Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith from The A-Team said it best with his immortal words, “there’s always a plan B”, which is what some divers may be looking for as the season of frosty mornings and overindulgence sets in!

Although there are many cold water hotspots, which shatter the myth that good diving is only found in tropical water, some divers simply prefer some winter sunshine and a warm breeze as they get out of the water.

For those seeking that year-round warmth, here are six winter sun diving destinations that tick the balmy boxes.


Sea Turtle in the Canary Islands, an ideal winter diving destination

Year-round sun, warm, clear water and dramatic underwater volcanic seascapes draw divers to the Canary Islands. Sometimes called “The Fortunate Islands” due to the subtropical climate and sandy beaches. The islands of this Spanish archipelago lie at the eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean, off the northwest coast of Africa. The Canaries, as they’re also known, were an important port-of-call for Spanish galleons taking advantage of the trade winds on their way to the Americas.

The seven largest islands – Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro – are premier European tourist destinations and attract more than 12 million visitors a year. Those who visit can pick their spot and choose from bustling cities with great nightlife or sleepy little villages where stress just rolls away.

See Canary Islands Dive Summary and Featured Dive Sites.


Maltese Islands, an ideal winter sun diving destination

On a map of the Mediterranean Sea, if you let your eye fall to the centre – just South of Italy’s heel and to the west of the Mediterranean’s heart – you’ll find an enchanting archipelago comprising Malta, Gozo and Comino. Along those, you will also find the smaller, uninhabited islands of Cominotto, Filfla and St.Paul.

Malta’s geographic position was beneficial for both trading and military purposes for centuries. More recently, however, the Maltese Islands are noted more for their scuba diving than for their long and checkered past. The clear blue Mediterranean sea offers some unique diving experiences with reefs, caves and wrecks to explore.

See Maltese Islands Dive Summary and Featured Dive Sites.

*Editor’s Note: In March 2017 the iconic Azure Window, also known as the Dwejra Window, collapsed in Malta. Losing the Azure Window was hard, but there are still 50+ incredible dive sites to explore.


Mozambique, an ideal winter sun diving destination

Mention Mozambique and most scuba divers immediately think megafauna. Whale sharks and manta rays glide the plankton-rich water year-round and humpback whales pass by on their way through the Mozambique Channel from the Antarctic. Mozambique, located on Africa’s southeast coast, has more than 2000 kilometres/1250 miles of coastline. To the north, the Quirimbas Archipelago is home to the recently designated Primeiras and Segundas Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The largest MPA on the African continent, it protects rich coral reefs and mangrove forests and is an important nursery for myriad reef fish and five of the ocean’s seven marine turtles among other notable denizens. To the south, the Maputo Protection Area spans the coast from Ponta do Ouro to the Maputo River providing a haven for nesting marine turtles and conserving the offshore reef ecosystems. Off Praia do Tofo, a whale shark alley (plankton-rich current fed corridor) attracts whale sharks year-round. Sightings are almost guaranteed. This alone will put Mozambique on many scuba divers’ bucket lists.

See Mozambique Dive Summary and Featured Dive Sites.


Oman, an ideal winter diving destination

With vast deserts and rich history, the Sultanate of Oman is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. Until the 1970s, the country was almost completely closed to outside visitors but since it opened its doors, the scuba diving world has become even richer. Oman’s coastline is relatively untouched and there is great diving near the capital of Muscat.

You can also head to Oman’s northernmost region of Musandam, which extends into the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. This rugged, remote land has nutrient-rich waters that support a massive amount of diversity and abundance of marine life. Far to the south, the area around Salalah has a pristine coastline with seemingly endless bays and beaches. Here kelp forests appear during the summer, made possible by cool upwelling during the monsoon, and then slowly die back in late September. This makes it uniquely possible to dive in kelp and on coral reefs at the same sites for a short time.

The best diving here is from October through May when the seas calm and the water warms up. Perhaps it’s time to take a scuba diving holiday to Oman before the secret gets out.

See Oman Dive Summary and Featured Dive Sites.


View from a shipwreck in Jordan, an ideal winter sun diving destination

From majestic ruins of bygone civilizations to bustling urban centres, Jordan inspires with breathtaking sights and plenty to do. This desert land features dramatic red sands, towering cliffs, vast plains of volcanic basalt and hills rich with olive trees. In addition, Jordan has a well-earned reputation for excellent cuisine, a wide range of places to stay (from five-star hotels to Bedouin-style camps) and for making visitors feel welcome.

But for divers, Jordan’s southernmost tip, where the Red Sea’s tropical waters bathe some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world, has to be the main attraction. While the total coastline is only about 27 kilometres/17 miles long, there are plenty of dive sites to choose from. Many of them are located within Aqaba Marine Park. Some of these sites are accessible from shore on the fringing coral reef that drops steeply down to depths beyond recreational diving limits. Here divers enjoy a wide variety of soft and hard coral, myriad reef fish, and some of the best diving in the world.

See Jordan Dive Summary and Featured Dive Sites.


Mountain range in Cape Verde, an ideal winter sun diving destination

570 kilometres off the west coast of Africa, the Cape Verde islands are a scattered mix of spectacular diving, incredible marine encounters and beautiful lunar landscapes! The volcanic origins of the islands are the perfect environment for rich tropical vegetation (Hinting at how the islands got their name – Verde meaning green.) Beneath the surface, the environment is just as dramatic and famed by the legend Jacques Cousteau, “like the garden of Eden of the African coasts bathed from the Atlantic.”

Due to its geographical position and benefitting from various currents, the waters are an exciting mix of tropical and Mediterranean marine life. During the winter (January-March), humpback and occasionally sperm whales visit the islands on their annual migrations. Mantas, morays, turtles, and a wide variety of sharks are also year-round attractions.

The underwater world of Cape Verde can satisfy the needs of new divers just as much as it can for those more experienced. With caves, deep walls, and wrecks, it is an ideal destination for winter sun diving.

See Cape Verde Dive Summary and Featured Dive Sites.

Click here to read which PADI speciality courses we recommend to make the most of your winter sun diving experience.

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