Aspiring dive professionals have many factors to consider when deciding when and where to become a PADI Divemaster. Personal readiness, course or internship-based approach, choosing the right instructor, and of course the location all factor into the decision. Here we’ll highlight five great locations for PADI Divemaster training that appeal for different reasons — from the aquatic life to training options, affordability, lifestyle or scenery.
Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
Long famous with backpackers and divers seeking whale-shark encounters, Utila is a very popular destination for divemaster training. The island sits on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. There are more than 50 dive sites, including fringing reefs, sheer walls, caverns, wrecks, and offshore seamounts. There are plentiful Caribbean reef fish, eagle rays, nurse sharks, dolphins, whale sharks and turtles. The training logistics on the island mean you can stay in affordable apartments, only a 5- to 10-minute walk from your dive center. Closer dive sites are just 5 to 10 minutes from the main harbor via boat.
Most dive centers have lots courses, students, and divers, meaning you can amass plentiful experience assisting students and divers. Some of the more established dive centers, like Utila Dive Center, also offer technical and rebreather training, extensive photo/videography courses, ecology training and boat-driving courses. Utila is great for training year-round and visibility remains good even when there is copious rainfall. With no rivers or mountains, there’s no run-off.
Sharm el Sheik, Egypt
Sitting astride the Ras Muhammed marine park, Sharm el Sheik, Egypt is one of the Red Sea’s most famous dive destinations. This popular dive destination has started rebounding in popularity following years of political unrest in Egypt. There are hundreds of dive centers to choose from and a bustling marina where dive boats depart daily for day trips and longer safaris in the Red Sea. Choosing one of the larger dive centers for divemaster training likely means you’ll get experience on both the regular day trips and the longer safari/liveaboard-style trips. A bustling night life and plentiful accommodation make this a comfortable destination for any divemaster-to-be.
Canary Islands, Spain
Although part of Spain, the Canary Islands lie off the west coast of Africa, closest to Morocco. They offer year-round diving conditions in a subtropical climate, with average water temperatures of 73 F (23 C). From the larger islands of Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, to the smaller islands of La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro, the islands are well-served by major and budget airlines from most European cities. There is a diversity of aquatic life, including schools of jacks and grunts, turtles, moray eels and stingrays. The archipelago also features wrecks, reefs and caverns. The islands receive over 12 million tourists per year. Plenty of topside activities, restaurants, nature trails, parks, and other outdoor activities will keep you busy as well.
Gili Islands, Indonesia
Located on the northwest corner of Lombok, and also once famous predominantly with backpackers, the Gilis now offer a range of accommodation and diving for upscale travelers, couples, singles, and families. The three islands from largest to smallest are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Each offers year-round diving and water temperatures averaging 82 F (28 C). There are around 25 to 30 sites between the three islands, with a variety of topography and turtles on almost every dive. There are many PADI Five-Star Dive Centers throughout the islands; SSI is well represented as well. Many dive centers also have their own conservation/ecology programs, including coral restoration. Technical dive-training courses are also available.
Tofo Beach, Inhambane, Mozambique
While it’s a bit of a challenge to get there, Tofo Beach on Mozambique’s coast a stunning location, known for its megafauna. Though most dives are close to shore, you’ll reach them from small boats or RIBs. The big-surf shore launches offer a unique experience for divemaster trainees when it comes to boat handling. Whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays, sharks, turtles and humpback whales visit these waters in sometimes-challenging conditions, which will raise your professional skill level. Tofo Beach also has a range of affordable accommodations and living options. The area attracts everyone from newbies to experienced divers, so you’ll get experience working a variety of clientele.