Best ways to explore the deep blue
Making up more than 70% of the earth’s surface, our oceans offer a whole new world waiting to be discovered – from whale sharks and mystical shipwrecks together with colourful coral reefs and dramatic surf. In recognition of World Oceans Day on June 8th, we compiled five of our favourite ways to explore the underwater world on your next tropical getaway.
Although most famous for its pristine white-sand beaches, Antigua is also home to spectacular diving conditions. The island’s south and east coasts are lined with sea shelves, providing ideal conditions for shallow diving and snorkelling amongst turtles, manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, nurse sharks and angelfish. There are four main dive centres located across the island with numerous famous dive sites. If you’re a beginner, you can explore the picturesque Pillars of Hercules or Black’s Point; while more experienced divers can explore the popular Montserrat Wreck.
Where to stay: After a day of diving, soak in a breathtaking Antiguan sunset at Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa. This brand-new luxury resort is nestled on its own private beach and offers breathtaking views of Fort Barrington from the top of the resort’s hill. After working up an appetite exploring the underwater world, you can dine at the resort’s Grazie restaurant, serving up delectable Italian dishes and gorgeous ocean views.
The largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, Roatán is located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean and the second largest barrier reef in the world. The island is a popular dive destination with pristine reefs, crystal-clear waters and a wide range of exotic marine life; including manta rays, sea turtles and whale sharks. Deep-sea divers can visit the shipwreck of El Aguilla, a sunken cargo vessel where you can swim alongside garden eels. Dolphin Den is a popular site for more advanced divers, made up of a network of tunnels that will take you from one side of the reef to the other.
Where to stay: If you’re looking for a serene spot to both relax and dive at, Turquoise Bay Dive and Beach Resort is the ideal destination. The resort has its very own dive centre on site with a dive package that includes three dives per day for five days with the assistance of a PADI certified instructor. When you’re not diving, kick back and relax on the resort’s beach, the longest private white-sand beach on the island.
The crystal-clear waters of Cancun have made this Mexican resort hotspot a popular destination for underwater exploration. The area is home to colourful coral reefs teeming with exotic marine life, in addition to unique underwater experiences. Visit one of the world’s most famous dive sites, the Cancun Underwater Museum, which features over 500 sculptures on the sea floor up to six metres below the surface. The museum was created by British artist Jason DeCaires Taylor with three different galleries made in partnership with local and international artists. Looking for more of a thrill? Visit Cancun between June and September to swim with whale sharks!
Where to stay: When you’re not exploring the deep blue, you can admire panoramic views of the blue waters from Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort and Spa. This newly-opened luxury resort is just steps from the nightlife, restaurants and shops of Cancun’s bustling Hotel Zone. Upgrade to Diamond Club™ to enjoy panoramic views of the bright blue sea from the adults only Level 18 Rooftop Cabana Lounge ($).
Bonaire has been consistently recognized as one of the world’s top shore diving destinations and is often considered the diving capital of the Caribbean. The island’s waters offer excellent visibility throughout the year and ideal conditions for both beginners and experts. You can spot over 470 recorded species of fish in the waters surrounding Bonaire including Caribbean two-spot octopus, southern stingrays, sea turtles and trumpet fish. The island’s numerous shore diving sites make it a popular destination for less-experienced divers, with popular spots including Bari Reef and the Hilma Hooker shipwreck.
Where to stay: Buddy Dive Resort offers numerous inclusive dive packages with a five-star PADI dive centre on-site. Choose from both shore and boat dive packages at the resort; shore dive packages include truck or van rentals, while boat dive packages include guided boat dives. The resort is also home to the famous McAir Drive-Thru, where you can drive up and exchange your empty tanks for new ones.
While known for its breathtaking desert landscapes and golden-sand shores, the Pacific Mexican destination of Los Cabos is also popular spot for underwater exploration. Take a snorkelling tour around Santa Maria Bay for the chance to snorkel by popular landmarks like El Arco and Lover’s Beach – you’ll even have the chance to snorkel alongside a colony of adorable sea lions! You can also visit nearby Chileno Bay, an area 30 minutes from Cabo San Lucas that offers some of the best snorkelling off the Baja California Peninsula. You can swim alongside exotic marine species including sea turtles, manta rays and more.
Where to stay: After a day spent snorkelling off the coast of Los Cabos, you can soak up the sun by the infinity pool at Riu Santa Fe with panoramic views of Cabo’s famous rocky landscapes. Kids – and kids at heart – will have a blast with complimentary access to Splash Water World water park, while guests over the age of 18 can party it up poolside with the famous RIU Pool Parties on-site.