The 7 Cheapest Scuba Holiday Destinations in the World.

The 7 Cheapest Scuba Holiday Destinations in the World.

  1. Indonesia
  2. Thailand
  3. Egypt
  4. Mexico
  5. The Philippines
  6. Belize
  7. Honduras

Have you got a love for scuba diving, travel, and finding a scuba holiday location to get the most bang for your buck? Well, you have landed in the right place!

Scuba diving holidays don’t have to be expensive. You can travel to America, Europe, or even Asia to explore the ocean, even when solo travelling or on a tight budget.

As you and your bank account probably have found out, scuba diving is not the cheapest hobby in the world, but believe it or not, there are budget-friendly dive destinations all over the world. 

When people say diving and holiday locations in the same sentence, we often jump to the conclusion it is going to cost a lot of money, but in fact, you do not need to spend thousands of pounds/dollars to have a great holiday.

Many scuba locations are super affordable, that even backpackers can experience. 

In this article, I am going to tell you 7 amazing locations that won’t break the bank on your next holiday that are also beginner-friendly!

7 Affordable Scuba Locations

Scuba diving & holidays…the two words that go hand in hand but often make our bank accounts bone-dry, but it doesn’t have to with these 7 epic holiday locations – that even the tightest of travellers can afford!

NOTE: The prices below are only an indication based on the 2021 rates on Google for each diving location.

1. Indonesia

On many scuba diver’s bucket lists is Indonesia, and who blames them! Diving in warm water, great visibility, amazing marine creatures, and beautiful beaches to chill post-dive with a beer or fresh coconut. 

Indonesia is known for world-class diving spots such as Wakatobi National Park, Komodo National Park, and Raja Ampat. This diving hotspot welcomes underwater enthusiasts and photographers from all over the world to capture the majestic manta rays and the mysterious Mola mola (giant sunfish). 

The Wakatobi National Park is where I spent 6 weeks doing research into how coral reef damage has changed the feeding behaviour of coral reef inhabitants. Also…it’s an amazing place, with a huge amount of sublime dive sites.

Once you get to one of the thousand islands in Indonesia (there are 17,508 islands!), the cost of living and scuba diving trips are super affordable.

As it is such a vast country, there are so many options when it comes to diving that makes it very difficult to pick only a few to cover today. But let’s explore some of the most popular options (and of course cheapest) in wonderful Indonesia

Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park

Komodo is a UNESCO marine heritage site that has some of the best diving in the world. It is also home to the Komodo dragon which you are likely to see during your surface interval! 

Day trips leave from Labuan Bajo Harbour in the mornings for 2 or 3-tank dives inside the national park where you will find millions of fish in all shapes, colours and sizes.

If you want to explore more dive sites, you can hop on a liveaboard. These either leave from Bali or Labuan Bajo, giving you a sense of luxury, yet they are still fairly cheap. 

If you love pelagic fish and sharks, Komodo is the place for you!

Average price per dive in Komodo = 550,000 IDR/€33/£28/$39


Bali is one of the most popular tourist locations in the world, and also home to world-class dive sites such as the USAT Liberty Wreck and Manta Point in Nusa Penida.

USAT Liberty Wreck is located near Tulamben. The wreck is only 30 m away from shore, yet the marine life there is so abundant that most people do a 2-tank dive. The ship is 130 m long and can be seen as shallow as 5 m, making it a great site for all levels. 

USAT Liberty Wreck

If you want to see the bump head parrotfish, the best time is just after sunrise when they flock to the wreck in huge numbers. 

Average price per dive in Bali = 300,000 IDR/€18/£15/$21

Manta Point

Nusa Penida is famous for seeing mantas, colourful reefs with epic topography, and if lucky catching a glimpse of the Mola mola or sharks such as threshers and hammerheads!

Penida is also known for crazy currents, so if you are a current junkie, then this diving hotspot is perfect. If not, do not worry there are still plenty of dive sites that even first-time divers can partake in. 

