A great diving destination and a great diving experience means not only seeking adventure but also doing our part to save the ocean as well. As a certified diver, you have a passport to the last frontier, and you’ve learned the superhero skills that can help save one of the most important ecosystems in the world. 

While there are over 6,600 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts to explore in 184 countries, these four destinations are truly changing the way to seek meaningful adventure this year. 

1. The South Pacific

A collection of small but passionate islands in the South Pacific are not only offering once-in-a-lifetime scuba diving expeditions but also ways in which you can give back to local coastline communities.

eel eating a fish ss coolidge wreck night dive


This scuba diving destination is still unknown to many, allowing an off-the-grid adventure above and beneath the surface. With 83 islands that offer epic adventures through coral reefs, big pelagic action, dramatic caverns and wrecks, Vanuatu is one of the best places to dive with dugongs – with a healthy population that has made themselves at home here. 

Volcano Island Divers at White Grass Ocean Resort and Spa on Tanna Island is the country’s first PADI Eco Center. They are committed to a regenerative tourism model that boasts a simplistic design, supports the local community and gives access to unspoiled diving and a thriving ecosystem.

a manta ray in Fiji


Home to over 42% of the world’s coral species, the Soft Coral Capital of the World is now home to one of the first PADI Eco Centers in the South Pacific. PADI Dive Resort Sau Bay offers easy access to the world-renowned Rainbow Reef and a complimentary “happy hour” environmental discussion to teach guests about the reef’s ecosystem and conservation programs, like beach cleanups, mangrove planting and coral reef restoration. 

Other PADI Dive Resorts that offer purpose-driven scuba diving adventures include: 

  • Wakaya Island Resort: Scuba dive with marine biologist Luke Gordon and The Manta Trust Fiji to have life–changing encounters with manta rays and learn how to help protect them through photographic records. 
  • Six Senses Fiji: This PADI Dive Resort has just welcomed Coral Gardners to Malolo Island in the Mamanucas, where the two are teaming up to protect the fragile coral reefs of Fiji by offering hands-on experiences and education to guests. 

We’ve also partnered with Tourism Fiji on their ‘Bula Blue’ initiative, in a joint commitment to make Fiji one of the planet’s most important destinations for ocean protection. The goal is to have 600 Marine Protected Areas established by 2030, creating more conservation initiatives for travelers and championing a scholarship program that supports local Fijians wanting to start dive careers.

A woman climbs out of the water wearing scuba gear in new zealand

New Zealand

One of the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) success stories is found in New Zealand at Poor Knights Islands. With the help of PADI Dive Centers, like Dive!Tutukaka, the Poor Knights Island was the second MPA to be established in the country in 1981. 

With the implementation of a “no take” zone (no fishing, mining, oil extraction and minimal interference), these islands now boast a thriving marine eco-system that attracts both cold and warm water marine animals. 

Diving in the Poor Knights also means following a strict list of rules, including no touching or going on to the actual islands themselves. The success of this MPA has led to the establishment of 44 more MPAs throughout the country.

A diver swims into a school of fish in the Maldives

2. Maldives

The Maldives is more than just picture-perfect beaches and overwater bungalows. Visitors can learn how to save manta rays with PADI Five-Star Dive Resort Six Senses Laamu, which offers the PADI Maldivian Manta Ray Conservation Specialty Course in partnership with the Manta Trust. Scuba divers who take this course learn how to identify manta rays, how to log them in Manta Trust’s database and how to protect them with the resort’s MUI (Maldives Underwater Initiative) and SHELL (Six Senses Hub of Environmental Learning). 

For an epic pelagic dive that dreams are made of, scuba divers can head over to Fuvahmulah, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This gem of the Maldives is home to some of the healthiest coral reefs in the country and acts as a pelagic pit stop and cleaning station for tiger sharks, thresher sharks, black oceanic mantas, scalloped hammerheads, whale sharks, and mola mola – the only place on the planet where you can see all these majestic pelagics together year-round in their natural environment. PADI Dive Center Fuvahmulah Dive is a responsible shark tourism operator (that founded shark tourism on the atoll). 

The Maldives is also a destination where we are committed to supporting locals in creating diving careers. In 2022, we teamed up with the World Bank and the Maldivian government to help over 200 locals become local superheroes for the ocean and to lead many scuba diving expeditions in the Maldives.

two divers view a sea turtle underwater

3. Andaman Islands (India)

India’s Andaman Islands still have many undiscovered dive sites, meaning that it is possible you can scuba dive in a place that has never been dived before. The majority of the scuba diving takes place south of Havelock Island or Neil Island, where scuba divers are immersed in beautiful sloping reefs, coral gardens, cleaning stations that welcome in manta rays and visibility of up to 130 feet (40 meters)!

PADI Dive Resort Big Tree Resort is not only designed for scuba divers, but nature enthusiasts in general. You’ll stay on an organic farm and reserve forest, dive locally, eat seasonal local produce and be within walking distance of the best scuba diving India has to offer. The resort has also partnered with Lacadives (India’s oldest scuba diving school) and ReefWatch Marine Conservation (one of India’s only ocean protection NGOs) to ensure every scuba diving expedition they lead makes a difference for the planet.

three divers follow each other in the blue

4. Pemba Island (Tanzania)

Escape all of civilization and head to Pemba Island off the coast of Africa for an epic scuba diving expedition you’ll never forget. Separated from the mainland of Tanzania and Zanzibar for decades, this island remains untouched. Today, it boasts mangrove forests and pristine beaches. 

But most impressive on this island is The Manta Resort’s floating underwater room. Designed by Swedish engineers, this floating structure not only provides luxurious accommodations but has helped regenerate the entire underwater ecosystem through its unique and non-intrusive design. In fact, it’s such a success story the local government wants to fund the construction of a second one. 

Placing a huge emphasis on education for guests, scuba divers will also soon be able to take part in the first underwater safari, where local dive guides will use full face masks to be educate divers on the spot about what they are encountering (just like on a land safari).

Wherever you find yourself, may 2024 be the year you seek adventure and save the ocean. Check out these destinations and a multitude of others on PADI Travel, the world’s largest booking engine for scuba divers. Click the link below to book your 2024 diving vacation.

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