21 best diving holidays: In search of adventure beneath the waves

1 Caribbean

The unspoilt islands of the Turks and Caicos, just south of the Bahamas, have some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Scuba Safaris (tel: 01342 851196) offers a seven-day voyage around the islands for pounds 1,250 per person, based on two sharing, for the week 23-30 October, including return flights, transfers and full-board accommodation on a luxury dive boat.

2 Manta Rays

See majestic manta rays dancing under the sunlit waters of the Maldives. Maldives Scuba Tours (tel: 01449 780220) is offering pounds 200 off its 12-night trip on the MV Sea Queen liveaboard boat with a price of pounds 1,695 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and full-board accommodation in an en suite cabin. November is a good time to see both mantas and Grey Reef sharks. Qualified divers only.

3 Thailand

Thailand is just the place for relaxing and a diving adventure, and Tony Backhurt Scuba Travel (tel: 0800 0728221) offers a two-week trip incorporating both. The first week is spent on the Excalibur live-aboard dive boat, visiting the Similan Islands, Richelieu Rock and the Mergui Archipelago. And to recover, your second week is spent on the beautiful Phi Phi island. The holiday costs from pounds 1,700 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers, b&b accommodation on the island and full board on the boat.

4 Micronesian wrecks

In February 1944, American bombers sent many Japanese ships to the bottom of the sea around Truk Lagoon in Micronesia. Now divers can explore the wrecks. Explorers Tours (tel: 01753 681999) offers a 17-day itinerary for around pounds 2,000 per person, based on two sharing, including scheduled return flights, room-only accommodation at the Truk Continental hotel and diving.

5 Africa

It is often difficult to know just where to dive in Africa, but Oonasdivers (tel: 01323 648924) is offering a 16-day adventure. The first week is spent on the Protea Banks, off the coast near Margate in South Africa, famed for its high-voltage shark dives. Then, after a stopover at the Hluhluwe game park, you move north over the Mozambique border where you can dive with whale sharks and huge groupers. The price is pounds 1,820 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights to Durban, transfers, full-board accommodation and diving fees.

6 The last frontier

Papua New Guinea is one of the last wildernesses and offers some awesome diving. Scuba Safaris (tel: 01342 851196) offers tailor-made holidays starting from pounds 1,400 per person, based on two sharing, for an eight-day trip to Madang, including return flights and room-only accommodation, but excluding diving fees. My advice - try and stay for longer.

7 Galapagos Islands

These islands have some of the most unusual marine life around. Out of the 307 species of fish, 50 are unique. Divequest Holidays (tel: 01254 826322) offers a seven-night cruise on a luxurious live-aboard. The price of pounds 1,625 per person, based on two sharing, includes seven nights on full- board on the boat, with five full days of diving. Flights to Quito, two stopover nights there and transfers cost an extra pounds 945. Qualified divers only.

8 Learn to dive

Learn in the warmth of the Red Sea. Goldenjoy Holidays (tel: 0171-794 9767) offers a five-day course, with either PADI or BSAC certification, for pounds 399 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, and b&b hotel accommodation.

9 James Bond

Fancy flying around one of the shipwrecks used in a James Bond film on an underwater scooter one day, then watching a couple of dozen sharks being fed just metres away from you on the next? You can if you book a dive holiday to New Providence Island in the Bahamas. Barefoot Traveller (tel: 0181-741 4319) offers a seven-day trip with five days diving at the Stuart Cove resort. The price is pounds 900 and includes return flights and room-only accommodation at the Orange Hill Hotel.

10 Hammerheads

If you enjoy swimming among hundreds of hammerhead sharks, make for the Cocos Islands 260 miles off Costa Rica. Maldives Scuba Tours (tel: 01449 780220) offers a 10-day trip for pounds 2,600 per person, based on two sharing. This price includes return flights, transfers, two nights' b&b in a hotel, full board on a dive boat and diving fees.

