Scuba Diving on a Budget: 10 of the Cheapest Dive Destinations

Even if you didn’t know anything about scuba diving, you would probably feel pretty confident if you guessed it’s an expensive hobby to get into, and initially it is. In addition to investing your time, scuba certifications and quality scuba gear don’t come cheap.

That being said, there are plenty of places around the world where you can dive and get certified without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive place to get your first set of scuba certifications, or are planning a budget trip and need some inspiration, this list of inexpensive places to dive around the world will help get you started!

(pricing taken from PADI’s online booking; resort prices for 7 days per diver; diving included)

10 Cheap Destinations for Scuba Diver

1. Thailand

Book a scuba diving trip to Thailand!

Between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, the diving opportunities in Thailand are virtually endless, with widespread reefs, deep drop-offs, shipwrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles, and more! If marine life is your thing, you’ll be right at the home with the whale sharks, manta rays, leopard sharks, seahorses and ghost pipefish that are teeming in these waters!

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Thailand

Best Dive Sites in Thailand

  • Koh Lanta
  • Koh Phangan
  • Koh Phi Phi
  • Koh Samui
  • Koh Tao
  • Krabi
  • Pattaya
  • Phuket
  • Ranong
  • Richelieu Rock
  • The Similan Islands

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Thailand!

2. Indonesia

Book a scuba diving trip to Indonesia!

While Indonesia might not ring a bell, I have no doubt that you’ve heard of Bali – easily one of the most popular destinations for worldwide travelers. But Indonesia is home to thousands of islands, all beautiful and full of diving potential. Now, while getting to Indonesia may not be cheap depending on where you live, food, transportation and even diving are all very economical once you arrive.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Indonesia

Best Dive Sites in Indonesia

  • Bali
  • Central Sulawesi
  • Flores
  • Java
  • Komodo
  • Lombok
  • North Sulawesi
  • Raja Ampat

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Indonesia!

3. Egypt

Book a scuba diving trip to Egypt!

Like many countries around the world, Egypt has and actively relies on a thriving tourism industry, and diving is one of the main draws for worldwide travelers. Warm waters, diverse sites, a large number of wrecks, and marine biodiversity are just a few of the many reasons why so many divers visit each year. In addition to waters in the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt is also famous for the fantastic diving in the Red Sea.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Egypt

Best Dive Sites in Egypt

  • Pharaoh’s Island, Taba
  • The Blue Hole, Dahab
  • Straits of Tiran, Sharm el Sheikh
  • Ras Mohamed National Park, Sharm el Sheikh
  • Giftun Island, Hurghada
  • Seven Pillars, Safaga

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Egypt!

4. The Philippines

Book a scuba diving trip to the Philippines!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Philippines, the first thing you should know is that this beautiful country is comprised of over 7,000 islands – and nearly all of them offer world-class diving opportunities for all levels (the Philippines is hands down my favorite place to scuba dive!). Advanced divers will feel right at home with the deep wreck dives, while newcomers will have the time of their lives exploring the myriad of coral reefs that can be found just off the shorelines.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in the Philippines

Best Dive Sites in the Philippines

  • Bohol
  • Cebu
  • Mindanao
  • Mindoro
  • Palawan
  • Siquijor
  • Boracay
  • El Nido
  • Puerto Galera

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in the Philippines!

5. Malaysia

Book a scuba diving trip to Malaysia!

It’s fairly well known throughout the world that Malaysia offers world-class diving that is also uniquely affordable. Another great thing about diving in Malaysia is that dive sites on the western coast are particularly well suited for all levels, with warm waters, calm currents and protected reefs. The eastern coast of Malaysia offers though offers dives that are a bit more exciting. That being said, make sure you have the right certifications if you’re looking for dives that go beyond the beginner levels.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Malaysia

Best Dive Sites in Malaysia

  • Pulau Sibuan, Semporna
  • Tunku Abdul Rahmah Park, Kota Kinabalu
  • Atago Maru Wreck, Miri
  • Tiger Reef, Tioman
  • Sugar Wreck, Perhentian Islands
  • WW II Wrecks, Kuching
  • Pulau Lima, Redang
  • Pulau Saga, Lumut

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Malaysia!

