The Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) is the undisputed arbiter of great dive shops and dive centers around the world. PADI certification is a must for any worthwhile dive instructor or facility. But while most dive programs are PADI-certified, only a few are singled out for special recognition as PADI Gold Palm Resorts, PADI Five-Star Resorts, and/or National Geographic Dive Resorts. Dive programs receiving this recognition truly are the best of the best, and the Bahamas has a number of resorts and programs that have been thus honored by PADI.
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Located on the sand at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach resort in Freeport, the Viva Diving center offers free introductory scuba lessons to guests of the all-inclusive resort, plus one- and two-day scuba courses and a three-day open-water course. Dives wrecks, caves, reefs, and other sites along the Port Lucaya coast.
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03 of 03This Nassau-based dive operator has been in business since 1978. In addition to scuba dives to New Providence Island's reefs, wrecks and coral walls, Stuart Cove's offers a Wall Flying trip using an underwater scooter, snorkel packages and a "SUB (Scenic Underwater Bubble)" aquanauts program that allows novices to experience the thrill of scuba diving without having to get PADI-certified. Stuart, by the way, helped coordinate the underwater sequences on two James Bond movies filmed in the Bahamas: "For Your Eyes Only" and "Never Say Never Again."