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Latest Travel News for Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the north and Yemen to the west. The Arabian Sea and the Gulf Oman run along its coastline and it has a strong maritime history. It is a country rich in natural beauty and culture. It is budget- and family friendly, and a very safe tourist destination.

A Musandam dhow, Oman - photo courtesy of Unsplash

A Musandam dhow, Oman

The Musandam peninsula is an enclave separated from the rest of the country, famous for its breathtaking fjords, desert mountains, and waters rich in sea life. Popular activities here include dhow rides, scuba diving, snorkeling and dolphin tours. Khasab is the main city here and has a Arabian splendid fortress, typical of Oman. You can take a ferry boat from here to the capital city, Muscat. Muscat has a beautiful historical district, and is a picturesque and relaxing coastal city, with markets, museums, forts and mosques. Oman’s second-largest city is Nizwa, a World Heritage Site. In the 6th and 7th centuries it was the nation’s capital and the centre of arts and trade. Salalah is another city, located at the opposite end of the country, in the tropical region where banana plantations grow. It is the centre of the historic frankincense industry.

In the north of Oman, you can witness expansive landscapes of undulating, golden sand. Elsewhere, the barren landscape is punctuated by picturesque wadis – green corridors of flowing water that run through canyons, forming gushing waterfalls with emerald and turquoise pools surrounded by date palms. Another iconic spot is the Bimmah Sinkhole, a natural 90m deep blue hole with crystalline water, ideal for daring cliff jumps.

Due to the strict and delayed entry regulations, our Oman liveaboard safaris have been suspended until 27 August 2022. The opportunity was taken to put the yacht in dry dock for extensive renovations and improvements. Once operations resume, Oman scuba divers will have the choice of exploring the Daymaniyat Islands off the coast of Muscat, or the Hallaniyat Islands in southern Oman. The seas are full of life, with whale sharks, humpback and sperm whales, dolphins, manta and mobule rays, sharks, turtles, mola mola, king mackerel, tuna, as well as moray eels, angelfish, stingrays, lobster and crayfish, and nudibranchs. More than 1,000 different types of fish and shellfish are home in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. Strict fishing conditions and large marine parks ensure that this valuable treasure remains well protected.

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Djibouti Latest Travel News

A small and little known country in the Horn of Africa, south of Eritrea and north of Somalia, Djibouti is a land of natural treasures. There are plateaus and plains along the foothills of volcanoes, even a couple of protected forests, where you can see wildlife such as gazelles, monkeys, an enormous variety of birds, and this is also where you can see nomadic people grazing their goats and camels along the edges of lakes. Not much lives in Lake Assal though, since it is a salt lake and the second lowest land depression on Earth. The scenery around the world are breathtaking, so much so that this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tadjoura is one of the oldest towns in East Africa and lies on the Gulf of Tadjoura – known as one of the best places in the world to snorkel and dive with whale sharks. Djibouti City is the hub of the country and is a melting pot of culture. Here you can enjoy creature comforts and explore a city in grand transformation.

The port of Djibouti City

The port of Djibouti City

The country has a reputation as being one of the most stable in the region, and it’s eco-attractions have not gone unnoticed. In 2018 Djibouti City became the first African city to be named the World Capital of Culture and Tourism by the European Council on Tourism and Trade, and the country has begun to win accolades by travel influencers such as Lonely Planet. The government of Djibouti has an ambitious plan to quadruple tourist numbers by 2030. The tourist sector accounts for 3% of GDP yet in 2105 it was estimated that there were on 4,500 local people employed directly in tourism, mostly servicing the alternative French travel sector.

In 2020, all thoughts of growth had to be shelved due to the arrival of COVID. Djibouti is the home to several military bases of some of the world’s superpowers, and it was through these bases that COVID first arrived in March 2020 – from Spain and the USA. The situation developed rapidl;y and by April, Djibouti had the highest outbreak in Africa, leading to emergency funding from the World Bank and the provision of medical equipment by the WHO. This was despite the government suspending all commercial flights on 18 March, closing schools and places of worship, and moving the country in to lockdown until May 2020, when measures wer slowly relaxed in stages. As cases dropped even further, flights to and from the international airport resumed on 18 July 2020.

Djibouti is served by flights with Emirates, Qatar Airways, Air Djibouti, Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Fly Dubai and Kenya Airways. We hope you get the chance to travel to and enjoy this remote corner of Africa very soon.

