The best places to scuba dive for beginners where the diving is easy, fun and exciting

Best Places To Scuba Dive For Beginners - The Best Beginner Scuba Destinations
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

I remember back to when I was learning to scuba dive how I wanted to dive as much as I could. But as a beginner scuba diver you are restricted on depth, so you want to go to places that accommodate beginners.


The best place to scuba dive for beginners include Bonaire, The Great Barrier Reef, the Red Sea, the Maldives, Barbados, Antigua, Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, the Florida Keys and Koh Tao. A dive site for a beginner scuba diver should satisfy the follow characteristics: The depth should be shallower than 20 metres (66 feet); There shouldn't be an underwater current so it's not a drift dive; The dive should ideally not be a wall dive where good buoyancy control is a key requirement; The dive must have a key interest, be it a shallow wreck, an interesting reef etc.


What makes a good dive for a beginner scuba diver?

Before I list some of the best places to scuba dive for beginners, I want to run through what makes a good dive for a beginner scuba diver.

So what makes a good beginner scuba dive?

The dive depth should be shallower than 20 metres (66 feet)

Beginner scuba divers are restricted to depths of no more than 20 metres (66 feet). But strictly speaking, if you learn to scuba dive with PADI, SSI and Naui, the depth isn't limited 20 metres, but is instead limited to 18 metres (60 feet) for the first certification level of scuba diver.

Whereas with BSAC, SSA and SDI this is set to 20 metres (66 feet) depth for beginner scuba divers for their first diver certification level.

Which ever scuba diving organisation you choose to learn to scuba dive with, your first few dives will be restricted. That means you need to choose your scuba diving destination carefully.

There are many great dives a beginner scuba diver can do that are shallow, so this limitation for beginner scuba divers is not really a restriction to enjoy scuba diving.

No underwater currents

Beginner scuba divers who have yet to be trained to drift dive can only dive where no underwater current exist. Drift diving requires a bit more experience and additional training to know how to dive safely in a current.

The drift diving limitation isn't a problem for beginner scuba divers, as there are many dive sites where there are no currents at all.

No wall-diving for beginner scuba divers

Wall diving requires more buoyancy control than a bottom dive. That's why it's not advisable for beginner scuba divers to scuba dive on a wall dive. Whilst it's never a good idea to touch the bottom, especially on a coral reef dive, at least if you're diving along the bottom, if your buoyancy control is not as good as it should be, you're not going to descend into the depths.

There are plenty of places to scuba dive that doesn't involve a wall. So although this is a limitation for beginner scuba divers, it will not stop you from finding some great beginner scuba diver destinations.

The dive destination must have a key interest of a shallow wreck or an interesting coral reef

Best Places To Scuba Dive For Beginners - The dive destination must have a key interest of a shallow wreck or and interesting coral reef

There's no point in diving a boring dive, right? Otherwise what's the point of diving if there's no key interest.

This ‘interest’ could be a wreck (shallow enough for beginner scuba divers of course), this could be an interesting reef or other place of interest.

You'll be pleased to know that there are plenty of great places around the world that are interesting. These are places that are also interesting to experienced scuba divers too, even though they are less than 18-20 metres (60-66 feet) deep.

With these points made, let's take a look at some of the best places to scuba dive for beginners.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #1 - Bonaire, Caribbean

Where is Bonaire located in the Caribbean

If you fancy a trip to a beautiful Caribbean Island where the diving is both easy and ideal for beginner scuba divers, you can't go far wrong with Bonaire.

Bonaire is 'house reef' city. A 'house reef' is the coral reef which separates the island and it's lagoon from deeper water beyond the reef.

Bonaire has the reputation of having the best shore diving in the world. In fact Bonaire has been voted ‘Best Shore Dive Destination by the readers of Scuba Diving Magazine 22 consecutive times, no less!

Not only does Bonaire have the best shore dives, but the diving there is cheap too.

However, to get the best experience diving there you are best off going as a buddy pair. I'd also recommend that you also go where one of the buddy pairs isn't a beginner scuba diver.

To enjoy Bonaire and its shore diving to its fullest, you need to be self sufficient in your scuba diving. This is because the way to enjoy Bonaire diving is to hire a truck to put your air tanks in. You then choose your dive site from the map of Bonaire dive sites and then dive it.

More ReadingDo empty scuba tanks float? (This depends on the material they are made from)

There are plenty of house reef dive sites with easy entrance and exits points. Most of which satisfy the beginner diver requirements.

Whilst you can dive Bonaire from an organised dive boat, the majority of the dive sites around the island can be dived from the shore. So there's no need to spend the extra money on a boat dive.

