Life is in the detail

If you’re heading to Brazil’s Bahia state, make sure you spend a few days in the charming little cobblestone town of Lencois. From there, hike into Chapada Diamantina National Park for billowing waterfalls, deep canyons and natural waterslides – all without seeing another soul.

Lizzie - Original Diver

Lizzie Shipley

Original Travel Expert

I have extensive travel experience throughout South America, Central America, Australia and Thailand.

My travels


Travel Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  • Dive in Socorro, Cocos Island and the Galapagos
  • Go on a liveaboard to dive across Papua New Guinea
  • Walk across the Amazon (one day!)
  • Freedive with whales and orcas in Norway
  • Take a voyage to the remote wilderness of Patagonia and Antarctica and dive under the ice sheets

Best Moments

  • Diving in the cenotes of Mexico: Dos Ojos for its labyrinth of stalagmites and stalactites, Casa Carwash for its Eden-like underwater garden, Angelita for its spooky Tim Burton setting and the best cenote, The Pit, for the turquoise shard of light that pierces through the freshwater lighting up the entire cave.
  • Watching the entire Milky Way at Punto Gallinas in Colombia, South Americas northernmost point.
  • Taking a speedboat to the Jurassic Park style islands of Coiba National Park, Panama, then diving amongst a whirlpool of marine life - I've never seen so many fish in my life!
  • Hearing a low grumbling in the middle of the night, opening my tent and seeing a shock of red in the darkness as Volcán de Fuego (Guatemala's most active volcano) exploded.

Toughest Travel Moment

  • A serious bout of food poisoning halfway through a hike up the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Weirdest Travel Moment

  • Volunteering at a Yoga Finca in Colombia and being convinced to take part in a Vamana Dhauti. Never again!

Explore my blog posts

reef sharks

Dive Under The Radar

The world's best dives: regularly topping just about everyone's bucket list, and for good reason. But the world's ocean covers a mind boggling 139,000,000 square miles, and as the world's largest playground (official title), there are endless opportunities for adventures. Whether you're a…

School of fish

Ten Reasons Why You Should Become a Certified Diver

A whopping 14 million viewers were wowed by the groundbreaking docuseries, Blue Planet II, when it first aired in 2017, and people's fascination with all things ocean-related continues to grow, from Ocean Film Festivals popping up across the world to power-house brands creating fashion from…

Top Dive Sites in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat has many names; Four Kings; the crown jewel of the Coral Triangle; the underwater Serengeti; the end of the rainbow (okay, that one was us), but no name can quite do justice to the diving in Indonesia's Raja Ampat. Home to the highest marine biodiversity on earth, descending into…

coral reef

Where to Dive in Spring

Spring in Blighty: a season typified by daffodils in full bloom, the half-forgotten sensation of warm sun on bare skin and channelling The Sound of Music while frolicking through fields. But lest we forget, the British weather can be rather… unpredictable. Elsewhere, however, some of our…

jack fish maldives

The Top Dive Sites in the Deep South of the Maldives

It's no secret that the glistening lagoons, atolls and channels that marble the Maldives harbour some of the best diving in the world, and yet some of the best sites remain relatively unknown. Often hailed in hushed tones as the Galapagos of the Maldives, divers can mingle with all the 'big…

bait ball mexico

Where to Go Diving in 2020

Whether you're interested in learning to dive or an old hand looking to expand your portfolio of deep sea adventures; a trend-setter among your dive buddies or simply curious on where the best places to dive are this year; discover our definitive list of the best places to go diving in 2020…

whale shark oman

The Top Seven Short Haul Diving Destinations for 2020

Itching to get your wetsuit back on but don't want to fly halfway across the world? Fear not, as there is some incredible diving just a hop, skip and a jump from the UK, meaning you can have breakfast in Blighty and be sipping on cocktails after an epic dive by dinner (and we're not talking…

pygmy seahorse

Where We've Been in 2019

21st December 2012 was supposed to mark the end of the world, according to Mayan prophecies anyway. Thankfully, we've lived to see the decade end - and boy has it been a corker. The last decade has seen the creation of iPads, Fitbits and 4G, and the first image of a black hole was unveiled.…


