You should never have too many regrets in life, but I truly wish I had discovered scuba diving sooner. I traveled past so many dive spots, without realizing I missed out on a beautiful underwater world. So, let me explain to you why scuba diving is fun and how it made my latest backpacking trips even more unforgettable.
Warning: You may also want to get your dive certificate after reading this!
Why scuba diving is fun & how it enriched my travels
1. You explore new parts of the world
As an ‘explorer’, I am forever grateful that I discovered scuba diving. You truly explore a whole different part of our world.
2. You learn a new skill
Learning new things gives you positive energy. During scuba diving you learn about physics and equipment, but also about underwater life, environmental protection and more. Each dive you also continue to improve your own skills!
3. You quickly become part of the scuba diving family.
Scuba divers are generally relaxed and fun-loving people. If you join a dive school for a course or just a few dives, you quickly meet fellow divers and the dive school crew.
4. You unwind and relax
Another reason why scuba diving enriched my travels is because it gives you a ‘zen’ moment. During scuba diving you focus on your breathing. Slowly inhale, slowly exhale. It’s also very peaceful under water. There are no phone calls or emails. It’s silent. This makes a dive pretty zen!
5. It’s the ultimate adventure
Being 30 meters below the water, that is a pretty intense adventure! You explore areas, which are difficult to visit and relatively few people come.
6. It’s active
I’m not a beach bum. I love to do active things. By discovering water activities such as surfing and diving, I can still go the most beautiful beaches in the world, but at least I have also something to keep me busy.
7. You can move in every direction (compared to snorkeling)
Snorkeling is great, but it only allows you to view one ‘layer’ of the water. Scuba diving allows you to move freely under water.
8. Each dive is different!
Any ideas why scuba divers often go to the same dive spot over and over again. Because, each dive is different! You will always encounter different wildlife and different circumstances under water.
9. Wonderful and plentiful wildlife
Have you ever been on a safari in Africa? Diving is quite similar! During a dive you will meet al kinds of wildlife, from turtles and sharks to stingrays and sea horses!
How much does scuba diving cost?
For backpackers, diving can take up quite a bit of the travel budget. Courses are generally 200-500 USD’s. A single guided dive (including equipment) costs around 35-75 USD’s. The prices vary highly between schools and destinations. I found diving in Egypt and Sri Lanka relatively affordable, but diving in Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa was quite expensive. However, for me, it was all worth it!
Which dive school should you pick?
I’m a budget traveler and I usually try to save as much money as I can (in order to travel longer and more). However, when it comes to selecting a dive school, I don’t mind spending a bit of money. Diving is easy and safe, but it also comes with certain risks. When I dive, I prefer to dive with a school which is highly professional with the best teachers and the best equipment. Of course, it is also important to select a school with a good and fun atmosphere. I would advice you to do the same.
For the ladies: I really enjoy being a member of the Girls that Scuba facebook group. This group is full of fanatic scuba divers with excellent advice!
How to become a scuba diver?
So far, I’ve been taking the scuba diving courses of PADI. Generally, the ‘PADI curriculum’ looks something like this:
- Discover Scuba Diver
- Open Water Diver
- Advanced Open Water Diver (my level!)
- Rescue Diver
- Amateur: Master Scuba Diver or Pro: Dive Master / Instructor
My scuba dive and travel history
I have an Advanced Open Water certificate and I had the opportunity to dive in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
- Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. One of my favorite diving spots. Open Water certification.
- Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. Pretty great diving as well.
- Aliwal Shoal, South Africa. World famous diving. Surrounded by countless black tip reef sharks. This was a baited dive, which is controversial. Read more about ethical travel dilemmas like ‘doing a baited dive’ here.
- Nusa Penida, Indonesia. Surrounded by countless huge manta rays and turtles.
- Dahab, Egypt. One of the best dive sites in the world. Amazing coral and wildlife. You can also dive the famous Blue Hole. It’s a long-time favorite among backpackers in Egypt! I took my Advanced Open Water course here.
- Tulum, Mexico. Cenote diving in the Pit (30 meters) and Dos Ojos (cavern)
- Cozumel, Mexico. Some cool boat dives.
Just a quick shout-out to my dive school in Dahab, Egypt: the Sea Dancer Dive Center. It’s the best school I’ve dived with so far! The dive crew is highly professional and experienced, and they also provide a fun, easy-going environment. Thanks to these guys, I became even more enthusiast about diving. Now, I hope to further improve my dive skills (next up: rescue diver) and to incorporate more dives during my backpacking journeys. I can’t wait to go back into the water again!
Aliwal Shoal diving video clip.
Terrible clip (and not sure why I wanted to wave to the camera) and there were many more sharks, but at least it gives an impression ;)
Do you dive during your travels? Any recommendations for dive destinations? And what do you think of baited diving?