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Latest Fiji Travel News

Fiji is a group of volcanic islands in the South Pacific. New Zealand lies 1,400 km to the south, and the Queensland coast of Australia is some 1,800 km to the southeast east, and Fiji’s nearest neighbours include Tonga, Vanuata, Wallis and Futuna, and Niue. The tropical natural beauty is the main attraction – there are plenty of undeveloped islands with picture-perfect beaches. Being an island nation, it will come as no surprise that water sports are one of the main drawcards. Diving in Fiji is among the very best in the world, and the reefs are renowned for their incredible colours and health. The Koro Sea and Bligh Water deserve special mention here, and Pacific Harbour is the launch point for one of the best shark dives in the entire world!

The Koro Sea, Fiji - photo courtesy of Jeremy Bezanger, Unsplash

The Koro Sea, Fiji

Surfing and river rafting are popular, as are golf, or hiking in the hills and waterfalls. And for the whole family or couples, the cruises that run through the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands are a top choice. These islands are blessed with stunning scenery and cruises here are a great way to escape from the rigours of the real world. The local people are incredibly friendly. They are a mixture of just under 60% Melanesian descent and 37% Indian. The 2 main cities (Nadi and Suva) are both small by international standards, and the pace of life … well, let’s just say the expression “Fiji time” is very popular.

Tourism is Fiji’s biggest industry and accounts for almost 40% of GDP. One in every 7 Fijians works in a tourist-related job. The arrival of the COVID pandemic therefore devastated many Fijian lives and the economy. The first case of COVID was confirmed on 19 March 2020 and initially the government responded by banning arrivals from high risk countries but quickly updated its plans and closed the international airport in Nadi on 26 March. Domestically, a national curfew was imposed, restricting large gatherings and closing down schools and non-essential services.

Preparations are now well underway for our Fiji dive resorts to re-open and start welcoming divers once again in December. We are ow able to offer land-based Fiji scuba diving vacations in Viti Levu, Kadavu and Taveuni. Our Fiji liveaboard safaris will also recommence 12 February 2022. So why not be one of the first to explore the vibrant reefs of Fiji in almost 2 years!

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Travel News Dominican Republic

The eastern half of the island of Hispaniola, shared with Haiti, to the east of Cuba, the Dominican Republic is the Caribbean’s most popular tourist vacation destination. Over 6 million tourists normally arrive annually to visit its beaches, explore its mountains and lakes, and absorb its colonial splendor. Tourism accounts for over 11.5% of its GDP and is key to the local economy.

Paraíso, Barahona, Dominican Republic - photo courtesy of Anthony Lebron, Unsplash

Paraíso, Barahona, Dominican Republic

Famous beach resorts include Punta Cana, La Romana, Boca Chica, Sosua, Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada, Cabarete, Las Galeras, which offer many affordable accommodations, include all-inclusive options that are popular with European and North American visitors. Elsewhere there is the Eastern National Park and Lake Enriquillo, where you can see crocodiles and many species of birds, and the Samaná Peninsula and Silver Bank, which humpback whales migrate to every year to calve and feed. Santo Domingo, the coastal capital city, is also worth a visit as it is home to many fascinating architectural treasures, such as the First Cathedral of America – the oldest cathedral in the western hemisphere, its historic ‘Zona Colonial’, its museums and other buildings that date back to the times of Christopher Columbus. The Dominican people are also key to the popularity of the country, being a friendly mix of African, Spanish and Indian descent.

The tourism industry was abruptly halted on 1 March 2020, when the first known case of COVID was confirmed. The first death was recorded on 16 March. A state of emergency was declared the next day, all schools were suspended, and national borders were closed 19 March. Night time curfews of up to 13 hours per day were imposed, which were protested by many in Santo Domingo. However, its strict protocols and strong public healthcare sector appeared to have to desired result, and the Dominican Republic re-opened its international airports on 1 July 2020. The tourist sector report latest hotel occupancy at 85%, clearly demonstrating that there is tourism life after COVID.

Other marine creatures you could see are dwarf sperm whales, Atlantic sailfish, and various dolphin species – bottlenose, spinner, Risso’s and Fraser’s. Water temperature is 78-80°F / 25-27°C. A 3 mm wetsuit is recommended.

