Top Five Scuba Destinations on a Budget

Scuba diving is not a cheap hobby, but it’s easy to get a taste for it – plenty of all-inclusive holiday resorts offer scuba diving experiences, and all it takes is one dip in the water to get hooked. If you’re looking for the next underwater paradise to explore, the key is to make sure you don’t sacrifice your diving experience for the sake of low cost. Integrate your plans into your next summer holiday from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean and beyond these five popular holiday spots offer great value scuba diving that’s well worth the trip.

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Caribbean: Bonaire

The Southern Caribbean island of Bonaire and its neighbouring islet Klein Bonaire are consistently mentioned among the world’s top three diving destinations, budget or otherwise. The tiny holiday island, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles and still a special municipality of the Netherlands, is almost exclusively geared to dive tourism. Costs are minimal for the spectacular diving on offer, and many packages include accommodation, meals and dive passes. Shore diving is a particular favourite here, with the coral reef starting just a few metres from shore in many places.

Indian Ocean: Malaysia

The islands of Mabul and Lankayan, off the east coast of Borneo in the Malaysian archipelago, are two of the best-value scuba destinations in Asia. The crystal-clear water makes them especially suited for Macro diving. After shelling out for an SLR underwater camera, stay in an all-inclusive hotel on the beach to save some cash.

Atlantic: Galapagos

The islands famously associated with Charles Darwin have more recently evolved into one of the top unexpected budget scuba sites. Santa Cruz island is a good base from which to find an affordable and reputable school, whose PADI qualified instructors will introduce you to one of the ‘seven wonders of the underwater world’. The area’s wildlife is unparalleled, with sea turtles, sea lions, rays, whale sharks. hammerheads, aquatic iguanas, tropical fish and more – even penguins, if you’re lucky.

Mediterranean: Malta

The Mediterranean island of Malta is world-famous for the huge number of sunken wrecks off its coast, including WWII relics linked to the area’s recent history. It also has the merit of being closer to home for European-based divers looking to save money on flights.

Red Sea: Sharm El Sheikh

This popular resort on Egypt’s Red Sea coast has plenty of hotel/dive operators who, especially in the off-season, offer very cheap deals for people able to pack their bags and head out at short notice. All-inclusive holidays are big business here, so your scuba diving holiday package can include airport transfer and dive equipment hire, leaving you to relax and enjoy the Red Sea’s incredible sights and sea life.

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