At the time we’re writing this article, some world-class destinations for scuba diving are already opened to international tourism. This is the case of Mexico, Belize, Ecuador, Maldives, and Seychelles. Others plan to open in the coming months, such as Phuket in Thailand or Bali in Indonesia.
Discover what’s required for each of these destinations, and which dive areas are the best!
As usual, make sure you have flexible booking and cancellation conditions if you decide to plan a trip for the coming weeks.
Top Dive Areas in Mexico: from Baja California to the Caribbean, Mexico has an incredible array of dive sites, suiting all levels of diver. In Socorro, you’ll get to dive with oceanic manta rays, up to 10 species of sharks, dolphins, and more! Cabo Pulmo marine reserve, out of Baja California, is seen as one of the most successful conservation programs worldwide. On the Caribbean side, Cozumel and the cenotes are also excellent destinations to scuba dive into. Read SeaCrush Guide to Scuba-Diving in Mexico to choose your favorite destination!
Mexico COVID-19 Entry Requirements: there are no special requirements, health tests, or quarantines required. Many liveaboards, however, require one negative COVID-19 test before embarking, or a certificate of full vaccination. Visitors must only fill a Online Health Declaration Form for Mexico and the Tourist Card (FMM) on arrival.
SeaCrush Picks: 👉 between November and June, one of our favorite dive trips is with this Socorro liveaboard (8 nights starting from ...).
👉 going between July and November, we recommend this liveaboard in Baja California (5 nights starting from ...) that takes you diving all the way from Cabo Pulmo to La Paz.
Top Dive Areas in Belize: do not miss the incredible Blue Hole, which has a radius of more than 300 meters (1000 ft)! You can get there with a two-hour boat ride from Key Caulker (here pictured) which we like a lot for its relaxed vibe.
Belize COVID-19 Entry Requirements: all travelers, vaccinated or not, are allowed to enter Belize at this time. If vaccinated, it must be at least two weeks before arrival, and you must bring along an Official Vaccine Card reflecting the receipt of the dual or single-dose vaccine.
If not vaccinated yet, you’ll have to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 96 hours of travel, or an antigen test no more than 48 hours before travel. If neither is presented, you can take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. Children under the age of 5 are not required to present a COVID test result.
Top Dive Areas in Ecuador: Galápagos archipelago is the best area to visit, and if you’re an avid diver, confident in currents, going on a liveaboard is the best option! It’s the only way to reach two of the best dive sites in the world: Darwin’s Arch and Wolf Island.
Ecuador and Galápagos COVID-19 Entry Requirements: since March 22nd, 2021, tourists who are fully vaccinated can enter the country without requiring a negative PCR test result. Non-vaccinated travelers must provide proof of a negative RT-PCR or rapid antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. Minors two years of age and younger are exempt from this requirement.
For now, this change of Entry Requirements accounts only for the mainland of Ecuador meaning that travelers to Galápagos will still need a negative PCR test taken no longer than 96 hours before traveling to the archipelago.
However, Galápagos will very probably follow the mainland’s same approach in the upcoming weeks.
SeaCrush Pick: 👉 if you’re looking to go during Thanksgiving 2021, join SeaCrush on a Small group dive trip to Galápagos, with an incredible discount of US $1,000 per person vs. regular price!
Top Dive Areas in the Maldives: from North to South, Maldives has excellent areas to scuba dive, and liveaboards often cover several of these depending on the time of the year. Read SeaCrush Guide to Scuba-Diving in the Maldives to choose your favorite itinerary!
Maldives COVID-19 Entry Requirements: the country is opened to everyone, and all travelers must complete and submit a Traveler Health Declaration twice – 24 hours before the flight to the Maldives, and once more before departure from the Maldives. An RT-PCR test must be taken not more than 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to the Maldives, even if you’ve been vaccinated.
SeaCrush Pick: 👉 we like this fantastic Maldives liveaboard going to North, Central and South atolls (7 nights starting from ...)! The RT-PCR test needed before departure will be done on board during the cruise.
Top Dive Areas in Seychelles: with more than 70 atolls and islands, Seychelles offers exceptional diving. The most popular islands to go to for scuba diving are Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue.
Seychelles COVID-19 Entry Requirements: all visitors, vaccinated or not, entering Seychelles should have a negative PCR test taken a minimum of 72 hours before departure. All visitors must have also valid travel health insurance to cover potential COVID-19 related costs (isolation, quarantine, and treatment). No visa is required for entry into Seychelles, all visitors must, however, apply for entry through the Health Travel Authorization platform .
Top Dive Areas in Thailand: Similan and Surin islands are definitively the best areas to dive in Thailand, even though they are not accessible year-long. Check SeaCrush Guide to Scuba-Diving in Thailand to know more.
Thailand COVID-19 Entry Requirements: pending an official announcement from Tourism Authority of Thailand - Phuket should reopen to vaccinated tourists from July 1st, 2021. Travelers would probably still need a negative RT-PCR test result, taken no longer than 72 hours before departure, a Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Embassy, a valid visa, and a health insurance policy. Upon arrival at the Phuket International Airport, tourists might be still required to undergo a COVID-19 screening and download the specified track and trace application to ensure that they only visit the designated areas.
SeaCrush Pick: 👉 we like this fantastic Similan and Surin islands liveaboard trip (3 nights starting from ...)!
Top Dive Areas in Indonesia: almost all of Indonesia is incredible for diving. Bali, Komodo, Bunaken, Wakatobi, Alor, Raja Ampat… Check SeaCrush Guide to Scuba-Diving in Indonesia to know more.
Indonesia COVID-19 Entry Requirements: the country is still closed to tourism, however on March 26th, 2021, the Indonesian government officially announced the reopening of some “green areas” in Bali where travelers will be allowed to visit and stay. This reopening is set for July, and conditions under which it will happen must be specified.
SeaCrush Pick: 👉 we like this liveaboard trip from Bali to Komodo (7 nights starting from ...), which team is currently being vaccinated. If Bali reopens in July, keep an eye open for this trip!
What is the best time of the year to dive in the Galápagos? Is diving in the Galápagos difficult? How strong are the currents?
Finding the right wetsuit can be tough! And it seems even harder to find one for colder water scuba diving. Read our review of the Fourth Element Xenos 7 mm wetsuit.