Average price per dive in Nusa Penida = 425,000 IDR/€26/£21/$30

Pulau Weh

Batee Tokong

Often forgotten about when visiting Indonesia is the tucked-away island of Northern Sumatra called Pulau Weh (We Island). This nutrient-rich water attracts schools of fish both over the reef and out in the blue.

This is where you will see beautiful gorgonian sea fans, a resting place for tiny pygmy seahorses.

A popular site is Batee Tokong, which you must visit!

Despite the devastating 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, the reefs are luckily still intact and the locals in the area are trying to tackle overfishing issues in the area. 

Average price per dive in Pulau Weh = 330,000 IDR/€19/£16/$23

2. Thailand

Thailand has become the place to dive on a budget and to get scuba certified. Thanks to the easy conditions and warm water, Thailand is now a scuba diver hotspot. The most popular destinations are Koh Tao and Phuket

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is known for two things, crazy nightlife and scuba diving. It is one of the cheapest places to travel to, stay, and of course, scuba dive, making it a popular holiday location to become scuba certified. 

While Koh Tao may not have the most colourful reefs in the world, dive sites such as Chumphon Pinnacle and Sail Rock have countless marine life including whale shark encounters. 

Average price per dive in Koh Tao = 1,000 BHT/€27/£25/$32

Chumphon Pinnacle

Phuket & Surrounding Islands

With calmer and warmer seas, Phuket and the surrounding islands make great dive sites for both beginner and experienced divers.

To see the majestic manta rays you will want to head to Koh Bon, and for colourful reefs, Richelieu Rock in Koh Tachai

If you love swim-throughs, Koh Racha Yai is the perfect spot where you can swim through giant hollow concrete cubes watching schooling barracuda.

If you are a shark fan, hop on over to Koh Bida Nok to see the black-tip reef sharks cruising in the shallows. 

Average price per dive in Phuket = 1,000 BHT/€27/£25/$32

The cube maze at Koh Racha Yai

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

3. Egypt

When the Egyptian Pound plummeted, travellers flocked to Egypt to view the breathtaking pyramids, fascinating temples, and explore the beautiful dive spots. 

The Red Sea is one of the most popular dive locations in the world boasting warm and calm waters, great for all levels of divers. (The Red Sea is where I first learnt to dive).

Top dive spots in Sharm El Sheikh include Ras Za’atar for wall diving and for shipwreck lovers, Yolanda Reef. Both sites have a mix of corals, fish, and sharks. In fact, Egypt is teeming with 44 different species of sharks including oceanic whitetips, hammerheads, and whale sharks!

The marine life doesn’t end there…giant marine life cruises through the Red Sea such as mantas, eagle rays, and Napoleon wrasse. 

Even if you are not a big fan of wreck diving, you should still visit the SS Thistlegorm, a British Navy ship sunk during WW2 located near Ras Muhammad. 

Average price per dive in Egypt = £870E/€46/£40/$55

SS Thistlegorm

4. Mexico

Even though Mexico’s prices have risen a little, it is still one of the cheapest scuba holiday locations in the world if you choose to stay near Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. However, the options in Mexico’s Riviera Maya are massive, spanning from Cancun to Tulum

Mexico is known for the numerous caves (cenotes) and caverns, attracting recreational and tech divers to those on nitrox or trimix. Playa del Carmen is great for seeing loggerhead sea turtles all year round and bull sharks and eagle rays during the late winter months. 


Cozumel is an island 45-minutes away from Playa del Carmen. It is renowned for sheer coral walls and overhangs like Santa Rose Wall.

This is probably the most popular deep dive site in Cozumel and is one that is only for experienced divers due to the strong currents. Another popular wall is the Columbia Wall, it is a 30 m wall home to a cool cave, tunnel and even cavern systems. 

Columbia Wall

If you are still a beginner diver, Palancar Reef is fantastic!

