From The Little Mermaid remake to Netflix documentaries, mermaids are trending - and the travel industry is taking note. With so many places offering mermaid experiences, you’re never too old to find your inner Ariel, writes Kaila Yu.
Against the backdrop of undulating yellow-and-black-striped butterfly fish and fluttering stingrays, the mermaid swims toward the crystalline water’s surface. Clad in shimmering gold and black, mermaid instructor Brandee Anthony’s silicone tail matches her marine co-stars’ as she swims in Bora Bora. She’s just finished teaching her first pod of mermaids in the Four Seasons Bora Bora’s new mermaid certification course.
The #MermaidLife hashtag has over 548 million views on TikTok, and Mermaidcore is deemed the trending aesthetic for the summer. Mermaid certifications are on the rise, PADI, one of the world’s largest mermaid certification organisations, has seen a 400 per cent growth in instructors since 2015.
Here are six places around the world where you can slip on your mermaid tail and join in the fun.
The Four Seasons Bora Bora is the first to offer The PADI Mermaid™ course in French Polynesia. Bora Bora is one of the best places worldwide to learn mermaiding; the calm, crystalline water of the protected lagoon surrounds the entire resort. The class includes safety techniques, breath-holding skills, and mermaid diving. The turquoise waters, reflective white sands, and blooming coral of the resort make for stunning mermaid photos, which all certified mermaids receive as a memory of their experience. Kids as young as 6 can join in, and no prior experience is required. fourseasons.com/borabora
Head to DiveCube Hotel in Taiwan to find the deepest hotel pool in Asia, with a depth of 21 metres. The pool lives inside a full-service hotel with about two dozen nautical cabin-inspired rooms, a vegetarian Italian restaurant, and a shop full of diving goodies. It’s as if the pool was designed for mermaid neophytes; the controlled environment eliminates concerns of choppy waves or coral damage. There are also five-tiered depth levels so mermaids can advance according to their skill level. There are also plenty of mermaiding photo ops, such as the massive sun-filled swim-up window, underwater art exhibition, caves, and a shipwreck designed by The Life of Pi’s scenographer. divecube.com.tw
Join a week of mermaid workshops, panels, and experiences at the annual Freedive Mer Week Cozumel, from August 1-8, 2023. This event is meant for already certified mermaids and attracts merfolk from all over the world. Hosted at the Wyndham Cozumel, accommodations include an all-inclusive stay and classes by mermaid instructor Jewels Diver. Mermaids gather to upgrade their underwater skills and learn more about ocean conservation through Mermaids for Conservation. There’s also an optional add-on for a bucket-list mermaiding experience near Isla Mujeres beside the world’s largest fish, the gentle whale shark. freedivecozumel.com/mer-week-cozumel
Florida Springs, US
This all-inclusive four-day, three-night mermaid retreat includes photoshoots and local tours with Mermaid Freedive. Produced and taught by mermaid influencer instructor Brandee Anthony and partner Zeke Motta of Primal Freediving; attendees have the opportunity to earn both PADI Freedive and Mermaid certifications. Attendees receive all classes, home-cooked meals, and shared accommodations at a scenic river home. Training occurs each day in a different, balmy, 72-degree Florida Spring where you may encounter a manatee or two. In addition to mermaid training, participate in acro-yoga, hypnotherapy classes and business mentoring. mermaidfreedive.com
Mermaid Kat presents mermaid workshops in the calm sheltered bays and abundant fringing reefs of Marsa Alam Beach in Egypt. Her seven-night EGYPT Mermaid Week takes place September 16-23 at Malikia Resort Abu Dabbab. The trip is all-inclusive of food and drinks, double occupancy accommodations, and round-trip transportation from the airport to the hotel. All mermaid training is included in addition to three boat trips to Red Sea dive sites with a high likelihood of mermaiding beside guitar sharks, turtles, manatees, and dolphins. Students take home priceless memories, edited photos, and a 2-3 minute video of the experience. Mermaids can also extend their trip by a week with a guided tour of Egypt. mermaidkat.com/mermaid-getaways-retreats-for-merpeople-and-mermaid-school
MerFest International, taking place June 23-25, 2023, in South Haven, is a weekend event that teaches mermaid certification courses and panels on underwater makeup techniques, environmental stewardship, and mermaid wig and tail care. There are plenty of opportunities to jump into the water with your tail for an additional US$75; attendees can book a 30-minute slot in North America’s largest mobile mermaid tank. A night-time space in the tank starting after 10pm results in the most luminous photos under the tank’s night lights. Also popular are the mermaid photo walk with 12 Instagrammable mermaid photo stations and an ocean-inspired aerial drone show. merfestinternational.com