Does the very idea of waking up whenever the mood strikes, lounging around with coffee (and sneaking in kisses because, you know, you’re married, who cares?), and flat-out relaxing for a week (or two) for your honeymoon sound like pure torture? If you and your new hubby are more into grand adventures than you are couples massages but you still want to go somewhere beautiful and tropical, consider making your post-wedding vacay a scuba-diving excursion. Not only are the sea life and rainbow-colored coral sights you’ll never forget, you can actually use the time to become scuba certified so you can continue your aquatic exercise habit for many anniversaries to come.
And, hey, if you want a mimosa after you spend a few hours drenched in saltwater, we won’t blame you. Here, the 22 best places to scuba dive for your honeymoon in every corner of the big blue ocean.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
You’ve probably double-tapped incredibly gorgeous Instagram photos of Tenerife, southwest of Spain and off the coast of Morocco, without even knowing it. If you and hubs need a quick lesson: It’s the largest of the Canary Islands and has mild temperatures year-round, making it a great European honeymoon spot, no matter if you're a winter or summer bride. Here, you literally swim through caves and caverns, hike through volcanic mounds, and spot everything from barracuda and grunt fish to grouper and Atlantic rays. Consider staying at the Marylanza Suites & Spa, a luxe hotel that offers scuba-diving excursions, including trips to Neptune’s Cave or to El Condesito, which is a sunken cargo ship that’s home to a family of trumpet fish, octopus, and, since it’s in Spain, sardines, of course!
Ever wondered what the inside of a volcano looks like? Here’s your chance to feast your eyes on something rare and beautiful (and, nope, we’re not talking about your new husband). Nicaragua is home to the Laguna de Apoyo, just outside of Masaya. What is it? It’s a naturally occurring lagoon that formed in the submerged volcanic crater of the the now extinct Apoyo Volcano. It’s nestled within a nature reserve that, in addition to boasting amazing sunsets and a place to dive, is home to wild monkeys! You can also stop by Big Corn Island, which is about five square miles of swamp, beaches, and rain-forest hills. Here, you’ll spot nurse sharks, eagle rays, and of course coral. Opt for a honeymoon suite at Aqua Wellness Resort, which offers upscale dining and trips to the various active destinations you’ll want to check out.
Orange Beach, Alabama
You might not consider the lowcountry as a honeymoon destination, but if you’re looking to have a no-shoes, no-shirt-required kind of getaway, consider visiting Orange Beach in Alabama. Surprisingly, there are 17,000 artificial reefs that were created by fisherman in the 1950s (to encourage mating, ironically enough!), and many local dive companies will give you a tour around these parts. You can also flip your fins to visit the The Lulu, a 271-foot retired cargo ship that was purposely sunk to attract more divers in 2013. If that’s not enough, travel three miles past the coast of Orange Beach to visit Poseidon’s playground, where you can definitely snag an awesome underwater photo for a #weddedbliss Instagram post. Many resorts, including Perdido Beach Resort, have the internationally recognized PADI program to get honeymooners like yourself into the water from the moment they step in. You can take classes in the pool and then do a full-boat charter to get that certification in writing.
If you’re lucky enough to have several weeks off for your honeymoon and truly want to splurge on an adventure you’ll both never forget, you might consider packing your bags and booking a long flight to the soft coral capital of the world, Fiji! There are more than 1,000 species of fish and hundreds of types of corals and sponges accessible from every corner of the luxe island. It also has some of the most well-known (and treasured) dive sites, like Kadavu, where the fourth-largest barrier reef in the world, the Great Astrolabe Reef, is located. This must-see is great for beginners who want the full experience of scuba diving, allowing you to swim through its passages along it’s 100-kilometer length. Or for more of a challenge, consider grabbing your hubby and swimming to the Koro Sea, which has coral in colors ranging from bright orange and yellow to hot pink and is often referred to as the "zoo" because of the many fish varieties that live there. Just make sure you’re prepared to come face-to-face with barracudas, reef sharks, and manta rays. And if you can stomach the thought of it, you might consider Viti Levu, which hosts two out of three of the most dangerous sharks in the world: tiger and bull sharks. Where should you stay? Consider the Likuliku Lagoon Resort, which is definitely expensive but will also offer you excursions and some amazing spa treatments after you've run away from sharks.
You’ve likely sunk your toes into the white sand and the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean before, but maybe not specifically in Bonaire. Part of the ABC islands, this super-laid-back destination that is all about relaxed island life is best known for the scuba-diving opportunities it offers. Why? There is still tons to see under the surface at the Bonaire Marine Park, which is protected and preserved. When you book your trip, consider staying in the capital town, called Kralendijk, where you can easily access everything you need for your honeymoon quest. If you choose to stay at the colorful and charming Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, you can do the on-site PADI dive certification called Divi Dive Bonaire. Depending on how much energy you have post wedding madness, you can travel to the local hot spots, including the main reef, Calabas, or a more advanced dive, like Karpata, which is a favorite among the pros. Or to see lots of sea creatures with your honey, stop by Margate Bay, where you’ll see eels, butterfly fish, green morays, and much, much more.