However, if you are a single traveler or a pair or beginner scuba divers, then unless you've had at least 20-30 dives under your belt, you may be better off diving from a boat under the supervision of a dive guide instead.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #2 - The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

What is the closest city to the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the best places in the world to dive. There are also many dive sites that satisfy all of the above conditions that make it an ideal destination for beginner scuba divers too.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. It is composed of nearly 3,000 individual reefs. This makes it an ideal spot to find many places and reefs that are shallow enough, where there a little or no currents, and where the diving is not wall diving, but also where the diving is interesting for any level of scuba diver.

The abundance of wild life on the Great Barrier Reef is almost impossible to beat. With six of the seven sea turtles, over 130 species of shark from reef sharks to hammerheads, manta rays to the possibility of seeing Dwarf Minke Whales too.

There are two choices for scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. The first choice is to be land-based and dive out of Cairns each day. The second choice is to dive from a liveaboard boat. The liveaboard option means you get to do more dives each day. Plus you'll get to venture further out into the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier reef is also a great place to learn to scuba dive too. It was the first place that I dived. There are many great scuba diver operators that teach scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Dive the Great Barrier Reef by liveaboard

The best way to not only experience the Great Barrier Reef, but to also get loads of diving under your belt, is to dive from a liveaboard. On a liveaboard boat. This is because you get to dive multiple times per day, including the opportunity for night dives.

To To find out more about Australia liveaboards on the Great Barrier Reef, please follow either of the following links:

Liveaboard.com - Click here to find the perfect Australian liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Dive-the-world.com - Click here to find the perfect Australian liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #3 - The Red Sea, Egypt

The Red Sea is still a top scuba diving destination, despite the troubles that Egypt are experiencing. Whether you choose to dive from a shore base like Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh. Or alternatively on one of the many liveaboard dive trips. Either way you are sure to find some of the best places to scuba dive for beginners.

The Red Sea is a divers paradise with an abundance of sea life, vibrant coral reefs and a number of wrecks that are shallow enough for beginner scuba divers. You experience turtles, rays, sharks and many coral reef fish in abundance in the Red Sea. Plus you are very likely to see dolphins there too.

If you want to learn to scuba dive in the Red Sea, there are plenty of land-based scuba schools to choose from there.

You can get to the Red Sea in around 5 1/2 hours from the UK, which makes it a great choice of destination.

Dive the Red Sea by liveaboard

The best way to not only experience the Red Sea, but to also get loads of diving under your belt, is to dive from a liveaboard. On a liveaboard boat. This is because you get to dive multiple times per day, including the opportunity for night dives.

To To find out more about Red Sea liveaboards, please follow either of the following links:

Liveaboard.com - Click here to find the perfect Red Sea liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Dive-the-world.com - Click here to find the perfect Red Sea liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #4 - The Maldives

The Maldives is one of the top dive destinations loved by scuba divers of all certifications. Most of the resorts and islands in the Maldives feature 'house reefs.'

With great visibility of up to 30 metres (100 feet), year-round warm waters of 27-29°C (81-84°F), it's a perfect place to either learn to scuba dive or for beginner scuba divers to enjoy. There are many PADI dive schools for those looking to learn that are distributed across the various islands and atols.

The sea life in the Maldives is to die for. From manta rays and whale sharks to an abundance of coral reef fish, turtles and beautiful corals.

The Maldives is located within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, which makes it an undeniable first class dive destination.

Dive the Maldives by liveaboard

The best way to not only experience the Maldives, but to also get loads of diving under your belt, is to dive from a liveaboard. To To find out more about Maldives liveaboards, please follow either of the following links:

Liveaboard.com - Click here to find the perfect Maldives liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Dive-the-world.com - Click here to find the perfect Maldives liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #5 - Barbados, Caribbean

Barbados is one of my favourite Caribbean Islands to visit and scuba dive from. Although it's extremely rare to see sharks in Barbados, which is what I love to see when I dive, the scuba diving in Barbados is still great.

There are plenty of great places to scuba dive for beginners. Plus if you want to see seahorses on a dive site that's like an octopuses garden, then you can't go wrong with Barbados.

The Cement Works dive site in Barbados is the perfect dive site for beginner scuba divers. It's shallow at between 6-10 metres (20-33 feet).

But if you want to see so much sea life, from seahorses (in large numbers) to octopuses, from lobsters to turtles and many other coral sea life, The Cement Works makes for a great second dive site.

Barbados island is a fabulous place to visit to, which is on top of the great scuba diving. The Barbadians are very friendly and welcoming people. Whilst the food and eating out is expensive, there are some of the best restaurants in the world on this Caribbean Island.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #6 - Antigua, Caribbean

Another great destination for beginner scuba divers in the Caribbean is Antigua.

