The Caribbean Sea is a great diving destination and Aruba is a beginners’ dream. This island boasts warm seas with gentle swells, making it easy to learn to breathe from a tank and swim effortlessly underwater. Moving up to Mexico, the Mesoamerican Coral Reef stretches from the Yucatán all the way to Honduras. Divers can explore this vast system from Barceló hotels along the Riviera Maya, Cancún, and the island of Cozumel. Schools of shimmering fish and coloured coral clusters dotted with purple and orange sponges are sure to wow any diver. Thanks to conservation efforts, sea turtles are also common and it is also possible to see manatees, which are sometimes referred to as sea cows. The reef is home to the world’s largest population of this friendly, rotund and docile mammal.
Thanks to its diversity, Palancar Reef in Cozumel attracts novice to expert divers from all over the world. Coral beds give way to deep crevices harbouring huge reef fish. On the Pacific coast, Banderas Bay is a top-rated diving destination, and Barceló hotels in Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta are perfect launching points. Pros can go on two-tank expeditions out to sea. Meanwhile, beginners head to Los Arcos, where the ocean has carved granite into arches and caves that shelter octopuses and eels.