When asked what my dream vacation was, I answered without hesitation, “Somewhere with a beach.” I hate being landlocked. There’s just something about being near the ocean and knowing that there is so much more going on underwater than there is on land that we don’t know about.

Summer is around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by exploring the sea and scuba dive? I was inspired to look up the best places to dive, and found some amazing places I’d like to share…and eventually travel to.

Maaya ThilaThe Maldives
This breathtaking Maldives dive site Maaya Thila is a highlight for fish lovers. The beautiful underwater landscape, soft coral and gorgonians are simply too good to miss out on. Inside the atoll lagoons of the Maldives you often find pinnacles of rock vaulting up almost to the surface. They are known locally as ‘Thilas’ and are often dazzled with sessile life forms. These formations bring water up from the ocean floor against their walls, creating an environment that supports a plethora of crustaceans and schools of resident fish.

Palau is the ultimate paradise for the adventurous traveler, showing off some of the most spectacular water features in the world. Some have called the Palau the “8th Natural Wonder of the World.” In fact, the Micronesian Shark Foundation will be holding it’s annual Shark Week in March of 2013. Participants will get to dive with Palau sharks during mating season and attend captivating seminars. For more details, click here!

Barrier ReefBelize (–>)
If you’re not in the mood for schools of fish and sea turtles, try the Barrier Reef in Belize! This is known as the “bottomless pit of mystery” because of the enormous drop-offs and stalactites. This dive is more intense, so you must have a diving buddy and an expert will be around at all times to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Ras BobEgypt
Feeling adventurous? Instead of diving in tropical areas, test the waters in Ras Bob, where there are mysterious sunken ships with enamored with both soft and hard coral. It’s a great place for spotting crocodile fish and blue-spotted stingrays. I think I would pretend like I was Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” and explore the underwater caves and ships.

Another “wreck dive” you might be interested in is in Raiatea. Located between Tahiti and Bora Bora, Raiatea has an abundance of dive sites with colorful sea life, a sooner that sank in 1990, and coral reefs. One particularity is the Distichopora coral, whom yellow and purple shaped highlight some part of the reef. If you want amazing underwater pictures, this is the place to go (but I’m sure you’d capture gorgeous pictures no matter what).

Getting Certified
In order to dive, you must be certified. You should basically be in good physical shape and be comfortable in the water. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization and will teach you the skills and confidence to dive.

Whether you want to take it easy and swim with sea turtles in shallow water or drift around massive sunken ships, scuba diving is the perfect way to spend the summer.