If your busy schedule means you and your new husband didn’t get a passport before your wedding day arrived, don’t worry. You can still have a once-in-a-lifetime scuba-diving experience by visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands. Part of the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean, they include three main islands—St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas—all of which offer many opportunities to jump off a boat and see what’s swimming below you.
St. Croix has the largest living reef in the Caribbean, the Buck Island Reef National Monument, featuring 704 acres (yep, acres!) of protected area, making for quite the wonderland. You can book your honeymoon-suite experience at Caravelle Hotel & Casino, which partners with St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures, offering a scuba certification operated by a local fellow active couple. Diving here is truly a cherished experience for many, especially since it’s the only destination where you can dive a 13,200-foot-deep wall.
If a mom-and-pop type of hotel is more your speed (or you prefer to shop local—go, you!), consider staying at the Buccaneer, which is the Caribbean’s longest-running family-operated resort. This is a great option if you’re the type of couple who wants to dip your big toe into the scuba scene without diving in headfirst. It offers a complimentary two-hour session, and then you can pay extra if you decide you’d like to continue the certification process. And, hey, if you go for it, there’s a good chance you’ll spot a gathering of sea turtles, which the area is world-renowned for fostering.
One of the ABC islands, Curacao is 40 miles from Venezuela and presents a culture unlike any other island in the Caribbean. Not only does it include 55 nationalities within its small population of 150,000, but it’s one of the only Caribbean countries to openly support the LGBT community. Here, you can try rare meats—like iguana—and enjoy many of the national parks, reserves, and beaches, including Playa Knip, among the top-rated in the world. It’s recommended that you rent a car or hire a guide from the Tourism Board (ask for Cecil!), as it's the easiest way to get around the island or to visit its many wonders. For scuba diving, you can’t miss the Blue Room Cave, which is just how it sounds: a hidden lagoon accessible only via water. Here, you’ll also see plenty of wildlife and coral varieties. Book your honeymoon stay at Baoase Luxury Resort Curacao, where you and your new husband can have your own private villa—or for a real splurge, your own island. Yep, here you can rent Isla Kiniw, complete with a four-bedroom home, a power boat, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, a private infinity pool, and a grand piano.
A few hundred miles from Venezuela, this Caribbean island has all the makings of a romantic excursion for an active twosome: plenty of diving chances, tough hikes to breathtaking mountaintops, and, of course, suites with views you’ll drop your jaw over. Consider staying at Mount Cinnamon Resort, which offers an extensive dive package that will take you to discover hidden gems with that treasure you just married. Since Grenada is known as the wreck-diving destination of the Caribbean, you will have the chance to tour through 15 shipwrecks and an underwater sculpture garden, where you’ll see plenty of marine life and coral. A dive package includes a four-night stay, breakfast, eight dives (including tanks!), and a couples massage for your cool-down. (Or warm-up, depending on how you look at it #wink.)
Your honeymoon is an excuse to go on a trip that you normally wouldn’t take—or one that costs you more than you’d like to spend. Consider it your excuse to spin the globe and let your finger land on somewhere out of the ordinary, like Kenya. This destination has 33 wildlife parks and reserves that serve as the main areas for scuba diving, giving you plenty to choose from when you’re not busy on your safari tour. You can start at Watamu Marine National Park, which includes diving walls with beautiful drop-offs into the sea. You also have a good chance at swimming next to a turtle at the Turtle Reef, which is 10 meters long and features coral heads, parrotfish, and surgeonfish. As far as becoming certified, book some time with Aqua Ventures, the only British Sub Aqua Club facility in Kenya. Consider staying at Voyager Beach Resort, a casual, laid-back hotel that offers excursions for the active couple looking to get the most out of their post-wedding, ahem, voyage.
If for you and your husband, the best Sunday afternoon includes a morning run, followed by reading the newspaper or signing up for a lecture in your hometown, then consider visiting the smallest Dutch Caribbean island, Saba, with a population of a mere 1,800. It’s often referred to as "the Unspoiled Queen" since it’s a tad bit smaller than all of its surrounding tropical buddies, but it focuses heavily on history and education. This tropical oasis has a forest that rests 5,000 feet above sea level, and it offers a Sea and Learn program that teaches tourists (and locals) about how the sea affects us on land. You can pick from four main villages for your stay: the Bottom (which serves as the capital), Windwardside, St. John’s, and Zion Hill, which is also called Hell’s Gate. If you opt for the first village, book your stay at Hampshire Hotel–Queen’s Garden Resort, a hidden beauty tucked on a mountain. It'll help you get to the ocean to wet your fins while filling you in on the town gossip on the way down.
