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Turtle Diving in Bunaken

How to Get the Best out of a Family Diving Holiday

Are you planning your next (or first) family dive trip? It can be challenging to find a location, operator, and activities that appeal to all ages – and all family members. To assist you in your family dive holiday planning, in this Blog, we look at some simple steps and checkpoints to ensure that you, and your entire family, get the best out of your next family diving holiday!

What Does Your Family Want and Need? 


It’s always difficult finding a family diving holiday location, a suitable place to stay, and things to do that meet everyone’s needs or satisfy their definition of what is ‘fun’. However, a good starting point is for all family members to voice what’s important to them and any activities they do or do not want to take part in.


Here are some ‘needs’ that you might want to consider checking that your chosen operator can satisfy – if they apply to you and your family:


Diving and Non-Diving Family Members

Are there additional activities available for days when your family would prefer to stay on land, or for non-divers to take part in while the divers are out on the boat? Can the dive boat also accommodate snorkelers and swimmers? Can the boat go to shore or to beaches?


Diving and Care for All Ages

Depending on the ages of the children in your family, you may want to enquire about the availability of:

  • Snorkeling for younger children under 8 years
  • PADI Bubblemaker pool programs for 8 and 9 year olds
  • PADI professionals for diving with certified 10-12 year olds
  • Instructors who are comfortable teaching children Discover Scuba Diving Experiences or Junior PADI Open Water Courses for 10+ year olds.
  • Child-sized dive gear and life jackets for children onboard all boats
  • For very young children (toddlers and babies), are there child minding or babysitting services available?


Frequency of Diving

Children can get tired quickly and because diving is often cheaper if booked in advance, consider how many days you will realistically want to dive and book them ahead of time. Be conservative in your estimate as you can always add additional dives once you have arrived. Check if dives can be transferred between family members in the event that someone wants to do less than planned.


Other Activities

Think about how you want to spend your non-diving time and what operators have to offer. Are there other tours or activities that you and your family can join, and are they appealing to your family – and suitable?


If operators offer diving and water sports only, how easy is it to independently organize other activities? Do you need guided tours or are you staying in a tourist area where self-exploration is possible?

Family Diving Holiday

Family holidays are among the most rewarding of all vacations

Deciding on Your Destination and Operator


When you are planning your family diving holiday, there are many factors that you might want to discuss as both parents together and as a complete family unit.


Choosing a Destination 

Climatic Conditions:

Weather can be an important factor for many people so start with the basics and decide if you are heading to the tropics or hunkering down in a cozy log cabin after diving in a freshwater lake!


Marine Life:

If you are hoping to spot a specific species, do you have to be present in a certain location and at a certain time of year?


Long Haul vs. Short Haul:

Depending on the ages of your children, how accustomed they are to flying, and of course, your budget, is it more appropriate to travel short haul, or are long haul flights a possibility?


Diving Conditions:

If you have young children, nervous family members (of any age), or an individual with a physical disability etc then a destination that is renowned for easy diving conditions may be a priority for your family.


Number of Dives / Diving Days:

If you plan to split your time between land based activities and diving, or if you have non-divers traveling with you, it will be important to choose a destination that offers a good range of tours and things to do other than dive.


Choosing an Operator

Congratulations! You are one step closer to an amazing family diving holiday! Now that you have decided on your destination, it’s time to consider operators within that area. Here are some considerations, family discussion points, and possible questions that you may want to ask an operator before making a reservation:


Experienced Family Operator:

Does the operator have experience in catering to families and children? This may be a more important factor for larger families or those traveling with younger children.


Equipment for Children: 

There is nothing worse than badly fitting gear. Children get cold easily and an adult extra small size wetsuit that is still too big will not provide insulation or adequate exposure protection.


Flexible Room Options:

Do you need an extra bed in your room for one of the children, or can 3 children share a double room, does the operator have baby cribs available? You know what you need so make sure the operator is aware of your needs and can meet them.


Suitable Non-Diving Activities?

Are there suitable non-diving activities for all members of your group? Check if there are any minimum or maximum age restrictions on any of the activities offered.


Child Policies

Check if the operator has a child pricing policy, for example, at Murex Resorts our child policy states that when sharing a double room with parents:

  1. All children aged under 7 years are free of charge and their transfers are also free.
  2. Children aged 7-9 years are just USD 26 per night and transfers are half price.
  3. Children aged 10-12 years are USD 40 per night with transfers also discounted by 50%



Is there a kids menu available? If you are traveling with very young children or babies, is baby food available, or can suitable adult food be blended? Is there a refrigerator for milk or formula storage?


