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Off the Beaten Track

Boldly Go... Where Not That Many Have Gone Before

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As a scuba diver, you are probably a more adventurous person than the average Joe. One of the great things about taking diving vacations is that you find yourself in some beautiful sun-kissed destinations.

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As one glance at our world map of scuba destinations shows, most of the world's best diving is in the tropics, and those of us from colder climates love to visit these exotic warmer climes to broaden our minds, refresh our spirits and feed our scuba cravings. But sometimes you want to discover new and more remote spots, the road less travelled.

If you want to get away from it all, far from the madding crowd, we are here to give you some ideas. Below, we give you some examples of less well known destinations to think about. We showcase a few of the more unusual liveaboard diving trips that few get to experience and some destinations where you might not instantly consider a resort stay. We also consider those who might want to dive somewhere amazing but also do other things.

Whatever it is you are looking for, you can be sure Dive The World can make suggestions that meet your needs. Have a look at some of the ideas below or simply get in touch and let us know what you are looking for and leave the rest to us.

What Type of Experience Are You Looking for?

Less Well Known Destinations

Normally after getting certified our first few forays into the marine world are at well-known, established dive destinations where everything runs like clockwork. Then after a few scuba vacations like this, the urge to get away from the crowds and experience something new begins to grow. So here we give a few suggestions about scuba destinations which are less well known, a little off-the-beaten-track:

Solomon Islands: The quintessential OTBT destination for experienced divers, the Solomon Islands lie in a less-explored region of the Coral Triangle. The staggering marine diversity is augmented by its pristine and vibrant state, and the amazing range of habitats to explore, including World War II wrecks, caverns, mangroves, coral gardens, pinnacles, and muck sites.

Truk: The small states of Micronesia are a long way from home for most people, but back in the 1940s Truk (now known as Chuuk) was centre-stage as a theatre of battle during World War II. The US-led Operation Hailstorm assault was highly successful and resulted in the sinking of over 60 Japanese planes, ships and submarines. You can now explore this fascination dive destination onboard a liveaboard safari of this famous lagoon.

Andaman Islands: A small number of liveaboards based in Thailand operate exciting trips to the amazing Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. Which boats go there changes each year? Check with us if you are interested.

Myanmar: While Thailand and its Similan Islands have been drawing big crowds for years and years, neighbouring Myanmar has been largely overlooked. Having begun to open up politically, there are now a few Myanmar liveaboards visiting remote, uninhabited islands, and delighting those who have chosen to visit this beautiful region.

Sudan: Liveaboard diving in the Red Sea from Egypt is a well trodden path. However, great treasures await those who are prepared to go that little bit further. Pristine reefs, healthy shark populations, uncrowded sites and amazing wrecks can be experienced from a liveaboard visiting the fantastic dive sites of Sudan.

Turks & Caicos: Places like the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands are well known Caribbean scuba vacations spots, but have you considered some of the lesser known islands here? How about a liveaboard in Turks and Caicos? You can expect to dive a lot of walls and see a lot of healthy coral growth and marine life such as eagle rays, horse-eye jacks, nurse sharks, grey reef sharks, orange elephant ear sponges, and an array of macro life.

Tubbataha, Philippines: In a remote stretch of sea in the Philippines lies the liveaboard-only destination called Tubbataha Reef. Far from land these crystal waters are home to pristine coral reefs, wreck dives and wall dives. Creature encounters can include sharks, turtles, snappers and barracuda. Even dolphins and whales might put in an appearance if you are lucky!

Saba & St Kitts: One of the lesser known spots in the Caribbean is the little stretch of sea that allows divers of all experience levels to visit Saba, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. Shark lovers will appreciate encounters with nurse sharks, blacktips and grey reef sharks. The array of tropical fish also includes blue tangs, goatfish, parrotfish, large Nassau groupers and horse-eye jacks. There are also some wrecks populated by octopus, stingrays and myriad crustaceans.

Cuba: For years the quality of scuba diving in Cuba has flown under the radar, but news of sharks, groupers, caimans, thriving reefs and fish populations is changing that. A very limited number of liveaboards operating here means it is still a rare experience.

Unusual and Rare Liveaboard Trip Routes and Resort Destinations

Unusual Indonesia: This is a vast country with so many dive destinations, it is difficult to comprehend. Komodo, Raja Ampat, Lembeh Strait, Bali, and others are well known. But how about experiencing Indonesia in a slightly different way from most...