When you dive below the surface, there are so many purple and orange sponges that create the perfect home for thousands of fish to hide between.

Diving Palancar Reef makes you feel like you are swimming around Atlantis with the towering corals and sponge structures!

If you enjoy night diving, stop off at Paradise Beach, just north of Caleta. Arriving at this dive site can be a little overwhelming at first as you see the crazy amount of divers and equipment lined up ready to sink below the surface – there  is plenty of room on this stunning reef which is why it is so popular!

Average price per dive in Playa del Carmen & Cozumel = MEX$1298/€55/£47/$65

Palancar Reef

5. The Philippines

The less explored island of the Philippines is one of the cheapest locations in South East Asia, plus it is famous for what?… Whale sharks!

Yes, The Philippines is one of, if not the best place in the world to see these gentle giants. The best place to spot whale sharks is Honda Bay, Palawan.

As the Philippines has a diverse area of dive spots, it takes more than one day of diving to visit them. Most divers either go to the Manila area or the Visayas Islands (Malapascua, Palawan & Tubbataha Reef).

The Philippines is not only great for large pelagics, but it is also popular for tiny marine animals like pygmy seahorses and ornate ghost pipefish. 

Whale Sharks at Honda Bay, Palawan

Malapascua Island

Malapascua is not far from the Philippine island of Cebu. The ocean is warm with excellent visibility, making it on PADI’s top 10 locations to dive with sharks. The best dive spots are Monad Shoal, Kemod Shoal, and Gato Island

Monad Shoal has a naturally occurring cleaning station that attracts thresher sharks during the mornings (around 6 AM). 

All three dive spots are swarming with sharks, but that’s not all!

All dive sites have stunning corals with schooling barracudas and tuna, manta rays, octopus, and so much more. If you are on a mission to see thresher sharks, then you will need to dive to 30 m to catch a glimpse of them.

If you are not certified to dive that deep, there are lots of dive centres for you to complete your Advanced Deep Dive Course

Average price per dive in the Philippines = 1580 PHP/€31/£29/$38

Thresher Shark at Monda Shoal

6. Belize

A small country part of Central America, not far from Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula in Belize.

Ever heard of the largest sinkhole in the world called the Great Blue Hole? This notable dive location is in Belize! This dive site is a little expensive which is why most budget divers will travel to Hol Chan Marine Reserve to dive. 

Shark Ray Alley

Hol Chan Marine Reserve 

There are 4 zones inside the marine reserve that are full of nurse sharks, moray eels, and green sea turtles. On your way to the different dive sites, keep an eye out at the surface for flying fish and jumping rays!

Zone A

As the area is protected, the fish population in the area has exploded, allowing large schools of jacks, groupers, and barracudas to overrule the shallow areas. On the outer edge of the reef eagle rays and other pelagics can be seen swimming out in the blue, while in the holes and tunnels cryptic life like lobsters seek shelter. 

Zone B

This zone may not be the most popular in the marine reserve, but it is worth a visit to see the impressive seagrass beds and mangrove roots that act as nurseries for many fish. Occasionally the odd manatee can be seen grazing on the seagrass bed. 

Zone C

If the Great Blue Hole is out of your budget, then this mini “blue hole” at Boca Ciega Cave is a must! The mangrove system is amazing, stretching across the whole tidal range of the area, creating homes for colourful marine invertebrates. 

Zone D

The newest zone to be discovered in the marine reserve is Shark Ray Alley. It gets its name from the numerous nurse sharks and southern stingrays that are frequent visitors.

The Caribbean SHARK DIVER MAGAZINE has selected this impressive site as one of the 7 best “animal dives”. 

If diving in Zone D, it is vital to maintain your perspective. Remember that you are diving in their environment, and sometimes wild animals such as sharks and rays can be unpredictable in their behaviour, especially if provoked; this is when shark attacks can occur. 

