The Caribbean is one of the few destinations in the world featuring hundreds of diving sites, vast marine life, and colorful underwater beauty. To have a time of your life, however, you will need to explore the best sites for diving in the Caribbean after donning your scuba mask and a scuba tank. Whether you will be diving through one of the majestic wrecks or dropping past one of the bays featuring swarms of stingray, you should have fun in the following spots for diving in the Caribbean.
The Best Sites for Diving in the Caribbean
1. Hilma Hooker
If you will be visiting Bonaire on your next diving trip, you should consider exploring the Hilma Hooker. The shipwreck is one of the best spots for diving in Bonaire.
The 240 feet cargo ship was detained by the Bonaire authorities for smuggling marijuana. It was towed to its demise in the Caribbean Sea back in 1984. Currently, it lies at a depth of 100 feet.
After approximately 3+ decades since the ship’s sinking, the wreck has managed to form an artificial reef. The reef attracts a wide range of marine life and coral.
While very little of the site for diving in Bonaire allows penetration diving, people who enjoy shipwreck diving do enjoy locating things like the remnants of the ship’s steering wheel and its huge masts. One thing to note, however, is that the shipwreck may not be accessible to beginning scuba divers. This is because it lies deep in the water column.
2. The Blue Hole
To this day, the blue hole remains to be one of the major attractions in Belize. It is not just a world-class destination for those looking for an ideal spot for diving in the Caribbean. It is also a rich habitat for a wide variety of marine life, including reef sharks, giant groupers, blacktip sharks, hammerhead sharks, parrotfish, angelfish, and nurse sharks.
The massive sinkhole measures approximately 400 feet deep and 1000 feet wide. Once you put on your color correction scuba mask and start exploring the dive site, you will come across giant stalactites, columns, and dripstone sheets. These are believed to have formed in a dry cavern above sea level, during the glacial periods.
3. Eleuthera & Harbour Island
When compared to other islands in the Bahamas, the Eleuthera & Harbor feature the largest number of shipwrecks. The island is also capable of delighting both cave and reef enthusiasts.
If you go searching for the shipwrecks after wearing your dive hood, you should find the majority of the wrecks at a depth of approximately 18 meters (60 feet). You will come across the largest number of wrecks at Devil’s Backbone. You will even find a train wreck and 3 separate shipwrecks piled on top of each other.
If you learn how to take pictures underwater before visiting this site for diving in the Caribbean, you should be able to photograph different shark species. The common shark species include the occasional bull shark and the Caribbean reef shark.
You should expect to come across brightly hued tropical fish and occasional dolphins. When you are in the shallows, you should watch out for the eagle rays. The sea turtles are usually nested heavily on the island.
4. Bari Reef
If you are interested in diving in Bonaire and you are yet to get over your fear of scuba diving, Bari Reef may be an ideal dive spot for you. It is an easy shore dive that is generally calm, with no current.
The site for diving in Bonaire features huge biodiversity. Some of the marine life you may come across while exploring Bari Reef include crabs, peacock flounder, common octopus, frogfish, yellow goatfish, yellowhead jawfish, red coral shrimp, vase sponge, spiny lobster, red-mouthed goby, etc.
The maximum depth on this site for diving in Bonaire is approximately 30 meters. The underwater visibility ranges between 15 and 30 meters. This visibility gives scuba divers, interested in underwater macro photography, the chance to use their diving cameras effectively.
Aruba hosts seagrass gardens and coral reefs. The site for diving in the Caribbean features the second largest number of wrecks in the Caribbean region.
The best thing about the wrecks available in Aruba is that the wrecks are accessible to all divers. You will find most of the wrecks in depths varying between 6 meters (20 feet) and 30 meters (100 feet).
Antilla is the most popular wreck. The 400 feet (133 meters) German freighter was scuttled by the captain during the second world war. The goal was to keep the freighter from being captured by the enemy.
The freighter lies in approximately 60 feet (18 meters) of water. At low tide, the wreck breaks the surface. The wreck’s spacious interior is accessible. If you carry your lens for underwater photography, you should be able to capture some nice pictures while inside the freighter.
While exploring the seagrass, you may come across turtles and seahorses. Other marine life available at this spot for diving in the Caribbean includes moray eels, mantas, stingrays, lobsters, and groupers.
Although Haiti is surrounded by various diving hotspots in the Caribbean, its reefs are rarely explored by divers. For this reason, the spots for diving surrounding the island are still in pristine condition, largely unaffected by coral bleaching.
Amani’s Zombie Hole is one of the most popular dive sites in Haiti. Before exploring this dive site, you need to familiarize yourself with the mistakes scuba divers make and how to avoid them. This is because the floor falls to 450 feet below the sea level. The walls are covered with sponge tubes and black corals.
