Choosing where to go on your next scuba diving vacation can be tough work. With so many great destinations worldwide, how is a diver to narrow their bucket list down to one great trip? To help you decide on your next trip (once it’s safe to travel), we asked ten amazing female divers to share their favorite scuba diving destinations. From the Maldives to Mexico, read on to learn more about these amazing scuba diving locales from the divers who know them best.

Zoona Naseem, best diving destinations for women

1. Zoona Naseem

Zoona Naseem, the first female PADI Course Director in the Maldives, shares with us her love of the Maldives:

“Being a country with just 1% land and 99% water, the beauty of the Maldives lies not only on the surface but beneath the waves, too. We have dives for all levels of divers, and there is a possibility of seeing an immense variety of marine life. You can choose to be in the middle of 100+ sharks or mantas, swim along great reef formations with amazing colors, explore wrecks that are within safe depth limits, swim with whale sharks or spot tiger sharks throughout the year. There’s also a great choice of accommodation. You can choose the luxury resorts, local guest houses or safari cruises with a wide price range. Some of the key highlights of diving in the Maldives would be the perfect visibility, temperatures that remain at 28 to 29 degrees Celsius no matter how deep you go and, of course, the choice of marine life we have. You could just jump into the water near any reef and explore it for hours without getting bored for a single second.”

Birgitta Mueck, best diving destinations for women

2. Birgitta Mueck

Birgitta Mueck, PADI AmbassaDiver from Sweden, tells us all about finding ghost sharks in Norway:

“It’s the wilderness and natural beauty that brings me to Norway, where the spectacular fjords invite us beneath the surface. During night-time, Trondheimsfjorden is a good spot to encounter the mythical ghost shark or Chimaera monstrosa in latin. Surrounded by the majestic fjord scenery, it truly feels like diving into a fairytale when we encounter this legendary, deepwater creature that normally lives hundreds of meters deep.”

Claudia Schmitt, , best diving destinations for women

3. Claudia Schmitt

Claudia Schmitt, one half of the PADI AmbassaDiver duo Claudia + Hendrik Schmitt, explains her love for Indonesia: 

“My favorite diving destination is Indonesia, situated in the heart of the Coral Triangle. Here, you’re diving among the most beautiful coral gardens with an incredible marine biodiversity, especially within the country’s marine protected areas. From tiny critters like pygmy seahorses or frogfish to manta rays and even whale sharks, Indonesia has it all. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for remote diving adventures, but also a well-developed tourism destination with high quality dive centers and diving schools.”

Lesley Rochat, , best diving destinations for women

4. Lesley Rochat

Lesley Rochat, PADI AmbassaDiver from South Africa, fills us in on diving in her home country: 

“By far my own home country, South Africa is my most favorite dive destination, because it offers so much diving variety. The cool waters and thick magical kelp forests are the home of numerous endemic sharks and marine life species, including sevengill sharks and great white sharks as well as visiting orcas and southern right whales. On the other hand, South Africa also boasts warmer waters, tropical reef life and other big animals, such as mantas, whale sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, humpback whales and so much more. Our coastline has it all, like drift dives, wrecks, reefs, big animals, warm water and cool water. On top of all of this, we have the sardine run, which rates as one of the most incredible underwater experiences! This natural phenomenon occurs nowhere else in the world and is referred to as the “Greatest Shoal and Show on Earth,” rivaling the wildebeest migration. This seasonal event is the largest known gathering of ocean predators and occurs during May to late July each year along the South African coast. South Africa pretty much has it all and more!”

spain, best diving destinations for women

5. Rocio Gajon Bunker

Rocio Gajon Bunker, PADI AmbassaDiver from Mexico, informs us about why everyone should go diving in her hometown:

“My favorite dive destination is my home town, La Paz, Mexico. The name means “Bay of Peace” because of the calm and peaceful waters and people who inhabit this small city located on the beautiful Sea Of Cortez, home of the most amazing variety of ocean creatures and once called the “Aquarium of the World” by Jacques Cousteau. October is the best diving season. La Paz has over 30 dive spots around Espiritu Santo and Cerralvo Island with an average temperature of  82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and over 100-foot visibility. Be sure to indulge in playing with the sea lions at “Los Islotes,” explore the “Salvatierra Wreck,” rest in the shade of the caballito schools of fish in “Swanny Rock,” fly with schools of mobulas on a night dive and join a hammerhead school in “El Bajo.” Not a diver? No problem! You can snorkel with whale sharks and sea lions, or you can kayak, hike and watch the most amazing sunsets of your life.”

