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The safest & best places for scuba diving in 2022.

Annika Ziehen diving in similan islands

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Updated: September, 2022

Can I plan a dive trip in 2022? That is a question which many divers have on their minds these days. With much of the world closing down over the past months, many travelers have put their trips on hold, postponed, or canceled. 

But luckily there is light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines coming and quite a few destinations opening up to tourists under strict safety precautions. So yes, I say you can plan a trip to some of the best dive destinations around the world and feel safe doing so. 

So where to head for diving in 2022? I share some destinations I have been eyeing, tell you why you should put them on your diving bucket list, and what requirements they have for you to travel there now!*

Scuba diver in similan islands

*Please note: Make sure to check each country’s entry requirement before you book a flight – things change rather quickly at the moment and entry requirements will also depend on where you are coming from.

Best Dive Destinations 2022

Komodo, Indonesia

I have just returned from Komodo, Indonesia and I can confirm without a doubt that Komodo is truly one of the best dive destinations out there. The high season is coming to an end but this shouldn’t deter you – rather the opposite as low season brings more mantas and less crowded dive sites.

What to expect when diving in Komodo and where to go? Read my complete post about my Komodo liveaboard trip:

A Guide to Diving in Komodo National Park

How to travel to Komodo in 2022

Indonesia has finally opened its borders again for international travelers and you can enter without quarantine, hurrah! That is of course if you are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travelers will still need to quarantine for 5 days upon arrival in a government-approved hotel and do PCR testing.

All travelers will need to download the Peduli Lindungi app (though to be honest I never had to use it or was asked for it during my recent two months stay).

Traveling within Indonesia is still changing all the time. Sometimes a test is required, sometimes it is not. Whether you are vaccinated or not, make sure to check with your airline beforehand.

So why did I only put Komodo on the list of best dive destinations in 2022? I know Indonesia has much to offer when it comes to diving (looking at you Raja Ampat and Lembeh) but if you wanted to go to Komodo now is the time. During July the government came up with a plan to increase the Komodo national park fees quite drastically. Usually the fee is approximately $10 per day and a bit more for divers but it was said to be increased to $250 for annual pass. Luckily this has not happened yet but is still discussed for 2023. So if you want to dive Komodo on a budget, I recommend you book your trip now!

Thailand

fish in the similan islands

As you are reading this, I am sitting at a laundromat in Bangkok after returning from an amazing dive trip in Koh Lipe about to head on a liveaboard in the Similan Islands

While Thailand diving may not be world-renowned it is a great destination to get certified, dip your toes into the tech diving world, and have an all-around great holiday. Fabulous dive destinations include Koh Tao, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, famous Richelieu Rock, one of the best dive sites in the world as well as my newfound favorite the Tarutao National Marine Park in Koh Lipe. 

A Guide to Koh Tao Scuba Diving
Click here to read about diving in Koh Lipe
A Guide to Koh Lanta Diving

Especially at the moment, you can get some great deals from dive centers around the country with many offering free accommodation when you book dives. And chances are you will have some of the best dive sites in Thailand all to yourself! 

Find a dive center in Thailand

How to travel to Thailand in 2022

Thanks to very strict protocols Thailand has managed to keep a tight grip on Covid. As of July 23, 2022 the government has relaxed all Covid-19 measures in the country. While mask wearing is option in public places now, you will still see many Thai people doing it. The government leaves it up to the individual to keep wearing masks in crowded, indoor places.

All previous measures like hotel quarantine and sandbox program are no more – Thailand is open for tourism! Fully vaccinated travelers won’t need anything but their vaccine card and those who are unvaccinated will need to show a negative PCR-test, taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Mauritius

Guitar Shark in Mauritius

Mauritius became one of those dive destinations I never saw coming. The water is warm and clear, there is plenty to see (including humpback and sperm whales as well as dolphins), and the waters offer an amazing array of cool shipwrecks to explore. 

Click here to read more about diving in Mauritius

Below and above the surface, Mauritius is a cool country for a holiday, offering something for all kinds of travelers: yummy street food, great golf courses, rum around the clock, and stunning hikes. 

How to travel to Mauritius in 2022

Like Thailand, Mauritius introduced a hotel quarantine last year, basically eliminating Covid on the island thanks to these strict measures. As of July 1, 2022 Mauritius is open to all travelers regardless of vaccination status without any isolation or testing. All you have to do is fill out the “All in One” travel form and you are good to go!

Find a dive center in Mauritius

Bahamas

sharks in the bahamas
Credit: Bahamas Tourist Office

If you are a shark fan then the Bahamas are the place for you! They have some of the richest shark populations in the world and one of the most progressive shark conservation measures to protect those beauties. The local population knows that a living shark is worth much more than a dead shark and they act accordingly to protect them.

