Stunning diving and more
Palawan in the Philippines was recently voted the best island in the world by Travel & Leisure, “thanks to its hidden lagoons, teeming ocean life, and rustic-luxe resorts.” The surrounding archipelago consists of around 1800 tropical islets, one of which is home to the spectacular Amanpulo.
The waters here are so clear it’s hard to make out the horizon between the cerulean sea and sky. The private island resort is surrounded by the softest white sand beaches, ringed by seven square kilometres of coral reefs brimming with turtles, giant clams, and sea stars. Scuba and snorkelling guides cater to divers of all abilities, but the warm, glassy waters are ideal for beginners. Amanpulo offers PADI certifications, as well as underwater photography adventures for intrepid divers.
On the other side of the world, Mnemba Island, off the coast of Zanzibar, lies in a marine conservation area. Surrounded by an atoll of coral reefs, this is one of Africa’s most magnificent diving sites.
A two-minute swim from the beach is a coral reef inhabited by more than 430 species of fish in every dazzling hue imaginable. Bottlenose dolphins frequent these waters year-round, and you might even see green turtles laying their eggs in the sand. There are never more than 24 guests at Mnemba Island Lodge, where ten thatched bandas open onto the palm-fringed shore. Two daily dives are included in your stay. A sensational sight for experienced divers is Big Wall, a vertical wall plummeting to 55 meters, with many caves to explore. The visibility in the azure Indian Ocean is phenomenal. There are no TVs or WiFi at Mnemba Island Lodge, and the electricity is switched off as dusk falls. After a barefoot, lantern-lit barbeque on the beach, there’s nothing to do but let the ocean lull you into blissful dreams of your next dive.