Scuba Diving Caribbean

Looking for an easy trip to the top diving destinations in the Caribbean?

With hundreds of islands, each with a special charm, the Caribbean and scuba exploration go hand-in-hand. You’ll find old wrecks, new wrecks, coral reefs, sheer walls, gentle drop offs and fabulous pinnacles to investigate. You can dive from shore, from dive boats or spend your days diving from a liveaboard. Warm, clear water, beautiful beaches and a laid-back pace make the Caribbean a good dive holiday choice.

Warm water (much or all of the year),  reef fish, pelagics,  hard corals, soft corals, walls, ribbon reefs, currents that range from ripping to calm are hallmarks of Caribbean scuba diving.

If you are seeking a specific cultural background for your vacation, you’re lucky in the Caribbean!  The French, British, Dutch and Spanish all colonized, the Caribbean.  Their influences can still be felt in different parts of the region.

It has long been referred to as the West Indies due to Columbus’s discovery.  It includes more than 7,000 islands. It is made up of 13 independent island countries, plus dependencies and overseas territories of other nations. That large number includes islets, cay’s and a few inhabited reefs.

In geographical terms the Caribbean area is a diving destination that includes the Caribbean Sea.  It also includes the islands located to the southeast of the Gulf of Mexico, east of Central America and Mexico and north of South America.  The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos are not considered a part of the Caribbean, however, we show them here because of their geographical associations with the other Caribbean Islands.

Many of the islands of the Caribbean have a well developed dive industry. It is usually very easy to find a dive resort and all the diving information to help you have a great dive vacation.

CLICK on one of the following links to start learning about your next amazing Diving Holidays.

The Caribbean Islands By Region

Western Caribbean 

Belize – Belize may be one of the smallest nations in Central America, but it’s home to the world’s second-longest barrier reef and three of only four true coral atolls in the western hemisphere.

Honduras – Diving in Honduras is a must for scuba diving enthusiasts and beginners alike. The Bay Islands is home to over 95% of the Caribbean’s coral and fish species, so is one of the most diverse areas of the Caribbean. The reef surrounding the Bay Islands forms part of the Meso American Reef (the second largest barrier reef system in the world) and is home to a rich diversity of both corals and fish life. Roatan is the largest of the Honduras’ Bay Islands; the others beingUtila, Guanaja and Cayos Cochinos (a couple of small islands and islets).

Costa Rica – While the Caribbean coast has yet to develop a serious scuba diving infrastructure, diving off the Pacific Coast is nothing short of spectacular. The Cocos Islands – The underwater world of this national park has become famous due to the attraction it holds for divers, who rate it as one of the best places in the world to view large pelagic species such as sharks, rays, tuna and dolphins.

Panama –  Think of the number of fish you have seen elsewhere and double it. Think about the size of the fish you have seen and double that as well. That sums up the promise of diving Coiba.

Greater Antilles

The word Antilles originated in the period before the European conquest of the New World – Europeans used the term Antillia as one of the mysterious lands featured on medieval charts, sometimes as an archipelago, sometimes as continuous land of greater or lesser extent.

The Greater Antilles is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea: Cuba, Hispaniola (containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.

Cayman Islands – Little Cayman, Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman Known for their amazing wall dives, beautiful coral reefs and visibility that often reaches more than 30 meters/100 feet.

Cuba – Cuban diving waters are pristine, with very little pollution or coral destruction, perfectly preserved. Cuba is a wonderful destination for scuba divers of all levels.

Dominican Republic – an exhilarating experience for divers of all level! The pristine Caribbean waters provide excellent visibility to experience vibrant corals and lively sea life up close.

Jamaica – The pristine waters, the clear visibility, the warm temperatures and abundant sea life is nothing short of awesome for any diver. One of Jamaica’s most famous underwater sites is Port Royal or the ‘City that Sank’. On June 7, 1692, an earthquake struck largely destroying the city and causing two thirds of it to sink into the sea. It is considered the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere

Puerto Rico – With the continental shelf surrounding it on three sides, Puerto Rico has an abundance of coral reefs, caves, sea walls, and trenches for divers of all experience levels to explore. There are countless scuba diving sites in Puerto Rico including Desecheo Island, Mona Island, Vieques Island, La Parguera, Escambron and Culebra.

Lesser Antilles:

The Lesser Antilles is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most form a long, partly volcanic island arc between the Greater Antilles to the north-west and the continent of South America. The islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Together, the Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles compose the Antilles (or the Caribbean in its narrowest definition). When combined with the Lucayan Archipelago, all three are known as the West Indies.

The majority of the islands in the Lesser Antilles form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic. They are located in the northern part of the West Indies. The islands here are further divided into the three regions: the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands/ South Caribbean, the ABC Islands

The Leeward Islands are labelled on the map’s middle right side. The Windward Islands are shown/labelled on the map’s lower right side.

The Leeward Islands

The Leeward Islands are a group of islands situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean. Starting with the Virgin Islands east of Puerto Rico, they extend southeast to Guadeloupe and its dependencies. In English, the term Leeward Islands refers to the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain.

Anguilla – Anguilla’s turquoise waters boast seven marine parks Dive sites include wreck dives, shore dives, mini wall dives, night dives and heritage diving. Anguilla is known for its intentionally sunk shipwrecks.

Antigua and Barbuda – The tropical Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda are almost completely surrounded by well-preserved coral reefs and ship wrecks making for excellent diving and snorkeling!

British Virgin Islands – This extraordinary setting provides outstanding underwater visibility, healthy coral and a wide variety of exotic dive sites.

