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St. Lucia

St. Lucia is an Eastern Caribbean island. Scuba diving offers varied experiences because the island lies between the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. Arawak Indians in 200AD named it Louanalao, meaning Island of the Iguanas. Subsequently, in 800AD the Carib Indians arrived and assimilated their culture. Carib descent can still be found on island today. Similarly, Dutch, French and English settlers began arriving in the 1600s. The English took control in 1814. Inhabitants of the island derive from Indian, African and European cultures. Official language is English with Creole spoken locally.

Diving St. Lucia

Together with colorful reefs; walls, wrecks, slopes, pinnacles and canyons form the underwater world topography. Likewise, fringing reefs also allow for shore diving. There are 25 named dive sites. The majority are in the central to southern section of the country. They are protected by the Marine Park and Soufriere Marine Management Association. There are hundreds of marine species, invertebrates, crustaceans, sponges, soft and hard corals. Beyond, smaller marine inhabitants expect eels, sharks, rays and turtles.

St. Lucia scuba diving sites will satisfy all divers. Such as, the 165-foot freighter wreck Lesleen M home to soft coral, sponges, hydroids and many fish. Also, Pinnacles has four spectacular seamounts that rise dramatically from the depths. These structures shelter trumpet fish, filefish and seahorses. Besides hawksbill and green turtles, there are pillar coral as well as barrel sponges at Turtle Reef. The Anse La Raye wall highlights colorful reefs and is popular for underwater photography. Lastly, Rosemond’s Trench is a must dive. Expect valleys, trenches, a small tunnel all with seahorses, frogfish and turtles.

Accommodations, Attractions, Activities

Larger luxury resorts, small to upscale boutique hotels have appeal for all travelers. Especially, the Pitons are famous landmarks to explore. Each Piton has its own name: Gros Piton (at 2,530 ft high) and Petit Piton (at 2,438 ft high). Here, exotic plants and animals call the area home. Also, you can sail to see the Pitons from the water. Pigeon Island is a National Park and site of the British Fort Rodney. Next, visit the Folk Research museum in Castries. In Soufrière, see St. Lucia Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens. Hike out to Toraille to cool off in the natural rainforest. Similarly, Edmund Forest Reserve is a must for its waterfalls, rushing streams and best views of the island. Beaches, hiking, ziplining, numerous day tours compliment scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming.

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The State of Hawaii is a scuba diving destination 2,000 miles SW from the mainland of the United States. The Hawaii archipelago consist of 137 islands and is 1,500 miles long. However, there are only 8 main islands. The largest population of Hawaiians are on the island of Oahu. Ironically, the second largest group of Hawaiians live in or near Las Vegas, Nevada. The islands were first populated by waves of Polynesians from 124AD to 1120AD. The Hawaiian language is similar to spoken Marquesan and Tahitian Polynesian. Captain Cook was the first European to land on the islands in 1778 and called them the Sandwich Islands. However, there is evidence that the Spanish passed by the islands in 1542 on their way from Mexico to the Philippines.  They wrote down their own island names, but kept their route secret. Sea Turtles; The Godfathers of Scuba Dive Magazines?

Nevertheless, after making contact with the Europeans, half the Hawaiian population died from influenza, small pox, and measles. Immigrants from the Gwondong region of China, the Philippines, Korea, Japanese, Germans, and Portuguese were brought in to work the sugar and later pineapple plantations. In 1893 Queen Lili’uokalani was overthrown by a group of US citizens with the assistance of US military troops. In 1959 Hawaii entered statehood. So, 1993 Hawaii received an official apology for the abrupt takeover signed by Bill Clinton.

Diving Kauai, Molokai, & Maui

Scuba diving around the islands is all about the former volcanic activity. You can dive caves, lava tubes, and tunnels; also, canyons, fingers, and craters. The beaches of Hawaii are black sand or white sand depending on the island. The islands have had time to acquired their own species of fish, birds, and plants. On Kauai, the garden island, there are over a dozen dive sites. However, currents and undertows can make many beach dive entrances difficult. Some of the top sites include Three Fingers, Sheraton Caverns, and Brenneckes Ledge. You can also go by boat over to the privately own island in Hawaii called Niihau to dive seldom seen reefs. Over at Maui you can scuba diving around 15 sites including: Molokini Crater, 5 Caves, or Airport Beach.

