As we move from autumn to winter, the days grow shorter, and the temperature falls, you may find yourself looking for a getaway destination full of sunny skies and warm waters. For people who love to scuba dive like myself, here is a just one very short list of great places to pack up your aquatic equipment (mask, snorkel, fins, and regulator) and set out on vacation. These are well-known destinations, even if a little off-the-beaten-track, but all are spots well worth visiting.

  1. Komodo National Park in Indonesia

Komodo National Park is most popular for its native inhabitants. See Komodo dragons here, up close and personal! And it’s not just the funny waddle of the Komodo Dragons you’ll want to see: this National Park is one that will steal your heart and make you plan to return for another vacation before you even leave. A world heritage site for more than 3 decades, the water and soil is rich with nutrients, leading to the abundant coral and marine life that make it a perfect contender for a scuba or snorkeling vacation list. Whether you stay on land or a dive boat, the quiet surroundings will give you a chance to slowly drink in and appreciate the beauty of nature and the sea, and the fresh air and peaceful atmosphere will recharge you.

  1. Silver Bank in Dominican Republic

Silver Bank in Dominican Republic is a perfect place to dive, swim and snorkel, even for newcomers to the sport, thanks to the professional team that manages the safety department at this beach. Not to mention the incredible experience of being in the water with the humpback whales swimming right alongside you! It is a shallow stretch of shore in the Caribbean Sea, making it a favorable spot to enjoy the water for swimmers and surfers alike. Divers and snorkelers can share the water with the whales only during certain seasons so make sure to plan accordingly, and don’t forget to get the most of a fantastic cuisine while you are there!

  1. Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is an internationally renowned travel destination. For nature enthusiasts, scuba divers, and snorkelers, this is one of the best vacation destinations for a few good reasons: First and foremost there are more than 2500 individual reefs, stretching more than 2,300 kilometers to form the Great Barrier Reef that has been there for more than half a million years. The reef is easily accessible, safe, and the water is warm, leading to a perfect venue for snorkeling and scuba diving for hours on end, and the Reef is famous for being a lush ecosystem, teeming with all manner of marine life. Be sure not to wait too long – global warming is already seriously bleaching the Barrier Reef ecosystem.

  1. Solomon Islands near Papua New Guinea

Solomon Islands, a sovereign country comprising of six major (and more than 900 minor) islands near Papua New Guinea is a popular vacation site for scuba divers and snorkelers. It may be best known for the presence of many sunken warships dating back to World War II. These wrecks are not only fascinating for underwater sightseeing on their own, but they have also become the perfect shelter for a teeming underwater ecosystem. Additionally, the area around islands including Mary and Uepi is where you will find many amazing reefs showcasing a variety of sea life, including sharks, barracuda, bat-fish and much, much more. Having so many islands so close to one another makes it a popular travel destination above the water as well!