Do you like piña coladas—and dancing your way through an art gallery with a glass of champagne on Friday night? Even if you frequented this spot back in college, long before you met your now-husband, you probably don’t know everything this Mexico hot spot has to offer. Or how fancy and cultured it can really be. When you fly into Cancun, stay at the luxe NIZUC Resort & Spa, which offers complimentary boat trips to the underwater museum MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), where you can scuba through an underwater gallery. Yep, that’s right: You will not only swim among the fish and the coral but also admire art made by Mexican artists like Jason Decaires Taylor, Karen Salinas Martinez, Roberto Diaz Abraham, and Elier Amado Dil. And to extend your honeymoon scuba-diving adventure, consider booking NIZUC at Sea while you’re visiting, which is a private boat trip for up to six passengers on a 56-foot catamaran. It comes complete with an on-board butler, chef, champagne, caviar—and, of course, an instructor who can take you to MUSA’s deeper dive sites. No wet T-shirt contest here.
Between coordinating with the florist and the bakery, doing your trial-run hair appointments and somehow writing your vows at record speed, once your wedding arrives and ends in the blink-of-an-eye, you would rather not be around anyone but that man you just married. On the more secluded part of the Turks & Caicos Islands, South Caicos is home to the third-largest coral reef in the world, making it a special spot for scuba diving with your new hubby. This area is often referred to as "the Big South" and is named the fishing capital of the island, meaning after you work up an appetite swimming around, you can enjoy fresh lobster and conch. Opt for the luxe honeymoon suite at Sailrock Resort, which is on a hidden beach getaway. The resort can coordinate a scuba-diving adventure to see all of the sea creatures, from sharks, eagle rays, and loggerhead turtles to spotted rays, octopus, and more.
If your ideal honeymoon includes a bit of romance, a hint of adventure, and a European address, pack your bags to head to Monaco in the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean Sea. While Monaco might not be your first thought when it comes to scuba diving, Monaco’s Marine Reserve is part of the Pelagos Sanctuary and hosts a diving school created by world-record-holding free diver Pierre Frolla. At L‘Ecole Bleue, you can learn the ropes and get comfortable before you ever dive in. With warm summers and mild winters, you can get your fins wet no matter when you get married. While there, you can spot dozens of fish, coral, and sponges. Stay at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, which offers scuba-diving excursions, hiking and biking trails, and water skiing on site.
Bimini, the Bahamas
Are you and that guy you finally get to call your husband more experienced divers? If so, you might want to consider the Bahamas for your honeymoon. Bimini is known for amazing fishing opportunities and beautiful blue dives, and you can even get into the sea with sharks if you’re feeling extra brave. While you’re using your husband as a shield (he’s tough, right?!), take a look around at the 100-year-old partially submerged shipwreck, the S.S. Sapona. Consider staying at the newly opened luxury Hilton hotel, Resorts World Bimini, with a lighthearted culture ripe with fun foods to try and more rum than you need. It’s home to the largest marina on the island, and it has an on-site diving and fishing tour operator, Bimini Undersea, to get you in the water ASAP.
So, you and your partner in crime (and now for life!) have already seen plenty of coral reefs and tropical fish, and you’d like your honeymoon to offer something different. Enter the iconic "wall dives" in the Cayman Islands. Walls surround the island under the surface, with east, north, west, and south walls, and one is always available for scuba depending on the time of the year. They start at around 40 to 75 feet, and then they drop into the sea up to 150 feet down. If you can imagine it, it’s kind of like jumping out of an airplane and skydiving, only you’re submerged in water. If you can, try to plan to see the north wall, where you can catch "Stingray City." Where to stay? Consider the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa. As the name hints, this hotel sits on a white-sand beach that’s a short walk to Governor’s Reef. Best of all for the scuba-diving couple, this resort has an exclusive partnership with Red Sail Sports, which has more than 160 dive sites to offer you.
Papua New Guinea
There are so many things to love about your newlywed: how he remembers how you take your coffee, his insatiable laughter, and how he can rattle off so many random facts about random events in history, continuously awe-inspiring you. For your honeymoon, allow him to, um, dive into history in Papua New Guinea, in the Indo-Pacific area. This mostly unchartered land features twice as many marine species as in the Red Sea and five times as many as in the Caribbean. But what your history buff will love the most is the wreck diving sites, including submarines from World War II. Many avid divers call this area an underwater photographer’s paradise, so make sure you invest in a GoPro before jetsetting. Stay at the easy-going but luxe Walindi Plantation Resort, on the shores of Kimbe Bay, which offers dives all over the island. While staying here, some guests have caught sight of orca, pilot whales, and whale sharks! It’s also home to the boutique live-aboard dive vessel MV FeBRINA.
