February 20, 2024

Travel experiences — not gifts — for family milestones

There is an increasing trend in the travel industry to celebrate milestone birthdays and graduations of tweens and teens with special trips and travel experiences, rather than gifts and parties.

Statistics show that people are traveling slower and longer, with an emphasis on enriching, fulfilling and holistic experiences. Many people have had to put their travel wish lists on hold in recent years, and people are now prioritizing their travel dreams and making them a reality.

One of those bucket list experiences is learning to dive while on vacation.

“Learning to dive on vacation gives people the opportunity to really disconnect from the outside world and be in the moment,” says Julie Andersen Global Senior Director of Brand for PADI Worldwide. As a bonus, scuba diving offers an incredible wellness experience, both physically and mentally.

Andersen explains that her father taught her to dive at a young age and to this day, their fondest memories are of times spent underwater on adventures around the world. “We cherish not only the experience, but also the fact that we shared it together. Through this process we have learned a greater sense of responsibility for each other and the oceans. We learned soft skills that you simply can’t get from a book: from compassion for all beings to a strong sense of unwavering trust. We are all better together – and independent – ​​thanks to diving.

Where to go to get scuba diving certified

Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean, offers world-class diving and is also on travelers’ bucket lists.

The seabed of Mauritius is exceptional for its landscape; it is surrounded by a barrier of coral reefs.

There are numerous dive sites around Mauritius. Experienced divers often choose a dive site that can be quite deep, including Gunner’s Coin, the Whale Rock or Holt’s Rock. For those new to diving, more accessible locations are recommended, such as the Blue Bay Marine Park in the southeast.

The north of Mauritius has more than 60 dive sites, from Pointe aux Piments to Calodyne. The northern islets, including the Gunner’s Coin, Round Island, Flat Island and Ilot Gabriel, offer striking scenery with diverse landscapes formed by corals, rocks and shallow waters. It also has several multi-colored creatures that inhabit them. You might even encounter sharks, including hammerhead sharks. Visibility is good because this part of the island is protected from the trade winds and very few rivers empty their courses into the sea here.

There are more than 45 dive sites on the west coast, from Albion to Le Morne. This is the region where you can spot dolphins and rays. With reefs 15 to 50 meters deep and strong currents passing through basalt tunnels and chimneys, the west coast offers a completely different landscape for divers. The seabed here has fewer coral reefs and more basaltic landforms with changing topographies and highly variable depths.

The east coast has more than 60 dive sites, stretching from Poudre d’Or to Blue Bay. There are plenty of shipwrecks here, for divers who enjoy this type of diving.

Allowing families to get scuba certified while on vacation

Learning to dive during a family holiday in Mauritius is easy. There are more than 30 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts on the island, so there’s probably never one far from where you’re staying.

Children aged 8 and over can take their first breath underwater through the PADI Bubblemakers course and become a member of the PADI Seal Team and children aged 10 and older can take PADI Jr. Open Water Becoming Diverse.

The PADI Five Star Dive Resort Diving Mauritius is the largest diving company in the country and one of the best in the Indian Ocean. Owner François Besson is a highly talented and respected figure in the diving world, known for his extensive knowledge and experience.

Besson started his company in 1993. He was born in South Africa, but both his parents are Mauritian. “I came back to my parents’ island because of its beauty,” says Besson. What makes diving in Mauritius so unique? “It’s not a very well-known diving destination, so that keeps the crowds down and allows us to offer a more exclusive service,” he says. Although diving in Mauritius is good all year round, he notes that the best diving months are March to May and then September to November. His favorite diving spots are in the northwest. “The northwest is ideal for diving because the weather comes from the southeast, making the northwest very sheltered and quiet. There are also no rivers in the north, so the result is clear water for most of the year.”

As for training tweens and teens to dive, Besson notes, “The training conditions are ideal with very little current. The diving is very easy compared to the rest of the world, which makes it very attractive for families.”

Moreover, the weather in Mauritius is ideal. He notes that since Mauritius is a tropical island, the average temperature is quite high. Summer temperatures range between 78-90 degrees Fahrenheit and water temperatures range from 77-86. Winter temperatures range between 70 and 80 degrees and water temperatures range from 70 to 75 degrees.

Diving Mauritius has centers at several beachcombing hotels: Beachcomber Canonnier Golf Resort and Spa; Beachcomber Victoria Resort and Spa and Beachcomber Shandrani Resort and Spa. From the dock, most dive sites are no more than a 15-minute boat ride, making it easy for families too.

Advanced divers can choose from various wreck, depth and drift locations. While novice divers have plenty of colorful coral reefs. The company offers various training courses, including: Deep, Wreck, EFR, Photography, Night and AWARE FISH Identification. They can teach children from 10 years old.

As the founder of Diving World Mauritius, Besson has played a crucial role in promoting diving as a recreational activity in Mauritius. With over thirty years of experience running multiple diving schools, François has become an influential figure in the diving industry worldwide. Diving Mauritius is a PADI green star diving school.

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