Many people come to Oyster Diving seeking adventure and deep sea exploration. However, as of late, more and more people have approached us seeking lessons before they go off on their summer holidays, and one of the most common questions they ask after completing their course is, ‘what are the best diving areas for beginners?’
This got me thinking about the best areas I could direct them to, as I could only name a few places off the top of my head, I thought I’d do some research into some of the best places around the world for diving beginners!
This takes into account, warm, clear water and a very low and if possible, non-existent current.
So, I’ve done some research and decided on my 7 best beginner diving areas!
7. British Virgin Islands
Definitely one of my personal favourites for beginners, mainly because you;d find it difficult to find an area deeper than 80ft here. Other than the north coast of Tortola (its main island) the rest of the area is perfect for beginners. The sea is incredibly sheltered, meaning fast currents are non-existent and there’s a lot of protected coastline and reefs to be explored.
However, there’s more to be done here than just exploring the reefs. The RMS Rhone resides here, a wreck of great significance coupled with the ships of Wreck Alley, just off from Cooper Island. Both are can be easily explored, and you’ll find it difficult to not go back there after your first dive. With a plethora of artifacts and sunken treasures to be found, you certainly won’t be bored down here.
6. Thailand – Cheap Costs!
Everyone know that Thailand is one of the best diving regions in the world, not only because of their sites but because of the accessibility.
Scuba class costs are very cheap and make for a fantastic experience. Koh Tao has some very cheap diving centres and this area is home to more than 50 operators on a 12-square mile patch. You can get two diving certifications for the price of one, making it one of the most sought-after locations and courses across the globe. You’re also in line to see what the Andaman Sea has to offer!
5. Key Largo, Florida – Sealife
Rob Haff, an instructor within the area states that this is one of the best areas for beginners looking for sea life because “we’re able to go to our best reefs with our students.”
The site’s depth ranges to a fairly shallow 40ft, which is also free of any strong currents. One of the preferred diving areas for students is Molasses Reef, part of the National Marine Sanctuary, mainly for its plethora of colourful fish. The sanctuary includes snapper, tarpo, and goliath grouper. If you’re lucky, you may even be greeted by a loggerhead turtle, as they are commonly seem within this area.
For many students, this would be their first ever diving experience, and it would surely leave a positive mark on their lives.
4. Heron Island, Australia – Even Bigger Animals!
If you’re not too daunted by an even bigger scope of sea life wonder, then travel down to Heron Island.
Just off from Queensland is the coral cay, which is better known as a nesting site for green loggerhead and hawksbill turtles.
On a usual day, you’ll be able to see at least four turtles, including a few mantas and even lemon and grey reef sharks! Stu Ecob, the instructor at Heron Island Resort also claimed that “If you’re a newbie diver, you likely won’t have a better dive like this in your life — you’ll see many animals that it takes other divers years to see.”
3. Bonaire – General Beginner Training
For shore diving, Bonaire boasts a fantastic learning spot for keen divers. Though, many people are somewhat hesitant about diving in Bonaire, as Augusto Montbrun (Manager at Buddy Dive Resort) informs the divers that a reef-checkout dive is required before any divers may jump in.
However, once this initial speed-bump has been passed and they’re introduced to the myriad of sea life awaiting them, their attitudes completely change.
In addition, the resort also offers three options for entry: shore, ladder and giant stride. Montbrun also claims that this area is fantastic for people to break-out of their comfort zones and truly explore the oceans beneath.
2. Utila – For the Community
It’s well-known that Utila certifies around 200,000 new divers with C-cards each year!
With the main street stretching little more than 3 miles, there may not be much room for shops, clubs and other common places you’d find in the UK, but it does lay home to six PADI IDC centres.
The reason Utila differs to other diving resorts/locations is because of the community. Many dive shops promote their own social gatherings and activities, such as barbecues, meet-ups and club nights where everyone goes. Everyone is made to feel welcome here, and for beginner divers, this is certainly somewhere you’d want to learn the tricks of the trade.
1. Grand Cayman – Push the Boat Out!
It might be strange to find that I’ve included such a well-known and vast location but it isn’t without reason.
While this may seem like an area for experienced divers, there are around twenty other sites on the West End that must be acknowledged. This is not to say that this is an obvious beginner area, it is however a place that offers itself to those who believe they are ready to tackle a slightly more renowned and greater diving location.