Diving in Chile
Diving in Chile
In order to get to know more about the world of diving, I Love Chile reached out to Austral Divers, the onlyPADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center in the country. Instructor Maxi gave us an insight on what Chile has to offer for those interested in getting to know what’s beneath the surface.
“The conditions in Chile are harsher than in the Caribbean or Mexico: there’s more wind and the current is stronger. For a diving pro this means a wider level of expertise. For those who want to learn, there is a whole new world under water and Chile also offers some interesting animals to discover,” tells us Maxi.
Of course, you’re thinking: “how am I going to dive in the cold waters of the Chilean Pacific and not freeze to death?” Don’t worry: diving suits offer a nice shelter from the cold water. Also, according to Maxi: “When people are diving for the first time, the last thing they’re thinking about is the cold.”
Austral Divers’ center is located in Quintay, in the V Region. The area offers something great: it is located next to a shipwreck and whales and over 600 sea lions can be seen around frequently. So yes: Austral Divers organizes expeditions where you can dive along sea lions! Maxi has done this many times and is one of his favorite experiences: “You just have to hold on to a rock and watch them. They are very curious creatures: they like to look at you and throw bubbles at your face.”
Other benefits of Quintay? It is a small town located close to Santiago and Valparaíso, but far away enough to have clearer water than other areas. Austral Divers organizes diverse courses daily and they go diving every day of the week.
If you don’t live in central Chile, Maxi recommends diving in Punta de Choros or Bahía Inglesa: “They are marine reserves, which means fishermen can’t go in. There’s a wide variety of fish and it’s one of the best diving spots in the country.”
If you live in the South, there are diving centers in Puerto Montt and Concepción, but according to Maxi, there is fewer fauna in those regions because of the temperature of the water.
If you are interested in being a professional diver, Austral Divers offers many courses that can help you. PADI Dive Master is the first professional accreditation you can get, but you can also learn how to be a diving instructor and a rescue diver.
There are also other specializations offered by the school: dry suit diving, deep water and night diving, among others. They all have PADI certifications, which is the biggest international diving organization. With these credentials you are able to work and dive around the world.
Also, if you want to try how diving feels like without taking a two-week course, you can take the Discover Scuba Diving workshop, which is like a “baptism”: it lets you start diving in less than two hours!
Another amazing thing about diving is that there is almost no age limit. Kids older than 10 can learn how to dive. Age doesn’t matter if you are fit: “We have a 76 year-old student who is an excellent diver.”