Tag - Watersports

The Best Places to Scuba Dive in the World
The Best Water Slides Ever
Where to go in 2013: Groups
Purple Tips: Craziest Adventure Holidays
Another reason to enjoy Red Sea holidays this year

The Best Places to Scuba Dive in the World

coral reefs pics

Images via @ Genalia Smith and Egypttravel gate

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A living, breathing seafood soup, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest structure on the planet made entirely by living organisms. Expect a plethora of odd-looking, colourful and often endangered animals swimming at you from all angles. The reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site, containing some 1500 species of fish. It is without rival, the world’s largest coral reef system, even able to be seen from space. Make sure you get certified before you go though – you’re not Kate Bosworth ok.

Barrier Reef, Belize

Charles Darwin once called this reef “the most remarkable in the West Indies.” Its bubbling, warm waters are home to the world’s largest population of West Indian manatee, and manta ray and spotted eagle ray are fairly common sights. Even hammerhead sharks, Caribbean reef sharks and the oceanic white tip sharks can be spotted by luckier divers (or extremely unlucky, as the case may be). Cuddle with the friendly sea cows (not with the sharks), explore the mangrove-covered islands or swim over to the Big Blue Hole – allegedly the largest sinkhole on Earth. Jacques Cousteau named it his favourite diving spot – no surprise considering this 185-mile-long gigantic wall of unspoilt beauty packs more ecodiversity than any other on the planet.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

You’ll be hard-pressed to find water clearer than the Caribbean waves of Grand Cayman. The island is actually the peak of a mountain, and most of the surrounding former peaks are now underwater, offering sheer drops so you don’t have to go far from the coast to get deep. This also provides shelter from perilous conditions, providing calm and unspoilt beauty for divers. Make sure you check out Stingray City, a series of shallow sandbars, where stingrays have been tamed for years feeding on fisherman’s scraps.

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao is perfect for the low-budget traveller, as it is a relatively inexpensive place to learn to scuba dive. Thailand’s large Andaman coast offers hundreds of islands, many of which are uninhabited and fringed with spectacular coral reefs. Whale sharks inhabit the waters along with a kaleidoscope of brightly-coloured fish. However, the best bit about choosing Koh Tao is that it has as many nightclubs and bars on the island as there are fish in its sea, so if you’re not a serious diver, and you like your liquid as much in a cocktail glass as you like it enveloping your scuba suit, then this is the place for you.

Straits of Gubal, Egypt

Although primarily famous for those big hunks of pyramid-shaped mystery erupting from the sand, Egypt is also famous for its incredible diving spots. If you love history and you love diving, this is your spot. An affordable alternative to beaches in Europe or the Caribbean, Egyptian beaches along the Red Sea offer sun-filled holidays and unparalleled waters. The Straits of Gubal are a particularly interesting choice, having claimed dozens of ships over history; shipwrecks, pirate treasure and dead sailors are as much a part of the Sea as the water is and warm, bubbly, tropical coral reefs make the Red Sea feel like one big bathtub.

You should read: Purple Hearts… Sharm el Sheikh

Cozumel, Mexico

Although you may have to deal with the teenage shrieks of ‘Spring Break whoooooooo!’, Cozumel is not just a paradise for meathead jocks and bottle blonde cheerleaders. The warm, clear waters of this Atlantic superhighway make it a diver’s dream. The Gulf Stream in particular is a prime scuba spot – the experience lending itself to something on the long the lines of being Superman, only with more fish. But with nineteen distinct reefs to choose from and a host of deep dives that go down as far as 3,000 feet, Cozumel is a scuba diver’s playground. For awesome tunnels, caves and caverns, there are few better locations.

The Best Water Slides Ever

1. Insano at Beach Park in Brazil. 14 storeys high. ‘Nuff said. Image via Facebook.


2. Scorpion’s Tail, at Noah’s Ark Water Park, Wisconsin, USA. This one tops 400ft and is ten storeys high. Yikes! Image via @ Noah’s Ark Water Park.

Scorpion's Tail

 3. ‘The Finest and most Fearsome’ Summit Plummit at Disney’s Blizzard Beach®, is a whopping 120 feet tall, and you’ll whoosh right through it at 60 miles per hour. Image via @ GoFlorida.

