Scuba diving and luxury go hand-in-hand. Most scuba destinations lend themselves to lush accommodations with gorgeous landscapes. In fact, there are three ways to enjoy an opulent scuba holiday: staying at a dive resort, traveling with a liveaboard, or renting your own villa or yacht. All three offer unique advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore each option in depth.
1. Luxury Dive Resorts
Located in some of the world’s most idyllic and serene locations, luxury dive resorts give you the class and extravagance of a fixed residence mixed with proximal access to some of the top dive destinations in the world. When not exploring the best of the underwater stage, you can relax on private beaches, oceanside balconies or in the surrounding region. The perfect option for traveling with non-diving partners, dive resorts offer superb diving, lots of amenities and lush surroundings.
Benefits of Diving from a Dive Resort
The advantages of being based on land are numerous. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Gorgeous Settings: Being on land has its advantages, and one of them is the scenery. Most dive resorts boast gorgeous, white sand beaches or are surrounded by lush jungle and colorful villages.
Plentiful Amenities: Resorts are also likely to include luxurious amenities, such as refreshing swimming pools, well-designed restaurants and relaxing spas. These areas are particularly important when traveling with non-diving partners.
Length of Stay: For the most part, guests have the flexibility to determine their own length of stay. Unlike a liveaboard, if your vacation only allows a long weekend away, you’ll be able to book a land-based dive holiday for just 3 nights. Or if you have a month-long holiday, stay at the resort for 30 days. The choice is yours.
Dive the Best Sites More Than Once: Because you’re located in the same area, you’ll be able to dive your favorite sites multiple times. Alternatively, if conditions were poor during the first dive at a popular site, head back to the same site to give it a second chance.
House Reefs: Many dive resorts are built next to healthy house reefs and offer free or very low-cost shore diving in that area. This is a great option for getting a few more dives in during your stay.
Non-Diving Activities: Diving day-in and day-out is fantastic, but sometimes we need a vacation with more. Resorts offer the opportunity to take a break from diving with other excursions such as jungle treks, sunset cruises or kayaking tours.
Drawbacks of Diving from a Dive Resort
It wouldn’t be fair to only discuss the benefits of dive resorts. There are some negative aspects, too.
A Limited Range of Dive Sites: Because you are based on land, there are only so many dive sites you can reach within a day. Usually resorts are built near enough sites to fill a week, but in some locations, you might have to dive the same site more than once.
Number of Dives per Day: With a land-based operator, you’ll usually complete a maximum of 3 dives per day. This might be enough for you, but if it isn’t, consider a private charter to get the most dives in a day.
Crowded Dive Sites: Dive resorts can accommodate hundreds of people, and they most likely share the area with other operators. If this is the case, you might encounter crowded dive sites with several boats of divers under the water at the same time.
Quality of Divers: We don’t want to sound like scuba diving snobs, but when experienced divers go down with beginners, it usually doesn’t have a happy ending. At dive resorts, you often find divers with fewer logged dives than you do on liveaboards. While the best resorts pair divers based on experience, there’s always the chance that you’ll get a group who reaches 50 bar twenty minutes before you would.
2. Luxury Liveaboard Dive Boats
Have you ever dreamt of living on the open ocean and exploring the depths of the great blue sea? Liveaboard dive safaris allow travel to some of the world’s greatest underwater wonders while providing those on board to enjoy the finer things in life along the way. Whether you’re diving in the Galapagos or island hopping in the Maldives, taking a trip on a luxury liveaboard is sure to leave you with unforgettable experiences and memories.
Benefits of Diving from a Luxury Liveaboard
A favorite among experienced divers, liveaboards offer a range of unique advantages. Let’s discuss a few.
Unique Dive Destinations: Dive charters travel to some of the most distant destinations for scuba divers. From the hammerhead hotspot known as Cocos Island to the outer reefs of Australia, many of the best dive destinations are only reachable by liveaboard.
The Best Sites: Rather than be limited to a certain set of sites by a land-based operator, liveaboards can explore the very best sites in the area, touching all of them in a short amount of time.