You can also take a boat over to Molakai and dive Fish Rain or go over to Lanai and dive the Cathedrals and tunnels. Keep in mind it is like a bathtub between the islands and you have a good chance of hearing humpback whales while diving.

Diving Oahu & Hawaii Island

Oahu has another 15 scuba diving sites. However, the local fish population has been more impacted by multiple factors. However, the minesweeper Mahi sunk in 1983, is a major attraction. So, Three Tables and Shark’s Cove are also quite popular. Look for juvenile white tip sharks under the ledges, crevices, and rocks. On the big island of Hawaii there are over two dozen scuba diving sites to choose from. The top dives have to be Pelagic Magic where you go 3 miles offshore at night and dive in the middle of a bioluminescent show, and The Manta Ray Night Dive where you watch mantas feed. You can watch the turtles get cleaned at Turtle Pinnacle. Au Au Crater, Black Coral Forest, Catacombs Manuka Bay and Pohoe Bay are all great dive sites.

To see most of the best dive sites on the Hawaiian Islands, you need to take a liveaboard boat. Finally, plan on a diving a week to fully experience the great diving.

Accommodations Attractions, Activities

In the islands you have a choice of luxury resorts, hotels, & inns. Now, you may like to go hiking mountains, visiting falls, and exploring rivers. You can surf, snorkel or boogie board til your heart’s content. Furthermore, Hawaii is the only state to produce coffee. They also have Portuguese sausage and rice for breakfast. So, plate lunches feature spicy Korean beef ribs, sweet Japanese teriyaki chicken, or grilled spam. Finally, dinner menus can be a fusion of Asian delights. They also have American favorites and traditionally cooked Hawaiian treats or feasts.

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St. Kitts

St. Kitts is an 18-mile-long, 5-mile-wide island in the West Indies. This scuba diving destination is just east of the Virgin Islands and west of Antigua. The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is separated by a 2mi wide channel called “The Narrows”. The Arawaks first settled the island 5-7 thousand years ago. They left many petroglyphs on the black lava rocks. The last eruption was 1620 years ago.  Some 1200 years before Columbus discovered St. Kitts on his second voyage, the warlike Caribs took over the surrounding islands.  So, the Spanish brought with them influenza, non-negotiable work programs, and unrelenting musket fire. Those Caribs that were left alive were wiped out by the French and English combined forces in 1626.  After that, the Europeans brought in slaves from Africa while they continued to fight with each other.

Above all, between 1493 t0 1825 over 400 ships due to winds and war slipped down beneath the nearby waters. Enjoy our blob article Sea Turtles; The Godfathers of Scuba Dive Magazines?

Diving St. Kitts

There are close to two dozen boat dives and numerous shore dives to try on the west “Caribbean” side of the island. Expect to see crusted cannon balls, anchor chains, and anchors while scuba diving here. At Paradise Reef you may see iron cannons, musket balls, and old pipes as well. A hurricane revealed a 1740 vintage troop carrier in White House Bay. Most likely it went down during the battle of Frigate Bay in 1782. Modern wrecks around St. Kitts include the River Taw a 144ft long freighter, the MV Talata freighter, and the tug Corinthian. There is a nice drift dive at Nags Head. The Caves off of Nevis is popular for grottoes and swim throughs. So, Bloody Bay Reef is the site of corals, sea fans and small caves with spiny lobsters. Some of the areas are still thermally warm.

In addition, stingrays like to rest in the sandy areas while a few sharks such as nurse sharks hang along the reefs. So, as for sea turtles, green turtles, hawksbill, and leatherbacks swim near the shores. Moreover, leatherbacks come ashore in St. Kitts in March thru May. Humpback whales cruise by here January thru April.

Accommodations, Attractions, Activities

St. Kitts has inns, hotels, and scuba diving resorts. Non-diving activities include horseback riding, golfing tennis and shopping in Basseterre. You can hike 4,000ft up Mt. Liamuiga to view wild flowers and vervet monkeys left from French troops 200 years ago. You might also be interested in viewing the St. Kitts National Museum and the Brimstone Hill Fortress; both are full of historical artifacts.