Summit Plummet

4. The delightfully named Jumeira Sceirah in Wild Wadi in Dubai tops 120 metres and sends riders 80km/h through twists and turns. Image via @ Jumeirah.com.

Jumeira Sceirah

4. The Cliffhanger Speed Slide at Schlitterbahn in Texas, USA. A traditional Ride and drop, this is built for speed. Image via @ Schlitterbahn.


5. Leap of Faith at the Atlantis Palm in Dubai, 90 ft high. Image via @ Neekohfi.

Leap of Faith

6. Tower of Power at Siam Park, Costa Adeje Image via @ Siam Park.

Tower of Power

7. This epic mudslide in New Zealand! (Sorry, it was only open for two days for charity.) Image via here.

Mudslide New Zealand


Where to go in 2013: Groups

Get a gang together whether it is your mates, extended family or a work thing, PurpleTravel.co.uk has the rundown of the best places to holiday as a group.Hanging on the beach

Cheap clubbing breaks We’ve covered party cities fairly extensively here at PurpleTravel.co.uk so you can be sure we’re into clubbing all night long (and a bit of the next day!) We reckon hitting up clubber’s paradise Ayia Napa, with brilliant hotels and buckets of sunshine is a good choice. The Greek favourite Faliraki is a good one, it’s got the hottest beach clubs and practically no closing time. For a bit of a change, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, has cheap flights, awesome bars and great choice of hotels.

You or a friend has announced their leaving singledom behind forever. What’s the next step? A whopper party somewhere great with a gang of your mates, that’s what! Stag and Hen parties are becoming more than just shagaluf Magaluf, with spa packages, limo hire and VIP nightclubbing, along with the staples of strippers and red light tours. So head for an all nighter Hen in Benidorm or a red light adventure stag in Amsterdam.

Golfing holidays Whether you’ve got a handicap of 55 or you’re a total pro, a golf holiday is the perfect way to soak up the sunshine and practice your swing. It doesn’t matter what level you play at, there are resorts all over the world where you can head for the greens. Portugal’s Algarve is practically made for golf. Fly to Faro and within a few minutes you could be out on the course. We like the Balaia Golf Village in Albufeira, or Quinta do Vale Resort, designed by golf legend Seve Ballesteros.

Festivals are better enjoyed with friends, so why not head for the sunshine and rock out in style. Mallorca and Ibiza Rocks have already announced headliner Jake Bugg and we’re practically drooling at the thought of who else will be announced over the next few weeks. Last year Kasabian, Bloc Party New Order and Tinie Tempah rocked the stage. A bit closer to home, Barcelona’s premier festival Primavera has just announced its lineup; Hot Chip, Kurt Vile & the Violators, My Bloody Valentine and loads more are heading for Catalonia 22-26 May.

Whether you’re a beginner, or more experienced diver, there’s always lots to learn. Try a hotel that includes introductory lessons in the pool, and bring some friends so you can look silly all together.  Some of the best diving holidays are found in the famous Red Sea Resorts in Egypt. Sharm el Sheikh is a no brainer here, with PADI approved instructors and schools, and famous diving sites like Ras Mohammed, Straits of Tiran, Thistlegorm or Dahab.

Really, there’s only one place to splash the cash with your girls and that’s NYC. The Big Apple around November (Thanksgiving weekend) has the best deals you’ll find anywhere.  Black Friday is not for the meek though. Get your shopping clobber on and stock up in Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s 5th Avenue or Macy’s or head for the huge Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 stores.

A classic choice for the whole family is Disney World. Visit the Magic Kingdom Park in the heart of Florida and fulfill childhood dreams of hanging out with Mickey and Minnie. Any little princesses in the family will love meeting Cinderella, while future movie directors can yell ‘lights, camera, action!’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Champions World in Kissimmee or Hampton Inn Pointe on International Drive are ideal choices to stay close to the action. Discover great group rates for hotels in Florida from PurpleTravel.co.uk.

Purple Tips: Craziest Adventure Holidays

We were well impressed with Felix Baumgartner’s jump, where the Austrian hurled himself out of a space capsule a whopping 24 miles up in the air. Well, when we saw Fearless Felix, we thought we’d like to have a go at it, here’s our run down of some crazy adventure holidays… If that’s what you’re into! Enjoy!