Great Barrier Reef—Queensland, Australia
If you’re really going to go big for your honeymoon, there is no better place than the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, which has the crème de la crème of diving adventures. Depending on where you call home, it might be quite the trek, but we bet you and hubs will be telling the stories from this trip to your grandchildren. This reef—consisting of 2,900 individual reefs, 600 continental islands, and 300 coral cays—is the only living structure on earth that can be seen from outer space and the world’s largest single structure made up of living organisms. There are hundreds of dives a day, with most resorts only about a 20-minute ride out. The most popular places to check off include Ribbon Reefs, Osprey Reef, the Whitsundays, and of course SS Yongala, the Great Barrier’s wreckage. In between your dives, stay at the Bedarra Island Resort, which offers treetop villas to rent out for a very private oasis, just for the two of you.
Gulf of Thailand/Andaman Sea, Thailand
When you and the hubby met in college, you decided to backpack your way through Asia post graduation, and though you were in love before then, having that experience together really sealed the deal. Consider paying a tribute to your history by choosing Thailand for your scuba-diving honeymoon adventure. To get the best photos for Insta (and, yep, memories you’ll cherish), you’ll want to stay in the Gulf of Thailand, on one of the islands on the Andaman Sea: Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Chang, and Koh Phangan. Off all of these beautiful white sandy beaches, you’ll find walls, deep dropoffs, wreckage sites, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles, and much more. Depending on where you dive, you will also spot whale sharks, blue-spotted lagoon rays, chevron barracuda, tuna, and other species. Though you might spend a pretty penny on the flights, you’ll save money on lodging, with even the most luxe resorts listing inexpensive nightly rates. Consider staying at the View Point Resort–Koh Tao, complete with infinity pools, private cabana-like rooms, and—you guessed it!—scuba-diving excursions.
For a trip that you’ll want to write home to your mom and dad (and now your mother- and father-in-law) about, see if your hubby can be persuaded to visit Zanzibar, Africa. Part of Tanzania in East Africa, this Indian Ocean hot spot is known for its many highly rated and luxurious hotels and its diving opportunities. When you book your stay at Breezes Beach Club & Spa, you can stop by the Rising Sun Dive Center, a five-star PADI outfitter that can help you and your guy get certified or simply take you out for an adventure. This company chooses to keep the class size small, meaning you’ll both get plenty of hands-on attention. Advanced couples can try Leven Bank, which offers a variety of reef fishing, including tuna and sailfish. Or if you're more of a novice, consider Hunga Reef, which is great for snapping some under-the-water shots and gives you the chance to see crocodile fish, stonefish, scorpion fish, and more.
Rosalie Bay Resort in Dominica
Post planning (and those premarital jitters), one of your favorite parts of your wedding day was getting to toast to the start of your marriage with all of those you love. You can keep the bubbly flowing by scuba diving in Rosalie Bay in Dominica, where the Champagne Reef creates a bubble-like experience from the ocean’s floor. This secluded area is great for nature-loving couples who want to hike one day, put on their fins another day, and learn about the rain forest another. Book your honeymoon experience at one of National Geographic’s Most Unique Lodges of the World, the Rosalie Bay Resort. This ecoresort makes it easy to try your hand at whatever you and the hubs are in the mood for, with personalized excursions for fitness, wellness, and more.
La Paz, Mexico
This isn’t your typical Caribbean destination. La Paz, Mexico, has everything from orcas and blue whales to humpback whales, Giant Pacific manta rays, and California sea lions—and more. If you and your hubby want to get the best view of whale season, it’s important to go when they’re migrating along the Baja peninsula, from November to April. For your romantic honeymoon stay, book a suite in one of the 23 private residences at Playa de La Cruz, which will help you create a customized ocean adventure package, just for the two of you.
Thousand Islands, upstate New York
Your cousin, your bestie, your husband’s coworker—they all went to a tropical land for their honeymoon, but you'd prefer a more rustic experience? Pack your newly monogrammed bags and head to New York’s Thousand Islands region. Though you won’t see neon-colored fish or reefs here, you can scuba your way through the Seaway Trail in the St. Lawrence River, which has a legendary graveyard of ships that spans three centuries. In fact, one of the ships has been under the surface since the 1700s! For a home base to keep your diving gear—and to relax post adventure—stay at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton, which has a transient boat dock, making it easy for you to get back on the water ASAP.