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French Polynesia

French Polynesia is truly a scuba diving paradise. There are 118 islands and 6 archipelagos. More importantly, this 1,359sq mi land area has a dive site just right for any level of diver certification. The islands here were first inhabited by Polynesians around 200BC. Ferdinand Magellan stopped by in 1521 right before he died in Cebu, Philippines. James Cook stopped by the islands 3 times before being killed in Hawaii in 1779. Finally, Captain Blythe stopped by to collect breadfruit in 1789. He shortly thereafter lost command of his ship during the mutiny on the Bounty.  67 of the French Polynesia islands are uninhabited. 2/3 of the entire population live on the island of Tahiti. Moreover, here, extinct Mount Orohena rises 7,345ft above sea level. Enjoy our blog story: 110,000 Reasons to Go Liveaboard

Diving French Polynesia

With over 90 atolls to chooses from, there is an endless list of dive sites. There are swim throughs, walls, drop offs, lagoons, fringing coral reefs. There are also passes, motus (small islands), caves, canyons, and crevices too. So, Rangiroa is the 2nd largest atoll in the world. Bora bora has a spectacular lagoon. You also have a host of sites for doing drift dives and scuba diving on wrecks. Typically, you may see anglefish, turtles, grouper, trevally, barracuda, dolphins, and whale sharks. Fakarava is the place to see schooling sharks. Humpback whales appear in French Polynesia from July to November. So, June to October is manta season. Some of the drift dive passage sites have swift currents. However, other scuba diving sites have easy drift currents. Wave action is barely noticeable in certain sections of the lagoons.

The visibility is generally between a 100-130ft. Above all, you may see hundreds of species of fish. So, there are over 20 species of sharks found here. The most common species include Black tips, white tips, silver tips, and lemons. Silky, nurse sharks, and even hammerheads can be sighted.

Accommodations, Attractions, Activities

There are major hotels and resorts spread throughout the French Polynesian islands. However, there are only a dozen scuba diving centers to choose from. To see some of the distant dive sites you will need to spend some time on a liveaboard vessel. Many divers do a resort and liveaboard adventure during the same visit. While hotels offer swimming pools, others prefer the bungalows that reside off shore and just feet above the ocean’s gentle waves. Snorkeling, swimming, and/or kayaking in the crystal-clear waters is an amazing experience. More importantly, this area is considered by many to be the one of the top ten places to surf in the world. Because of Paul Gauguin many artists come here to become inspired by the natural tropical beauty.

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The Kingdom of Thailand is approximately the size of Texas. On the northern side the country borders (Burma) Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. On the southern side it borders Malaysia, The gulf of Thailand, the Andaman Sea, and the Malacca Strait. Phuket Island is down near the southern end and is one of the most popular scuba diving destinations in the nation. So, the land was first settled some 20,000 years ago. Modern temples, temple ruins and Buddhist shrines make this a must visit country. Enjoy our blog article Thailand’s Amazing Andaman Sea.

Diving Thailand

It would take more than a couple of scuba diving trips to see all the dive sites in the Andaman sea. One the north end divers are out at Burma Banks, and the Mergui Archipelago. On the southern end are the Adang Archipelago and the Satun Sea. From Phuket you can take several days long liveaboard trips to the northern or southern dive sites. Phuket also has day trips to close by islands. In Thailand, shore boat trips are also done from Krabi, Koh Lanta, and Satun. From Khao Lak and Koh bon you can take trips out to the Similan Islands. What you may see out here includes corals, mantas, shrimp, lobsters, octopus, frogfish, sharks, and whale sharks.  There are swim throughs, pinnacles, caverns, overhangs, and drift dives. Moreover, there are also caves, wrecks, tunnels, and submerged reefs barely ever seen.

So, there are also untold beaches and shore dives to explore. Dive sites are named for the color of soft corals that dominate the area. Turtles and seahorses make sure your camera is used as much as possible.