Resort Facilities:


If there is a swimming pool, is there a shallow area, and if so, what depth? Is the pool fenced off to prevent accidental falling? Are the rooms child friendly? What other facilities are there specifically for younger guests such as an adventure playground, kids club, games, table tennis etc.

Junior divers learning to dive in a swimming

Murex Resorts’ team of Divemasters and Instructors are experienced in working with junior divers

Travel Practicalities 

When traveling to Indonesia, avoid stress and hassle at the airport by ensuring that all family members meet the following entry requirements:

  • Passports must have a minimum of 6 months validity.
  • Entry Visa Requirements – Indonesia offers visa free entry to multiple nationalities, check to see if you can obtain a free visa on arrival before leaving home.
  • Have an onward or return flight ticket booked. On occasions, onward travel tickets, dated within 30 days of arrival, are requested when entering Indonesia.
  • Although not required, you may also want to consider taking out a family travel insurance policy that covers scuba diving (recompression, emergency evacuation, and repatriation should be included).


Advance Preparation for Diving 

It’s not just planning that needs to be taken care of before your family diving holiday, there is some practical preparation which, when done in advance, will ensure that your trip goes smoothly with minimal surprises! Here are our top suggestions for when it comes to practical preparation for you and your family’s trip:


Take a Refresh 

If it’s been a while since some of your family have been in the water it’s a great idea to take a refresher course either pre-departure or when you arrive at your chosen destination. Whether or not you all need a refresh or just one or some of you, taking a refresh together can be a lot of fun and re-establish buddy groups and underwater communication too!


Time to Level Up? 

If you have different certification levels, particularly if some of you are Open Water Divers and others are Advanced Open Water, you may want to think about leveling up so all family members are Advanced and have the same maximum depth levels.


Do your children have junior certifications? If so (and depending on their ages), be aware that additional depth restrictions may apply.


Perhaps your family, or some members of your family, are not yet certified? Why not take a family PADI Open Water Course together? Read more about one family’s experience of learning to dive together at Murex Resorts here.


Buddy Planning 

Discuss together who will buddy with whom. If you have junior members in your group and you plan to make unguided house reef dives, consider that under 12 year olds will need to buddy with a parent but when diving with one of our PADI Divemasters, this is not necessary.



If you are traveling with your gear, take a look at it in advance. Check all items for signs of deterioration, including perished O-rings. If it has been a while since you last used your BCD or regulator, it’s a good idea to have them serviced before departure.


We know that kids grow fast so make sure that all items still fit comfortably and haven’t become too tight or uncomfortable.


Certification Cards & Logbooks

Don’t leave finding your logbook and certification cards to the last minute – they might not be where you assumed they were! Why not photograph or scan your certification cards and email them to your operator in advance to save time when you arrive?


A mother and daughter receive their PADI Open Water Diver certificates together

Learning to dive together creates memories (and family diving holiday possibilities) that will last a lifetime

Communicate Your Family’s Needs Ahead of Arriving


To avoid any unnecessary disappointment or leaving things to chance, be clear with your chosen operator about your needs so that they can effectively plan for your arrival.


Let your operator know:


  • Your flight arrival information (flight number, airline, last departure airport, scheduled arrival time.
  • Any dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences.
  • Any physical disabilities that need catering for ie mobility ramps etc.
  • Your preferred room configurations (double/twin/extra bed/child cot).
  • Gear hire requirements and sizes.
  • Clarify the days you want to dive, how many divers, and how many dives,
  • Avoid disappointment and book diving/tours/activities in advance.
  • If you plan to use child minding or babysitting services, let your operator know the dates, times, and potential duration.



Are You Ready to Book Your Family Diving Holiday to Indonesia?


If your family diving holiday planning is underway, take a look at our Passport to Paradise package – an unbelievable family diving holiday experience. Discover three distinct destinations here in North Sulawesi: Bunaken, Bangka and Lembeh, in one phenomenal trip. Dive with turtles and explore the staggering walls of the Bunaken Marine Park, dive into Bangka Island’s kaleidoscopic soft coral reefs, and experience the world’s best muck diving in the Lembeh Strait.


Our Passport to Paradise resorts (Murex Manado, Murex Bangka and Lembeh Resort) are connected by boat diving transfers which means no wasted travel time and even more family time underwater as you simply dive your way from resort to resort!


Get in Touch… 


Contact us at You may also want to check out Murex Resorts’ rates and reserve your spot now.


We look forward to welcoming you to North Sulawesi!


Further Reading


If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also be interested in some of our other recent posts about diving, staying, and exploring North Sulawesi:



Dive, Snorkel and Explore More with us in beautiful North Sulawesi.

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