Ever thought about scuba diving in the Andaman Sea?

Visit local dive shop SeaHawks Scuba to embark on your own aquatic adventure in India’s beautiful, crystal clear Andaman Sea!

6. Croatia

Book a scuba diving trip to Croatia!

If you love Europe but are constantly looking for ways to visit on a budget, Croatia is a winner! I visited Zagreb, Zadar, and Split back in 2018 as a recently graduated and very much broke grad student and was incredibly grateful that such a beautiful and incredible place could fit into my budget. Croatia’s budget-friendly nature extends even to the diving, which boasts beautiful coastlines, bays and coves that are a diver’s dream!

Dive Resort in Croatia

Best Dive Sites in Croatia

  • Plic tenki
  • The Wreck of the Teti
  • Bisevo Grotto
  • The Cathedral
  • Kornati Archipelago
  • Wreck of the Taranto

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Croatia!

7. Honduras

Book a scuba diving trip to Honduras!

Nestled in the heart of Central America, and despite its size (only 6 miles long!), the small island of Honduras is a diving haven for backpackers and budget travelers. There is an incredible amount of beautiful dive sites, as well as an amazing series of reef systems that are home to vibrant colors and tropical fish, as well as large-scale marine animals like manta rays, sea turtles, and even whale sharks!

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Honduras

Best Dive Sites in Honduras

  • West End Wall, Roatan
  • Dolphin Den, Roatan
  • El Aguila, Roatan
  • Black Hills, Utila
  • Halliburton, Utila
  • Blackish Point, Utila

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Honduras!

8. Mexico

Book a scuba diving trip to Mexico!

There are so many diving opportunities around Mexico, including places like Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Yucatan, not to mention it’s inexpensive and super accessible if you live in the U.S. Budget-friendliness aside, a diving trip in Mexico promises a variety of dive sites, miles and miles of healthy coral reefs, and marine diversity that’s enviable around the world!

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Mexico

Best Dive Sites in Mexico

  • Socorro Island
  • Guadalupe
  • The Sea of Cortez
  • Los Islotes
  • Cenote Dos Ojos
  • MUSA
  • Punta Cancun

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Mexico!

9. Costa Rica

Book a scuba diving trip to Costa Rica!

The beautiful country of Costa Rica is wedged between the Pacific and the Oceans, which means it is literally surrounded by underwater paradises that are perfect for divers of all levels. The Pacific coastline is home to whales, rays, and other stunning marine life, while the Caribbean coast boasts some of the most vibrant and colorful reefs that are teeming with all kinds of life. Plus, there’s the added bonus that this dive destination is affordable and easily accessible depending on where you call home.

5 Most Inexpensive Dive Resorts in Costa Rica

Best Dive Sites in Costa Rica

  • Cocos Island
  • Caño Island
  • Cataline Islands
  • Big Scare, Bat Island
  • Virador
  • Tortuga Islands

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Costa Rica!

10. Vietnam

Book a scuba diving trip to Vietnam!

Compared to fan favorites like Bali and Thailand, Vietnam is a relatively new diving hot spot, which is part of the reason why so many divers are drawn to it. The relatively unexplored dive sites are home to beautiful, calm waters, a diverse range of corals, as well as a large variety of marine life such as seahorses, hawksbill turtles, sharks and rays.

Best Dive Sites in Vietnam

  • Modonna Rocks, Nha Trang
  • Moray Beach, Nha Trang
  • Three Kings, Whale Island
  • Fish Highway, Con Dao Islands
  • Hom Mo, Charm Islands
  • Dry Island (Hon Ko), Phu Quoc

Recommended PADI Courses

Find dive centers in Vietnam!

Need more diving content? Check out PADI.com, where you can brush up on your diving skills, find some diving inspiration, and connect with fellow divers!

Previous Posts in my Scuba Diving 101 Series:

How to Get Scuba Certified

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