Off the Grid in the Banda Sea

Nutmeg. Flavour saviour of curries, the razzle-dazzle in puds, elixir to mulled wine... you get the gist. But have you ever considered where it originated? Introducing the Banda Islands (otherwise known as the "Spice Islands"), the sole producers of nutmeg and mace in the 17th century and…

hermit crab

Insider Guide: Underwater Photography

Ever been baffled on how underwater photographers snap the most minute creatures in such magnificent detail? Perhaps wondered whether the winners of Wildlife Photographer of the Year were carefully planned or super lucky (or both!)? Us too, so we interviewed professional underwater…

Six Senses Laamu4

Conservation in the Maldives

A glistening archipelago of pearl drop islands, turquoise lagoons and incredible (understatement alert) diving, the Maldives is one of the most coveted paradises on earth, yet also one of the most fragile. However, where unregulated fishing practices, plastic-pollution and climate change are…

Arenui liveaboard Komodo

Top Five Liveaboard Diving Destinations

When you set sail on your liveaboard to destinations unknown, and with a salty ocean breeze ruffling your hair, it's hard to argue with the old proverb about the journey being as important as the destination. As your skipper plots his course between the most coveted diving destinations, a…

Angsana Ihuru aerial

Five of the Best House Reefs

Coral reefs are some of the world's most colourful and diverse ecosystems, and a hidden treasure to feast the eyes upon for any scuba diver and snorkeller. But why should you wait for a boat trip from your hotel when you can access these underwater Edens straight from the shores of your…

Use It Or Lose It - Make the Most of Your Remaining Holiday

Did you know that us Brits have some of the lowest annual holiday allowances in Europe? And to add insult to injury, the boffins in the Original Diving Office for National Statistics (sounds dangerous) tell us that almost a third of us don't even use all of our holiday days, even though 69%…

humpback whale listing image

Our Top 5 Destinations for Epic Marine Encounters

From seals, to humpback whales, to hammerhead sharks. You'll want to pack a couple of logbooks for these mad marine destinations…

blackwater diving

Top Five Dive Sites for Blackwater Diving

Ever been night diving? Blackwater diving is night diving on steroids. But rather than exploring reefs, divers are suspended in the pitch black of the open ocean. Why? Because that's when the diurnal migration (aka the world's largest migration) occurs, with countless platonic animals of the…

Louisa Fisher

She’s an A-Lister

Excuse us for a moment of unabashed self-promotion, but we're delighted to share that our Head of Diving, Louisa Fisher, has been named one of Travel & Leisure's A-List advisers. We pride ourselves on our unparalleled knowledge of diving destinations across the globe and, having…

solomon islands wreck

Winter Escapes

Summer may be nearing its end, but a spot of winter sun always provides a beacon of hope once the nights draw in. And this winter's going to be a corker, from swimming with whale sharks in Tanzania to being seduced by the songs of humpback whales in Oman, mingling with mantas in the Maldives…

The Top 11 Dive Sites For Shark Diving

Did you know that sharks have been around for more than 400 million years? Not only do they pre-date humans but also dinosaurs, making them some of the oldest living creatures to patrol our planet. Despite this, over 100 million sharks are killed each year by human activity, from bycatch to…

green turtle

Last-Minute Summer Diving

Scorching one minute, torrential rain the next; the Great British Summer is about as fickle as the relationships on Love Island (only two weeks left, thank god). But rather than wait to see what Mother Nature throws at us next, we suggest trading in for an exotic new destination. From diving…

Top 20 Underwater Photographers: Part II

We revealed the first round of winners for our Underwater Photography competition in Part I, now after much anticipation, it's time to reveal the other images that smashed the 'original' diving photo brief, and, quite frankly, made us want to escape the city in search of some water. Pronto.

seahorse lembeh strait

Top 20 Underwater Photographers: Part I

Snapshots of time, passports to other worlds and instruments for change, photography is the most powerful tool. We might be biased, but underwater photography truly trumps on the nature scale; it allows us to explore the ocean's greatest (and still largely undiscovered) depths, celebrate its…

mobula rays

Original Dive Photographer of the Year 2019

After much heated debate, a bit of argy bargy and very nearly fisty cuffs, we're delighted to announce the winner of our Original Dive Photography Competition. We challenged photographers of all levels to show us their most original diving photo, showcasing the magic of the underwater world…

Epic Shark Diving in the Bahamas

You might not have noticed, but the Bahamas has been popping up just about everywhere (well, everywhere underwater related, anyway). Seen an epic shot of a tiger beach slinking across a sandy bottom? Tiger Beach off Grand Bahama Island. How about a close up of a great hammerhead smiling?…

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