It is puzzling that India does not make most divers bucket list, it should! While the Maldives are often on divers bucket list, the Lakshadweep archipelago goes unnoticed, but it’s much alike the Maldives. Indeed, the archipelago is located in the Arabian Sea, so not too far, has very similar underwater features and has over 30 atolls. The Lakshadweep archipelago proposes excellent diving, but is often overlooked in favor of its neighbor.
Furthemore, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are considered some of the best liveaboard diving in Thailand, while in fact, those islands belong to India. Also, Pondicherry, on India’s eastern coast, has just started being explored by divers. They are finding pristine reefs and outstanding wreck diving.
The state of Goa, on the south western coast, offers outstanding diving as well. With 5,000 kilometers of coast line plus hundreds of off shore islands India has a potential to become a premier diving destination. Now is the time to get there before it is fully discovered.
In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in India.
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The biggest problem about diving in India is narrowing your choices down to where you can make a decision on where to go. The India diving industry is not very large, but it is spread over a large distance.
Also, the scuba diving industry is growing. More and more locals are learning to dive and international divers are also visiting. Some portions of India do not have a strong tourism infrastructure making them a little less desirable for some. Dedicated divers know, and that’s okay with them, as it only means better, uncrowded diving.
Here are four key areas to dive India:
Lakshadweep archipelago: Still sometimes called by their former name, Laccadive Islands, the archipelago is a part of the same underwater mountain range that forms the Maldives. They are about an hour and a half flight time from the mainland. Tourism development, in fact all development on the islands, has been slow so that the ecological balance is not overly impacted. Few of the islands are inhabited and those that are have a sparse population. The diving is said to be pristine and is often compared to the Maldives before it was developed. Both the Maldives and Laccadive Islands are located in the Laccadive Sea or Lakshadweep Sea.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: These islands form the boundary between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengals. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are considered the best liveaboard diving in Thailand. While the sea touches the coast of Thailand, the islands really belong to India. The islands tend to be considered as part of Thailand simply because the tourism infrastructure is not as built up in India, as it is in neighboring Thailand.
The south western state of Goa has a long history with westerns, being an important port in older times. It has been a tourist destination for decades. Goa has a strong dive industry with many outstanding diving sites. Marine life is plentiful and there are a good selection of wrecks. If you love rich coral gardens and pinnacles this is the place for you. Divers can also explore other dive destinations along the coast using Goa as a starting point.
Pondicherry is a fairly new tourism destination and is growing an outstanding reputation for scuba diving. New dive sites are constantly being added by the local dive operators that include previously unknown ship wrecks.
How to dive India?
The tourism industry, in many parts of India where diving happens, is limited. Goa being the major exception to that statement. As such, you may want to consider resorts with a dive operator or use accommodations recommended by the dive operator you will use. Also, given the other wonderful things to explore on land, you should consider extra non-diving days.
There are only a few liveaboards operating in India, however, they do provide an outstanding way to dive India. Make sure you visit our page of best Indian liveaboards to find out more about the diving cruises of India.
Best time to dive in India
Southern India is within the tropics, so expect hot weather year-round. That being said, the weather patterns are different as you move to different regions.
- Lakshadweep has the best diving and weather May through November.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the opposite side of the country has the opposite months, November through April are the best time for diving. Monsoons can cancel diving here in June and July.
- Goa, which faces Lakshadweep, knows the best diving conditions between October and May.
- Peak dive season for Pondicherry is January through June and then September through November.
Top liveaboards in India according to divers reviews
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The dive centers offer the full range of warm water dive courses. Both PADI and SSI have a strong presence here and other accreditation agencies can be found as well.
Furthermore, some of locations such as Pondicherry are better enjoyed by deep divers. So, if you are not a certified deep diver, consider getting certified while diving there. Also, the off shore locations are a great place to get your drift diver certification. Plus, Nitrox is always a good certification to add to your scuba diving skills.
Scuba Diving conditions
Lakshadweep and the Andaman archipelagos generally have visibility ranging from 10-45 meters/30-150 feet with water temperatures averaging 27-28°C/80-82°F.
Goa has similar water temperatures but visibility is less, often in the 5-11 meters/15-35 feet range.
Pondicherry water temperatures range from 26-30°C/78-84°F and visibility of 5-20 meters/15-70 feet range.
Snorkelling in India
Most of the dive destinations as well as the southern beaches offer the possibility for some great snorkeling in India.
Fishes and Coral
When we talk of marine life in Asia we often refer to the area as the Indo-Pacific. While the Indian Ocean has fewer coral and fish species than found in the coral triangle, it is doubtful that the average scuba diver will see the difference. You can expect to see an abundant number of fish on each dive.
If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to India, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.
We often hear seasoned divers and scientist about how dive sites were better in the past. They tell us how tourism, even dive tourism, has changed the reefs. That impact has not happen yet in India. It is still a diving paradise that you need to explore and enjoy. Of course, let’s try to preserve it, check how you can be a responsible diver and spare the marine environment your footprint.
Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our India Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.
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