rich upwellings from the depths. These nutritious waters support the full spectrum of the food chain — from minute to the magnificent — and you can watch the drama unfold from any number of scuba diving sites along the long Peruvian coast.

Providencia, Colombia

Seeking warmer water? Head to the northern coastlines of South America. The Colombian island of Providencia will do nicely.

Providencia is a densely-forested island on the third-largest barrier reef in the world. If you talk to someone who’s been there, they’ll probably tell you it’s the most beautiful place on earth. The diving is unbeatable: cliffs, caves, blue holes, sunken pirate ships and a myriad of the marine life that the Caribbean is so well-known for.

Posted in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Galapagos, Peru, San Andres y Providencia | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment