At these waterfront resorts, scuba lessons come with an extra helping of underwater enjoyment
Forget your hometown pool or lake. Where better to learn to scuba dive than in a Caribbean resort where the waters are warm and clear, and colorful coral reefs are just a fin kick away. We’ve picked five top resorts that combine first class instruction and comfortable amenities with immediate access to world-class reefs.
Sunset House, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman Island is the Caribbean’s number one dive destination, and Sunset House remains a favorite with scuba divers. Just steps from oceanfront rooms are shallow reefs where calm, warm waters are ideal for learning the basics of scuba, then venturing out to discover sights such as wrecks and the island’s iconic underwater mermaid sculpture. Rooms are reasonably priced and well equipped, and the open-air bar and sea view restaurant are a favorite with the local dive crowd.
Buddy Dive, Bonaire
In addition to being one of Bonaire’s premier waterfront resorts, Buddy Dive is home to the only PADI 5-star Career Development Center in the southern Caribbean. The same facility that turns out dive instructors and specialists is ideal for learning the basics, which can be practiced right off the resort docks, where Bonaire’s famously colorful reefs are just yards offshore.
Lions Dive, Curacao
Sitting right on the edge of the National Curacao Underwater Park, the lushly landscaped Lions Dive Beach Resort houses the island’s number one dive shop and scuba training facility: Ocean Encounters. With the help of attentive instructors, newbies can master the basics in the 50-meter pool, and on shallow reefs just offshore of the Sea Aquarium Beach, and then catch the daily dive boats for visits to nearby coral gardens.
Bimini Big Game Club, Bahamas
Though best known as a fishing lodge, the Big Game Club is also a great place to learn to dive, thanks to an affiliation with Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center. The calm shallows around the island are ideal for practicing basic skills, and a bonus for newly-minted “bubble blowers” is the chance to dive some of the region’s most famous underwater attractions, such as the mysterious Atlantis Road and the playful pods of dolphins that gather nearby.
Utila Lodge, Bay Islands
The Bay Islands of Honduras are famous for their lush coral reefs and thriving fish populations. Perched in the heart of the island diving scene is Utila Bay Lodge. This charming family owned lodge offers both dorm-style lodging and private ocean view rooms, and it is also home to the Bay Islands College of Diving. Snorkeling and introductory dive sites are right off the dock, and as skills are mastered, new divers can discover Utila’s many famous underwater attractions.