As a novice diver, there’s nothing more exciting than discovering new dive destinations that offer easy diving and incredible marine life just perfect for your experience level.
Whether you want to go swimming with whale sharks and mantas, sail around paradise islands or explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, there are some fantastic liveaboard diving options for new divers.
Here is our pick of the 9 best dive destinations for new (and experienced) divers to try:
Stretching for over 2300km along the rainforest-draped Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best known dive destinations for new divers; offering sunshine, clear waters and diverse diving.
This UNESCO World Heritage site has over 2,900 individual reefs and abundant marine life, including vibrant reef fish, huge potato cod, sharks, sea turtles and passing pelagics. With a variety of liveaboards to suit all budgets and trip lengths, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re keen to try shark diving, the dive destinations Bahamas is a great place to start as a new diver. This idyllic destination offers easy, consistent dive conditions and shallow shark dives with numerous sharks. You can also enjoy almost guaranteed encounters with resident dolphins while you’re there.
Whilst some liveaboards require more experience, the Bahamas Aggressor has no minimum logged dive requirement for its Tiger Beach safaris.
Classic dive destinations for new divers, Egypt offers easy reef dives and world-class wrecks with striking desert landscapes and azure blue waters just about everywhere. The reefs are crammed with vibrant soft corals and healthy hard corals; all surrounded by hundreds of colourful reef fish, sea turtles and passing reef sharks. It’s understandably a mecca for European divers that people return to time and again. Just remember to dive the Northern Red Sea for easier dive conditions and visit the wild Southern Red Sea dive sites once you have more dives under your belt.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Maldives was only suitable for experienced divers, with its thrilling drift dives and deep channels, but this quintessential tropical dive destination has plenty of options for new divers. As well as offering remote atolls scattered across turquoise waters and sunsets you won’t want to take your eyes off, Maldives scuba diving is phenomenal. You can dive with manta rays, whale sharks, schooling pelagics and abundant macro treasures. Just make sure you choose atolls that suit your experience level or opt for a liveaboard safari with minimal logged dives required.
The luxurious Scubaspa Fleet offers affordable spa and diving safaris, with a focus on fine food and wine. With no minimum logged dives, this fleet is ideal for new divers.
Thailand has always been known as a great place to learn to dive, thanks to its affordability, calm waters and abundant marine life. With dive sites ranging from reefs, walls and wrecks to dramatic pinnacles surrounded by schooling pelagics, there’s something for every diver. Whilst you can choose from an array of dive sites as a new diver, bear in mind some sites are best appreciated as an advanced diver. Stick to the Southern Andaman Sea for easier diving, which has just as impressive marine life as the North.
For relaxed dive vacations, the Seychelles is hard to beat thanks to its combination of easy diving, dive-sail safaris and water sports. With 115 islands to choose from, there are plenty of dive sites and a diverse selection of reef life; from octopi, moray eels and reef fish to whale sharks. Dive the Inner Islands for easy dive conditions and return to explore the remote Outer Islands once you’re more experienced.
This soft coral capital of the world rarely disappoints with its colourful coral reefs and friendly locals. With so many paradise islands to choose from, there are Fiji scuba diving options for all experience levels. The Yasawa Islands are a great choice for new divers and the Reef Endeavour offers diving and non-diving cruises there. Marine life highlights include passing humpback whales, manta rays and sea turtles through to seemingly endless numbers of reef fish and critters - perfect dive destinations!
Ningaloo Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Western Australia, supports an abundance of marine life, including numerous whale sharks. Attracted by seasonal plankton blooms and coral spawning, hundreds of whale sharks congregate at Ningaloo reef from March to June each year. The small Shore Thing catamaran offers Ningaloo dive safaris, during which you can swim with these spotty giants to your heart’s content. Just remember to check out Ningaloo reef and the surrounding coastline. As well as having over 500 fish species, you can spot mantas, dugong and sea turtles.
Cuba’s healthy and unspoilt marine reserves are renowned for their lack of crowds and unparalleled diversity of life. With over 700 species of fish, including 100 shark species, and mangroves hosting resident manatees, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied as you enjoy easy diving there. As the Cuban government only allows a certain number of people to dive Cuba each year, these pristine areas should remain that way for many years to come.
This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com