It will soon be time to venture farther afield than the back garden for family activities. We can’t wait to get to sunnier climes and put on our boardies for that first bomb off the end of the jetty! See our pick below where you and your cubs can enjoy scuba and snorkelling fun when we get the green light for travel.
There are 2 options for diving Tobago - the north and the south. The northern Atlantic coast tends to be warmer thanks to the Gulf Stream and the Guyana current. It has some exciting drift dives, plenty of colourful fish species and massive brain corals. Goat Island has some great snorkelling spots and is also suitable for learning to dive. Divers can expect to see hawksbill turtles, tarpon, southern stingrays, barracuda and various types of shark. This part of the country has rainforests and mountains to explore topside whether trekking or birdwatching.
The Caribbean coast in the south has cooler water temperatures and less wind and current. Because of the sheltered reefs it is perfect for less experienced divers. Expect to see colourful sponges, lobster and hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles. Because of the unspoilt beaches in the south, these turtle species return annually in the first half of the year to lay their eggs on the western shores.
As Tobago is only 8 miles wide and 26 miles long, you can experience both parts of the country in a twin centre dive holiday. It has some very reasonably-priced accommodation for families.
The Red Sea is a short-haul destination for families looking for a great value sunny holiday not in Europe. The reefs are super colourful and fish identification is a great activity whether diving or snorkelling. Sheltered bays and warm water make this a suitable year-round destination, where dive sites can be accessed from both the beach and via boat.
There are boutique hotels that allow extra beds. Many of these also have swimming pools and watersports activities such as windsurfing. Some larger resorts are geared up to be child-friendly, offering family rooms and topside activities for non-diving days - like water slides. A soft all-inclusive option can be great value for money. You can return again and again to Egypt enjoying different parts of the Red Sea coastline thanks to direct flights from the UK. Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Sharm el Sheikh are just a few resorts accessed in just over 5 hours.
Bonaire’s position north of Venezuela means it rarely gets any rain. Nutrient-rich water and easy sheltered shore diving makes it a perfect destination for kids. The marine park also has 17 dedicated snorkelling sites for non-divers. Along the stunning fringing reef you are likely to see turtles, dolphins, giant frogfish and stingrays.
A ‘drive and dive’ package includes standard pickup truck rental which gives you freedom as a family to go about your day at your leisure. Family apartments are available. There is a lot to do in Bonaire for thrill-seekers including kayaking, mountain biking and kite surfing. Flights go via Amsterdam as this is otherwise known as the Dutch Caribbean.
Malta (and its sister island Gozo) is the perfect destination to introduce your little ones to diving. Water is clear and calm and also warm in summer. Cirkewwa and Silema have some shallow sites that are good for beginners with interesting rock formations, coral reefs and underwater valleys.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea it has a choice of both self-catering apartments and all-inclusive accommodation. Larger hotels in Malta have child-friendly facilities and are just a short journey from the centre of St Paul’s Bay. Capital Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has an intriguing history, which is well worth a visit on your last day.
Mexico’s Caribbean side has long stretches of white sandy beaches, pretty marinas and a great selection of restaurants and bars. There is some world-class diving along the Riveria Maya and Yucatán Peninsula which have warm tropical waters, beautiful reefs and diverse marine life. Suitable for novices, you can combine stunning drift dives one day with submerged limestone cenotes the next (also suitable for snorkellers). Expect to see green turtles, spotted eagle rays, sea fans and whip corals.
Laid back Puerto Aventuras is just a 45-minute drive from Cancun airport and has a choice of boutique hotels or self-catering accommodation. In the summer you can enjoy full day excursions to snorkel with whale sharks. From here and Tulum you can access the Mesoamerican reefs and cenotes for diving and snorkelling. For non diving days enjoy the city of Chichen Itza and the Mayan ruins which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.