With their intrepid spirit and drive to immerse in the beauty of the world’s oceans, scuba divers naturally find themselves in some of the most incredible places in the world. But we’ve done the research and identified some of the world’s most remote resorts that you may not have stumbled upon on your own—and all the better that they also happen to be great home bases for diving of the mind-blowing variety. From Raja Ampat to the Galapagos, let the wanderlust roll.
Swell Lodge, Christmas Island, Australia
This wilderness retreat is equipped with two luxurious glamping chalets overlooking the Indian Ocean. Courtesy Swell Lodge
Closer to Indonesia than the Australian mainland, Christmas Island is a blip on the map that belongs to the Land Down Under. It’s famous for the annual migration of red land crabs that occurs every wet season (usually in October or November), streaking the land bright crimson with a constant march of claws and carapaces. Divers should plan an eco-retreat at Swell Lodge, an entirely solar-powered wilderness retreat on the island’s western tip where luxurious glamping chalets outfitted like decadent safari tents overlook the Indian Ocean. You can book dive packages through the resort that include four days of two guided boat dives at sites around the island. The reefs are home to hundreds of species of fish and virtually untouched. There’s even a WWII wreck (Eidsvold) to explore.
Uepi Island Resort, Solomon Islands
A diver explores a reef in Solomon Islands. Grant Kelly
There are some terrific liveaboards operating in the Solomons. But for a land-based experience that’s just as stellar, settle into this remote eco-resort in the Western Province (an hour’s flight from Honiara, followed by a boat ride of about 8-miles ) that hugs the edge of the longest lagoon in the world. Laced with walking tracks through thick rainforest, Uepi Island itself is just 1.5 miles long and less than a half-mile across, and there are hardly ever more than 20 guests here at one time. It’s all yours to explore when you’re not recovering in your beachfront bungalow from the epic diving in and around Marovo Lagoon and The Slot—drift dives, World War II wrecks, reefs and bommies all await.
Caerula Mar, South Andros, Bahamas
There are more famous Bahamian Islands to dive. But if you’ve ever spotted glorious Andros from the air on your way to someplace else—the largest and least inhabited island in the Bahamas, and the fifth largest in all of the Caribbean—you’ve surely wanted to land there ever since. Newly opened in Feb. 2020, the boutique luxury resort Caerula Mar, secreted away on 10 acres of powdery beachfront on South Andros, makes it plenty tempting, too, with six luxurious private villas and 18 clubhouse suites made mostly from sustainable materials just steps from the sand. Dive trips to Andros’ epic blue holes and fringing barrier reef (the third largest in the world) is arranged through an offsite operator.
Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat
Any day in Raja Ampat is an extraordinary one as a diver, here at the virtual birthing ground of the world’s coral reef biodiversity. And for a land-based stay with an eco slant, there’s no place quite like Misool Eco Resort, a remote collection of bungalows some 105 miles from the nearest port and 12 miles by boat from the nearest village. World-class reefs—think veritable pastures of pristine coral and all the species who love them—are just a giant stride out of your water cottage or villa, built on stilts and perched within a short swim of the house reef. Regular dive trips from the resort into the surrounding Misool Marine Reserve can keep you as busy underwater as you like. On land, you can take Indonesian cooking classes, take part in baby turtle releases, visit villages on other islands and more.
Finch Bay Galápagos Hotel, Ecuador
Finch Bay has been recognized as one of the National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World. Courtesy Finch Bay Galagagos Hotel
Day dives into the Central Islands of the Galapagos from Finch Bay’s yacht give you an underwater view of Darwin’s legendary archipelago, where snake eels, barracudas, mantas, sponges of all colors and sea turtles can all be seen in crystal-clear waters. Come cocktail hour, you’ll be back basking in the luxury of this beachfront luxury hotel in Puerto Ayora that’s among National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. The Charles Darwin Research Station is just a 15-minute walk away, and it’s a 30-minute drive out the door to see the famed giant tortoise reserves in the Santa Cruz Highlands.