Jayne Jenkins in Australia

6. Jayne Jenkins

Jayne Jenkins, a celebrated underwater photographer and PADI Underwater Photography Instructor, discusses a selection of her favorite places to dive:

“I am Jayne Jenkins from Sydney, Australia. I have been diving since 1973 and still dive at least once a week. Often asked my favourite diving destination – I really have to say – the ocean. There are so many favourites and all for different reasons. The list is endless!

There are areas for amazing corals and fish life, like Raja Ampat in Indonesia. The colour and abundance of soft corals and marine life is mind blowing. It is a photographer’s delight. Plus the mantas rays at Magic Mountain are so fun.

There are also amazing small critters and numerous frogfish at Dumaguete in the Philippines with the added bonus of the contrasting Apo Island, home to turtles and stunning hard corals.

I love Australia for diving, too. It boasts temperate diving in Sydney with weedy sea dragons and grey nurse sharks, South Australia’s great white sharks and Australian sea lions plus one of, if not the best, wreck dive in the world, The Yongala, as well as the Great Barrier Reef.

I also enjoy the crystal clear water and shark life at Gardens of the Queens in Cuba, which is a very special area with so many sharks and even snorkeling with crocodiles.

It is really hard to pick one destination but I think my number one would have to be Papua New Guinea, because of the variety of diving on offer and so many areas to choose from. The colourful corals, the prolific marine life, muck and macro diving plus wrecks – there is always something special. I also like the fact that there is some great topside culture.”

mexico, best diving destinations for women

7. Gador Muntaner

Gador Muntaner, PADI Ambassadiver from Spain, expounds on why she loves diving in the Revillagigedo Archipelago: 

“My top diving destination is Revillagigedo Archipelago (Socorro Islands) in México

The Socorro Islands are one of the wildest places I’ve been to. Everything can happen there! Nature has always surprised me during my trips and research work in Revillagigedo, and there’s so much life and action going on. You can dive with different shark species such as whitetip sharks, Silvertip sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, big schools of hammerheads and even tiger sharks! Also, it’s the best place on earth to dive with giant mantas, and the visibility is always amazing!!”

saudi arabia, best diving destinations for women

8. Nouf Alosaimi

Nouf Alosaimi, PADI Ambassadiver from Saudi Arabia, informs us of her two favorite diving destinations close to home: 

“Both of my top diving destinations are in the Red Sea. The first is specifically Yanbu city in Saudi Arabia. Here you can dive with clear visibility on healthy colorful coral reefs or wrecks while spotting spectacular marine life, like manta rays and sharks.

My second top diving destination is Egypt. Here you’ll find clear visibility, healthy colorful coral reefs, wrecks and spectacular marine life, like mantas and sharks. Plus, it’s warm all year round.”

Martyna Skura in the Maldives
Photos courtesy of Jorn Theelen

9. Martyna Skura

Martyna Skura, PADI Ambassadiver from Poland and IDC Staff Instructor, EFR Instructor Trainer and Travel Writer, tells us why she loves diving from liveaboards in the Maldives: 

“After many years of diving and places visited my favourite dive destination is Maldives and the best way to explore it is by liveaboards.

While being located on a paradise resort island and diving during the day may be a dream to some of us, spending a week on a boat, waking up in the middle of the ocean, looking at sunrise and sunset form the top deck every day, doing 3 dives a day in one of the world most spectacular places, is what I call “dream diving vacations”. 

Maldives offers many liveaboard routes. So far I had a chance to see “The Best of Maldives” which included strong current dives, night dives with dozens or nurse sharks, stingrays and manta rays flipping barrels in front of me. Countless sharks (black tip, white tip, grey reef, whale shark, hammerheads if you are lucky and even more), huge schools of fish where you feel you’ve just swam into a fish bowl. 

On top of that you get to spend a week with dive freaks from all around the world who are as fascinated about scuba and marine life as you are. What more do you wish for?”

Miranda Krestovnikoff dives with grey seals in the UK
Photos courtesy of Ben Burville

10. Miranda Krestovnikoff

Miranda Krestovnikoff, PADI Ambassadiver from the UK and TV presenter, explains her love for diving locally in the UK: 

“You can travel the whole world to dive, but I like to keep things close to home as much as possible and explore the wildlife around my home in the UK. Every year, I try to make a trip to the Farne Islands in Northumberland, to dive with the grey seals that thrive there. They are incredibly inquisitive and seem obsessed with trying to pull at every piece of your dive kit, including trying to remove hoods and gloves. They play hide and seek, they interact with you and they explore everything. Every dive is magical and every encounter is memorable.”

Ready to dive into these destinations as soon as you can? Dream up and book your next scuba diving holiday on PADI Travel.

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