Is scuba diving something you’ve always wanted to try? Why wait?

Our ocean planet is full of beautiful places to learn to dive – even for people with limited time and money. Start your adventure and become a certified diver and you’ll enjoy:

Become a Certified Diver in Just a Few Days

Here’s a quick overview of what’s involved in learning to scuba dive. You’ll start your adventure by learning diving fundamentals – via an online course or using a book and DVD. Next you’ll learn how to set up scuba gear and practice basic diving skills with your instructor in a pool (or pool-like environment). Lastly, you’ll make at least four dives in the ocean, local lake, or other body of water suited to beginner divers. If you’re not sure whether scuba certification is for you, ask your local PADI® dive shop about a Discover Scuba® Diving experience.

A PADI Open Water Diver card is the most-recognized scuba certification in the world. With more than 6,000 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts worldwide, it can be hard to choose where to start, so here are a few of the best places to begin your scuba diving journey in 2020.

The Top 8 Places to Get Scuba Certified in 2020

The Bahamas
Clear water and shallow reefs make The Bahamas an ideal place to learn to dive – especially if your partner is already certified. Most of the dive sites are shallow, so you can enjoy the islands’ diverse marine life and historic wrecks together. The Bahamas include more than 700 islands spread out across 800 km/500 miles of ocean. Only two of the island chain’s 16 major destinations were affected by Hurricane Dorian. Read this Sport Diver article about diving in The Bahamas two weeks after the hurricane. By starting your scuba journey in The Bahamas, you can support this beautiful nation’s efforts to rebuild devastated areas.

The Maldives
When leaving the Maldives’ main airport, you’ll see more boats than taxis. That’s because the country is made up of more than 1,100 small coral islands. After landing in the capital, Malé, visitors typically leave straightaway on a boat bound for a tiny island or atoll. If you’re looking to unplug from the wired world and immerse yourself in calm, clear, tropical waters, The Maldives is a beautiful, relaxing place to learn to dive. The only downside? The Maldives may spoil you forever.

Easy access and incredible biodiversity make Malaysia a top destination for animal lovers. Many airlines have direct flights to the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. From there you can encounter some of the world’s most interesting wildlife – above and below the water.

Many resorts in Malaysia have an on-site dive shop and great shore diving, making learning to dive easy and convenient. If you’re traveling with kiddos, holiday resorts typically have activities to keep kids busy while their parents to go diving.

Aspiring divers have plenty of options in Egypt. Many resorts in Hurghada have dive shops onsite and offer convenient diving packages. In Dahab, numerous shore diving sites give you the convenience to dive as much as you want after being certified (within safety limits).


The Canary Islands
For travelers based in Europe, The Canaries offer sunny days and warm, clear water closer to home. If you live elsewhere, The Canary Islands are an intriguing answer to the question, “where did you learn to dive?”

Expect 30 m/100 ft visibility and encounters with bucket list marine life such as rays, cuttlefish and octopus. The Gulf Stream keeps water temps around 17-18° C/63-64° F year-round.

If your diving dreams include schools of colorful fish and a party on the beach, head to the Caribbean side of Mexico. If you’re looking for something bigger such as a manta ray, or friendly seal, set a course for the Pacific side. Can’t decide? Visit both, your PADI certification is a passport to never-ending underwater adventure.

If you’re keen on learning to dive, but don’t have a lot of money to spend, Thailand is a great choice. Koh Tao and Koh Chang are a haven for budget travelers. Both have inexpensive lodging and numerous dive operators offering group and private classes.

If you discover the diving life is for you, Thailand is an affordable place to linger while you level up to Advanced Open Water Diver or take specialty diving courses such as underwater photography and videography.


Learn to Dive Locally or Start Your Scuba Training at Home

Earning your scuba certification close to home can be more convenient and less stressful than trying to squeeze a 3-4 day scuba course into your vacation. Also, if you plan to dive locally once certified, it makes sense to complete your training at home. The friendly and helpful people at your local dive shop can help you choose the right equipment, introduce you to local marine life, and give you the confidence and skills to explore the underwater world – wherever you choose to dive.

Can’t decide between doing your scuba training at home or on holiday? Good news, you don’t have to choose.

Ask your local PADI Dive Center for a referral and maximize your warm water diving time. Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Start your “classroom” studies online with PADI eLearning® and do your pool training locally.
  • Step 2: Complete your certification by making four open water training dives with a PADI Instructor anywhere in the world.

With a referral, you can take as much time as you need to get comfortable with your in-water skills. You’ll also get to enjoy more of your vacation exploring and relaxing rather than studying or stressing.

With more than 6,000 PADI dive shops around the world, you can start your adventure and become a PADI Diver just about anywhere there’s water. If you don’t have a dive shop near you, contact the experts at PADI Travel®  at +1 786 220 3482, or start a chat at and find the best scuba diving destination for your interests and budget.

Further Reading
How to Prepare for Your Open Water course
Frequently Asked Questions About Learning to Scuba Dive
What’s the Difference Between Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver

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