Wife  carryingImage via @ LeahoNeill

Wife Carrying this is not strictly for husbands and wives, but each male competitor must carry a female teammate across a special obstacle track as quickly as possible. There are various techniques including piggyback, fireman’s carry or our personal favourite, Estonian style, where the wife hangs upside down, holding onto her husband’s waist with her legs over his shoulders. It started in Finland but is growing in popularity in the USA.

Zorbing Hop into an inflatable orb, (usually) made of plastic and you’ll be pushed down a nice gentle slope. Not really extreme, but included in this list for its level of unusualness. The first zorbing site was in New Zealand, but it’s spread globally (possible after its use in Gladiators!) and is a hit in Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Greece.

Chess Boxing A kind of hybrid sport, chess boxing was invented by a Dutch artist this is one of the craziest ‘adventure holidays’ you could ask for. It’s made up of eleven rounds – six of chess, each lasting four minutes and five rounds of boxing, each three minutes long. Participants have to be as good at boxing as they are at chess. It’s very popular in Berlin and London and growing in places like Los Angeles and Tokyo.

Cheese rolling

Image via @ Mike Warren

Cheese Rolling Take one massive wheel of cheese, throw it down Cooper’s Hill in the Cotswolds, and watch as competitors break arms, legs or teeth trying to catch it. As soon as the cheese is thrown a group of twenty or so participants leap down the steep hill and the first one to cross the finish line wins. The intensity of their injuries is a badge of honour in this case.

Extreme Ironing Not two words you would normally put together, extreme ironing combines the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt, with the white knuckle thrills of extreme outdoor activity. Thrill seekers attempt to iron on tiny mountain tops, in the middle of the M1, while skiing or snowboarding, and even while bungee jumping. From the Florida Quays, to the Netherlands to Australia, this is one sport you’ll be never get board of (wah wah.)

Limbo Skating One for the flexible only, we’re told this is the latest rage in India, where riders wear rollerskates and stretch eye wateringly low to pass under cars. This requires some serious strength and balance.

Volcano Surfing Yes, this is a thing. It is a fairly new sport having just been discovered/invented and sees surfers use a thin layer of plywood or a metal board to travel down a recently erupted volcano. Riders hike to the top and sit, slide or (attempt) to stand on the board all the way down. So far, we’ve only found evidence of this new sport in Nicaragua.

Camel Wrestling If you’re on holidays in Bodrum in Turkey, you have to check this out. After a camel beauty pageant, entrants (the camels) are set on each other to fight it out over a female. It’s actually strictly controlled to protect the animals taking part.

Bog Snorkelling Every year in Wales, crowds gather to watch competitions swim up a 133 metre stretch of bog water, filled with weeds and muck. ‘Nuff said.

Crocodile Bungee Jumping If you’re a bit bored of regular old bungee jumping then this will spice things up a bit. Already a bit of a hit in Oz, croco-bungee sees jumpers hop into water which is home to the snappy animals.

Cliff Diving

Image via @ JohnONolan

Cliff Diving Championed by Felix’s buddies at Red Bull, cliff diving is becoming more and more popular all around the world. Not for the faint hearted, this takes a lot of effort, training and dedication. Spectacular to watch, it’s one of our favourites. In the past few years alone there have been huge competitions in places like the Azores, Yucatan Mexico, the Aran Islands off Ireland, Athens, Greece and plenty more beyond.

Another reason to enjoy Red Sea holidays this year

The bustling resort of El Gouna is getting ready to introduce a brand new attraction: the world’s largest cable water park.

Due to open in July 2013, just in time for summer holiday season, the El Gouna Watersports Complex will feature facilities for water skiing, wakeboarding as well as new pool facilities. As if you needed another reasons to enjoy Red Sea holidays this year?

The 90,000m² area, known as the Sliders Cablepark will feature two parks, for beginners and youngsters to get to grips with wakeboarding in the red sea. This is where sliders and kickers come in. (No, we didn’t really know what they were either!) It will be the place for water skiers, wake boarders and wake skaters to really put their skills to work.

If you prefer to relax, the Malibu Beach Club will feature two large sun terraces, a beach club, pool and spa, while in the evening the club turns into a party zone with DJs from all over Europe.

And the best bit? Thanks to the wonderful weather in El Gouna, the complex, aided by floodlights will stay open all year around.

Click here to find out more about holidays in El Gouna from Purple Travel.

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