Guadeloupe – Guadeloupe is a beautiful island in tune with nature. Pigeon Island and the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park is one of the world’s best dive destinations. Due to it’s volcanic structure, Guadeloupe if rated as one of the top diving destinations.

Saba – The volcanic island of Saba rises up out of the eastern Caribbean like a faceted jewel ringed by a rocky coastline — no beaches here, nude or otherwise — topped with cloud rainforest. From shallow patch reefs to deep water seamounts, Saba offers interesting diving at each depth and for every diver’s experience level.

St. Eustatius – Also known affectionately to the locals as Statia – Clean, unhurried and unspoiled. Pristine living, practically no crime, reefs teeming with fish. Gentle trade winds. Warm and genuinely friendly people.

St. Barthelemy or St. Bart is fully encircled by shallow reefs, which create a beautiful diving environment. One of the best things about St. Barts is the quality and variety of the food.

St. Kitts/Nevis – like no other islands in the Caribbean, seem to embody a kind of lush tropical paradise usually associated with the South Pacific, offer some of the prettiest diving in the Caribbean

St. Maarten (Dutch) / St. Martin (French) – The tale of two islands in one. St. Maarten is a great dive destination. The outlying wreck and reef sites offer fantastic dives and excellent photo opportunities. A wide range of wrecks and reef dive sites.

Trinidad & Tobago – This region is known as the “drift diving capital of the Caribbean,” due to its profuse amount of drift diving locales. There are Four major festivals take place on Trinidad. Two Islands. Two Unique Experiences.

US Virgin Islands – Nowhere else in the Caribbean can you dive a wreck, wall, pier and reef all in one day! Consist of 3 main islands: St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Each of our three major islands has a unique character all its own.

The Windward Islands /  South Caribbean 

The Windward Islands, also known as the Islands of Barlovento, are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies. They lie south of the Leeward Islands, approximately between latitudes 10° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W. As a group they start from Dominica and reach southward to the north of Trinidad & Tobago and west of Barbados.

Barbados – The fringes and reefs found off Barbados blossom with healthy sponges, coral and plant life. There are several types of reefs, each one unique in its own special way.

Dominica – A beautiful Caribbean island with great diving & the best hiking in the region.  You can dive volcanic vents spewing champagne bubbles and hot water. Or experience submerged volcanic craters with dramatic vertical walls. The deep waters off the island often draw in big pelagic, from whale sharks to dolphins.

Grenada – Welcome to a place where untouched beauty meets the friendly smiles of the local people. The top diving destinations list for Grenada certainly includes diving the wreck of the Bianca C, known as the Titanic of the Caribbean. It is a 600 foot cruise ship that sank in 1961.  Also ranked among the best diving sites is the Underwater Sculpture Park.  It contains a series of underwater installations on the theme of Grenada’s history and folklore.

Martinique – Martinique is one of two overseas regions of France. The mix of French and Caribbean culture creates a unique vacation destination in which you can get the best of both worlds: the warm weather, pristine beaches, and colorful attitude of the Caribbean as well as the posh and refined nature of France.

St. Lucia – The twin volcanic spires of the Piton Mountains, surrounded by miles of unspoiled rainforest, make St. Lucia a nature-lover’s paradise.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines – St. Vincent is the ‘Critter Capital of the Caribbean’. Divers will be enthralled by the variety of marine creatures to see – and underwater photographers will think it’s a dream come true.

The ABC Islands

The three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea.

Aruba – Aruba is famous for the spectacular shipwrecks and interesting coral formations that dominate its underwater realm. This includes the 400 foot Antilla wreck—the largest wreck in the Caribbean.

Bonaire – Always in the top 5 Caribbean destinations, Bonaire’s greatest asset is the nearly continuous coral reef that in many places begins only yards from shore.

Curacao – What makes Curacao special among Caribbean islands? Authenticity. Curacao offers a wide variety of diving adventures with walls, wrecks, reefs and more.

Lucayan Archipelago  

Also known as the Bahama Archipelago, is an island group comprising the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The archipelago is in the western North Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba along with the other Antilles, and east and southeast of Florida.

Bahamas – World’s Third Largest Barrier Reef. The Bahamas are one of the top diving destinations for shark dives. Its has the clearest waters in the world, with visibility of over 61m (200 ft). Here are highlight diving area: Nassau/Paradise IslandGrand Bahama IslandLong IslandAbacosAndrosBiminiSan Salvador.

Turks & Caicos – Walls or wrecks, tropical diving are accessible and impressive. don’t forget, you can see Humpback Whales January through March. The three islands generally visited by divers – Grand Turk, Salt Cay, Providenciales – have three distinct personalities, but share one trait: awesome wall diving.

Bermuda

Bermuda – Bermuda is a world-class dive site, known for its often eerie shipwrecks, teeming with marine life. There are more than 400 documented wreck sites spanning over 500 years of history.

Mexico

Mexico – As a big country with waters in the Caribbean and the Pacific, Mexico has many diving attractions. The Guadalupe Island in the Pacific for Great White Shark. The Sea of Cortez is a famous place for visits of some of the biggest creatures of the oceans (whale, whaleshark). The Riviera Maya is a tourist district in the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula and includes top diving places from Islas Mujeres, Cozumel and the several mysterious Cenotes, a sinkhole in the Earth’s surface with a chain of underground river networks. Don’t forget the Galapagos of Mexico, the Revillagigedo Archipelago, more commonly called Socorro.

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