Your PADI Open Water Diver Certification is a passport to the underwater world. Now that the other 2/3rds of our ocean planet is available for you to explore, it can be hard to decide where to go on holiday. To help you narrow it down, we put together a list of the best places for beginner divers to explore. When you’re ready to start planning your trip, download the PADI Adventures™ app to learn about places to dive, topside activities, and how to book with ease.

The Maldives

The Maldives is an island paradise popular with new and experienced divers. Most resorts have a “house reef” so colorful it feels like walking into an aquarium. In The Maldives, the water is warm, the seas are calm, and the diving is easy. It’s also a great place to try your first liveaboard.


Colorful corals, hoards of fish and areas of historical interest topside make Egypt an exciting holiday destination for divers of all levels. The best places for beginner divers in Egypt include:


Thailand is a destination all new scuba divers should consider visiting. You’ll find a wide variety of dive sites and meet divers from all over the world. Whether you dream of seeing bucket list animals like whale sharks or manta rays, or macro critters like seahorses or frogfish, you’ll find them in Thailand.

New Diver No More

All the scuba diving destinations listed in this article are also great places to earn your PADI® Advanced Open Water Diver certification. Don’t let the name scare you off. Advanced Open Water is all about advancing your skills. You’ll practice navigation, improve your buoyancy, try deep diving and make three specialty dives of your choosing (it’s like a specialty sampler platter). There’s no exam, and you get to dive with a PADI Instructor who can show you all their favorite local spots.


Calm waters and exceptional visibility year-round make Bonaire an ideal place to gain experience and dive as much or as little as you’d like. Sign up for guided dives off a boat, or rent a truck and explore the island’s many shore diving sites. No matter which option you choose, you’ll see some of the most abundant marine life in the Caribbean.


There’s a lot for experienced and beginner divers to get excited about in Indonesia. This nation of 17,000+ islands is a biodiversity hotspot and one of the best places to see rare animals. Whether you want to dive with manta or try your first drift dive, Indonesia will make your diving dreams come true.

scuba diver with underwater scooter and a turtle
Turtle sightings are common in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

Warm water, tons of turtles and mermaid photo ops make Grand Cayman one of the best places for beginner divers. Calm seas and clear water make it easy to relax and explore. Divers who want to try wreck diving can visit the USS Kittiwake.

The United Kingdom

This island nation has something for every new diver. Although colder than the places listed above, water temps can reach over 15°C in summer, so diving in a wetsuit or semi-dry is totally possible. The sheltered bays of Cornwall offer dives full of colour and marine life large and small. Head to Pembrokeshire for the chance to spot blue sharks, dolphins, sunfish, rays, octopus, lobsters and more.

Go Deeper:

About the Author:

Lisa Stentvedt is a travel blogger and writer from Norway. Follow her adventures on her blog Fjords and Beaches and on Instagram.

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