There are a few key factors in selecting a resort for your dive vacation.
First, ask yourself, “Do I want a vacation with diving or a dive vacation?”
One of my favorite resorts in the world is Vatulele in Fiji. You have a private 1500 sq.ft. villa with a fridge stocked full of Veuve Clicquot. If you need anything on your private beach you simply put a flag in the sand and a staff member comes running. It is magnificent. The resort is five star, but the diving is not really worth mentioning. If you want to spend a romantic week in Fiji and just blow a few bubbles, perfect. But if you want a dive vacation and you want to see the best that Fiji has to offer, you’ll need to pass over this one. If your idea of a perfect vacation is Vatulele with a couple of opportunities to get wet, you can check out high end resorts through websites such as http://www.relaischateaux.com , www.slh.com (small, luxury hotels of the world) , www.forbes.com (best beach resorts report).
Second, if you want a DIVE vacation, find out where the best diving is first and foremost.
But if you want a DIVE vacation, first find out where the best diving is. Then find out where there are dive operations to get you to the diving. From there, look at the selection of resorts. So, let’s take French Polynesia as an example. You’ve decided you want to dive in the Tahitian Islands, fantastic. Now, you need to research where in Tahiti the best diving is. Use as much word of mouth as you can. Talking to people who have been, in my opinion, far outweighs what any website will tell you. Beyond that, of course, you will rely mainly on magazine articles, reviews such as Under Currents, The Traveling Diver Chapbook, and other websites on the internet. Once you find the best area for diving, look at your resort options, taking into account things such as:
*distance to the dive areas
*reputation of the dive operator/dive program/dive boats
*budget- Where do you want to put your money, into diving? into a luxury resort? Both?
*do you need air conditioning? If so, does the resort have it? Do not expect that it will.
*opportunities for snorkeling/diving from the beach if that interests you
*remote or near towns or other activities
*Is it a “family” resort” and do you want one?
Even within dive resorts there is a unique distinction. There are resorts that have diving and then there are dive resorts. I often find that a “dive resort” tends to cater to divers at a more affordable level, tends to be more casual, more “buffet style” if you will, such as Captain Don’s Habitat in Bonaire. In this situation, be careful if you have a non diving spouse. You don’t want to have ALL the guests be divers where the talk is of nothing but NDL’s and regulator maintenance and have the resort look like a graveyard during the day because everyone is out diving. Your spouse WILL NOT BE HAPPY and will feel abandoned.
However, “resorts with diving” often cater to non divers as well and have more extensive activity offerings, more of a sit down dinner style, generally more luxury. They may not, however, offer as much diving as a “dive resort”. An example of this is Wananavu Resort in Fiji. The resort is beautiful. They have three brand new honeymoon villas, plated meals and a number of offered activities throughout the day. But they also have a dive operator that runs a great program to many of the best dive sites in all of Fiji.
Like picking a destination, it’s better to pick a resort through word of mouth of someone who has actually been there. Global Diving Adventures only promotes resorts we have PERSONALLY inspected. So check out our list of adventure destinations and see if one is right for you!
To Your Adventures!