Top 5 Budget-Friendly Dive Destinations

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Need to rationalize a last-minute diving trip to shake off the winter blues? We’re happy to help.

It’s a great time to embark on your first diving trip of 2016, or to sneak in a vacation to a new, global locale that you’ve never discovered before. Gas prices are at an all-time low in the states, which means that flights departing from the U.S. are cheaper than ever – even international ones.

Combined with affordable lodging packages, this makes it an ideal time to play hooky from work, and expend a little extra cash, (but not that much extra cash), and scape to one of these cheap but amazing dive destinations.

Amazing Dive Destinations Without Blowing Your Budget

Cozumel, Mexico

Flight prices to Mexico are often less expensive than cross-country domestic flights, and this little island just off the Yucatan coast has more than its fair share of gorgeously tropical dive sites to go around.

  • Divers will be surrounded by rainbow-hued reefs and drop-offs, relaxed drift-diving locales, and lots of stunning accommodations and dive businesses to choose from.
  • Look for dive resort packages that can include dining, lodging, and daily trips, and which often run less than $1,000 per person. There might also be some “buy one, get one half off” deals floating around.
  • You can also find some amazing oceanfront hotel rooms, complete with balconies and blue views, for around $100 a night in and near Cancun on the mainland — from here, you can dive the unique Underwater Museum of Modern Art.

Bonaire

Generally cheaper than its Caribbean counterparts, Bonaire is easy to reach from the United States and Europe.

  • It’s one of the top fabulous dive destinations for “Do-it-Yourself” divers who like to dive on their own schedule.
  • Most of the amazing sites on Bonaire can be accessed from the beach, and there are plenty of drive-through tank filling stations to go around.
  • Rent a 4WD truck at the airport or look for package specials that include a truck rental.
  • Get your friends to pool their funds towards a vacation rental home or condo. With onsite kitchens, living rooms, and even hot tubs or pools, you can keep your costs low on food and entertainment while exploring some of the Caribbean’s top sites, including Red Slave, Karpata, and 1,000 Steps.

Florida Keys and Southeast Florida

From the northern borders of Palm Beach County to the 120-mile chain of islands that comprise the Florida Keys, there’s a lot to explore in this corner of the country.

  • Flights to Florida are ridiculously cheap for domestic travelers, and vacationers along the East Coast can always cruise down I-95 to make a beeline to the Sunshine State.
  • Once you’ve arrived, enjoy plenty of explorations to the world’s third-largest barrier reef system, or pencil in a couple trips to some of South Florida’s most distinguished wrecks, like the USS Vandenberg.
  • Cut costs by perusing the Keys’ collection of amazing campgrounds, like the oceanfront Bahia Honda State Park which boasts some awesome views.

Thailand

Exploring Thailand is generally cheap, which is one of the reasons why this country is so popular with backpackers, but divers will find that some of the more exclusive resorts can be a little pricey. Luckily, there’s an easy solution for this – liveaboards.

  • There are countless liveaboard trips that depart from Thailand, and many offer package deals for multiple guests.
  • Look for a reputable company, and enjoy an all-costs-included vacation, which ventures to some of the hardest-to-reach and most outstanding dive sites in the world.
  • Phuket is also a good spot for land-based dives, as hotel rooms in this region are comparatively inexpensive, and can be as low as $65 per night.

Honduras’ Bay Islands

There are three principal islands that comprise the Honduras’ Bay Islands, which are scattered alongside the 600+ mile-long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. As a result, divers will literally be surrounded by diving destinations in an atmosphere where dive operators fiercely compete for tourist business.

  • Check out Roatan, the largest of the islands, which is home to roughly 150 different corals, and 300 different species of fish.
  • Nearby Utila is known as the “whale shark capital of the Caribbean.”
  • With so many dive shops to choose from, you can feel free to negotiate – or just pony up the $30-$40 or so for a diving trip to one of the region’s most eye-popping sites.

So what are you waiting for? With so many budget dive destinations to choose from, and so many global sites that deserve attention, it’s the optimal time to go have an adventure!

Need some gear that won’t break your budget? Check out our sale and demo items section at ScubaToys.com!

Know any other affordable dive destinations? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/karsund/

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Top 5 Budget-Friendly Dive Destinations
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Need a dive destination that doesn't cost a fortune? Check out these five amazing sites, some near, some far but all worth the money!
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3 responses to “Top 5 Budget-Friendly Dive Destinations”

  1. Iggy says:

    I’ve done Cozumel and the Keys, but would love to hit up some of these other places.

  2. Enrique C. says:

    Highly recommend St. Vincent. It’s affordable and off the radar – perfect combination in my opinion.

  3. Brenna says:

    I’ll be heading to Thailand on my next adventure and can’t wait!

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