Hang ten and deep dive into the ultimate aquatic adventure: these are the world's best surfing and scuba destinations.
From the captivating swells of Bali to conquering Hawaii's iconic Pipeline and immersing yourself in Cape Town's vibrant surf culture, the bucket list for lovers of surfing and diving is endless. If you think it’s magical on top of the water, wait until you see what’s below – unveil a breathtaking underwater universe adorned with vibrant coral reefs, teeming with an array of colourful marine creatures. Explore historic wrecks, delve into stories of the past and witness the enchanting spectacle of mesmerising corals.
Whether you're chasing the perfect wave or seeking an underwater adventure, these destinations offer the ultimate fusion of adrenaline and tranquility.
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Maldives, Asia: best for sea turtle encounters
Dive headfirst into an island paradise in the Maldives, where iridescent waters and a vibrant kaleidoscope of marine life eagerly await your arrival for an unparalleled surfing and diving adventure. Comprising 1,190 coral islands, this archipelago is a haven of natural splendour and exhilarating adventures. Prepare to be thrilled as you ride the crashing waves and explore the underwater wonders shimmering beneath the surface. As you uncover the magic of the Maldives keep an eye out for sea turtles, octopus, squid, lobsters and dolphins.
Where to stay: When it's time to unwind, immerse yourself in the lap of luxury at the exquisite COMO Cocoa Island, an oasis of opulence and serenity.
Hawaii, USA: best for adrenaline-pumping swells
Say ’aloha’ to the ultimate surfer's paradise, which holds an undeniable allure for wave enthusiasts around the world. With its pristine beaches and legendary breaks, this Pacific gem offers a playground of endless possibilities. From the iconic Pipeline surf reef break to the breathtaking shores of Sunset Beach and Haleiwa, Hawaii's surf spots are unrivalled in their power and beauty. The adventure doesn’t end there: beyond the world-class surf breaks, snorkel and scuba enthusiasts can plunge into the underwater mysteries of the 2,000km coral reef system that fringes the Hawaiian Islands.
Where to stay: Turtle Bay Resort – an icon among surfers worldwide, the resort is ideally located just minutes from the Pipeline and offers direct access to one of the best snorkel sites on Oahu’s North Shore.
Bali, Indonesia: best for adventurers of all levels
Bali, a true mecca for both surfing and diving, beckons adventurers from all corners of the globe. With its pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and incredible wave breaks, this Indonesian paradise offers an unparalleled experience for wave riders. From the world-famous swells of Uluwatu and Dreamland Beach to the laid-back surf scene in Canggu, Bali caters to surfers of all levels. Beneath the surface, Bali's underwater world unveils a magical realm of vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life. Dive into the depths and explore must-see spots like Manta Point, Crystal Bay, and the USS Liberty wreck, where vibrant corals, teeming with sea life and underwater statues, await.
Where to stay: Jumeirah Bali provides a high-end sanctuary after a day of adventure. For a more laid-back atmosphere, stay at Como Uma Canggu or venture to nearby Lombok, with Jeeva Santai Villas as your base.
California, USA: best for legendary surf culture
The golden shores of California boast an unrivalled coastal paradise for wave enthusiasts. With its endless stretches of beach and consistent swells, the Golden State offers a surfing experience like no other. From the iconic breaks of Huntington Beach and Mavericks to the vibrant surf culture of Malibu and Santa Cruz, California's surf scene is legendary. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner eager to catch your first wave, the state's diverse coastline has something for everyone.
Immerse yourself in the sun-kissed beaches, ride the exhilarating waves and soak up the vibrant surf culture that defines California from the oceanfront Mission Bay Resort San Diego or the boutique Pacific Edge Hotel, located on laidback Laguna Beach.
Sri Lanka, Asia: best for hidden gems
Sri Lanka is a hidden gem in the world of scuba diving, offering an extraordinary underwater playground for divers of all levels. With its stunning coastline and glass-like waters, this tropical island paradise is a haven for marine enthusiasts. From the vibrant coral reefs teeming with colourful fish to the enchanting shipwrecks that hold tales of the past, Sri Lanka's dive sites are nothing short of mesmerising.
Where to stay: Explore the southern tip of the country, where KK Beach awaits, a gateway to the area’s captivating underwater world and renowned surf breaks.
Portugal, Europe: best for stunning landscapes
Positioned along Europe's rugged Atlantic coast, Portugal has earned its reputation as a premier surf destination. With its world-class waves, stunning landscapes and vibrant surf culture, Portugal offers an unforgettable experience for wave riders. The coastal town of Ericeira stands out as Europe's only World Surf Reserve, drawing surf enthusiasts from around the globe, and quickly becoming Europe's answer to Southern California.
Away from the mainland, Portugal offers a wealth of aquatic treasures. The country’s scuba diving scene promises adventure and enchantment for divers seeking vibrant marine life, hidden caves and intriguing shipwrecks.
Where to stay: The clifftop Aethos Ericeira, the perfect surf-centric accommodation.
South Africa: home to the legendary Supertubes
With its expansive coastline along the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, South Africa offers an array of surf breaks and dive sites to explore. Cape Town, a surfer's paradise, boasts world-class breaks like Dungeons and Muizenberg, while the coastal town of Jeffreys Bay lures surfers with its legendary Supertubes. For divers, the Aliwal Shoal near Durban showcases mesmerising coral reefs and encounters with graceful sharks, while the Sodwana Bay Marine Reserve reveals a vibrant underwater wonderland.
South Africa's surf and dive scene is a testament to its natural beauty and exhilarating experiences, making it an extraordinary destination for those seeking adventure both above and below the surface.
Where to stay: Make the most of your escape with a stay at the dramatically poised Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa.
Caribbean, Americas: best for iridescent waters
Indulge in dreams of paradise in the enchanting Caribbean, where a collection of breathtaking islands forms a tapestry of glistening reefs, pristine white beaches, laid-back reggae rhythms and charming rum bars. Lose yourself in the dazzling shores of Antigua, where surf enthusiasts can enjoy spots like Galley Bay, where consistent swells provide thrilling rides.
Beyond the surf, plunge into the iridescent waters surrounding Anguilla and discover a treasure trove of diving wonders. Explore the stunning coral reefs and embark on an underwater adventure at the historic shipwreck site of The Sarah. Snorkellers and divers alike can immerse themselves in the vibrant coral and diverse marine species that call Anguilla waters home.
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