Average price per dive in Belize = BZ$100/€42/£39/$50

If you did want to visit the Great Blue Hole it will cost you around BZ$221/€92/£80/$110 per dive. 

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

7. Honduras 

Honduras is a Central American country that borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

The outstanding coral reefs, diverse marine life, and authentic Caribbean culture attract divers from all over the globe. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second-largest barrier reef in the world that includes Roatán, Utila, and Guanaja, known as the Bay Islands, located on the Caribbean side.

These islands have coral reefs that are more diverse than rainforests, plus, if you are visiting between February and April you are likely to see whale sharks. Throughout the year the reefs are full of vibrantly coloured fish, manta rays, sea turtles and sponges the size of fridges. 


Of the three-bay islands, Roatán is the cheapest for scuba diving. 

Mary’s Place is the most visited site in Roatán thanks to the abundant marine life and narrow canyons to explore. When diving the canyons, black corals and gigantic sea fans are seen waving in the never-ending crevasses. 

Average price per dive in Roatán = 958 HNL/€33/£29/$40


Utila is the next popular scuba diving holiday location in Honduras. This island is known for cheap diving courses, with the Open Water Diver Course only setting you back $350/£252. 

Diving in the warm Caribbean ocean attracts turtles, nurse sharks and even dolphins if you are lucky in Utila! The Halliburton shipwreck, sunk in 1998, has become a popular site in Utila. Instead of waiting on the boat during the surface interval, you can jump in the water and snorkel with whale sharks. 

If night diving is your gig, then diving Utila at night is an out of this world experience, with beautiful strings of pearls decorating the seafloor accompanied by bioluminescent plankton creating the perfect light show. 

Utila isn’t just packed with beautiful dive sites, It’s a very friendly, intersting place to stay; I spent 4 weeks here a few years ago assisting marine biology undergrads complete their projects.

Average price per dive in Utila = 1198 HNL/€27/£25/$50

I took this video whilst diving in Utila. One of my favourite places on Earth.


Guanaja’s fringing reef is a protected marine reserve, part of a volcanic and coral mountain called The Bonacca Ridge, making it the ideal dive spot. 

The reefs offer pinnacles, vertical walls, lava tunnels and shipwrecks. The Jado Trader is a 240-foot freighter that is probably the most photogenic wreck in Honduras. 

Other dive sites that are a must are Vertigo, Jim’s Silverlods, Black Rock Canyon, Michael’s Rock, and The Pinnacle

Average price per dive in Guanaja = 1078 HNL/€38/£32/$45

NOTE: You will be required to make a $10.00 cash contribution to the Environmental Fund for the Protection of Guanaja Island. The contribution goes towards the preservation of the coral reefs, mangroves, general ecosystem, and funding environmental education programs for Guanaja residents.

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

If you liked this article, please follow us on Instagram, Twitter and like our Facebook page

Final Thoughts

Scuba diving has the reputation of being an expensive hobby, especially if you are solo travelling.

Whether it be in America, Europe, or even Asia (yes, Asia can be affordable too!). There are many cheap scuba holiday locations around the world where you can get your scuba diving fix. 

So, what are you waiting for, open that tab on Google and book your next epic dive holiday at one of the world’s most affordable dive locations listed above!

If you are new to scuba diving, check out our article on the best beginner dive locations.

Thank you for reading. We hope to see you again very soon. 

Please share this article using the social media buttons!

Darby Bonner

Darby is a marine biologist and PADI scuba diving instructor from the UK. With over ten years of diving experience, she has visited some of the best dive destinations in the world. Currently, Darby is living in Bali, Indonesia and regularly dives at some of the most beautiful dive sites in the Indian Ocean. Her passion for the ocean led her to study seals, publish a paper, and become a marine mammal medic. In the future, she hopes to complete her master’s in marine science, and of course, continue her love for teaching and diving!

Recent Posts

Seraphinite AcceleratorBannerText_Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.