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When you think of the Caribbean, then the image is usually one of golden sands, blue seas and traditional beach front villas. Days spent lazing on the beach or by the pool, soaking up the sun. But, this is really only what you see on the television adverts. Beneath the surface is a thriving and lively cultural wonderland, where anything is possible. Did you know for instance that the Caribbean is one of the best and most popular dive locations in the world?

Scuba diving is an immensely popular sport come pastime and very easy to get into. You don`t even have to have your own gear as a good give school or dive ship can provide you with everything you need for a small fee. To be honest diving is one of the most uplifting and amazing experiences you will probably have. You will actually be immersing yourself in nature with life swimming all around you.

Of course there is a safety aspect to all of this and therefore when diving in the Caribbean you should be looking for PADI qualified instructors and Schools. PADI is the worldwide recognised Professional Association of Dive Instructors and sets minimum standards both in proficiency and experience. All qualified instructors have to pass tough tests in a variety of conditions to teach anyone. You will undergo basic instructions, including safety procedures, have to pass a test and then be assigned to a dive instructor who will stay with you whilst you dive. It is imperative that you pay attention here as it could save your life. The instructors will take no nonsense in the water either, so if you mess around you will be shouted at or not allowed to dive at all.

Once you have had you initial safety instruction, your captain will take you out to some of the most fantastic diving waters in the world. The Turks and Caicos Islands in particular have a superb reputation in the dive community for how prolific their waters are. The divers also contribute to conservation programs for the sharks in the area. You will find a lot of dive instructors here from the UK plying their trade.

For something different, especially if you are more experienced, then you could try cruise diving, or a live aboard dive trip. This are very popular in the Caribbean and involve days or even a whole week, living on board a dive ship with other divers and travelling around the reefs and the waters to get the whole range of diving experiences. They are an acquired taste, but they are unbeatable for seeing the area and for forging comradeship and friendship.

So the Caribbean can really be something different to the normal holiday photos you see. You can explore the real underwater world of the Caribbean and marvel at how amazing it is. It is so easy to get there in style as well. A cheap cruise Caribbean style can get you there in luxury without breaking the bank, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the diving in its wonderful waters.