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Latest Travel News for Sudan

Located on the shore of the Red Sea, south of Egypt in north east Africa, Sudan is a large country steeped in history. Places like the ancient city of Naqa, Meroe and Kerma in the Sudanese City, stand as testaments to the greatness of the once great kingdoms of Napata and Nubia. Then there is the iconic Suakin, and the main cities of Khartoum and Omdurman on the banks of the Blue Nile and White Nile. In the south of the country, the climate is much wetter and the lands are dominated with grassed plains. Here you can explore Dinder National Park to see some of Africa’s most famous wild animals such as lions and antelopes.

Ancient pyramids of Meroe, Sudan

Ancient pyramids of Meroe, Sudan

In the highlands is the resort town of Arkawit, where visitors can escape the equatorial heat and enjoy hiking trails. Along the eastern coastline, lie Tawkar and Port Sudan, where scuba divers come to enjoy the little explored reefs and wrecks of the Red Sea and Sanganeb (Marine) National Park.

Despite being a very hospitable place, Sudan has some substantial problems that have hampered the development of tourism in the country. It ranks 181 in the list of richest countries in the world by GDP, so the government has never prioritized tourism. Many rich countries advise against travel to Sudan due to the risk of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict. Indeed much of the country has been gripped by civil war for the past 40 years. Darfur and all border areas, apart from the Egyptian border, remain very dangerous places to visit. Even so, over 800,000 visitors arrived in 2018, and tourism still contributes 4% to GDP.

Finding flights to Port Sudan can be a problem, but experienced intrepid explorers should be able to connect through Egypt, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and a few other countries.

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Turks and Caicos Latest Travel News

The collection of Caribbean islands known as the Turks and Caicos are a beautiful holiday destination. Providenciales (known locally as ‘Provo’) is the most developed island in the country. Here you can find the picturesque, aquamarine lagoon of Chalk Sound, dotted with numerous green-topped rocky islets which you can explore by kayak or paddleboard. Also on Providenciales is the beach of Grace Bay is renowned as one of the best in the world, and the rugged coastline of East Caicos and Middle Caicos make for some spectacular natural scenery along hiking trails. The 24 km of underground caverns known as Conch Bar Caves on Middle Caicos is one of the largest cave systems in the Caribbean. Grand Turk Island is a very popular port of call for large cruise ships, where guests may choose to visit the capital CockBurn Town, the national museum, or play with stingrays at Gibbs Cay.

Scuba diving is the major attraction of the Turks and Caicos. Lying next to Bahamas, on the edge of the Gulf Stream, the islands are perfectly situated to have plenty of pelagic visitors. This means the dive sites plenty of underwater action, with big schools of fish and plenty of big sharks. In fact, along with the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands are known as the shark capital of the Caribbean, French Cay is the place to be to see something special, such as hammerheads, bull and tiger sharks, lemon, and nurse sharks. Providenciales and West Caicos have some of the best walls in the Caribbean, and here you can see dolphins, whale sharks, eagle and manta rays, as well as whales.

Local island housing, Turks and Cacos - photo courtesy of Jay Cee, Unsplash

Accommodation on Turks and Cacos

The economy of the Turks and Caicos is based on tourism, offshore financial services, and fishing. Tourism accounts for 70% of GNP and just over 1.5 million visitors arrived in 2019, mostly from the USA. This ranks it 13th in the list of most popular countries in the Caribbean. However, the COVID pandemic wiped out international tourism in 2020-21 and this badly affected the lives of many people living here. The first confirmed case arrived 23 March 2020,[and within 4 days the police made a mandatory stay at home order and curfew. The first death occurred on 5 April. All airports were closed 15 May, together with the cruise port in Grand Turk. There have been 2 major waves – February and September 2021 – when cases rose to around 400 per day. To date there have been just 2,700 cases and 20 deaths. This ranks it 103 in the list of countries with most deaths per capita – very low. Currently 65% of the population have been fully vaccinated.

Our liveaboard cruises in the islands of the Turks and Caicos have been operating since July 2020, making them one of the most popular choices for intrepid scuba divers. These tours operate all year round apart from February and March (when the yachs move to the Dominican Republic to snorkel with the humpback whales at Silver Bank). Why not take advantage of the COVID-related special offers, fly in and check out this shark diver’s paradise?

