Warm, shallow waters and gentle currents are what makes scuba diving in Goa such a fun and safe experience.
The best dive shops are in North Goa and all the diving happens around Grande Island, a little away from the mainland. In these waters, you’ll be mesmerised with coral reefs, rock pinnacles and shipwrecks from the Second World War. The warm Arabian Sea is perfect for both experienced divers and first-timers alike.
To get you started, here are four certified operators that will give you an unforgettable underwater experience:
The Only Dive Centre on a Beach
Goa Tourism’s official diving center, Flying Fish offers both the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and Scuba Schools International (SSI) certification. The only dive center that sits on a beach in Goa, Flying Fish offers free pool training sessions to guests staying at Hilton hotels in Goa, and a 10 per cent discount on any of their courses. As a token, the school also provides photos and videos of your complimentary pool dive at no additional cost.
Flying Fish’s owner, Amitabh, is truly passionate about the sport, and you’ll be able to have a chat with him on the great spots to scuba dive around the area.
Flying Fish offers a one-day ‘Discover Scuba Dive’ programme with one open water dive (40 minutes) which costs 6,000 rupees (USD85), while their ‘Explore Scuba Dive’ package with two open water dives of 30 minutes each is priced at 8,000 rupees (USD110).
Flying Fish | Address: GTDC Calangute Residency, Calangute, Goa 403516, India | Tel: +91 98101 10189 or +91 98110 18181
Goa’s First Diving School
Established in 1993, Goa’s First Diving School offers a range of SSI certification courses, including instructor training and volunteer opportunities. Drop by the dive shop and have a chat with the owner Venkat, a true professional with a great sense of humour. With over 30 years of diving experience, Venkat is a brilliant teacher who makes sure you are completely comfortable underwater, before your first dive.
Their two-day ‘Try Scuba Diving’ programme priced at 5,300 rupees (USD75) and 7,000 rupees (USD100) covers two dives.
Barracuda Diving | Address: Number 326, Borvonwaddo Nachinola, Bardez, Goa 403508, India | Tel: +91 98221 82402
A Typical Goan Dive Experience
With highly experienced instructors who boast of over 1000 dives each, Dive Goa offers a friendly experience with enough food and chatty instructors to keep you company. You’ll also get the full dive experience here right from riding in a local boat to the dive sites, eating local fresh snacks and carrying your own equipment on and off the boat, with a little help, should you need it.
It offers PADI and SSI certification dives priced at 3,500 rupees (USD50) for 20 minutes, 5,000 rupees (USD70) for 40 minutes, and additional 40-minute dives at 1,500 rupees (USD20) each.
If you are an advanced diver and would like to explore more dive sites down the coast, talk to Ajay; the owner of Dive Goa, he’ll help you plan day or overnight trips to Murudeshwar, a small town 4 hours away by road from Goa.
Dive Goa | Address: SinQ Night Club, Aguada Siolim Road, Candolim, Goa 403515, India | Tel: +91 93250 30110
The Inlands Dive School With Three Centres
This is the only dive school with three dive centers scattered across the inlands, along the Western Coast of India. West Coast Adventures offers both PADI and SSI certification. Dives are priced at 4,000 rupees (USD55) for a short 20-minute dive or 5,000 rupees (USD70) for a longer 40-minute dive. If you’re new to the sport, you can experience both the ‘Discovery Dive’ and ‘Try Scuba Diving’ courses with them.
West Coast Adventures | Address: Hyatt Centric Candolim, Anna Waddo, Main Candolim Road, Bardez, Gauravaddo, Candolim, Goa 403515, India
| Tel: +91 70570 66669
Tip: Try not to negotiate with dive centers, as diving in India is affordable and safe. You will not be charged extra for your diving equipment by any dive shop.
Don’t know which dive school to pick? The Concierge at the DoubleTree by Hilton Goa – Panaji can help you decide on one that suits your needs. Especially if you’re on a tight itinerary. Ask them to arrange for a car, guide you with directions, and pack some delicious apres-dive snacks to enjoy after.”