One thing most people don’t know about me is that I am an avid scuba diver. After my first time in the ocean, I knew that I wanted to see more. About 5 years ago, my parents made my wish come true. On one of our yearly trips to Mexico they set me up with my first scuba diving lessons and I fell head over heels in love. Less than a year later on our next trip, I became certified with Padi.
I am an only child and unfortunately, my dad no longer is able to dive and my mom doesn’t like to dive either so I decided I would do it solo. Most people think that it must have been scary to get certified all alone with only a couple of strangers and a dive master but looking back I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It not only changed my perspective on the ocean but having to perform all of the tests while I was 25-30 ft. under the water helped me prove a lot to myself. Fast forward to this year, and my love for diving got even deeper.
First of all, if you are considering Scuba diving know that it is ok to be afraid. My advice is to research the place you are going and ask your hotel/resort which dive sites and dive companies they prefer. I have gone with a few dive companies in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres but by far my favorite is Scuba Caribe. They make you feel so safe, comfortable, and confident yet they make the trip an absolute blast.
I also have dived with Aquaworld and they are a close second. They are great, especially if you are just getting your feet wet with diving. One major perk of Aquaworld is their underwater photographer that accompanies your dive. They are able to capture amazing pictures you can pay for like some of the ones in this post! The only thing I will warn you about is that there can be a lot more people during your dive. You will still be with a small group in the water but they are almost all beginners so as you get more experienced you won’t have quite as much freedom.
Second, if you are scared to go by yourself that’s totally OK! but be sure that once you are under the water you explore everything for yourself. I know it can be scary and hard to not stick super close to your buddy but rather than trying to follow your friend/family member around try to get the feel for the ocean and for diving and look at what is around by yourself (but stay close to your guide). The worst is sticking too close to the people you came with and forgetting to watch the guide because chances are you will miss something awesome!
Now to why this was my favorite adventure of 2017. For the first time, I got to see things I hadn’t seen before. I saw beautiful sea turtles and even held a lobster (don’t worry – unfortunately it wasn’t alive). What really made it amazing was it was only the second time ever that I had someone besides strangers to go diving with.
On our 2016 trip, I talked Russell into going diving for the first time with me. He was definitely nervous at first (even if he wouldn’t admit it) but he was a natural. I got so lucky this year that he agreed to do it with me again. We got to do deeper dives than before and got to explore a whole new part of the reef and the underwater museum.
There is nothing like seeing something so mysterious and magical with someone you love. It made us so much closer and it turned into a bucket list of places to dive and an adventure of a lifetime.
If you are planning a trip, I highly suggest you think about The Riviera Mya in Mexico. Isla Mujeres has some of the most beautiful waters I have ever seen. The fish and reefs are beautiful and if you are lucky you might even see the sea turtles like we did. There are also tons of amazing dive shops that can help you get acquainted with diving, conquer your first dive, and keep you coming back for more!
A bonus piece of advice: get a GoPro and invest in the red lens, it makes all the difference in the color of your pictures. You will not regret spending the extra money. I love looking back at my pictures from my dives.
I would love to know, do any of you dive? What are your favorite places? Check out my full Riviera Maya travel guide here!