With clear and calm water, bountiful marine life, and some of the most extensive coral systems in the world, the Caribbean is a diver’s paradise. Every year, thousands flock to the islands to explore its fascinating waters, from pirate shipwrecks to kaleidoscopic reef walls.
Rather than focus on one destination, like I did when I wrote about diving in Bonaire, in this article, I’ve rounded up some of the best dive locations in the Caribbean region. Read on to discover 7 of the best diving spots in the Caribbean.
7 of the Best Dive Spots in the Caribbean
1. Bloody Bay Marine Park, Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands offer some of the most astonishing diving in the Caribbean. But there’s one dive site here that stands above the rest. The Bloody Bay Marine Park is located just off the coast of Little Cayman Island, and is a must-do for serious divers.
For many, this destination is a bucket list dive site.
In the marine park is where you’ll find the Bloody Bay Wall. Starting at around 15 to 20 feet, this astonishing coral reef wall plunges down into an abyss, the depth of which is unknown.
With great visibility, an array of marine life, and a touch of drama, this is easily one of the best dive spots in the Caribbean.
And, if you go to the Cayman Islands, check out number 6 as well, because that’s another great dive site here.
2. Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos
The sandy islands and cays that make up Turks & Caicos is another hotspot for some fantastic dives.
From the stunning marine life and corals of Grace Bay to the Columbus National Marine Park on Grand Turk Island, there’s an almost endless array of accessible and fascinating dive options.
But for many, it’s hard to go past the dive sites at Salt Cay. Located right next to the Columbus Passage, during January and April this is one of the best spots in the Caribbean to see humpback whales as they migrate north. For divers, it’s a truly breathtaking experience.
For trips to Turks & Caicos, basing yourself in Grace Bay is ideal. Here you’ll find plenty of villas: secluded and perfect for some low-key relaxation after diving around the islands.
3. Tiger Beach, The Bahamas
For a dive that gets your adrenaline pumping, diving at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas is a top choice.
Located off the island of Grand Bahama, this is one of the world’s most famous shark dives.
Yes, you go here to dive with tiger sharks! And the local dive shops say they see tiger sharks about 90% of the time.
You’ll dive in a group and gather on the seafloor with a guide. Trained in shark handling, the guide will begin to feed the tiger sharks.
The sharks will swirl around you, making for some fantastic underwater photo opportunities. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity, and one of the best dive spots in the Caribbean, if not anywhere in the world, for anyone who loves diving with sharks.
Apart from tiger sharks you might also see lemon sharks, reef sharks, nurse sharks, great hammerhead sharks and bull sharks at this dive site.
4. Diamond Rock, Saba
When I was living in St Maarten, one of the reasons why I wanted to learn how to scuba dive was because of the great stories I heard about diving in nearby Saba.
The volcanic island of Saba is home to some of the Caribbean’s most pristine underwater sites for adventurous divers.
From colorful reefs to swim-throughs, and underwater mountainous peaks, this small island punches well above its weight when it comes to diving experiences.
Diamond Rock is a fantastic dive site in Saba, a beautiful and large rock protruding from the water. Underneath, the mountain is scarred with caves, tunnels, and swim-throughs, all of it abounding with marine life like barracudas, octopus, eels, and angelfish.
And several other pristine dive sites are easily reachable by boat from the island of Saba. Thanks to its volcanic origins, expect plenty of incredible rock formations underwater.
Tip: Saba is small and therefore most travelers won’t want to spend too much time here. But it’s an easy ferry ride or flight from St Maarten. I’d therefore recommend combining a visit to both.
5. Anse Chastanet, St Lucia
St Lucia is a Caribbean island that’s great for divers of all levels, and one of the most popular destinations in the region.
And although I found the number of dive shops quite limited on the island, it definitely does offer some of the better dive sites in the Caribbean.
From shore dives to deep dives, reef walls to shipwrecks, cavernous holes to coral reefs, there’s a lot of variety here.
Anse Chastanet stands out as a top dive site in St Lucia, and it’s an easy shore dive. It is calm, clear, and loaded with plenty of interesting marine life.
Anse Chastanet is inside SMMA’s marine reserve. This makes the coral and marine life here better preserved than in other parts of the island.
Snorkelers will also find a lot to love here, but it’s the night dives where this reef really comes to life.
The reef is home to St. Lucia’s version of the Lochness Monster, known as “The Thing”. This slithering creature is said to haunt night dives, when the reef fills up with all kinds of wonderful marine life.
6. Stingray City, Cayman Islands
Back to the Cayman Islands for another wonderful dive site: Stingray City.
Located on Grand Cayman, this dive site is one of Grand Cayman’s 240 dive sites, making the entire island one of the best dive locations in the Caribbean.
Out of all of them, Stingray City is unmissable. Here, divers can visit hundreds of gentle southern stingrays, curious creatures who glide gracefully around the divers.
There are of course also plenty of tropical fish swimming around as well, but the stingrays take the show. Make sure to bring an underwater camera because you can get some great shots with these stingrays!
Note: some of Grand Cayman’s dive sites can get windy and have some surface currents, which is something to keep in mind, especially if you are new to diving.
7. The R.M.S Rhone Shipwreck, British Virgin Islands
The Caribbean is a well-known sailing destination, but look underwater to discover a different kind of vessel.
I love wreck dives, there is just something mysterious about sunken ships…
Therefore the final destination on this list takes us to the British Virgin Islands where the Caribbean’s most magnificent shipwreck lies.
One glance at the magnificent wreck of the R.M.S Rhone will have your heart racing. Sunk in 1867, it’s considered by many to be one of the world’s best wreck dives.
Diving here you can swim through the intact bow of the ship, as well as under the stern of the ship near the intact propeller. It’s definitely a memorable dive site!
Diving in the Caribbean
There you have it, seven of the best dive sites in the Caribbean.
And before I finish this article I have a few final tips for diving in the Caribbean:
- There are lionfish all over the Caribbean. They are beautiful but do keep your distance as they sting!
- Also watch out for fire coral. Of course, try not to touch any coral because you’ll do damage to it, but fire coral stings on top of that.
- Check what dive certificate you need (open water, advanced open water, etc) for different dive sites. Not all dive sites are suitable for open water divers.
Have a great time diving in the Caribbean!
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