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Top 5 Backpacker Dive Sites

It’s not just what’s on the surface that counts when you're travelling.  From incredible corals to sharp-toothed monsters, there is a whole other world to experience below sea-level.

Here are some of the fantastic dive spots we’ve come across during our volunteering adventures.  If you're thinking about how to get the most out of your gap year, why not look into a marine project?  You can explore incredible underwater kingdoms and get qualified for scuba diving at the same time! 

5. Koh Toa, Thailand

Image courtesy of Thailand Learn to Scuba Dive

With over 25 different dive sites, there is something for everyone at Koh Toa. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, you will be blown away by its diversity. Get lost exploring the pulsing display of coral and marine life, including triggerfish, morays and turtles. The Swim Thrus are spectacular, in particular the vertical ‘Chimney’, a  tunnel that delivers divers deep into the territory of large fish such as giant groupers and the occasional whale shark!


4. Kinasi Pass, Tanzania

Image courtesy of Frontier Tanzania

This strange wonder is located on the brilliantly-named Mafia Island, 75 miles off the coast of Tanzania. It is a passage between rocks from the inside of the bay to the outside and, with incoming tides, rushes with a breath-taking torrent of water and fish. You can see an incredible selection of marine life diving in the canyon, including giant groupers and stingrays, schools of sweetlips and barracudas, and giant morays and cobias to name but a few.


3. Coco Island, Costa Rica

Image Courtesy of Barry Peters

This uninhabited island off the shore of Costa Rica is said to have inspired Michael Crichton’s dinosaur novel Jurassic Park, and beneath the surrounding waters you will find teeth just as sharp. Amongst breath-taking scores of dolphins and rays swim huge shoals of hammerhead sharks. They gather in largest number around the submerged mountain of Alcyone, where you might also observe white-tip reef sharks and possibly whale sharks.


2. Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole: Image courtesy of Eric Pheterson

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hole drops 145 metres, and is ringed by a fringed reef. When viewed from above it forms a perfect circle of dark blue unknown. Journey into the abyss and you will come across an incredible marine forest of soaring stalactites and, perhaps strangely, a distinct lack of aquatic life. But you won’t find this disappointing, as the eerie quiet is calm and magical.


1. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Satelite image courtesy of Wikipedia

This is the mother of all dive sites and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It stretches over 3000 kilometres and can be seen from outer space, with a dazzling and hypnotic array of aquatic citizens to marvel at, including sea turtles, dolphins, humpback whales and clown fish. You will feel like you have slipped into another world. 

Scuba diving is essential to the underwater survey work conducted on most of our marine research programmes.  Join Frontier on a Marine project such as Thailand Learn to Scuba Diveand you'll have the chance to gain PADI Open Water & Advanced Open Water qualifications. It's even possible to train to a professional level on the Madagascar Divemaster Internship, the first step to a career in scuba diving.

Have a look at  Belize Marine Conservation & Diving and Tanzania Marine Conservation & Diving.

See more from volunteers on YouTubeFlickr and Instagram #FrontierVolunteer.


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