Accommodations, Attractions, Activities

In Thailand, resorts, hotels, youth hostels, and beach bungalows are available, but to see the distant scuba diving sites you’ll need a liveaboard to get you out to the remote reefs and islands. The temples and temple ruins could keep you very busy. The ruins of Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and the temples of Wat Arun, and Wat Phra Kaew are just a few of the larger temples. Keep your eye out for smaller temples especially near the river or waterways in Bangkok. For water activities, there is snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Phuket is famous for its nightlife by the beach. The food in Thailand is fantastic and you could spend a year just trying to savor every dish and accompanying sauce that over 2,000 years they have perfected.

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Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica “Rich Coast” is situated with Nicaragua above them and Panama below them. On the western side they have the Pacific Ocean and on the right side rests the Caribbean Ocean. Most of the scuba diving takes place in the Northwestern region of Guanacaste. However, new sites are opening on the lower east side south of Limón. Some 10,000 years ago hunter-gatherers first entered this tropical rain forested landscape. In 1808 they planted the first crop of coffee. Within 12 years it became the number one export crop. In 1948 they abolished the military and put all the budgeted funds into education and health. So, more than 10% of the local Ticos and Ticas over 18 speak English.

Above all, Costa Rica is where a typical local morning cup of coffee is considered by many to be one of the best cups of coffee in the world.

Diving the Regions of Costa Rica

The Gulf of Papagayo is the hot spot for scuba diving on day boats and/or while staying at resorts. From this region you can go up to the Bat Islands to dive with bull sharks, or go down to the Catalina Islands to see white tips and mantas. There are over 20-40 dive sites in this area. You may see 25 endemic species of fish, five species of sharks including whale sharks, rays turtles, dolphins, orcas, humpbacks, and pilot whales. Moreover, while scuba diving, keep an eye out for frogfish, seahorses, lobsters, and octopus. Costa Rica waters have arches, caves, walls, pinnacles, seamounts, drift dives, and a few wrecks.  Advanced diver certification is required for certain dive sites with swift currents. Farther south there is scuba diving around Cabo Blanco Island and three wrecks near Tortuga Island in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Liveaboard vessels can go out to Cocos Island and Caño Island from the Costa Rica’s mainland. Cocos Island has over 20 dive sites. Dirty Rock is the place to encounter hammerheads and rays. Manuelita has white tips. You may also see Galapagos sharks out here. Caño Island has similar wildlife, but on a smaller scale. This area is a biological Reserve therefore, only 5 dive sites are available to dive. So, the names Shark Cave, Coral Gardens, and Paradise, say it all. Enjoy our blog story: 110,000 Reasons to Go Liveaboard.

On the eastside, The Cahuita National Park has a few scuba diving sites to visit.

Accommodations, Attractions, Activities

Costa Rica’s resorts and hotels with scuba diving charter boat operations are the best way to visit most dive sites. However, to visit Cocos Island and Caño Island you will have to travel by liveaboard. Corcovado National Park is a must visit wildlife park and has all four species of Costa Rican monkeys. You may also like to take a hike and visit a volcano. Trapes through a rain forest to see a red eyed tree frog, or climb up to tree level heights and use a zip line to quickly traverse a forest. Some people prefer to visit a beach and/or go surfing, kayaking, or snorkeling. Finally, many Americans come here for medical treatments or just to retire on their pensions.

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Grand Park Royal Cozumel

Grand Park Royal is a scuba dive destination in Cozumel Mexico. They have 342 rooms and a private beachfront. This is an all-inclusive resort with Deluxe rooms with either a garden or ocean view. The rooms have wifi available, furnished balconies, mini-bars, and hairdryer. Flat screen TVs have cable channels. 24hr room service is also available. Enjoy our blog article on Cozumel Mexico, Always a Top Dive Destination.

Grand Park Royal Diving

Aqua World is the onsite scuba diving center. They also do snorkeling tours and may combine this tour with diving tours. Moreover, they do submarine rides and glass bottom boat tours. Finally, they also work with cruise ships and join them in with the snorkel and dive tours. They have their own jetty/dock and other charter boat operators pay to stop and pick up or drop off passengers. Snorkeling supplies may be limited by demand. It’s best to bring your own gear, as your own gear almost always fits best. Now, one street away, or a short walk away from Grand Park Royal there are more than half a dozen boutique dive shops.

