Good location for novice divers?

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Denver, CO
1,540 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
DH and I just completed our OW certification and would like a recommendation for a good location (Caribbean Island? Florida? Hawaii?) for a July trip with relatively shallow dives to continue practicing our skills and improving buoyancy control. We're located in Denver and so either Caribbean/Florida or Hawaii works. Know Caribbean cruise options may be limited during this period so we're also open to land vacations. I'm a wuss - very hot/buggy locations hold less romance for me, so this is a tough challenge...

I've always had such great responses from Cruisecritic participants, I thought I'd tap into your expertise for this question.

THanks for your thoughts!

Melbourne, FL
8,194 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
well you'll have plenty og Carib' cruise options that can provide two or maybe three dive options, with two dives a day on a seven night cruise

Or a dive vacation where 7 nites could provide you 6 diving days with three dives per day. I've done such trips many many times and when dw was newly certified we built her experience quickly with week long trips to Sunset House and the Brac Reef Resort

Sunset House has a particularly good location for easy on your own shore diving

Other options are Roatan or Bonaire

Bonaire is probably the best shore diving place I've been to but for a new diver may be less good of an idea since most of your diving would be solo vs a monitored boat trip . . .

For cruises I'd look for itinerary that includes Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, Roatan to the west or St Martin, Tortola, Turks to the east.
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SF Bay Area
1,470 Posts
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If you'd prefer a land based vacation-

Roatan would be my first choice! We're headed to Cocoview for a week in November, but that resort is all about diving. Check out Anthony's key if you want a little bit more variety or stay at a hotel and dive through a local shop. Our favorite independent shop is West End Divers.

We also love staying in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The diving isn't as amazing as Roatan, but the flight is half the price for us. We were there in March and stayed in a condo, making our own breakfasts and lunches and then going out to dinner to save money. While the flight is cheaper, the diving is more expensive in Hawaii. We dove with Big Island Divers (don't miss the Manta Ray dive for sure!) and stayed here:

If you want to book a cruise, we prefer Western- Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, and Grand Caymen are some of the best. Last Western cruise we tried to get to Costa Maya but couldn't dock due to winds, so we're not sure of the diving there.

Wherever you go, be sure to let the dive staff know your experience level. This will make the diving much more enjoyable for you