The World’s Best Dive Retreats for 2024

by Editor
Published: Updated: Copyright Misool Resort / Jürgen Freund

Imagine sliding gently below the refreshing waters of a tropical lagoon, watching the palm-lined shore slip from view to be replaced by an equally exotic underwater world.

Instead of butterflies and birds flitting between the jungle branches, brightly patterned fish dart amongst colourful coral heads.

Streaks of sunlight pierce the shallows, dancing flickering patterns on the white sand below as the comfortable water cocoons you in a mindful trance, consuming your movement and thought as you float, oblivious to the world above.

Many who scuba dive enjoy a high level of wellbeing and personal enrichment. Aside from the obvious health benefits of being active and spending time in the sun, sea, and fresh air, scuba diving allows us to focus on the present moment, concentrating our thoughts on the here and now.

It has the welcome ability to banish the real world to the very back of our mind, and for a few blissful moments, we can forget about life and become fully absorbed in the task at hand.

“Although more research is needed in this area, some studies suggest scuba diving is associated with greater wellbeing,” said Lisa Walsh, a doctoral candidate and happiness researcher at the University of California, Riverside.

For example, in one qualitative study, scuba divers reported achieving more eudaimonic happiness through their diving activities (Kler & Tribe, 2012).

In other words, the divers believed that diving helped them develop virtues and strengths and boosted their own personal growth and meaning in life.

In another study, military veterans—some with mental health issues and physical disabilities—reported improvements in mindfulness and contentment after a single 45-minute adaptive scuba diving session (Blumhorst et al., 2020).

What better way, then, to fully explore everything a beach destination has to offer than by learning the sport of scuba diving on a dive retreat?

With current travel restrictions only adding to the worry of everyday life, planning a future vacation is a great stress reliever and certainly something to look forward to. And if you’ve never dived before, an exciting scuba retreat combined with a well-deserved spa break is the perfect combination.

As dive retreat travel experts, the staff at Bluewater Travel are well-versed in the finer details of global exploration, so here are some great suggestions to help you escape, unwind, and plan your long-awaited vacation in the best way possible.

Atmosphere Resort & Spa, Dumaguete, Philippines

Labelled as one of the best boutique resorts in the Philippines, Atmosphere Resort & Spa exudes luxury with a strong focus on healthy living.

Nestled in lush, green jungle on the central Filipino island of Negros, privacy and exclusivity go hand in hand in the airy, tastefully decorated rooms and suites, all boasting a private terrace or garden.

The resort offers a wealth of wellness activities, from daily yoga and fitness classes to two distinct detox programs, as well as an in-house nutritional adviser.

Multi-award-winning Sanctuary Spa is a secret garden paradise offering over a dozen soothing or invigorating treatments to a backdrop of fragrant blossoms and waterfalls. Indulge in a unique Watsu water shiatsu treatment, or surrender to a healing bath or Vichy shower, guaranteed to soothe your body, mind, and soul.

For those tempted to explore beneath Dumaguete’s sparkling turquoise waters, an exciting world awaits, teeming with tropical fish and some of the smallest micro marine species on the planet.

Atmosphere dive retreat centre’s experienced dive team provides a full range of training courses in multiple languages, the perfect setting to begin or advance your scuba career. The warm, soothing waters of the Bohol Sea provide the ideal environment to relax and explore.

Presidente Intercontinental Resort & Spa, Cozumel, Mexico

A jewel in the Mexican Caribbean, Presidente Intercontinental Resort & Spa offers exquisite accommodation in luxury surroundings and access to some of the best diving on Cozumel.

Spacious rooms furnished in a contemporary style offer panoramic views of the turquoise ocean and lushly planted gardens, while the large beachside infinity pool and private palm-fringed beach offer plenty of space to kick back and relax undisturbed.

Activities with an emphasis on health and wellbeing include yoga and personal training classes, as well as access to a fully-equipped fitness center.

The resort spa offers a wide range of therapy and beauty treatments, drawing on traditional Mayan rituals to create an opulent yet tranquil experience.

Harnessing the healing properties of traditional plants and herbs, guests can take advantage of therapies in private or couples treatment rooms, a beachside cabana, or from the comfort of their room.

Cozumel’s coastline offers some spectacular scuba opportunities, both for beginners and seasoned divers. The Presidente’s in-house dive center, Scuba Du, is one of the longest-running operators on the island, with an emphasis on safety and personal service. They offer a full range of dive training courses and guided dives, with expert knowledge of the best dive sites in the area.

Alternatively, visit Salty Endeavors Scuba Center, offering PADI and SSI dive certifications for beginners to advanced divers and professionals. Their waterfront dive center boasts a private pool for instruction–a luxury on Cozumel and ideal for new students to learn in a calm, peaceful atmosphere.

Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Located on an uninhabited island in the furthest reaches of the remote Raja Ampat archipelago, Misool Eco Resort houses only 40 guests and is the epitome of exclusivity.

Spread around the resort’s North Lagoon, twelve stilted over-water cottages and villas provide stunning views across the Seram Sea to the silhouetted islands beyond.

While on South Beach, seven bungalows tucked into the privacy of the jungle are just a stone’s throw from the white sandy beach and unique natural swimming hole.

With a strong focus on conservation, Misool’s buildings and structures are made from locally sourced timber, and the furniture is handcrafted, allowing the resort to blend seamlessly with the pristine tropical forest.

Using a mixture of organic and home-grown products, Misool’s traditional Indonesian spa treatments take place to the soothing rhythm of the lapping waves at the isolated Lookout or from the comfort of your room.

Diving into the richest marine environment in the world is not to be missed, and Misool is perfectly placed to deliver. Easily accessed from the resort’s dive center or jetty, the house reef is exceptional, featuring a multicoloured cacophony of corals and sea fans festooned in an aquarium of bright tropical fish, seahorses, and the occasional reef shark.

For those looking to venture below the waves for the first time, dive retreat courses and private guides can be arranged. What better introduction to the underwater world than in one of the most coveted dive destinations on the planet?

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For those keen to combine their luxury break with a healthy and soothing activity, a scuba dive retreat should certainly be considered. Don’t hesitate to contact Bluewater Travel for expert advice and guidance on the best dive resorts in the world.

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