children learning to scuba dive

Best Places for an Eco-Friendly Family Diving Holiday

Isabelle Barbier
Isabelle Barbier
8 min read

Sharing your passion for diving with your family - this is what many would love to do! Some eco-resorts and liveaboards have been designed with families in mind, and catering to young divers is part of the experience. We've selected six places where you'll have some incredible dives and create long-lasting family bonds.

A genuinely welcoming and thoughtful team, diving conditions suited to different levels of experience, the abundance of marine life, dive courses available for younger ones, the atmosphere of the place, the journey: how easy is it to get there? - all these are critical to a truly amazing eco-resort or liveaboard experience.

At the time of writing this article, some destinations have not yet reopened to international tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so if you want to go there it is advisable to check the entry conditions on the destination. for your country.

1. Turtle and Beach Lovers: Stay in Siladen Eco-Resort, Indonesia

siladen turtle release

At the heart of Bunaken National Park in Indonesia lies Siladen island, the only one with a beautiful white sand beach! Diving-wise, expect warm temperatures, little to no currents, beautiful coral reef gardens, and dramatic walls. These dive conditions are great for beginners and also more advanced divers who can do some deep dives.

Turtles on dive sites are plentiful, and since 2004, the eco-resort we picked started a program to protect them, so you'll be able to learn more about the species.

Siladen is easily reached with a 4-hours direct flight from Singapour (SIN) to Manado (MDC), Indonesia. The eco-resort team will pick you up at the airport and take you to the island in a little over one hour.

SeaCrush Pick: 👉 Siladen eco-resort (7 nights starting from ...), elected best eco-resort in 2017 and 2018 by Dive Magazine.

Which Diving Certifications Are Available For Children and Adolescents? Children between 8 and 10 years old can do the Bubble Maker program, available in the eco-resort. PADI Open Water and more advanced certifications (courses up to Divemaster) can also be taught.

What Makes It Family-Friendly? The Double Bedroom villas are perfect for a family. Children up to 15 years old sharing with their parents the villa benefit from a significant discount rate. We like the large free-form saltwater swimming pool, and the variety of activities you can do besides diving - kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddle, yoga classes, excursions, etc.

2. Exclusive Yet Family-Friendly: Fiji's Jean Michel Cousteau Resort is The Place to Go!

reef friendly kids at cousteau resort in fiji

With colorful reefs around, diving programs designed for young ones, and a well-designed Kids Club - the "Bula Kids Club", Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is THE reference for diving family holidays.

It's at the top of the range in terms of rates, however, what else would you expect from an award-winning luxurious island vacation destination in the South Pacific? The diving is excellent, and with plenty of lifestyle-enriching experiences and attractions, it's very much worth it!

There are direct flights from most international cities from Asia, the Pacific, and North America. Once in Fiji, you'll have to take another short flight to get there.

Which Diving Certifications Are Available For Children and Adolescents? Children who are 8 and 9 years old can do the PADI SEAL Team and Bubble Maker programs. Ten years old children can do the Junior Open Water. Adolescents already certified can do their Advanced Open Water and some specialty courses.

What Makes It Family-Friendly? Plenty of activities daily keep children engaged. Every child under 6 years is assigned their very own nanny and older kids, in groups of five, get their own buddy!

SeaCrush Pick: 👉 Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji, winner in 2018 of Luxury Travel Magazine Award for Best Family Overseas Resort. Contact SeaCrush to plan your holiday there!

3. Looking for High Biodiversity: Go to Remote Misool Eco-Resort, South Raja Ampat

children watching juvenile sharks in misool lagon

Misool, Indonesia, is located at the heart of the coral triangle, with more than 1400 reef fish and over 75% of the world’s coral species. It's Raja Ampat's first Marine Protected Area, and the marine life there, once threatened by poachers, is now thriving, thanks to the dedicated work of Misool Foundation.

It's very remote, as you'll need to first go to Sorong (SOQ) in West Papua, and from there take a speed boat for 3 hours to reach Misool. Also, Misool is not accessible from roughly mid-June to mid-September because of the monsoon season.

For the lucky ones who make it there, expect a gorgeous stay and incredible diving! From baby sharks hanging out in the eco-resort lagoon to manta rays cleaning stations, the dive sites are not only suitable for all levels of diving, but they'll also be among the best ones you've ever done! Even the house reef is a world-class dive.