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Latest Saba Travel News

A little known Caribbean island and special municipality of the Netherlands, Saba has remained largely untouched by the passage of time. Being 5 square miles of rocky, dormant volcano, it is a beautiful spectacle, above and below the waterline, and it retains a safe and friendly atmosphere in its small settlements with a population of just 1,500 people. The island has 15 marked hiking trails – from moderate to strenuous, where visitors can explore tidal pools, rolling hills and wooded areas. But most visitors come to explore its underwater riches.

The Caribbean island of Saba

The Caribbean island of Saba

Tabacon Hot Springs, Alajuela[/caption] The volcanic nature of Saba creates some great scuba diving, with over 30 marked sites. There is diverse structural topography and the Saba Marine Park was created to protect this unique range of habitats. There are deep water pinnacles and drop-offs, sloping reefs and shallow coral nurseries, lava labyrinths, and, rather unusually for this part of the world, excellent muck dive sites. Sharp-eyed divers can find flying gurnards, lobsters, frogfish, conch and lizardfish. Elsewhere whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks, and even humpback whales are seen. Overall, there is excellent fish diversity, with 400 different recorded species.

Around 11,000 international tourists visit Saba every year, mostly from the USA and the Netherlands, and they play a critical role of the local economy. The COVID crisis of 2020-21 therefore had a devastating impact on the island. Upon news of the outbreak around the world, the governor of Saba took the precaution of closing the airport, harbours and schools, because the inhabitants of the island are rather exposed to health risks since the local medical facilities only have 8 beds. Even still, the first known case of COVID was confirmed on 12 April 2020. By 8 May the island began re-opening, but with social-distancing to remain in place, together with the prohibition of large gatherings (not likely in Saba, in any case!). So far the island has reported just 11 cases and no deaths.

Dive The World offers Saba liveaboard cruises to dive at this unique island. Normally these trips would visit both St. Kitts and Saba. However, due to current COVID regulations, they are restricted to just diving at Saba. Guests must meet the St. Maarten entry requirementsOpens in a new window, which the boat uses as its port. These include PCR tests, insurance, and health form applications. St. Kitts cruises is expected to re-start in January 2022.

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Travel News Palau

The island nation of Palau lies in the Pacific Ocean and forms part of Micronesia, with Philippines to the northwest and Indonesian Papua to the south. Their natural beauty and geographic location are the chief attractions here. Comprising more than 500 small islands, the most popular drawcard in Palau is diving. The country is located on the edge of the Coral Triangle so the coral reefs and marine life display stunning species diversity. The government has banned all fishing in all its territorial waters thus preserving the health and attractiveness of the underwater environment for scuba divers and other users.

Liveaboard cruising in Palau - photo courtesy of Rene Paulesich, Unsplash

Liveaboard cruising in Palau

Another excellent activity is snorkelling in Jellyfish Lake – an evolutionary oddity where the millions of jellyfish have evolved exclusively within the lake to be totally stingless. It’s quite an eerie sensation to swim in waters so thick with jellyfish. Located close by are the rock Islands, a series of mushroom shaped limestone islets with spellbinding lagoons that nake incredible scenery. The azure waters, light grey walls, topped with verdant green foliage, create perfect photo subjects. In the south of the country lies the historic island of Peleliu, where you can explore various Pacific World War 2 sites, and even dive among the wrecks.

Tourism is incredibly important to the Palauan people. Revenues contribute an incredible 45% to the GDP and the country ranks 26th in the number of tourist arrivals per capita, which is a staggering 5.2 tourists per citizen. With news of COVID spreading around the world, the Palauan government responded proactively, first by suspending flights with China, Macau and Hong Kong in February 2020, then with a total flight ban in March. Schools were closed in April, and a 14 day quarantine was introduced for all non-resident arrivals. Amazingly, Palau has already set up a “travel bubble” with Taiwan (allowing travel between the 2 low risk countries) before the first case of COVID hit the country on 31 May 2021, more than a whole year after the pandemic started. Only 2 cases and zero deaths have so far been recorded in Palau.

We hope you can join us soon to enjoy the shark- and fish-rich waters of Palau, and to kickstart the lives of the Palauan people once again.

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Latest Travel News for Mexico

Bordering the USA to the north at the spectacular Copper Canyon and connecting with the Central American countries of Guatemala and Belize to the south, Mexico’s unique geographic position lends it some remarkable diversity. The Gulf of Mexico runs along ,uch of its eastern coast, and the Caribbean Sea laps the eastern seaboard of the Yucatan Peninsula. The western coast forms the boundary of the Pacific Coast, but the long peninsula known as Baja California also creates the marine haven of the Sea of Cortez. Effectively a bridge between continents, Mexico is a country rich in its own cultural heritage, but its influence in the cultures of its neighbors is clear. Cultural attractions include Mexico City, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Morelia, and Oaxaca.