  • Banda: One of the great unsung destinations. In any other country the Banda Islands might be the No.1 spot but there is too much competition in Indonesia. In the remote Banda Sea the reefs burst with life, big fish and pelagics, a riot of colour and action.
  • Triton Bay: Just off the usual Raja Ampat liveaboard route, lies the mighty Triton Bay. Amazing soft corals, a variety of macro life, walking sharks, big schools of fish and pilot whales, plus ancient cave paintings to marvel at, Triton Bay is a real treat for the adventurous.
  • Sangalaki: Situated to the east of Borneo lies a less visited divers wonderland, including the islands of Sangalaki, Derawan and Maratua. Big schools of fish and pelagics, manta rays and walls and the famed jellyfish lake of Kakaban all combine to make a unique and exciting dive destination.
  • Raja Ampat resorts: OK, so it may be a stretch to say that this world-famous spot is 'off-the-beaten-track', but there is definitely something to be said for experiencing the incomparable Raja Ampat from a dive resort. While liveaboards give you range, resorts mean you really get to know an area well. Staying in a remote island in this part of Indonesia and diving the local sites is definitely not something about which many divers can boast.
  • Indonesia transit trips and rare itineraries: Many of the liveaboards here split the year between 2 or more destinations and the 'transit trips' in between represent a unique Indonesian liveaboard diving opportunity. Routes can be as diverse as 'Alor and Wakatobi', or 'Ambon, Banda, The Forgotten Islands and Alor', or 'Halmahera, Raja Ampat and Flores.'
Australian liveaboard diving options such as Western Australia's Rowley Shoals. Or how about the jaw-dropping great white shark diving liveaboards of Southern Australia which can also feature seal colonies and mass cuttlefish mating.

Kadavu, Fiji: Many people know the high quality diving a Fiji liveaboard safari can deliver, and many know the name of Taveuni island, but the lesser-known Kadavu Island is definitely worth a look. A delightful traffic-free island with simple resorts and stunning diving: pristine hard corals, manta rays, meaty pelagics and lots of colour.

Turneffe Reef, Belize: Staying on a tiny atoll island in a conservation zone will make your scuba diving vacation in Belize a special one. Turneffe Atoll is away from the crowds and has some of the Caribbean's best diving right on its doorstep. This natural paradise is equally stunning, both above and below the water's surface.

Southern Leyte, Philippines: This little-explored corner of the Philippines is starting to make waves, and rightly so. A few liveaboards now include this destination in their itineraries to allow divers to enjoy its many attractions which include whale sharks in Sogod Bay, some of the best fish sanctuaries in the country in terms of bio-mass, and an incredible wealth of macro critters.

Philippine transit trips: If Tubbataha is not remote and unusual enough a destination for you, you could join a transit trip from Puerto Princesa to Cebu. These trips only happen twice per year and are in huge demand as they are recognised as a once in a life time opportunity to explore both the Sulu Sea and the best of the Central Visayas dive locations.

Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands: The infamous Bikini Atoll, once only spoken of as the unfortunate test site for USA nuclear bombs, is now open for tec-diving cruises. This Pacific nation covers a huge expanse of crystal-clear water in one of the most remote regions on Earth - a 7 hour flight from Hawaii, the most remote landmass in the world! The decades of isolation have created an underwater paradise like no other.

More than Just Diving

Galapagos 'Hiking and Diving' packages and Wildlife Adventure Cruises: Not everyone wants to dive, dive, dive. Although you can experience some land activities from a liveaboard there are other options to experience the amazing destination of the Galapagos. You could consider a diving and trekking package that involves diving some of the best central Galapagos sites plus organised land tours including hiking volcanoes and visiting other sites of interest. Alternatively there are wildlife adventure tours in Galapagos which are like liveaboards except, instead of doing a few dives a day, you have a few land and dinghy excursions to experience the unique nature of these islands.

Shore visits on Komodo cruises: If you like liveaboards where you get to step ashore then consider the fun and fascinating shore excursions from Komodo liveaboards. You can step ashore to see the amazing Komodo dragons on the islands of Komodo and Rinca. You can visit the amazing Red Beach on Komodo Island where the sand is....red! Komodo and Sumbawa trips also include visits to Sangeang volcano and Satonda freshwater lake.

Shore visits on Visayas cruises: Liveaboard cruises in the central Philippines region usually include a few land excursions to see the top tourist attractions such as the tarsiers and Chocolate Hills of Bohol, and the waterfalls, beaches, and villages of Cebu.

Bahamas diving and adventure safaris: Some of the Bahamas liveaboards promise plenty of other activities on their dive cruises. Snorkelling on plane wrecks, kayaking through mangroves, paddle-boarding, swimming with the local pigs, hiking trails, sailing, halyard swinging, free-diving, fishing, stargazing, island visits, and beach bonfires. These are all options on trips with Cat Ppalu and Blackbeard’s.

Special liveaboard trips: Some of the liveaboards we recommend offer unusual trips which promise a scuba diving experience with a new angle. These will often feature a special guest on board to share their skills and knowledge with the guests. Such trips feature professional photographers, naturalists, survival specialists, wine experts and health gurus. If you fancy a liveaboard with a twist let us know and we will tell you what is available.

We are here to make your 'off-the-beaten-track' dreams a reality!


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