Thinking of going scuba diving this summer? There’s nothing like the sparkling blue water and breathtaking wildlife encounters you get on a great dive. The only problem is that they’re usually pretty pricey.
If you’re traveling on a budget but don’t want to miss out on this incredible experience, check out our list of cheap but still amazing scuba diving destinations.
As a dive site, Cozumel is an enduring favorite for many reasons. The coral reefs and drop-offs are awe-inspiring, and it has some of the fastest drifts in the world. Accommodation is cheap and abundant, and if you travel in the offseason, then you’ll find plenty of scuba diving deals, especially if you’re traveling as a group.
All-inclusive two-tank dives plus gear start from only $70 per person, and night dives start from just $60.
Gili Islands, Indonesia
The Gili Islands have become more popular in recent years as people discover this untouched paradise that’s just as beautiful as neighbor Bali for a fraction of the cost. The islands are surrounded by a huge reef system, with crystal clear waters and white sand beaches on every island. There’s also an abundance of green turtles, reef sharks, and angelfish to admire.
Single dives with all equipment and a guide start from as little as $40, while all day 2-boat dives are around $70 per person.
Ko Tao, Thailand
Probably one of the most popular scuba diving sites in the world, Ko Tao is conveniently located in a tourist hub. Thailand is a good value, and you’ll find the cost of food and accommodation very appealing.
The water here is warm all year round, and visibility is often 65 feet or more. There’s a huge variety of fish life, and the coral cover is excellent. Dive sites are abundant, and single dives start at just $25, with day trips to some of the best places in Thailand starting at around $50-$60.
Boracay, the Philippines
Boracay is a tropical paradise of white sand beaches that have won numerous awards – it was once voted the best island in the world for tourists. The healthy coral reefs support reef sharks, tuna and trevally, and look out for the schools of angelfish and parrotfish. The island is also well known for its breathtaking sunsets and laid-back nightlife.
Accommodation is available all over the islands and ranges from peaceful hidden corners to hip hostels. Discover scuba diving programs are available from just $60, while single dives for more experienced divers are $65 and up.
San Pedro, Belize
The resorts in Belize might be expensive, but the rest of the country is a bargain for anyone on a budget. Food and accommodation are reasonable, and there are dozens of dive companies. There are several reefs and atolls around San Pedro where you can get to within a few feet of the sharks and rays who live there. Further out, you can see nurse sharks, grouper and turtles.
Single dives start from only $45, including all equipment. Night dives are only $60 per person, and day trips with multiple dives start at $150.
The Red Sea is an iconic diving destination, but political tensions in Egypt have put off tourists in recent years. Scuba diving shops are cutting their prices to attract more people, making it a bargain for adventurous divers. Dahab has some beautiful coral gardens where you can spot pufferfish, butterflyfish, and octopus. It’s also famous for the Blue Hole, a deep rock fissure with clear blue water and amazing growth of black coral.
Dives start from around $80 for two dives with full equipment and transportation included.
Bay Islands, Honduras
The Bay Islands are the cheapest destination in the Caribbean, with a huge array of accommodation options that won’t break the bank. The dive sites here are world class, and depending on the season you can see manta rays, turtles, and whale sharks. It also has the world’s second largest barrier reef, with a fraction of the tourists that flock to Australia.
Dives start from $30 for a fun dive, including the boat trip to the site and gear rental, or $60 for a day trip to several scuba diving locations.
Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka never disappoints as a diving destination. It has tons of historic shipwrecks that are popular with military enthusiasts, and its vibrant coral reefs are teeming with tropical fish. The cost of living is low: food, accommodation, and travel are all cheap compared to home.
Single dives are priced from around $50, including transport and equipment, and night dives start at $60.
There’s no need to travel far for awe-inspiring diving in crystal clear waters. The sheer number and variety of scuba diving options in Florida mean competition, so the prices are kept low. If you dive in a National Park then fees start at just $15, or you can take a boat trip out to lush reefs and dramatic wrecks for less than $100 including gear. When you consider the money you save on international flights and the wealth of reasonably priced hostels and YMCAs, Florida looks more and more appealing.
The cheapest scuba diving destination in Europe, Croatia is still relatively off the beaten path and as a result, prices are still low. Losinj’s historical underwater park is full of ancient replica amphoras, Venetian cannons, and bronze statues, and the relatively shallow waters make it an excellent place for beginners to practice.
Shore dives are the cheapest option, working out at $25 per person including tank and air. Single dives start at $45 per person, while all day boat trips are sold from $110 all inclusive.
So there you have it, ten amazing places to go scuba diving and get ready for a spectacular underwater adventure!