Top dive destinations for 2020

PADI®, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors®, have curated a collection of top dive spots to explore in 2020, for divers of every experience level and interest, including first-time divers.

With more than 6,600 dive centers and resorts across the globe, and thousands of dive travel packages, PADI provides divers with underwater adventures, worldwide travel opportunities and new perspectives to steward ocean health.

As part of the organization’s mission to create a billion torchbearers to explore and protect our ocean, PADI enables divers’ exploration through life-changing diving vacations and experiences at the world’s best resorts, liveaboards and dive centers through PADI Travel®.

“From Mexico to Thailand to the Maldives, many dive destinations offer excellent conditions this time of year, making it an ideal season to book a dive trip and explore the world above and below the surface,” says Kristin Valette-Wirth, chief marketing officer at PADI Worldwide.

“There is no better way to end 2019 than by expanding your horizons and fully immersing yourself in a destination that celebrates adventure and connection to the world around us.”

Here are the top spots to explore under the water.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

This popular coastal destination on the Yucatán Peninsula – well known for its gorgeous beaches, lively nightlife and breathtaking dives – features stunning reefs, a plethora of marine life and crystal-clear cenotes. These Caribbean waters are beautiful year-round, and stunning coral reefs close to shore make the destination well suited for any level of diver.

Turks & Caicos

Shallow reefs with little current make Turks & Caicos’ waters ideal for those who are just learning to scuba The area teems with fish, rays, turtles, dolphins and migrating humpback whales during winter months. Wrecks, caverns and incredible walls also make this a world-class destination for avid divers. Beginning and experienced divers can sail into 2020 with an exclusive PADI Travel discount aboard a luxury yacht.

Koh Tao, Thailand

With a great island vibe, tons of activities and easy (yet stunning) diving, Koh Tao is a spectacular holiday destination. December is peak dive season in Thailand, and divers will find festive scenes aplenty from the velvet crimson of coral to the shimmering shoals of silver fish, leopard sharks, whale sharks and mantas.

Hawaii, USA

This quintessential tropical vacation destination is known for its pristine beaches, lush scenery, surf and spectacular diving. Hawaii is home to diverse dives that commonly feature the likes of sea turtles, eels, manta rays and, of course, the state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Great for a family getaway, the islands’ waters are routinely above 24º C/75º F, even in December.


Maldivian waters are at their clearest between December and March, and each dive delivers impeccable visibility and heart-stopping beauty. With diverse marine life, colorful reefs and thilas (submerged islands), many dive sites in the Maldives are suited for both beginner and advanced divers. Travelers can spend Christmas with manta rays and whale sharks, or ring in the New Year in tranquil, turquoise water with PADI Travel deals on week-long liveaboard holidays.

Queensland, Australia

It’s summer down under and the Great Barrier Reef offers clear blue waters with great visibility and abundant marine life. Choose the floating hotel experience of a dive safari or stay on the mainland to enjoy the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and the coastal city life.

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Kate Webster is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself but the world around her. This has inspired Kate to translate those moments and share them through her storytelling. A dedicated David Attenborough and Jane Goodall fan, Kate has delved into the world of wildlife and conservation travel to bring awareness.