If you've ever wanted to experience scuba diving with sharks, then Antigua is a great place to start.

There are many sharks around the coast of Antigua, so if you like the idea of shark diving, Antigua is a top spot. But it's not just about diving with sharks in Antigua, as there are also many other sea creatures to experience and enjoy. Not only is the sea life great around Antigua, but there are also wrecks there too.

Many of these dive sites are perfect for beginner scuba divers too. The visibility in the Caribbean is great too. This can be anywhere between 18-30 metres (60-100 feet). Plus the waters are tropical and warm too of between 26-28°C (79-82°F).

Best place for beginner scuba divers #7 - The Cayman Islands, Caribbean

Another of the lovely Caribbean Islands best suited for beginner scuba divers is The Cayman Islands. With little currents, shallow dive sites with clear blue waters with 18-30 metres (60-100 feet) of visibility, this is the perfect destination for beginner scuba divers.

The most visited island by scuba divers is Grand Cayman, which is the larges of all the islands of the Cayman's. Most of the dive sites are not too far from the shore, which makes them easy to access and easy to dive.

Plus you have Stingray City, which is one of the most famous dive and snorkel sites in the world. This dive site is only 3-5 metres (10-16 feet) deep.

Whilst many of the dive sites in the Cayman Islands are probably too deep for beginner scuba divers, there are probably more than 20 dive sites that are 18 metres (60 feet) or shallower. Perfect for beginner scuba divers.

Dive the Cayman Islands by liveaboard

The best way to not only experience the Cayman Islands, but to also get loads of diving under your belt, is to dive from a liveaboard. To To find out more about Cayman Islands liveaboards, please follow either of the following links:

Liveaboard.com - Click here to find the perfect Cayman Islands liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Dive-the-world.com - Click here to find the perfect Cayman Islands liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #8 - The Bahamas, Caribbean

The Bahamas is another of my favourite Caribbean Islands. The Caribbean Sea around the Bahamas is crystal clear blue water with almost perfect visibility and minimal currents.

The Caribbean Seas around Antigua have a proliferation of sharks. Antigua was one place where I was literally surrounded by reef sharks. In addition to that, if you've ever wanted to scuba dive with tiger sharks, you can do that from the Bahamas or other places around the world where tiger sharks are spotted regularly.

Dive the Bahamas by liveaboard

The best way to not only experience the Bahamas, but to also get loads of diving under your belt, is to dive from a liveaboard. To To find out more about Bahamas liveaboards, please follow either of the following links:

Liveaboard.com - Click here to find the perfect Bahamas liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Dive-the-world.com - Click here to find the perfect Bahamas liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #9 - Florida Keys, United Stats or America

The Florida Keys is a great place to scuba dive. From Key Largo to Key Islamorada and all the way down to Key West. The best way to enjoy the Keys of Florida is by renting a car and driving from one end to the other.

Enjoy the beautiful drive along the Overseas Highway all the way down to Key West and scuba dive on the way down. There are plenty of great dive sites that are perfect for beginner scuba divers.

Many of the dive sites are extremely shallow and not only will you get to experience many of the usual coral sea life in the Caribbean Sea, but there's a chance to see a manatee in the Keys too. Plus you may see the Goliath grouper, which is a fish resident of the Florida Keys too.

There are many PADI dive schools in the Florida Keys to learn to scuba dive there. Which makes Florida one of the best places to scuba dive for beginners.

Best place for beginner scuba divers #10 - Koh Tao, Thailand

One of the best things about Thailand is the exchange rate for the Brits, the Canadians and for the Americans. Not only that if you're looking to learn to scuba dive there are over 50 scuba diving operators on a 12-square mile patch too.

This makes it a value for money dive destination. But not only that, Koh Tao has some of the best scuba diving in the world. There are plenty of dive sites satisfy all of the requirements for beginner scuba divers. Most of all, there's an abundance of see life on the coral reefs too.

Koh Tao is in the Andaman Sea and one of the best ways to experience the beauty here is by liveaboard.

Dive the Thailand by liveaboard

The best way to not only experience the Thailand, but to also get loads of diving under your belt, is to dive from a liveaboard. To To find out more about Thailand liveaboards, please follow either of the following links:

Liveaboard.com - Click here to find the perfect Thailand liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

Dive-the-world.com - Click here to find the perfect Thailand liveaboard and to confirm prices and availability.

I hope you enjoyed this article about the best places to scuba dive for beginners

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about the best places to scuba dive for beginners), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.