If you would like to explore some wrecks while in Haiti, you should find a small PT boat lying at approximately 27 meters (90 feet) below the surface, off Kaliko Beach. The boat is neighbored by an attractive wall. This creates what one could call a 2-for-1 dive.
Technical and advanced divers who are familiar with the scuba diving concepts can explore Tina D and Ellie Jeanne. Both wrecks are bigger. However, the fact that they lie deeper makes them less ideal for new scuba divers.
Haiti features more than 35 coral species and 12 gorgonian types. The sea life you may come across includes eagle rays, barracuda, moray eels, crabs, stingrays, eagle rays, and the invasive lionfish.
You can scuba dive in Jamaica without having to worry about keeping yourself warm underwater. During the winter months, the temperatures are approximately 250C (770F). The temperatures increase to 290C (840F) during the summer.
The visibility is quite impressive. It ranges between 21 and 30 meters (70 and 100 feet). When the weather is good, the visibility may exceed 30 meters.
If you have not used your scuba gauge for a long time, meaning you do not have a lot of scuba diving experience, one of the best Jamaican dive sites you should visit is the Middle Shoal Reef. While exploring this dive site, you should be able to view parrotfish, blue Chromis, turtles, French grunts, and squirrelfish.
At Montego Bay, you will get to explore a sunken plane. The plane flies at a depth of 59 feet (18 meters) on the sandy bottom.
If you would rather dive into a site featuring a wide range of marine life, you should check out The Throne Room. While exploring the Throne Room, you will come across eels, delicate black corals, barracuda, elephant ear sponges, snappers, and even occasional dolphins.
Grenada features some of the best sites for diving in the Caribbean. The majority of the sites are generally concentrated on the west and south coasts.
After packing your scuba diving safety gear, you can decide to visit Bianca C, a dive site in Grenada featuring one of the biggest wrecks. Also referred to as the Titanic of the Caribbean, the giant ship caught fire back in 1961 and sunk in 165 feet (50 meters) of water. Although you can access the top of the wreck at only 75 feet (23 meters), you will have to go down to approximately 90 to 125 feet (28 to 38 meters) to access the main deck.
To view marine life, you should visit Fisherman’s Paradise. Located in the Southern part of Grenada, the site for diving in the Caribbean features spy eagle rays, schools of chub, southern stingrays, sea turtles, and if you are lucky, you may come across the nurse sharks.
You can checkout Moliniere Underwater Sculpture Park which was established back in 2006. The park features over 50 life-sized sculptures.
9. Trinidad and Tobago
You can dive in Trinidad and Tobago all year round considering that the temperatures range between 270C (800F) and 300C (880F) during the winter and summer respectively. It is worth noting that visibility is usually reduced in the rainy season.
If you would like to visit when the visibility is great, you should avoid visiting between July and December when it rains. When the visibility is ideal, you should be able to see clearly at depths of approximately 15 to 30 meters (50 to 100 feet). It is not uncommon for waters to become cloudy at depths of only 10 meters (30 feet).
MV Maverick, a 350-foot (107 meters) car ferry which sits upright on the seabed, is one of the best dive sites located in Trinidad and Tobago. The ferry which intentionally sank back in 1997 is home to a wide variety of schools of fish. While exploring the wreck, you may also come across cobia, eagle rays, turtles, and barracudas.
To see sharks in Trinidad and Tobago, you should visit Diver’s Thirst. At this site for diving in the Caribbean, you will come across blacktip reef sharks, large nurse sharks, and the occasional tiger and bull sharks.
Saba boasts healthy reefs, incredible visibility, and a wide variety of marine life. Similar to other volcanic islands, Saba seamounts and underwater structures offer amazing views.
Among the most visited dive sites in Saba is the Third Encounter. The seamount features a horseshoe shape and rises from the deep to approximately 90 feet (27 meters). When exploring his dive site, you should watch out for colorful corals, giant sponges, sharks, and the occasional manta rays.
David’s Dropoff, named after the Director of Saba Marine Park, David Kooistra, is another ideal dive site that you should consider checking out. The site has boulders that plunge from the shallow waters down to the sandy bottom at approximately 120 feet (36 meters). In the shallows, you may come across a stolen boat that went down. Watch out for dolphins and sharks while exploring the spot for diving in the Caribbean.
Globo Surf Overview
The Caribbean has a lot to offer scuba divers. With hundreds of dive sites, you may even find it hard to determine which dive site you should visit. While we have not covered all the sites for diving in the Caribbean, we have covered the sites which have the most to offer. If you visit the sites for diving in Bonaire mentioned in this article, you will be guaranteed a good time.
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- The Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the Caribbean, Caribjournal.com