11 Shark Rodeo

There can be few better shark dives than Walker's Cay Shark Rodeo. Divers can swim about while 50 or more hungry sharks devour a frozen cocktail of fish attached to the back of the dive boat. You can also see dolphins, a shipwreck and eat as much conch chowder as you like. Divequest Holidays (tel: 01254 826322) offers seven nights for pounds 775 per person, based on two sharing, including flights from Fort Lauderdale to Walker's Cay and half-board accommodation. Flights from London to Miami cost from pounds 340, with one night's b&b in Fort Lauderdale, and transfers. Qualified divers only.

12 Wall diving

Many divers dream about the wall diving off Manado in the northern peninsula of Sulawesi. Explorers Tours (Tel 01753 681999) offers a 10-day package doing just this at the beautiful Tasik Ria Dive Resort. The price is pounds 695, including return flights, accommodation in a twin room and one night room only in Singapore. A five-day, 10-dive package costs an additional pounds 185.

13 Cuba

Cuba offers some great dive holidays. A 10-day trip to the Isle Of Youth with Regal Holidays (tel: 01353 778096) costs pounds 1,009 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, seven nights' full-board accommodation in an en-suite room, an overnight stay in Havana and six days diving.

14 Big game

Hammerhead and whale sharks, mantas and sea lions are just some of the creatures you will see on a diving holiday to the Sea of Cortez in Baha California. Kuoni (tel: 01306 744345) offers diving breaks at the La Concha Beach resort for from pounds 739 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers, a seven-night stay at the resort and an overnight stay in Los Angeles. A five-day, 10-dive package costs an additional pounds 259.

15 Southern Red Sea

There are lots of dive holidays to the Red Sea, but only a few to Egypt's far south, close to the Sudan border. Tony Blackhurst Scuba Travel (tel: 0800 0728221) is offering a trip on the Ghazala Voyager to St Johns, Furry Shoal, Ras Banas and Elphinstone reef, departing 26 November. The price is pounds 895 per person, based on two people sharing, including return flights, transfers, full-board accommodation and diving fees. Oonasdivers (tel: 01323 648924) offers similar trips.

16 Budget

Dive with stingrays and turtles in Tenerife. Island Divers (tel: 01487 824428) specialises in offering small groups week-long diving breaks. The price is pounds 112.50 per person, based on four sharing, including transfers and self-catering accommodation. Return flights cost around pounds 150 extra.

17 Two oceans

The waters around Tobago, just 70 miles from Venezuela, are rich in marine life. Huge tarpon, manta rays and sharks are just some of the creatures here. Scubaway (tel: 01273 746241) offers a seven-night holiday for pounds 599 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and room- only accommodation. A 10-dive package costs pounds 210 extra.

18 Jellyfish

Snorkelling in a sea of jellyfish is a bizarre experience that you can try out off the islands of Palau in Micronesia. Many visitors also stop over at the island of Yap - possibly the best place in the world to see manta rays. Divequest Holidays (tel: 01254 826 322) offers several options for a twin-centre holiday with prices from about pounds 2,000 per person, based on two sharing, for a two-week trip, including return flights, room-only accommodation and diving. Qualified divers only.

19 Turtles

Sipadan off the east coast of Malaysia is renowned for its marine life, especially turtles. Kuoni ( tel: 01306 744345) offers a twin-centre holiday with five nights on Sipadan at the basic Sipadan dive centre and five nights at the more comfortable Layang Layang resort off the coast of Sabah. The price is from pounds 1,628 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers, full-board accommodation, and diving.

20 Mexico

A new dive experience is offered by Crusader Travel (tel: 0181-892 7606) exploring the Chinchorro Banks south of Cozumel, Mexico. A nine- day package to the Maya Ha resort costs pounds 1,695 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights, transfers, full-board accommodation and diving.

21 Dolphins

On Grand Bahama, divers can literally be kissed and spun by dolphins as they play on the bottom of a sandy sea floor a mile offshore. Harlequin (tel: 01708 850330) offers seven-night holidays at the Pelican Bay hotel, a short walk from the UNEXSO dive centre. The price is pounds 723, including return flights and room-only accommodation. Certified divers only.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape