An under-appreciated extreme sport, scuba diving’s underwater adventures require top-notch training and memorable dive locations to really give thrill-seekers the full experience. Miami offers the best of both worlds. This city’s top scuba schools also double as dive shops featuring top-notch instructors who just plain know their stuff. Sign on for first-time instruction to get a feel, or take the city’s best advanced scuba classes for dive options to dish about.
2809 S.W. 27th Ave.
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Price: $495 open water scuba certification/$420 advanced open water scuba certification
Grove Scuba is Miami’s only PADI 5-star instruction center. As such, it offers a wide range of course offerings and certifications. Go in for beginning certification, or use previous diving experience to enroll in instructor training. The facility’s first-rate staff speaks several languages, and has extensive experience in the field. Grove Scuba takes daily trips to the prime dive spots of Miami Beach and Key Largo, making for excellent training grounds and an even better diving experience.
16604 N.E. 2nd Ave.
North Miami Beach, FL 33162
Price: $450 open water dive certification
A facility of diversity, its many services include scuba instruction, corresponding gear, equipment rental, sales and service. Its fully certified instructors are also industry experts ready to provide beyond-the-basics instruction every time. Interested divers may seek certification for open-water dives or explore specialty training. For added convenience, Squalo Divers also offers private courses. More than 50 different dive sites include coral reefs and shipwrecks on daily dive trips from the Miami Beach Marina.
Underwater Unlimited, Inc.
5749 S.W. 40th St.
Miami, FL 33155
Price: $550 private instruction open water dive certification/$375 group instruction
Scuba training at this facility promises the complete package: in-depth training by certified divers and interrelated course material. Underwater Unlimited offers both private and group instruction. It also offers SSI course books and loaner DVDs, regulators and air cylinders. To attest to the caliber of instructional staff, they also teach courses at Miami Dade College’s Kendall Campus Aquatics Center. From beginners to diving pros, this scuba shop’s dive options cover every base.
Tarpoon Lagoon Diving Center
300 Alton Rd.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Price: $349 open water dive certification
The only dive center in the Miami area that offers the renowned National Geographic open water certification, this distinctive certification includes training for in-depth underwater exploration, underwater navigation, and locating and identifying specific underwater features. Classes for standard open water dive certification are open to students 10 and older. Tarpoon Lagoon offers both PADI and NAUI training, with novice to master level courses, an on-site pool and in-store classroom.
Team Divers Network
11714 S.W. 135th Pl.
Miami, FL 33186
Price: $275 open water dive certification
When going for certification at this center, students get the full classroom experience. The certification process includes pool sessions, classwork and even a final exam. Flexible scheduling is available, making team divers especially attractive to busy divers. The actual dive for certification takes place at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Key Largo. Interested divers may jump in on frequent dive trips and advanced diving classes offered weekly.
Related: Best Scuba Ops in South Florida
For nearly 20 years, Shawanda James has been actively involved in creative writing in Miami, Florida. In addition to her work as a freelance writer, she is actively seeking publication for her debut novel and collection of poetry. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.