More Diving: On average, liveaboards feature 4 dives a day. Generally, you’ll get at least 3, but some boats boast up to 5 dives in a single day. Over a week, you’ll get far more dives on a boat than you would with a land-based operator.
Convenience: On a dive boat, you’ll only need to set your equipment up on the first day and disassemble it on the last day. There’s no need to lug your gear back and forth or configure it multiple times a week.
Meet Other Divers: Liveaboard diving forces you to interact with a group divers on a daily basis in a confined area. Quick friendships can be formed over superb underwater memories. Some of the best dive buddies are made on dive charters.
Drawbacks of Diving from Luxury Liveaboard
Dive safaris are fun, but like any form of diving holiday, there are some disadvantages to being on a boat.
Seasickness: If you are susceptible to seasickness, a dive safari may not be a great choice for you. 7 days of nausea doesn’t sound like fun.
Inclement Weather: Bad weather while on a boat isn’t as relaxing as it might be in a resort. Instead of relaxing in your room, you’ll be rocking and rolling on the sea.
Confined Spaces: There aren’t many places to escape to while staying on a boat. Whether you are feeling cooped up or you don’t get along with your fellow divers, a liveaboard can be a really small place.
3. Your Own Yacht or Villa
If you want something a bit more personal or are dreaming of an independent adventure, you might consider renting your own villa or yacht. Many scuba diving destinations now boast villa rental through websites like VRBO or Airbnb. With this option, you might consider hiring your own divemaster or instructor to show you the local dive sites. Once you are comfortable with the area, dive in whenever you’d like.
On the other hand, you might own your own yacht. Or you might want to rent one in your destination of choice. If you have experience in captaining a boat, this is a fantastic option. If you don’t, that’s okay too. Most locations offer boat charters including a captain. Either way, you’ll get your own private Robinson Crusoe adventure.
Benefits of Diving from a Your Own Accommodation
The benefits of diving from your own villa or yacht are many. Below you’ll find the most important advantages.
Personalized Itineraries: When you dive from your own accommodation, you have the ultimate freedom to decide where to go and when to do it. This is especially true if you charter your own yacht and can easily sail between diving areas.
Small Group Diving: Uncrowded dive sites await when you have the freedom to choose your own schedule. You’ll only be diving with those you choose. There’s no sharing a boat with strangers or having to dive a site with three other boats anchored nearby.
Comfortable Accommodations: You’re going to be the most comfortable in your own accommodations. Whether this is your private accommodation or you’ve rented a villa or yacht, you’ll have room to spread out and all of the amenities you require.
Flexibility: If you wake up one morning and decide you’d rather lay on the beach, you can. Or if you didn’t see a whale shark on your last dive, you can try again. Because you’re the captain, you have all the flexibility in the world.
No Limitations: When diving from your own accommodation, you aren’t limited by other divers or business functions. Therefore, you’ll notice increased bottom times and you’ll be able to fit in more dives per day.
Drawbacks of Diving from Your Own Accommodation
While renting your own place and hiring your own dive master may sound like the perfect scenario, there are a few disadvantages that we should mention.
No Shared Experience: Diving is all about meeting new people and making new friends. But when diving from your own villa or yacht, you won’t be sharing the experience with strangers. A small group holds many advantages, but meeting other divers isn’t one of them.
Unfamiliarity: Unless you hire a local dive master or are a local, you aren’t likely to know the dive locations like the back of your hand. This could lead to wasted time or, worse, could jeopardize your safety if you aren’t properly prepared.
Tank Refills: One thing that most of us take for granted are tank refills. When you are on a liveaboard or at a resort, refills are handled on site. But if you are diving from your own accommodation, you’ll most likely need to take your tanks somewhere to be refilled. This can limit the number of dives you are able to complete in a day or week.
Whether you take a luxury liveaboard, enjoy a dive resort or dive from your private yacht, you’re going to have an amazing holiday. Diving is like that. It’s always good.