RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Adventure seekers and travel enthusiasts often experience Latin America's romance culture and amazing food but, until now, only very few have had an opportunity to explore the underwater world that the locals of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean have frequented for years. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), the world's largest dive training organization, has tapped into its extensive network of dive centers and instructors to uncover seven must-see scuba diving sites in the region. These literally off-the-beaten-path gems, combined with the region's rich history and friendly people, provide the trip of a lifetime for first-time travelers or a compelling itinerary for anyone looking to return.
"The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface, but oftentimes we overlook the opportunities this offers our lives when we travel, and the amazing locations of Latin America are no different," says Kristin Valette, PADI Americas vice president of marketing and communications. "PADI Dive Centers, Resorts and Instructors in Latin America provide expert insight into these remote dive locations, which allows you to explore sunken ships and beautiful reefs in the ocean's depths while getting up close and personal with marvelous marine animals, such as hammerhead sharks and sea lions."
Whether you're planning to obtain your PADI scuba diving certification while traveling, or are a seasoned diver, these seven hidden gems of Latin America are sure to give you a new perspective into this breath-taking region:
- Gordon Rocks, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Located about an hour from Puerto Ayora, this dive site close to Plazas Islands includes four smaller dive sites to take in marine life, including hammerhead sharks who often appear here in large schools, as well as reef fish, stingrays, turtles and sea lions.
- Pedras Secas, Fernando De Noronha, Brazil
One of the best dives on the island, this location features lots of small caverns and a long tunnel that is home to innumerable forms of life, including turtles, nurse sharks, moray eels and barracuda. You're also likely to catch a glimpse of lemon and tiger sharks.
- Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Diving with whales is one of the most incredible experiences offered in the crystal clear waters of Golfo Nuevo, just 11 miles away from Argentina's diving capital of Puerto Madryn, Chubut. From June to December, various populations of southern right whale arrive in Puerto Madryn creating a large steady population of whales and their calves. You can also explore shipwrecks, including Naufragio Emma y Pastor de los Abismos, Naufragio Río de Oro, and El Arca de Madryn, as well as coral reefs at Parque Las piedras y Piedras grandes.
- Easter Island, Chile
Easter Island is famous for its moai sculptures, the more than 400 stone blocks carved into head-and-torso figures that you can find around the island, but few people are aware of the incredible diving that lies beneath the island's clear waters. Its remote location and lack of pollution make for impressive visibility, allowing you to see an abundance of marine life, coral reefs, and even a submerged replica of a moai stature.
- Bay Islands, Honduras
The three Bay Islands (Islas de la Bahía), Roatán, Utila and Guanaja (located approximately 15-30 miles off the north coast of Honduras) are home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world and are teeming with fish, coral, sponges, rays, sea turtles and even whale sharks. Black Hills is ideal for recreational diving and 'CJ's Drop Off' (AKA the Great Wall) should definitely be on the to-do list.
- La Paz, Mexico
The Sea of Cortez provides a beautiful backdrop for this amazing destination once baptized by Jacques Cousteau as "The Aquarium of the World," as it has over 800 species of marine life who call it home, including the famous gray whales. This is also one of the premier dive sites in the world for schooling hammerhead sharks, which range from between six to hundreds travelling in a clockwise direction.
- San Andres, Colombia
Colombia is the only country in South America with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Here you'll dive the wreck of the Blue Diamond, a medium-sized freighter, which was impounded in the 1990s by the Colombian government for running drugs before being scuttled as a dive attraction.
Visit the PADI website to find a PADI Dive Center or Resort and start planning your Latin America adventure.
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world's largest recreational diver training organization, with more than 136,000 trained PADI Professionals dedicated to introducing new divers to the thrill of scuba diving and enhancing the skills of experienced divers through its 6,200 dive centers and resorts worldwide. PADI Members issue nearly 1,000,000 certifications worldwide each year, making underwater exploration and adventure accessible to the public while maintaining the highest industry standards for dive training, safety and customer service. For more information, visit www.PADI.com.
Contact: Stephanie Proos