Top 5 Diving Destinations to Consider for a Vacation

Top 5 Diving Destinations
Top 5 Diving Destinations

Scuba diving is a sport that appeals to people on many levels. Some enjoy the freedom that comes from being temporarily weightless. Others get a thrill from coming in contact with marine life, away from aquariums and nature documentaries. Life teems just under the surface, so there is no need to be an expert to enjoy diving. The following is a list of five supreme diving destinations, guaranteed to leave participants speechless.

  1. Palau

Palau is a small island in Micronesia, less than 1,000 miles east of the Philippines. While underwater, divers can explore the fringe reef that surrounds the island chain, caves and shipwrecks. The Japanese ships that sank during World War II have become artificial reefs and are now home to various species of coral, rays, fish and turtles.

Palau’s government is proud of the country’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost diving destinations and has taken steps to protect the delicate ecosystem of the ocean. The waters surrounding Palau have officially been declared a ‘shark sanctuary’ making all commercial shark hunting illegal. An estimated 130 species of shark live in the protected waters around the island, including Oceanic Whitetips, Scalloped Hammerheads and Grey Reef Sharks. With so many marine animals to see up close, it is no wonder that Palau is seen as a diver’s paradise.

  1. The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most well-known diving locations. The world’s largest living organism stretches almost 1,500 miles along the eastern coast of Australia. It is one of two constructions able to be seen in space, the other being the Great Wall of China. Perhaps because of its size, the Great Barrier Reef has an unrivaled marine population.

There are two ways to explore the reef. Day trips are an optimal way for people to experience the reef without committing their entire vacation to it. Cairns in the north is one of the most popular launching points for day trips, but most of the cities along the coast have at least one company providing short tours. For those who would like to spend an extended period of time becoming familiar with the breathtaking scenery, it is possible to live on-board a ship.

  1. Galapagos Islands

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known simply as UNESCO, has declared the Galapagos Islands to be a World Heritage Site. The islands and the surrounding waters are protected, and this allows divers to get closer to fish than is possible in other areas of the worlds. Some species of fish even seem to welcome divers, darting close enough to be touched.

The shimmering water around the Galapagos hides abrupt drop-offs and strong ocean currents. The Antarctic Humboldt current passes by the islands as well, keeping the water abnormally cold. Because of the risks involved with these conditions, diving around the islands should be reserved for those with experience only. Transit cards must be purchased prior to travel to the Galapagos and a park fee is charged once the visitors arrive.

  1. Cocos Island

Slightly more than 300 miles off the coast of Costa Rica lies one of the world’s largest uninhabited islands. Park rangers are the only permanent residents of the island, visitors must leave by nightfall. Vacations to the rainforest-covered Cocos Island will last several days, as it is only accessible by a live-aboard boat.

Octopuses, tuna, turtles and sharks abound in the ocean around Cocos. Whale sharks are one of the most popular attractions in the deeper water off-shore. Deep water and strong currents make this site one for experienced divers. However, sea kayaking, whale-watching and day hikes on the island will ensure a good time, even for those who never enter the water.

  1. The Red Sea

Once known only to European divers, the Red Sea has recently attracted visitors from around the world. Coral reefs, shipwrecks and deep walls are able to be explored in this 1,200 mile stretch of water. Most expeditions, day trip and live-aboard, leave from Sharm El-Sheikh. This city on the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula offers many other water sports as well, such as windsurfing and para-sailing.

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism founded the Sharm el-Sheikh Hyperbaric Medical Center to help solidify the city’s name as a premier dive location. While five tourists were injured in 2010 by an Oceanic Whitetip Shark, resulting in one death, Egyptian authorities have stated the shark was captured alive. Water in the Red Sea is very warm, and awe-inspiring underwater scenery help make this area one of the best in the world.

Four Up-and-Coming Holiday Destinations for 2011

With more and more holiday destinations becoming overcrowded the true holiday makers that want an individual and hustle and bustle-free excursion will always look to relatively new and unfounded places to relax. Whether it’s a superior and tantalisingly beautiful beach holiday you want or you want to backpack through areas that are steeped in rustic history and charm, there is a place out there waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Here are the top four to try out this year before word gets out and the crowds take over.

Holiday Destinations for 2011
Holiday Destinations for 2011

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Anywhere in Thailand is going to be a big hit this year. Normally there is a particular place in a country that is widely recommended however, with the country’s stunning beaches, authentic way of life and a new stabilised political scene, holiday destinations in Thailand are set to reap the rewards of a booming summer season. There are also some great incentives to going to Thailand this year as there are loads of new flights on the agenda as well as a steady stream of plush new hotels ready to bring Thailand to the forefront of holiday maker’s minds.

Known as the ‘White City’, Tangier in Morocco is on its way to becoming a leading yachting marina. The area itself has some of the most spectacular beaches that boast camel rides, windsurfing and the typical treats such as beach football. A great thing about this area however, is the richness in history that is still evident. With many popular destinations, the magic of the place and its origins can sometimes be lost due to mass tourism, however; this place still has everything in abundance with magnificent gardens and caves of archaeological significance meaning the trip can also be a learning curve for many.

Orhaniye in Turkey has recently performed well in the tourism stakes with many people that are fond of combining a traditional relaxing beach holiday with the option of peaceful scenic walks that revel in natural beauty and stunning coastline views. The area is protected by conservation laws so everything that you see is untouched authenticity. Many people will delight in the waterside eateries and relaxed village atmosphere and will revel in peace and quiet and the escapism from everyday life that it provides.

Bali is set for a new influx of tourists this year and it isn’t hard to see why. Bali is a real eye opener in terms of culture, difference and enchantment and offers a real magical holiday experience. For such a small island Bali can offer a tourist everything that they could possibly wish to experience. There are quaint little beach towns, cultural treks amid the tremendous volcanoes and food and drink options that will simply blow the mind with its originality and class.

About the Author:  Toni Devaney is an expert travel author for UK discount website Mega.co.uk, she is currently living and working in Spain. Mega.co.uk are currently promoting the latest Alpharooms voucher code online.