Are you planning your next dive trip and are searching for LGBTQIA+ friendly destinations? If so, read on. In this article, we are taking a look at some of the best dive locations on the planet that also have equally thriving LGBTQIA+ communities.
Best LGBTQIA+ Friendly Diving Destinations in the Americas
If you are hoping to visit North or South America here are our top picks for destinations that are both LGBTQIA+ friendly and great for scuba diving.
1. Key West, Florida, USA
Key West, the southernmost point in the United States, is famous for water sports, lively nightlife, beaches, historic sites and its pastel, conch-style architecture.
If you are planning a night out, visit the world-famous Duval Street which is known as the party epicenter of Key West and is the island’s “main drag.” Running north and south, the thoroughfare is lined with bars, pubs, outdoor cafes, shops, galleries, and restaurants.
Scuba diving in Key West offers crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. The Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary is a marine protected area that has several dive sites to choose from, including wreck dives.
2. Maui, Hawaii, USA
Maui is a breathtakingly beautiful island in Hawaii that offers some of the best scuba diving in the world. Some of Maui’s most famous dive sites include Turtle Town, where it’s possible to see green sea turtles, and the Five Caves at Makena Landing, which features stunning underwater arches, caves and swim throughs.
Maui is also known for being an LGBTQIA+ friendly destination with a growing community and vibrant nightlife. Maui Pride is held annually on the first weekend of October.
3. Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel is a popular scuba diving destination that offers phenomenal visibility, incredible coral formations and colourful marine life. Just a few of the highlights of diving here include spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks, and turtles. For cave divers, Cozumel is also home to a selection of underwater caves that are suitable for exploration.
Cozumel has a laid-back, all-inclusive vibe, and there is a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. When you are not underwater, take some time out on one of Cozumel’s stunning white sand beaches or book a land excursion and explore the ancient ruins of the Maya.
4. Roatan, Honduras
Roatan is a Caribbean island that’s becoming increasingly popular with the LGBTQIA+ community. Roatan is home to some incredible dive sites, including the famous Shark Dive, where you will literally find yourself face-to-face with 8 to 15 Caribbean Reef sharks!
After a thrilling day of diving, Roatan has a thriving LGBTQ+ scene, with restaurants, bars, and clubs that stay open until late.
Best LGBTQIA+ Diving Destinations in Europe
If Europe is your calling for your next scuba diving vacation, check out some great destinations for LGBTQIA+ divers here.
If tec diving or wreck diving are on your agenda then Malta is an absolute must! As well as wrecks, Malta’s dive sites are famous for their impressive underwater rock formations. Marine life highlights include octopus, cuttlefish, parrotfish and schooling barracuda.
Malta is also known for its laid back and accepting vibes. For foodies, there are great restaurants as well as coffee shops, bars and clubs. And, Malta is renowned as being one of the safest countries in the world for LGBTQIA+ travelers.
2. The Canary Islands, Spain
We can’t mention LGBTQIA+ diving in Europe without a nod to Gran Canaria which is known for its energetic nightlife and the epic Maspalomas Pride which is held in May each year.
Underwater topography around the Canary Islands is mostly rock and sand, with some corals. The eastern Canary Islands offer the opportunity to dive with angel sharks, whilst turtles are common visitors around the islands of Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
Best LGBTQIA+ Diving Destinations in Australia and Asia
If you are thinking about heading east then you are in for a treat. Australia and Asia are home to some of the world’s best dive sites and most iconic marine species!
1. Sydney, Australia
Despite being a large city, Sydney itself offers some fantastic scuba diving opportunities and not just proximity for taking trips to the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney is home to an array of marine life species that are not commonly found in other areas. From tiny pygmy pipefish and weedy sea dragons to giant cuttlefish, Port Jackson, wobbegong and grey nurse sharks, and occasional sea turtles and seals, there’s a lot to look out for!
Sydney is a cosmopolitan city with a great spirit of LGBTQIA+ acceptance. The annual Sydney WorldPride festival is the biggest of its kind in the Asia Pacific region and is held during the last two weeks of February. If you are visiting outside of this time, Sydney has a host of LGBTQIA+ bars and clubs.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a beautiful island in Southeast Asia that offers world-class scuba diving. There are seasonal sightings of oceanic sunfish (Mola mola) from July through to October, resident manta rays, marble rays, a WWII shipwreck (USAT Liberty), and some impressive black sand muck diving.
It’s also known for being a tolerant LGBTQIA+ friendly destination. When you are not diving, try surfing Bali’s world-famous breaks, delve into the island’s colourful culture, or for a more lively vibe, check out some of the island’s beach clubs which are frequented by famous DJ’s and celebrities.
3. Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao gives divers easy access to some of Thailand’s most iconic dive sites, including Sail Rock, Chumphon Pinnacle and Shark Rock. If you are hoping to dive with whale sharks, visit from late March through to early June for the best opportunity of a sighting. No matter when you dive in Koh Tao, though, you can rest assured of vibrant reefs that are bursting with color and teeming with life.
Koh Tao is known for its laid-back vibe, and it’s also a welcoming destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers. There is an energetic nightlife with bars and clubs that stay open until dawn, and nearby full moon parties with dancing on the beaches.
Are you ready to book your next dive trip? Check out Dive Resorts, Dive Centers and Liveaboards in these LGBTQIA+ destinations on PADI Travel!