Diving with sharks is one of the things to do in the Bahamas and paired with great visibility you can see bull sharks, hammerheads, reef sharks, and nurse sharks. 

In addition, the waters in the Bahamas are great for cave diving, wrecks, and blue holes – did you know that there are 180 blue holes in the Bahamas? 

Book a liveaboard trip in the Bahamas

How to travel to the Bahamas in 2022

Traveling to Bahamas is also incredibly easy now. As of July 2022: if you are fully vaccinated all you will need is your vaccine card. Unvaccinated travelers will need show proof of negative PCR or Rapid Antigen test, taken within 72 hours of traveling.

Regardless of your vaccine status no testing is required for inter-island travel anymore.

Maldives

Blue Force One Maldives

The Maldives are one of my favorite places to dive in the world. Whether you choose a local island, stay at a fancy resort, or join a liveaboard the underwater world here is spectacular. 

Click here to read about diving with a Maldives liveaboard

Honestly to me, the best option is a liveaboard as the Maldives are quite big, and this way you can cover a lot of ground and easily reach far-flung dive sites. Depending on the season most liveaboards head through the central atolls route and do special trips which will take you deep into the south. In addition, a Maldives liveaboard is not too pricey compared to some of the resorts while still offering you a cold beer after your dive and the option to see a variety of dive sites. 

On your way you can except sharks and mantas galore, exciting channel diving, whale sharks, and even the occasional frogfish – what’s not to love? 

Check out Maldives liveaboards here!

How to travel to the Maldives in 2022

The Maldives were one of the first countries to open back up for tourism in 2020 and they have done so pretty successfully. Traveling there is possible and even island hopping is a go! Unless you show symptoms you will not need any testing done or even a proof of vaccine. Mask wearing is also voluntary and only required in health facilities.

Jordan

Aqaba scuba diving

I have been dreaming of diving in Jordan for a while now. Last year I was invited to go to Aqaba on a press trip alas it was the first of many trips that got canceled. So for now I am still dreaming… 

Red Sea diving is amazing and Aqaba also has a few other perks in addition to warm water, great coral gardens, and a huge variety of marine life. There are quite a few wrecks to dive in Jordan and not all are of the nautical kind: there are quite a few sunken planes to explore (don’t worry they were sunk on purpose!) which have become home to a big variety of fish and corals. 

There is also the first Underwater Military Museum that shows off sunken battle relics. They include tanks, a combat helicopter, a troop carrier, and many more. 

Check out dive centers in Jordan

How to travel to Jordan in 2022

As of March Jordan is fully open to travelers regardless of vaccines status. All you need to do is to fill out this declaration form before your trip and you are good to go!

Bonaire

Bonaire diving
Credit: Lorenzo Mittiga

I have yet to visit Bonaire but it seems the perfect Caribbean diving destination at the moment. I have a friend who migrated to the island almost 10 years ago and never looked back. Needless to say, she is a diver as Bonaire is an underwater paradise and thus a perfect home for mermaids. 

There are over 80 dive sites around Bonaire with a majority offering shore dives. You can dive in the Bonaire National Marine Park all year long and it has something in store for all levels of divers. For everyone an amazing variety of reef fish, coral gardens, and schools of blue tangs or jacks await. If you get lucky Bonaire will throw in the occasional whale shark, a manta, or at the very least an eagle ray. 

How to travel to Bonaire in 2022

There are currently no travel restrictions to Bonaire related to Covid-19 and you can enter without testing or quarantine regardless of your vaccine status.

Galapagos

sea iguana in galapagos

The Galapagos are yet another dream destination for divers myself included. I’d go there if only to see some hammerheads but of course, there is so much more: whale sharks, mola molas, marine iguanas, mantas… I wouldn’t even mind the water temperatures which I consider flipping cold (as low as 18 degrees though apparently, they do go up to 28 degrees in March and April which is just about acceptable for me). 

Another aspect I find super intriguing when it comes to diving in the Galapagos is the lack of mass tourism and the focus on eco-travel. I am currently eyeing a liveaboard with Galapagos Shark Diving, a great company that offers eco dive liveaboards with a focus on conservation. 

Book a Galapagos liveaboard

How to travel to the Galapagos in 2022

If you want to travel to the Galapagos you will need to keep rules and regulations for both the islands as well as Ecuador overall in mind. To get to Ecuador you will need a negative PCR-test or antigene test no older than 3 days upon entering the country. Alternatively you will need to present your vaccine card with the 2nd vaccine at least 14 days old.

And in case you are not ready to book a trip yet, check out this post with the 10 best dive books to keep you entertained on land!

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