Which countries offer cheap PADI Open Water scuba diving qualifications?

May 16, 2014 BY Paul McWilliams

A PADI open water course is the best way to gain your passport into the underwater world of scuba diving. You’ll find PADI courses in most countries, but like most goods and services, prices vary from place to place. So, if you’re looking for cheap PADI Open Water courses, it pays to shop around.

Cheap PADI Open Water image by Lindsay

Getting your PADI Open Water qualification will give you the freedom to scuba dive all over the world. To pass the course you’ll need to complete five confined water dives plus four open water dives, learning the basics and fundamentals along the way. Unfortunately, scuba diving is not the cheapest sport you can do but the following destinations should help you to keep costs down.


Bali is often a name that comes up when people discuss places that offer cheap PADI Open Water courses and for good reason. Bali has a number of diving schools and well-trained instructors to see you through the four-day Open Water course. You should expect to pay around $400 – $500. Of course, Bali has other significant advantages for divers other than low costs, with clear waters and top conditions. Check out Bali Scuba for more information.


It’s not just the PADI course that’s cheap in Thai destinations, with living and accommodation costs also being very low. Having established itself as a diving destination there is no shortage of courses to choose from. In Phuket prices for a week long PADI Open Water course are around the $450 mark. With some stunning dive sites and live-aboard dive trips, it’s a great place to explore once you have your certificate. Dive Asia offer a range of diving courses and tuition.

Cheap PADI Open Water wikimedia image by Matthew Hoelscher


Tioman Island in Malaysia is another very affordable place to go for cheap PADI Open Water, plus you get the chance to train with some of the world’s best diving instructors. Lying some 36 miles off the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula, the white sandy beaches, crystal clear warm waters and abundance of marine life make this is a top place to get your PADI under your belt. Dive Tioman offer an extensive range of PADI Open Water courses including accommodation from around $360.


On the other side of the world in Central America, Belize is home to the biggest reef system in the Western Hemisphere and a UNESCO World Heritage site, which makes it a natural spot for diving. Prices for a four-day course are similar to the above destinations at around $440, including all classroom learning, shallow water skills and real dives. Slickrock Adventures Inc. offer full PADI courses, as well as a range of other tuition.

Cheap PADI Open Water wikimedia image by US Navy Greg Mitchell


A popular scuba spot for beginners and advanced divers alike, Honduras’s north coast is home to the Bay Islands and Meso-American reef. Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands has around 150 dive sites alone. These calm waters are the perfect place to learn and rates are very reasonable. Courses cost as little as $280 (plus a $35 manual charge in some cases). Coconut Tree Divers run cheap PADI Open Water courses here.


Of course, one great way of keeping costs down is to use your local diving centre. Ok, so it might not be the most exciting holiday ever but without the added costs of accommodation and travel, even the more expensive courses locally can be a affordable places to get your PADI open water qualification.

Asia, Atlantic Ocean, Bali, Belize, Caribbean Sea, Central America, Honduras, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mesoamerican Reef, Phuket, Thailand
Scuba Diving
Open Water, PADI, UNESCO (World Heritage Site)
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