15 February 2019
Heading away on a long-haul holiday usually opens the opportunity to try your hand at watersports in warm water. You won’t struggle to find warm, crystal clear waters in long-haul destinations like Barbados and the Maldives, and you shouldn’t resist the urge to dive headfirst into them, with a spot of snorkelling or jet-skiing.
Here, we’ve paired up our favourite watersports with some standout long-haul destinations.
There’s probably no better place to dip your toe into the world of paddleboarding than Barbados. The calm, clear waters of Carlisle Bay and Batts Rock on the west coast of the island are perfect for newcomers, and once you’ve found your paddleboarding legs, you’ll be able to combine the experience with a swimming tour to see some of the island’s majestic turtles.
Where you could stay: Sandals Barbados, Sandy Lane, Fairmont Royal Pavilion
“We headed along the south coast to Silver Sands, which is a well-known surfing beach. Here, we met Brian Talma, an ex-pro windsurfer who has dedicated his time to bringing surfing, wind and kite-surfing and stand-up paddleboarding lessons to Barbados. He and his colleagues showed us a great time. I gave the stand-up paddle boarding a go even if I could only do it on my knees!”
Joanne, Travel Counsellor
With great visibility all year round, stretching for up to 60 metres in the Coral Sea, divers at the Great Barrier Reef will be left aghast at the teeming reef life that even presents a strong chance of meeting dolphins and whales.
The Great Barrier Reef is also home to the Yongala Wreck, one of the best wreck dives in the world. Sunk during a cyclone in 1911, the 110-metre-long Yongala steamer now houses a variety of marine life, such as rays, sharks, eels and many other fishes.
Other great diving sites down under include Fish Rock Cave with its 125-metre cave – the only true ocean cave in Australia – and Queensland’s ex-Navy Destroyer, sunk in 2005 to create an artificial reef structure for more than 1,000 species of marine life.
Where you could stay: Green Island Resort, Hamilton Island Resort, Sheraton Mirage Resort
Channel your inner explorer by taking the helm of a majestic yacht and sailing out toward the horizon. You can do just that in Thailand, opting for a one-off day trip or a sailing course, allowing beginners to quickly pick up the ABC of sailing.
Phuket is a great base for sailing the Andaman Sea, home to some of the most beautiful islands and diverse geography, such as Koh Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay with its the limestone karsts that spike straight up out of the emerald green water.
Where you could stay: Banyan Tree Phuket, Aleenta Phuket Phang Nga, The Slate
Florida is a fantastic watersport destination with 1,350 miles of coastline and more than 30,000 lakes.
Standout jet-skiing spots include the Florida Keys, Lake Weir – which tends to be less crowded than many of Florida’s beaches - Tampa Bay and Jacksonville Beach where you stand a good chance at spotting some dolphins and sea turtles.
Where you could stay: Reunion A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, Ramada Plaza Resort & Suites Orlando International Drive, Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate
“There’s a good reason why Florida is referred to as the ‘fun capital of the world', and it’s not all down to its many theme parks and attractions. The watersports on offer definitely contribute to that good-time reputation.”
Nicola, Travel Counsellor
The Maldives are often hailed for their underwater wonders with a fascinating playground of reefs, populated by sea creatures big and small.
With waters this clear, you don’t even need a snorkel to catch a glimpse of what lies below the surface of the Indian Ocean but with fantastic hotels spread across the Maldives’ chain of 26 atolls, you’ll have a great base from which you can expand your snorkelling adventures. Don’t squander your chance to meet vibrant colourful tropical fish like wrasses, parrot fish, angel fish and clownfish, as well as the odd octopus or manta ray.
Where you could stay: Lux* North Male Atoll, Constance Moofushi Resort, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Maldives
Keen to dive into dream-like waters? Contact your Travel Counsellor today to book your aqua adventure and take advantage of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.