September… For mere mortals it conjures images of classrooms, warehouses or offices, and smells of fallen leaves. Whereas for many scuba divers, it conjures the distinct odor of wet neoprene and flashes of sun-drenched reefs or big pelagics roaming the open seas. Why? Because in the Maldives and Thailand, the dry season is on its way. And in the Bahamas, Galapagos, Polynesia, or the Revillagigedo islands, sharks, manta rays, humpback whales are gathering. Why enduring nitrogen oxides from exhaust pipes when you can get narced with the pure stuff in warm places? Yep, September is a fine time for planning a diving trip.
Always wishing to help, Crypto Travel Magazine has been looking for crypto-friendly dive resorts, to help scuba divers on a late-season trip mission to spare their credit cards before Christmas time, when they’ll bust them on family gifts and a long-needed pair of next-gen split fins or any other essential piece of diving gear.
Ask the community
We started bravely without using the available booking engines – more on them later – enquiring in various social media’s diving community… and reached a grand total of 4 crypto-ready resorts. Actually, one of them is a liveaboard, but we decided to count it in, after all, what’s a liveaboard but a floating dive resort? With semantics out of the way, let’s … dive in.
M/Y Seaduction, Egypt. The vessel operates out of Hurghada, Port Ghalib, or Marsa Alam on the Red Sea’s eastern shore. Book directly through their facebook page. Coins accepted: BTC and ETH. Egypt’s borders are currently opened to international travel
The following 2 resorts are in the Philippines, which is currently restricting foreign arrivals in its territory. Unfortunately, there is slim hope that this situation will change before 2022.
Alegria Dive Resort, Moalbal, Cebu, Philippines. Situated in the Sta. Filomena Marine Sanctuary, southwest Cebu, the resort offers courses, freediving, and dive packages. They accept Neo/ONT, ETH, BTC, and BCH. Their website explains how to book with cryptos.
The Pavilions, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. They expect to open during the first quarter of 2022. Part of The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts group, crypto bookings are only available at the moment by email. Crypto spending on site is currently being developed, according to marketing director Tim Sargeant.
Our last resort is also in a currently lockdowned dream destination in the heart of the coral triangle: Bali. The adventure scuba diving Padi resort is located in Seminyak, in the southeast. They deserve all the best dive sites from Tulamben’s arch-famous Liberty wreck in the northeast to Nusa Penida in the southeast. They accept BTC, contact them directly through their website.
With only 4 resorts on our radar, we decided to push the quest a bit further and include dive centers. We found that No Limits, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico accepts USDT, ETH, XRP, BNB, BUSD, and USDC. Check with them through their facebook page for bookings, other accepted coins/tokens, and dive package deals with accommodation.
A’Ha scuba diving, Cancun, Mexico. They announce their crypto capability on their website, contact them directly to arrange the payment as their booking engine doesn’t provide the option.
Valm Divers, Alona Beach, Panglao, Philippines. Situated right on beautiful Alona’s beach. Contact them through their website or facebook page to pre-book your dives with cryptos.
Start the engine
We finally turned our attention to travala.com, a well-known Australian blockchain-based booking engine that operates since 2017. Search by resort or location and pay with any of the 50+ accepted coins or tokens. The downside is that you can only book the accommodation, not the actual diving, as far as we could find out. The response we got to our email inquiry to that effect was a textbook example of unabashed client support agnosticism. Well, divers needs are commonly misunderstood by mere mortals, no big surprise here. We then came across seacrush.com, a French company, also started in 2017, that specializes in diving trips to some of the world’s best locations, such as Galapagos, the Maldives, or Socorro, to name a few. They mostly offer liveaboard diving cruises, but do have a few resorts in their catalog, as well as land-based, budget-friendlier dive packages. They accept cryptos through Coinbase.
A new charter in a diving paradise
Instead of boldly concluding that it is currently easier to find a crypto-ready barber than a crypto-ready dive resort, let’s have a glance at the near future. Most divers have heard or read about Roatán, a small Honduran island in the Caribbean less than a 100mi (150km) southeast of Belize’s Blue Hole. This is where the Próspera Zede charter city is established, in – at the time of writing – 60 acres of land bordering Roatán’s Crawfish Bay, close to the island’s best dive spots. This privately managed municipality – run by the Delaware incorporated Honduras Próspera LLC – announced last June that it had decided to accept BTC, ETH, USDC, USDT, or DAI as payment for all internal contracts and taxes. As a matter of fact, article 30 of the “Ley Orgánica de las Zonas de Empleo y Desarollo Económico” (ZEDE) of Sept 06 2013 grants those special areas in Honduras the right to “implement their own intern monetary policy”.
Both Zede law (Zede stands for Zone for Employment and Economic Development) and Próspera Zede are hugely controversial in Honduras. First, because many see the presence on Próspera’s advisory board of Shanker Singham, the éminence grise behind Brexit, as a menace to the country’s territorial integrity. And because behind Honduras Próspera LLC, appears a name that doesn’t exactly evoke constitutional respect or democracy in Latin America: Friedman. Gran’pa Milton’s Chicago Boys touring act during the 1970s made a big impact in the south part of the sub-continent. His grandson Patri backs Próspera through his vc Pronomos Capital. What’s in a name? Hodl and see.
In any case, it will be interesting to see what impact the charter city’s monetary policy makes on the rest of the island and its tourism – and diving – industry. The Central Bank of Honduras doesn’t prohibit nor regulates cryptocurrencies, but the dive resorts we’ve contacted have not yet jumped on the crypto wagon. Obviously we didn’t contact them all, and as the wagon is getting easier and easier to jump into, this could quickly change. We found one dive center, Scuba Shop, in Little French Key, that accepts cryptos, BTC, XRP, ETH, and CRO through Ripple’s PayString, or direct BTC transactions.
Beyond any controversy (check the links below to learn more about Roatán’s Zede), Roatán is definitively the place that crypto divers should keep watching in the coming months.