The Most Underrated Scuba Diving Destinations in The World 


Swimming in crystal clear water with an abundance of sea life…warm and gentle currents…Who doesn’t want their scuba holiday to be just perfect? A recent study has revealed the most underappreciated scuba diving destinations this year, with the Gulf of California named the most underrated, meaning you’ll get more bang for your buck and avoid bumping fins like in the busier destinations.

Scuba diving experts at DIVEIN.com analyzed the popularity of global diving destinations through average monthly Google searches and compared this to the cost and availability of affordable hotels, restaurants, and nearby activities.  This highlights the destinations that offer the best value for money this year, and it turns out that the best spot is the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez.   

Gulf of California

The destination doesn’t see much Google interest online, but it has some of the best amenities and value for money. The average cost per night at the area’s 10 cheapest hotels is just €128, so a five-night stay could cost as little as €640.   

In Baja California, where you can dive the Gulf of California, there are nearly 10,000 restaurants and almost 300 scuba-related activities to partake in. So, no matter where you decide to stay, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.   

Dominica, Caribbean

Coming in at No. 2 on the list of most underrated scuba diving destinations was Dominica in the Caribbean. This destination boasts stunning coral reefs and over 150 restaurants to choose from on the island.   

The average price for a night in a cheap hotel was €205, so it’s pricier than the Sea of Cortez, but the spectacular dive sites and lush island setting make up for it. The most popular sites are Scott’s Head Marine Reserve to the south, and the Cabrits National Park in the north.   

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Rounding out the top 3 scuba destinations is Raja AmpatIndonesia. Scuba diving in this area of Indonesia generates a high monthly search volume (the second-highest overall), despite there being few restaurants and only a handful of hotels.   

Raja Ampat’s scuba diving is best between October and April, which encompasses the area’s dry season.  

Key Largo, Florida Keys

Next on the list is Key Largo in the Florida Keys. This destination ranks fourth due to relatively cheap hotel prices (an average of €325 nightly) and its high-quality restaurants, with an average rating of 4.28 across 111 eateries.

Snorkeling Christ of the Abyss is probably the most famous underwater attraction in Key Largo. It is also known as Christ of the Deep, and sees many divers every year.

Viti Levu, Fiji

Finally, the fifth most underrated scuba diving destination is Viti Levu in Fiji, Fiji’s largest island, home to capital Suva, offers some wonderful beaches. Palm-fringed Natadola Beach, reputed to be one of the best beaches in the world, is a picture perfect crescent of powdery sand leading to dramatic cliffs.

When broken down, the average cost of a hotel per night is just shy of €120 and has a restaurant count of 343.  

The Overall 10 most underrated scuba diving destinations  

 Rank Diving Destination  Restaurant Count  Activity Count  Average Monthly Google Searches  Hotel Price Per Night  (EUR) 
1  Gulf of California  9,824  273  1,670  €125  
2  Dominica, Caribbean  168  46  2,620  €205  
3  Raja Ampat, Indonesia  1  14  28,095  €131
4  Key Largo, Florida Keys  111  27  39,424  €325  
5  Viti Levu, Fiji  343  6  0  €120
6  Sesimbra, Portugal  530  30  388  €380
7  Vancouver Island, British Columbia  5,514  17  2,393  €335  
8  Ari Atoll, Maldives  35  24  0  €190
9  West Palm Beach, Florida  1,592  16  4,247  €375
10  Palau, Micronesia  51  23  5,829  €385 

Speaking on the findings, Torben Lonne, editor-in-chief and scuba expert at DIVEIN said: 

“It’s easy to look at a beautiful diving site and think that it will make the perfect vacation, but just because things are picturesque under the water, doesn’t mean they will be in reality. You want to look for destinations that meet your standards not only for the quality of the diving, but also your budget. And remember, you won’t be spending all day diving, so you will want to make sure there are great places to eat and drink to really make the most of your getaway. Look for somewhere with plenty of diving spots so you can explore different areas instead of being stuck with the same reef for a week.”

It’s clear to see that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to high quality and fairly budget scuba holidays, from Micronesia to California!



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