One of the best parts of traveling is the thrills you experience along the way. We’ve partnered with adventure travel expert Jeremy Scott Foster from TravelFreak, as he talks about some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean.
Ask any experienced scuba diver and they’ll tell you flat out that the best diving is in the Caribbean. With over 7,000 individual islands to choose from, the Caribbean is home to some of the wildest and most active sea life on the planet.
From steep coral reefs to volcanic cracks and crevices, Caribbean diving unlocks a world of underwater landscapes for divers of all ages to explore.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable time in the Caribbean, don’t miss out on the following diving destinations.
1. Tent Reef, Saba
Although it may be off the beaten track, the rugged, volcanic island of Saba is one of the most exceptional diving destinations in the Caribbean. Dipping deep beneath the ocean shores are intricate lava tubes, rocky caves, and rock formations just begging to be explored.
With four individual dive sites and sea walls ranging from 15-50 feet, Saba’s Tent Reef is the ideal location for both beginner and advanced divers. The underwater marine life is more incredible than you could ever imagine. Swim along the sides of scorpion fish, hawksbill turtles, and even long-snouted seahorses.
Tent Reef is also one of the most popular spots for night diving. With the moon illuminating the tranquil lapping waves, you’ll have the opportunity to see an entirely different world of life. When the sun goes down, spiny lobsters and red snappers come out to play.
2. Shark Junction, Bahamas
No trip to the Bahamas would be complete without a thrilling, heart-pounding encounter with sharks. Shark Junction is one of the best spots for interacting with these magical beasts. You’ll be rubbing fins with not just one or two, but upwards of 50 Caribbean reef sharks!
Besides being encircled by sharks, you’ll also be diving with moray eels, groupers, and stingrays.
For those looking to up their Caribbean diving game, head to Tiger Beach where you can dive with the infamously notorious Tiger Sharks that swim through the shallow reefs.
3. USS Kittiwake, Grand Caymans
Considered one of the most impressive dive spots in the Caribbean, the shipwrecked ruins of the USS Kittiwake is a spectacularly eerie 250-foot sunken submarine.
Nestled just off the coast of Seven Mile Beach, the USS Kittiwake is swarming with underwater residents such as banded coral shrimp, arrowhead crabs, and horse-eyed jacks. Besides admiring the sea life, you can also explore the engine room, decompression chamber, and captain’s office of the grand vessel.
4. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
With dozens of dive sites lining the shores of Grand Turk Island, even the most experienced of divers will find something alluring along the astounding 7,000-foot coral wall. Although there are endless spots to explore, you don’t have to go very deep to see the vivid variety of marine life.
Start your dive in the shallow turquoise currents and descend into the dark, depths of the cobalt coral reefs. You’ll still have visibility of 100 feet, which means it’s easy to spot everything from orange and yellow trumpet fish to flying spotted eagle rays. If you’re lucky, you might also spot the sinister foreboding nurse shark snaking its way along the reef.
5. Mary’s Place, Honduras
While there’s no shortage of diving spots in Honduras, the island of Roatan might be the most well known. The underwater plateau of Mary’s Place is located on the southern coast of Roatan and is easily one of the Caribbean’s most recognizable diving destinations.
Thousands of divers visit Mary’s Place each year just to explore the deep, volcanic crevices that sit below the ocean’s surface. Although Mary’s Place should be reserved for advanced divers, novice beginners can still swim along the top of the wall.
Peek through the cracks and gaps of the plateau to see schools of spotted drum fish and stinging fire worms. You might also see a few sweetlip and rainbow wrasse fish burrowed in the black coral.
6. Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, Mexico
The coral reef in Cozumel is the second largest on the planet, only second to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. With crystal clear waters, abundant sea life, and over 26 species of coral, it’s easy to see why divers flock to Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park.
The protected national park is home to some of the most sought after diving spots, including the Punta Sur, Paradise, and Palancar reefs. Search deep under the coral outcroppings and see if you can spot the almost-endangered, blue and yellow striped Cozumel splendid toadfish.
7. Carriacou, Grenada
The unspoiled island of Carriacou is a hidden gem with some of the best drift diving in the Caribbean. The intense currents of Sister Rocks may be challenging, but it’s an amazing experience that you’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.
Dropping down 65 feet, you’ll flow through rocky reef gardens with giant lobsters and barracudas by your side. Of course, the rapid currents can take a toll on even the most experienced divers, so make sure you’re up for the ride before jumping in.
If you’re looking for something more peaceful, then the shallow azure waters of Sharky’s Hideaway offers a calm but captivating dive for all skill levels. With depths starting at only 23 feet, you’ll still see a variety of colorful sponges and other marine life.
8. Anse Chastanet Reef, St. Lucia
The tropical beaches and pristine water conditions of St. Lucia make for excellent Caribbean diving that can be enjoyed throughout the year. The Anse Chastanet Reef is a safe and relaxing spot that caters to divers and snorkelers alike. This vibrant coral reef is situated just 15 yards from the edge of the shore, so close that you can almost see it through the clear waters with your naked eye!
Once you swim over the wall, you’ll be immersed in a world of vibrant and colorful sea creatures. Come during the summer and see nesting sea turtles preparing to lay their eggs.
Anse Chastanet Reef is also perfect for macro and sea life photography. The schools of fish tend to hang out in the shallow shores, which can be easily photographed with the sun reflecting off the glistening waters.
9. Brewer’s Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
With over 50 islands to hop between, the British Virgin Islands are world renown for warm, turquoise waters and picture-perfect beaches. Don’t miss out on the chance to dive off the shores of Tortola island and experience some of the liveliest marine life the ocean has to offer.
Brewer’s Bay is a small slice of paradise smack dab in the middle of the Caribbean sea. While the secluded beach is tucked away from the crowds, it’s still recommended to boat out a few miles in order to see thriving eagle rays and red-lipped blennies.
If you’re on Tortola during the Spring, you might have a chance to see breached humpback whales. The low hum of their songs can be heard by divers up to ten miles underwater!
10. Belize Barrier Reef, Belize
Stretching almost 200 miles underwater, the Belize Barrier Reef is a diving destination you will definitely want to tick off your bucket list. It’s home to an astonishing 100 types of corals, 500 different species of fish, and countless other swimming mollusks and crustaceans.
Make your way over to the Great Blue Hole, a gigantic sinkhole considered one of the best diving spots by non-other than Jacques Cousteau himself. Unlike most destinations in the Belize Barrier Reef, the Great Blue Hole is not your average brightly colored coral dive. Instead, you’ll be swimming through dark caves and rocky crevices, which is a unique experience on its own.
11. Karpata, Bonaire
Bonaire’s northern coastline is a heavenly Caribbean diving destination that attracts both advanced divers and ambitious snorkelers. Situated just before the busy marine reserve is the immaculate coral reef of Karpata. Sloping down to over 100 feet, the Karpata reef is overflowing with tropical fish and corals of all shapes and sizes.
Karpata is also one of the best places to find green, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles. After your jump off the concrete dock, you can find the turtles nesting on the eastern side of the coast. Besides turtles, you’ll always be swimming with French angelfish, blue tangs, and green moray eels.
There’s more to the Caribbean islands than golden beaches and swaying palm trees. Dip your toes into the warm waves of the Caribbean Sea to experience an entirely majestic world teeming with turtles, sharks, and tropical fish.
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