Caribbean Vs The Red Sea - Diving Holidays
You may be based in Europe and fancy doing a diving holiday. I am in such a position and have the valuable hindsight to help me out. I have dived Sharm El Sheikh and various places in the Caribbean.
And I can help you decide which is the better option for you.
We need to clarify that value for money is not meaning the cheapest here. Without doubt flying from European Gateways such as London Gatwick Stanstead or Luton for example or from France Italy or Germany etc then without doubt and ALL INCLUSIVE SHARM EL SHEIKH diving holiday will be cheaper.
The problem I have with Egypt diving vacations is multifaceted. SO lets jump right in in and go there:
The problems with diving in Sharm El Sheikh
The Dive Operators are real factories and have largely lost sight of the customer as an individual diver. I'm not going to name any individual operator they are all pretty alike in that they are there for the money. You will see this in the low prices initially rising with addons such as afternoon dives or excursions to best dive sites such as the Thistlegorm. There is nothing wrong in this IF this is clearly stated and simple to understand. In the larger operations you will not find the divemasters and instructors hanging out after the day is out unlike in the Caribbean, that's fair enough as well - I'm not complaining just trying to get across the fact that diving is different here. You will get buses to the dock and have to wait while getting processed to the boats passing the metal detector. This gets fatiguing and after the diving day you might have to walk back the last 75m to the shop after the bus doesn't go all the way back.
If you are part of a group the above isn't really that much of a deal - but for the lone traveller you will find the dive shops largely lonesome places. And this continues into the evening. Thank god I met some students going for their IDC and their Instructor in my hotel to make things more interesting. I have travelled the world alone and some countries are more for the lone traveller than others. If you are part of a group then you will enjoy what is good about Sharm El Sheikh..
The restaurants and Nightlfe in Sharm is disappointing. Hassle from the locals to be expected and really not too bad if you accept where you are
The Good News about Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm is well located in the Sinai Peninsular and the best diving in the Red Sea may not be here but its bloody good. For the European it is the closest best diving. No question. This alone makes up for the short-comings for most - I have no regrets in choosing a week here but thank god the fish were around. If it ever gets worse they will loose the diving fraternity to other areas of the red sea no question. Already the more seasoned are not diving in Sharm they are doing liveaboards or heading further south to places like Marsa Alam.
There are some areas of diving in the caribbean that can compete with the red sea on a given day but generally the diving in the Caribbean is not as good. A bold statement but this is a true grit article. More interesting is that given a 2 week vacation I would pick the Caribbean every time and sacrificing a few fish. All round value for money is better IMO in the Caribbean because I get a great holiday outside of the diving day - all kinds of nightlife great restaurants and rum shacks - sunday school in Tobago for example and some culture that is not spending your time with european chavs (yes that may mean you !) you may not be able to escape in your all inclusive sharm el sheikh hotels.
please feel free to ask me any direct questions on the subject in the comments below if you are planning your dive holiday.