Apart from diving, there are also plenty of excursions to do and all the usual water sports activities (stand-up paddle, kayaking, snorkeling on the house reef, etc).

SeaCrush Pick: 👉 Misool eco-resort (7+1 nights unlimited diving starting from ...), awarded several times by National Geographic and again by Travel & Leisure, this luxury eco-resort is nestled deeply in an archipelago of uninhabited islands.

Which Diving Certifications Are Available For Children and Adolescents? PADI dive courses are available from Bubblemaker to the Advanced Open Water course, for older ones.

What Makes It Family-Friendly? While Cousteau Resort in Fiji is really big, this eco-resort has the size of a Boutique hotel. The Beach Villas are perfect for traveling with younger ones. Baby-sitting is available per hour our day if you need it. If traveling with children from 0 to 5 years old, they can come free of charge. Children 6 to 12 years old pay 50% of adult rate, and finally 13 to 15 years old pay 75% of adult rate.

4. First Liveaboard Trip: Embark on The Spirit of Freedom, Australia

getting ready for diving in the spirit of freedom liveaboard

Discover Australia’s most preserved sites: the Ribbon Reefs and the Coral Sea. The Ribbon Reefs have an abundance of healthy corals and marine life: colorful tropical fish and giant potato cod while the Coral Sea brings huge schools of pelagic fish and sharks.

The Ribbon Reefs are perfect for snorkellers and Open Water Divers. For diving in the Coral Sea, you'll need to have an Advanced Open Water or equivalent.

If you choose to only do a 3-days or 4-days trip, you'll even have a scenic flight included from/to Lizard island!

SeaCrush Pick: 👉 The Spirit of Freedom liveaboard (3 nights starting from ...), one of Australia's finest liveaboard.

Which Diving Certifications Are Available For Children and Adolescents? PADI Open Water Divers can do their Advanced Open Water onboard.

What Makes It Family-Friendly? Children are welcome on board if they are 10 years old or older, and there's a quad cabin that is perfect to share among a family of four. We love the flexible itinerary that suits every level of diving experience.

5. Easy to Reach From the Americas and Europe: Choose the Sea of Cortez, Mexico

diver in the sea of cortez

In South Baja California, Cabo Pulmo marine reserve has been labeled by Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s NGO, a “Hope Spot”. It's considered one of the most successful Marine Protected Area in the world due to its abundance of fish.

It's common to dive with hundreds of schooling jacks, resident bull sharks, in-season see Mobula rays passing by, some hammerheads, whale sharks, and all year long, playful sea lions!

Easy to reach from North America as departures are from Los Cabos, just one and a half-hour drive from San Jose del Cabo airport (SJD), this trip will take you along the coast of the Sea of Cortez from Los Cabos to La Paz. It's a very practical way to dive there, enjoy the desertic landscapes without having your car getting stuck in the sand!

SeaCrush Pick: 👉 Nautilus liveaboards (5 nights starting from ...), is one of the pioneers of diving from Baja California

Which Diving Certifications Are Available For Children and Adolescents? No courses on board however the dive sites and conditions are suitable for all levels of certified divers.

What Makes It Family-Friendly? Depending on the liveaboard going, there's sometimes a triple cabin available. Otherwise, you may get double cabins side by side.

6. Eco-Friendly Adventure in Indonesia: Embark on Coralia

coralia liveaboard's friendly team

Apart from being a stunning boat, there are some educational programs onboard during “Coral Explorers Weeks”, in which top biologists explain the natural wonders of the marine life ecosystem.

From Komodo to Alor, the Banda Sea, Raja Ampat, and Misool, there are plenty of itineraries and lengths available.

There will be excursions included. With only 16 guests on board and a 1:1 staff-guest-ratio, you'll be well attended.

SeaCrush Pick: 👉 Coralia liveaboard (7 nights starting from ...), has been elected best liveaboard in 2019 by Dive Magazine.

Which Diving Certifications Are Available For Children and Adolescents? Old enough children and adolescents can do their PADI Open Water on board, and courses are available up to Divemaster.

What Makes It Family-Friendly? There are some very comfortable triple cabins on the lower deck and plenty of space in the common areas. The maximum number of divers per guide is four, so you'll have a guide that fully adapts to your family level of diving.

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