Adventure holidays: Dive in to the coolest underwater wonders
For those who do want to enjoy a spot of diving or snorkelling, you can find weird and wonderful sites ranging from ancient cities to sunken Boeing aircraft. Prepare for a dose of wanderlust as we take a look at the world’s coolest underwater attractions…
1. DOS OJOS CENOTE, MEXICO
The “Two Eyes Cenote” has earned its name thanks to two sinkholes that form the cenote, joined by a 1,300ft-long passageway. It’s also one of Mexico’s largest underwater cave systems.
There’s an impressive amount of light that reaches the waters making them crystal-clear, and therefore a big hit with snorkelling and diving fans. cenotesmexico.org
2. SHICHENG, CHINA
Dubbed the “Atlantis of the East”, Shicheng is an ancient city which sits about 85-130ft below the surface. Once a thriving city, the valley in which it is located was flooded more than 1,300 years ago.
It’s a popular diving site, mainly because the water has protected the stone architecture from wind and sun erosion. Nowadays you can take guided tours to get close to the ruins, although you will need to be a good diver for this one. cnto.org.uk
3. ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT, THE MALDIVES
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island hotel offers up a dining experience unlike any other – right in those picture-perfect ocean waters the Maldives are renowned for.The restaurant sits under the sea and has glass walls and ceiling so diners can take in views of the marine life that thrives around the shores, as well as the eye-catching coral gardens. conradmaldives.com
4. DIVE BAHRAIN
Bahrain’s new underwater museum opened in 2019 and features a sunken Boeing 747 jet for divers to explore.
The 230ft-long plane was submerged underwater on purpose, as part of the new attraction which will also boast 25 acres of activities and trails for divers, ranging from colourful artificial reefs to underwater sculptures.
One diver shared a video as he explored the site and while it doesn’t have much marine life at the moment, it’s still pretty impressive. divebahrain.com
5. CANCUN UNDERWATER MUSEUM OF ART, MEXICO
Usually art museums involve large galleries you wander through – but this one is completely submerged under water, so you’ll need to dive down and swim along.
There are more than 500 life-size sculptures to discover, all of which have been built to promote coral life.
You can explore through snorkelling and diving, but if you don’t want to get in the water there are glass-bottom-boat tours that offer a glimpse of the artwork. musamexico.org
6. SWEEPSTAKES SHIPWRECK, CANADA
Lake Huron in Ontario is where you’ll find the shipwreck of Sweepstakes, a schooner that hit a rock near Cove Island. It was towed to the nearby lake where it sank in the shallow water.
Nowadays you can snorkel or dive to get up close, while the picture-perfect landscape around the lake is worth a visit alone. ontariotravel.net
7. UNDERWATER WATERFALL, MAURITIUS
On the island’s southwestern coast sits a spectacular underwater waterfall. It’s actually the result of sand and silt on the ocean floor forming an illusion of a waterfall – but the strong currents mean this one is best admired from afar.
If you want to witness the natural phenomenon then you won’t be getting into the water – the best way to see it is from the air, and there are plenty of seaplane and helicopter tours on offer. tourismmauritius.mu
8. THE GREEN LAKE, AUSTRIA
In the winter, the lake has depths of around 3-6ft, and is surrounded by a picturesque park.
However, come summertime, as the surrounding mountain ice melts, the lake fills up and the park is submerged, creating depths of up to 40ft. Oh, and thanks to the lush landscape, the waters boast a dazzling emerald green shade. austria.info
9. SCULPTURE PARK, GRENADA
This underwater gallery of sculptures sits in a marine-protected area, and the striking artworks double up as artificial reefs, drawing in an impressive array of marine life.
There are heaps of sculptures of life-size people in various activities, from sitting at a desk in front of a typewriter to a circle of children playing a game. puregrenada.com
10. UNDERWATER POST OFFICE, VANUATU
Forget writing a traditional postcard – at the Hideaway Island marine sanctuary in the South Pacific you can send special waterproof messages to your loved ones from the underwater post office.
The hotspot is available to snorkellers and divers, and it makes for a quirky photo opp too. vanuatu.travel/au/
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