I love water, and most of my vacations are beach destinations. While I have Scuba Dived a few times, sometimes I have enjoyed snorkeling as much as, (if not more), than scuba diving. Below are some pros and cons which will help you decide what you pick will be on your next beach vacation, especially if you are a first timer.
Scuba Diving is a great experience, extremely enthralling to feel the life under the sea. However, nothing in this world comes for free. And not just the money, but the time and energy required for your first scuba diving is way more than that required for snorkeling
Scuba Diving pros over Snorkeling
- You get to swim WITH the beautiful fish and other sea lives- its magical!
- You can have a peek-a-boo at their tiny little homes 🙂
- Though scuba diving allows you to actually touch and feel things underwater, I seriously feel that one should not touch..and especially not break/harm anything under water (including corals)
- With some prior experience you can go to greater depths. In some regions just the sheer variety of life you will find barely 6mt deep is way more vibrant than what you can see from snorkeling
- You do not need to know swimming. You are controlled by the oxygen pressure and the weights attached to your body. My husband who has NEVER swim in his life thoroughly enjoyed his first scuba diving experience. Until unless you are a professional, you will have a buddy to guide you. Ideally a buddy should NOT be assisting more that one person under the water.
Snorkeling pros over Scuba Diving
- More economical- not only in terms of money, but even in terms of time. For a short 2-3 day beach vacation, Scuba Diving would not be the best option as and good institution will require you to undergo at least one session of pool training( ~2-3 hours) followed by the actual dive. Its is BEST advised not to take your first dive on the same day as your first pool training. Save up all your energy and start afresh on the next day, as the getting accustomed to breathing from an oxygen cylinder can get you SIGNIFICANTLY tired; you really don’t want to miss out on a single dive one you are there, in the middle of the ocean!
- Scuba Diving is definitely more risky, so ensure you choose a reputed organization. I feel one should definitely not keep cheap/economical deals as a factor for risky adventure sports.
- All you need for snorkeling is the mask and flippers- easily available for sale/for rent (I generally prefer snorkeling without my flippers). However, in case you plan to snorkel..in case the bed is rocky or has a lot of sea urchin, please do put on your flippers
- It really depends on WHERE you are vacationing at and what the weather conditions under the sea are. For instance, once I went to an island off Goa, and I was so glad I did scuba diving- I would have seen nothing if I had snorkeled. On the other hand, in Phuket- Koh Phi Phi, where the water was CRYSTAL CLEAR, and very still, I was SO glad I opted for snorkeling instead of scuba diving. Another eg- you’ll see some amazing pics/videos taking during snorkeling at Maldives in an interesting blog MaldivesDreamer , where snorkeling can provide as beautiful and clear view of underwater life as scuba diving. Also, scuba diving can be pretty tiring..Not just the entire event, but dressing up, the oxygen tank..all of it
- While ideally its best to know swimming, snorkeling can be done even if you don’t know swimming, ONLY if your partner knows swimming and is confident that they can assist you. I for instance held my husband’s hand and we happily snorkeled for a good half hour. However, initially it was super difficult to convince him that I would not let him drown! 😉
So whatever it is you pick, don’t spend a zillion hours thinking ‘What if the other one would have been a better experience’. There’s always going to be a next vacation where you can try what you did not do in this vacation!! 🙂