Latin America, Travel

Top 6 Dive Sites in South America

Language immersion is the best way to improve your Spanish. Combining an immersion experience with a hobby is even better!

One of the best immersion experiences I had was learning to Scuba Dive in Taganga, Colombia. I went from PADI Open Water through to Dive Master in nine months. My instructor was Colombian with limited English and I took my exams in Spanish.

Whether you are a Dive Master or a wanna be Open Water diver in this post I uncover five top dive sites in South America where you can also practise your Spanish.

With the glittering Caribbean coast in easy reach, South America calls itself home to some of the most stunning diving and snorkeling sites in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a tentative beginner, you’ll discover there are plenty of places where you can embrace the mysterious beauty of life beneath the waters. Read on to find out more about five of the most wonderful dive sites around the continent where you can practise your Spanish at the same time.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

For many divers, exploring the Galapagos Islands is the trip of their dreams – and for good reason. 1,000 km from the mainland of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are a group of 13 major islands, which were catapulted to the world’s attention by Charles Darwin and his exploration of the enormous variety of species across them. Today though, divers are attracted to the unique oceanic conditions that have given rise to a wealth of marine life, including schools of rays and sharks, turtles, seals, penguins, coral and so much more! You can even see an active volcano bubbling off the sea floor, while for beginners, the clear waters around Sante Fe provide perfect conditions for novices.

Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia – Argentina

Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia – Argentina

If you want the chance to see some of the most magnificent of marine animals in their native environment, then the Peninsula Valdes will certainly not disappoint. Attracting a host of animals through the year, it is a rich and vibrant spot for lovers of wildlife – attracting whales, elephant seals, penguins and more. Diving is best between November and March – though the waters are a little cold, it’s still a fantastically rewarding experience. If you’re not planning to dive but would like a close-up view of the dolphins, whales and orcas that come each season, the period between June and November is the best time to catch them.

Mochima National Park, Venezuela

Mochima National Park, Venezuela

Warm, crystal clear waters, a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and a rainbow of underwater marine life all await you at Mochima. Well-suited to both beginners learning to dive as well as seasoned experts, Mochima is a popular spot for divers who would like to see some of the many delights beneath the waves, including beautiful colourful tropical fish, birds, coral and amphibians. Newcomers to diving can accompany a diver with a snorkel, or take professional lessons to build practice. As well as scuba-diving and snorkeling, you’ll also want to take advantage of the delicious local seafood cuisine – including fresh fried fish and oysters.

Isla del Coco, Costa Rica

Isla del Coco, Costa Rica

The Isla del Coco, otherwise known as Cocos Island, is a spectacular island 500km off the coast of Costa Rica, and its rich, azure waters teem with an array of marine life – most notably, large groups of distinctive Hammerhead sharks that any diver in the area is bound to encounter. With a warm tropical climate year round, it’s possible to dive at any time of the year – although if you’d like to come close to the sharks, then the rainy period between June to December is ideal. While Hammerhead sharks are the most common form of wildlife in the area, divers can also expect to see many other species enjoying the nutrient-rich waters, from a variety of rays, eels and fish. To make the most of the Isla del Coco experience, a professional liveaboard offers the best way to explore the area, as well as giving you the advantage of expert insight from local guides.

Malpelo Island – Colombia

Malpelo Island – Colombia

Often compared to Coco’s and the Galapagos Islands, Malpelo is famous for its abundance of large marine life, yet without the crowds. Far off the coast of Colombia, the island itself is only 8 square kilometers. It’s the 300km underwater volcanic ridge paired with the convergence of currents that attracts the sheer amount of marine life. Enormous schools of silky sharks, hammerheads, and pelagic fish circle the island. Sometimes the marine life is so dense, it blocks the sunlight!

Malpelo is not a dive destination for beginner divers, and advanced open water certification is mandatory. Each diver must have his own surface marker buoy and dive computer. There is no decompression chamber for hundreds of kilometers, so stay conservative while diving.

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