Scuba Diving Jamaica
Like the reggae, scuba diving in Jamaica will quickly make you feel alright! The many places to scuba dive in Jamaica are unspoiled and secluded.
The pristine waters, the clear visibility, the warm temperatures and abundant sea life is nothing short of awesome for any diver.
Jamaica is a favorite travel destination for visitors to the Caribbean. Being the 3rd largest island in the Caribbean and famous for its Jamaican Rum and Blue Mountain coffee, Jamaica has become quite the popular destination for travelers. Scuba diving in Jamaica is one of the most popular attractions for vacationers to the island.
SCUBA DIVING JAMAICA
There are plenty of shallow reefs to explore close to shore that offer excellent adventures for beginners and advanced scuba divers. Marine life is less active here than in places such as Aruba due to overfishing. Regulations have been put in place to help preserve the existing marine life. There are still lots of great dive sites with huge caverns and tunnels to explore as well as wreck dives to visit. Most all dive operators on the island offer advanced and pro PADI scuba diving classes as well as more advanced scuba dive sites to visit.
Diving in Jamaica is focused on fringing reefs that line the north and west coasts of the island, as well as on upper reaches of the Cayman Trench lying off the north side of Jamaica. The surface water temperature in Jamaica is consistent with Caribbean standards, reaching the lower 80’s Fahrenheit in summer and dropping into the upper 70’s during the winter. The Jamaican dive sites most visited are near Montego Bay on the north, but Negril, on the west coast, has reefs in better condition because they are protected from the winds and currents that come from the north. Because of the many rivers in Jamaica the visibility can drop near where the rivers enter the ocean.
Most visitors to Jamaica don’t spend enough time on the island to venture out of the normal tourist areas and explore more, but I’ve had some really great and memorable scuba diving experiences on the East coast, near Port Antonio and the World Famous Blue Lagoon.
In fact, just North of the island, a few miles out in the ocean, the sea floor drops all the way down to 24,714 feet or just about 5 miles down! The Cayman Trench is one of the deepest points in the world’s oceans. This vast area of deep ocean has some amazing marine life that passes through it.
If you’re feeling adventurous, visit Port Royal near Kingston. The sunken city of Port Royal lies off the coast of Kingston and is unique to explore. This dive requires special permission from the local authorites and can be easily organized through any licensed and reputable dive operator.
DIVE SEASON: Year around. The best time to dive in Jamaica is between June to September, where you will find diving conditions that are clear with calm waters and good visibility. Make sure to avoid the rainy season, which is October to May, as this sometimes is not the best time to dive in the island. And believe it or not, the period from June to September includes the beginning of the hurricane season.
VISIBILITY: As low as 30’ (10m) in the winter and up to 125’ (38m) in the summer months
WATER TEMPERATURE: 82F (28C) in the summer to 78F (2618C) in the winter.
WEATHER: Consistently warm tropical weather ensures Jamaica is a popular destination year-round. On the coast, temperatures range from 22°C (72°F) and 31°C (88°F) with chilly mornings and evenings denoting winter.
CLIMATE: Consistently warm tropical weather ensures Jamaica is a popular destination year-round. On the coast, temperatures range from 22°C (72°F) and 31°C (88°F) with chilly mornings and evenings denoting winter.
LANGUAGE: English is the official language of Jamaica, but Jamaican Patois (Patwah) is the spoken language of Jamaica.
ELECTRICITY: Most places use the standard electrical voltage of 110, as in the U.S. However, some establishments still operate on 220 volts, 50 cycles.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The official unit of currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar. The rate of exchange changes almost daily, and visitors are advised to wait until they arrive in Jamaica to exchange their money. This will ensure they receive the most up-to-date rate.
GRATUITIES: Gratuities are often included in the bill, or in the original price quoted to you. However, tips for taxi drivers and similar situations run in the 10-15% range.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: The island’s phone system is expensive for overseas calls but local calls are inexpensive unless your hotel decides to impose an unreasonable surcharge. A prepaid Explorer Jamaica SIM card with an international cell phone is the most convenient and economical solution for staying in touch while you travel through Jamaica. Access to the Web is usually arranged through your hotel.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: All visitors must have a passport. Visas are not required for visitors from the US, the UK, Canada, Japan and Australia. A list of countries for which a visa is required is here.
CUSTOMS: You may bring a “reasonable” amount of duty-free goods for personal use; anything deemed in excess of “reasonable” may incur an import tax.
DEPARTURE TAX: You’ll be charged a US$37 departure tax at the airport, payable in either Jamaican or U.S. dollars.
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