The Cabo Arch, Bay of San Lucas, Baja California - photo courtesy of Christopher Kuzman, Unsplash

The Cabo Arch, Bay of San Lucas, Baja California

Many tourists come here from North America for the warm weather and beaches during their cold winter, and the spring break student parties in the coastal towns of Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen. However, there is much more to Mexico as a tourist destination. The Mayan Riviera of the Yucatan Peninsula has some of the country’s best ancient ruins such as Merida, Chichen Itza and Tulum, as well as some fun aquatic and theme parks in the Cancun area. The world famous underwater cave system known the Cenotes are also located here. You can visit these aquatic geological wonders to swim, cliff jump or scuba dive. Cozumel also has some easy Caribbean scuba diving, with some nice walls, superb visibility, and an exciting bull shark dive.

One of the key attractions is the marine wonderland along the west coast which makes Mexico a popular destination for scuba divers. The Sea of Cortez is a migration spot for humpback whales, manta rays, whale sharks, hammerheads, as well as being home to a population of bull sharks and sea lions. It is also the location of the amazing mobula ray encounters, where thousands of these large rays gather and often jump out of the water. Orcas often follow along to prey on the rays. On the other side of Baja California is Magdelena Bay, home to the world’s second largest sardine run. This annual event attracts hundreds of sharks, whales and dolphins, as well as some rare pelagic fish such as marlins. Then, a day’s voyage offshore is the Mecca of the Socorro Islands, an area famed for megafauna encounters such as whales, many species of sharks, curious Pacific mantas, and massive schools of pelagic fish. It is truly a world class diving destination.

3. Guadalupe is a volcanic island 165 miles (265 km) west of Baja California and is a mecca for great white shark cage diving. Guadalupe’s shark population is said to be one of the most prolific on earth and the visibility here is usually excellent. From August-October you can join liveaboard trips here to see the giant sharks that are attracted to feed on the colonies of fur seals and elephant seals.

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Maldives Latest Travel News

Located to the southwest of India in the Indian Ocean, this gorgeous string of atolls is world famous as a romantic getaway. The countless pretty sandbars and atoll lagoons with amazing deserted beaches form the postcard-perfect scenery for which the Maldives is ever popular. Lazing on a private beach, relaxing in an infinity pool, or enjoying sensual spa treatments at one of the numerous luxury water bungalow resorts, is the extent of most tourist activities in Maldives. However, being a country with enormous ocean space and little land resources, watersports such as surfing and windsailing are available. But the Maldives have also become famous for its world-class diving adventures. Big schools of fish and plenty of sharks inhabit the waters, and diving in the Maldives has become known as one of the best places in the world to dive with whale sharks, manta rays and hammerhead sharks – all often on the same memorable visit!

Water chalets in the Maldives - photo courtesy of Rayyu Maldives, Unsplash

Water chalets in the Maldives

Tourism accounts for 28% of GDP and 60% of foreign income in the Maldives so the sector is critical to the economy and lives of the half million people that live there. Normally 1,500,000 visitors enjoy a holiday in the Maldives each year, but that changed when COVID arrived on 7 March 2020. A public health emergency was declared on 12 March, and the country recorded its first death on 30 April. The government had already placed travel restrictions on passengers from several countries that were known to have COVID outbreaks, but soon all international flights were suspended, tourist resorts were closed, and curfews imposed in Male City. The migrant worker sector was badly hit by the enforced lockdown due to the virus outbreak, and times were very tough for 3 months.

However, the government felt confident enough to re-open the country on 15 July to international visitors, one of the first countries to do so, in an attempt to limit the negative consequences on the economy. Passengers were required to have a confirmed booking before travel and to stay at only one resort or hotel during their visit. This is allowed some control over tourist movements, and tracking and quarantining any cases that were identified. This meant that the Maldives still managed to welcome over half a million tourists in 2020, during a year when most of the world was under some form of lockdown.

All boats provide onboard COVID PCR tests for guests that require one to return home after their cruise. So that is one less obstacle for you to come and enjoy the marine life of the Maldives.

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