For those dive shops rating between 5-4.8 stars out of 5, you might like to dive with Aldora Divers, Dive Boutique, Dive with Martin Dive Shop, Jungle Divers, Roberta’s Dive Shack, and Living Underwater. You might say, that depending on when and where you want to dive, there is a local dive boat ready to schedule and take you there. Above all, there are some 250 species of fish on or around Palancar Reef.

Attractions and Activities

At Grand Park Royal, they have 2 a la carte evening restaurants: El Mexicano and El Italiano. La Veranda is the onsite buffet restaurant serving breakfast lunch and dinner. El Carbeño is open for lunch and dinner. Café Solé offers pastries and coffee for breakfast. Grad Park Royal is also known for their tacos and other snacks by the poolside at the Bikini Bar, and El Marlín Azul bar. As for drinks, they have five bars including 2-swim up bars, sports bar, and lobby bar. Oh, and don’t forget the nightly entertainment at the open-air amphitheater. A private underpass leads you across the street to the private beach area and Paradise Reef. Here, you can rest in a lounger near two pools, enjoy a hot tub, snorkel, or play volley ball.

Finally, the Royal Village Shopping Center, Atlantis Submarines, and Hard Rock Café are a short walk away down the street.

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West Plaza Hotels

Scuba diving in Palau? West Plaza Hotels is actually 4 separate hotels that make up the West Plaza Hotel Group in Palau. So, 3 of the hotels are on the island of Koror and 1 on the island of Malakal. All are close to the main street that connects the two islands. West Plaza Hotels By the Sea has 36 rooms that overlook the ocean and nearby islands. They have standard class to deluxe rooms with Kitchenettes, to a roof penthouse and large veranda. This is also the site of the Red Rooster Cafe where they offer serve casual Pacific Rim and western dishes. Red Rooster Draft is Palau’s only locally brewed beer and is served nightly during happy hour.

West Plaza Hotels Malakal has 34 1&2 bedroom suites with full kitchens, dining room, living room, and bay view window. On site is the Palm Bay Bistro Restaurant. On this island, Bars, discos, mini-marts, and dive shops are nearby. Back on Koror, West Plaza Hotels Desekel has 30 Standard to Deluxe rooms. West Plaza Hotels Downtown has 20 standard rooms and is even closer to all the shopping and restaurants hot spots. Enjoy our blog article on Palau, Historical World Class Diving.

West Plaza Hotels Diving

There are 1400 different species of fish, and 700 species of coral found on some 200 scuba diving islands. Coral formations, walls, caves, tunnels, and wrecks, just add to the scenic backdrops behind endless schools of fish. Besides sharks, Groupers, and Napoleon wrasse, expect to see enormously large Manta rays. West Plaza Hotels recommends Sam’s Tours for daily scuba diving trips. Sam’s Tours provides a maximum of three tanks a day on selected trips as well as night dives. German Channel is where the mantas routinely stop by the cleaner stations.

Wonder Channel is a wall dive for macro photographers. Ngedebus Coral Gardens and Ngerchong are also quite photogenic. Even better known is Blue Corner for its schools of gray sharks, eagle rays, turtles, and hammerhead sharks. While staying at West Plaza Hotels you might want to dive some wrecks from WWII like the Amatsu Maru, Buoy 6, and Helmet Wreck.

Attractions and Activities

Sam’s Tours offer a great selection of local land tours too. So, enjoy a rock island tour, big island sight-seeing tour, waterfall tour, cultural tour, or WWII History Peleliu tour. You may also select to visit Jellyfish Lake, which is a popular snorkeler destination. Sam’s also has a “around the town” shopping shuttle.

