The Best Dive Destinations for Budget Travel

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Looking for the most bang for your buck? Check out these dive destinations selected by the readers of MSN as the top value destinations for divers.

1) Riviera Maya, Mexico

The menu of options in Mexico’s Riviera Maya is so big that it’s hard to believe it’s all found in one area, spanning from Cancun to Tulum. The region is practically synonymous with caves and caverns, diverse enough to suit first-time divers and those on trimix. Plus, Playa del Carmen offers drift dives with loggerhead sea turtles year-round, and bull shark dives in late winter. The island of Cozumel, a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, is legendary for swift currents carrying divers along sheer walls. It’s a lot, and yet clustered close enough that ambitious travelers with big appetites can squeeze a taste of it all in one logbook-cramming week.

Readers Picks

Resorts: Scuba Club Cozumel, Mexico; Hotel Cozumel, Mexico; Allegro Cozumel of Barcelo Hotel Group, Cozumel, Mexico

Operators: Dive with Martin, Cozumel, Mexico; Scuba Club, Cozumel, Mexico; Dive Paradise, Cozumel, Mexico; Pro Dive International — Mexico; Aldora Divers, Cozumel, Mexico

2) Bonaire

Because the island of Bonaire is synonymous with shore diving, it’s long been considered a budget lover’s dream. Divers can rent a car and load up with tanks for access to more than 60 marked shore-diving sites. And it’s home to our readers’ top vote in the region for dive operator and resort, Buddy Dive Resort.

Because the island of Bonaire is synonymous with shore diving, it’s long been considered a budget lover’s dream. Divers can rent a car and load up with tanks for access to more than 60 marked shore-diving sites. And it’s home to our readers’ top vote in the region for dive operator and resort, Buddy Dive Resort.

Beyond the numbers, Bonaire offers what almost no other Caribbean island can. “Bonaire’s marine-park sanctuary has been in existence longer than most islands have sold diving,” says Richard Mitsoda, one of the directors of Captain Don’s Habitat on Bonaire.

With these protections in effect since 1962, this isn’t the place where older divers reminisce, saying, “You should have been here 20 years ago.” There’s no need. The reefs are every bit as electric in color, thick with life and rich in variety. In other words, it’s a diver’s dream now as much as it was then.

Readers Picks

Resorts: Buddy Dive Resort, Bonaire; Divi Resort, Bonaire

Operators: Buddy Dive, Bonaire

Our Favorite Diving Options

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