Top 5 places for holiday season diving

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Cozumel, Mexico

Lying 10km off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is a popular scuba diving destination with warm water, great visibility and the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park. There are many dives to enjoy within the national park including dive sites for novices and experienced divers looking for more challenging, remote dives. Cozumel also has white sand beaches, a great party atmosphere and friendly locals, making it ideal for a festive season holiday for all.

Try Dive Paradise or Pro Dive Mexico.

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is home to the Bahamas Christmas Arts Festival, an International Film Festival, a Festival of Lights Boat Parade and the well-known Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade. All of which occur in December. Spend Boxing Day in Nassau and expect to be surrounded by colourful costumes and music as thousands come out to enjoy the parade. The Tongue of the Ocean is a deep oceanic trench separating the islands of Andros and New Providence (where Nassua is the main city). The waters off New Providence provide blue holes, caves, historic wrecks and shark diving to name but a few of the diving options on offer at this world-class location.

Try Stuart Cove or Nassau Scuba Dive.

Gili Islands, Indonesia

The Gili Islands have a year-round water temperature of approximately 28C and these islands offer diverse diving for novices and experienced divers alike. Dive types include wall dives, muck dives, canyons and the opportunity to see reef sharks. All amongst an abundance of smaller marine life. The highlight of diving the Gilis in December is manta rays and the occasional whale shark.

Try Manta Dive.

Cape Town, South Africa

The summer season in Cape Town is hot, dry and packed with activity options for all of the family. From abseiling down Table Mountain to exploring the wine estates of Constantia and Stellenbosch, Cape Town is a top destination to explore South Africa from. It is also a gateway to snorkelling with blue and mako sharks off Cape Point, cage diving with great white sharks in Gansbaii and exploring cow shark and kelp dives from nearby Simons Town.

Try Pisces Divers or Apex Shark Expeditions.

Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands

Christmas diving doesn’t have to be about sunshine. Those looking for a cosy, winter Christmas tucked in a cottage in Scotland can visit Orkney to enjoy the Hogmanay on New Year’s Eve and dive the waters of Scapa. This natural harbour and former chief base of the Royal Navy contains 52 World War I vessels and the wrecks attract divers from around the world. The clearest water is during December to March and dive sites are at various depths, making them suitable for novice and experienced divers.

See Scapa Flow Wrecks for a full list of dive operators.

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About Author

Kathryn has lived in the UK, Egypt, South Africa and New Zealand and is a trained scuba diving instructor and Great White shark safari guide. She is the author of No Damage (December 2014), the Managing Editor of The Scuba News New Zealand, a freelance writer, public speaker and co-founder of the marine conservation cause Friends for Sharks (August 2014). In 2015 she organised and completed a 10-month global speaking tour in aid of shark conservation: 87 events, 8 countries, 7000 people. Learn more about Kathryn’s book, No Damage at: http://www.kathrynhodgsonauthor.com/books/no-damage/

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