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Palasia Hotel

Palasia Hotel Palau is located in downtown Koror in Palau. The hotel has 165 scuba diving guest rooms. Deluxe City View rooms, Deluxe Bay View rooms, Junior suites with balconies and Rock Islands views, and Executive Suites. Each room may have a minibar, fridgerator, TV, bathroom, and some of the larger units have living rooms/sitting areas. Whether you are coming to go scuba diving as a single traveler or with a large dive group and need business meeting facility space, they have a room to fit your needs. Enjoy our blog article on Palau, Historical World Class Diving

Palasia Hotel Diving

Palasia Hotel is a great place to stay for the week or immediately before or after a liveaboard scuba diving trip in Micronesia. There are 1400 different species of fish, and 700 species of coral found here. As a result, the sea life around these 200 islands is spectacular to view. Coral formations, walls, caves, tunnels, and blue holes just add to the scenic backdrops behind endless schools of fish. Plan on exploring channels, tunnels, holes, walls, and even a cave or wreck. Besides sharks, Groupers, and Napoleon wrasse, expect to see enormously large manta rays. German Channel is where the mantas routinely stop by the cleaner stations. Wonder Channel is a wall dive for macro photographers. Ngedebus Coral Gardens and Ngerchong are also quite photogenic. Even better known is Blue Corner for its schools of gray sharks, eagle rays, turtles, and hammerhead sharks. From Palasia Hotel you can also join a tour to Jellyfish Lake which is a popular snorkeler destination. Shipwrecks and planes were also sunk in Micronesia during WWII. The largest shipwreck is the Amatsu Maru. Buoy 6 is a submarine chaser, and Helmet Wreck is a cargo streamer.

Attractions and Activities

Palasia Hotel is home to the Desomel Restaurant and Weltz Bar. The restaurant has a la cart dishes as well as buffets. The breakfast buffet has both western and Japanese favorites. The hotel has a large fitness center, pool and a duty-free shop for all the international guests. A large “Target” like store is adjacent to the hotel and many other shops and restaurants are just down the street.

Sam’s Tours offer a wonderful selection of exciting tours that include rock island tours, snorkel tours, big island sight-seeing tours, waterfall tours, cultural tours, WWII History Peleliu tours, and “around the town” shopping shuttles. From Palasia Hotel, you may wish to go scuba diving with Fish ‘n Fins Palau and/or Sam’s Tours for local daily dive trips.  Fish ‘n Fins Palau features a mandarin fish dive and local night dives. Sam’s Tours does a maximum of three tanks a day on selected trips as well as black water dives.

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Villablanca Garden Beach Hotel

Villablanca Garden Beach Hotel & Dive Resort is located on Cozumel Island, Mexico. This scuba diving resort is in a quiet area 2 miles from downtown San Miguel and 5 miles from the airport. The resort has 50 rooms and suits. So, the rooms come in Standard or Superior with garden or ocean views and balcony or terrace. Moreover, each room comes with a refrigerator, air conditioning, and ceiling fan. In addition, Villablanca has 2 villas and 1 Penthouse. Enjoy our blog article on Cozumel Mexico, Always a Top Dive Destination.

Villablanca Diving

There are four dive shops either onsite or 100ft from the Resort. Two D’s Diving and Tour Adventures, Phocea Mexico, Hogs Scuba Dive Emporium, Scuba Mau, and Dive Paradise. Dive Paradise has its dive center and operates the pier across the street (Quintana Roo C-1). So many dive shops, means plenty of opportunities to go scuba diving, however, they can all be quite busy when the cruise ships are in port so it’s best to book dives early in the day or later in the day when the cruise ships guests on shore are few and far between.

So, the majority of dives near Villablanca are drift dives. You merely descend underwater using your BC (buoyancy compensator). Next, drift along the reef. When finished drifting, use your BC to ascend. So, the boats follow the bubbles. They pick divers up once they surface. There are over 250 species of fish, and turtles, nurse sharks, stingrays to see. We think Palancar Reef should be on every diver’s bucket list.

Attractions and Activities

Villablanca has two restaurants. Nemo’s is a romantic restaurant with gourmet seafood and Continental cuisine. Las Adas has a bar and casual dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are several restaurants nearby as well. Hog Town Café is very popular for early breakfasts before diving. So, for activities you can go swimming in the pool or step into the Jacuzzi. They have tennis available too. The Mega stores, shopping malls, and other stores are 1 mile north of the resort.

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