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Seeking suggestions for "best diving" + "most affordable" dive destinations!

Discussion in 'General Travel and Vacation Discussions' started by GR8FUL, May 8, 2019.

  1. GR8FUL

    GR8FUL Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    I've got a ton of frequent flyer miles, so I can fly pretty much anywhere for free. I'm looking to go somewhere that has great (but affordable!) diving, and where the living expenses (food, lodging, etc) are also fairly affordable once I get there. FYI: My mode of travel is best described as "backpacker style", meaning I usually stay in guest houses versus hotels & resorts.

    I can take off for 2-4 weeks at a time, so pretty much the world is my oyster. Where should I go to get the best value for my money? Philippines? Red Sea?

    Past dive vacations:
    Honduras (Utila & Roatan)
    Hawaii (Maui, Kauai, the Big Island)
    Thailand (Ko Tao)
    Philippines (MoalBoal & Palawan)
    Mexico (Cozumel & Tulum)
    Have done only one live aboard out of Cairns, Australia

    I love drift dives, wall dives, night dives, and seeing bigger stuff. Not thrilled with wreck diving or seeing lots of small stuff.
    Chidiver1 likes this.
  2. KathyV

    KathyV Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    Usually the most expensive part of traveling to Egypt is the airfare and you've got that covered. There are many economical liveaboards that operate in various sections of the Red Sea and they cover meals, accommodations, and provide a lot of beautiful dive with lots of corals, sponges, sea life, and sharks. When we dived the northern Red Sea on an LOB it was almost all drift diving.

    The Aggressor fleet is considered a higher-end liveaboard but they also have some good Red Sea specials. You could spend a week on one of the Red Sea Aggressors, then add on a week for a Nile Cruise to enjoy the history and culture, followed by a week on the other Red Sea Aggressor!

  3. nippurmagnum

    nippurmagnum Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Washington DC metro
    I would suggest a dive trip to San Diego. You can do wonderful shore dives from La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores, amid lush kelp forests, playful sea lions, and countless leopard sharks for the cost of an air fill (and a 7 mm wetsuit rental, if you don't already have thick neoprene). Rental cars are cheap. Airbnbs are quite reasonable, if you are willing to drive a bit. Easy location to fly to with frequent flyer miles. It will be different from the other places you've dived.
    KenGordon and Jcp2 like this.
  4. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Portland, OR
    Do you have a timeframe in mind? We have another similar, but different thread that started yesterday. Might be good to read it: You guys are a bad influence

    With 2-4 weeks available, I would be looking at Indonesia.
  5. Pedro Burrito

    Pedro Burrito Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Boussens, Canton de Vaud, Suisse

    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Moved from Basic. ​

  6. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    Raja Ampat would stand out as the obvious choice IMO - failing that, North Sulawesi.
    tridacna likes this.
  7. GR8FUL

    GR8FUL Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    Thx for the link, that was helpful.

    Since I'll be traveling solo, picking a destination where there is something else to do besides diving (especially in the evenings) would be nice. And of course the better the food, well...the better the trip.

    Appreciate everyone else's replies / suggestions as well, at the moment it sounds like Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Red Sea are where I should focus on.

    Somehow I was under the impression that the Red Sea is not as spectacular as it once was...yes / no / maybe?
  8. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    Gosh, what is? Wait another year, everywhere will be a little worse.

    Red Sea North (Sharm) is Sharks and wrecks. LOBs, esp any marketed to North Americans, are ridiculously expensive as compared to the 150 others offered to Europeans.

    Philippines are just crazy macro, but that’s also not on your list.

    After you’ve seen all the “big stuff” enough to be done with that, you’re going to have to consider macro.

    What are you seeing on “walls”?

    Big stuff? Currents? Walls ? (Barren and black) Backpacker? How about....

    Galapagos- land based Puerto Ayorra. Another venue absolutely unknown to US magazines, travelers or divers....If you got the demonstrable skills, Scuba Iguana will take you out at night.

    About 1/3 the cost of Popular known liveaboards.
    Wingy, Chidiver1 and delacrue96 like this.
  9. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    Maldives, though it doesn't meet your wish for evening activity. There are home stay islands that I've heard are supposed to be pretty good. I can speak to the diving though I've only done it via liveaboard (x4) and have stayed in Male and on Hulhule for brief periods before and afterwards.
    Doc likes this.
  10. Goingforsound

    Goingforsound Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines / Burkina Faso
    Cheap? Cozumel, book a package with Dive with Martin and stay in town.

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