Mysterious shipwrecks and vibrant reefs are waiting to be explored in the Caribbean. Whether you’re an experienced diver seeking a new challenge or a beginner eager to explore the underwater world, the Caribbean islands offer unforgettable experiences. To help you decide where to go, we’ve created a useful guide to some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean.
Just north of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean, Bonaire is hailed as one of the top diving destinations in the region. The waters surrounding this Dutch Caribbean island are home to more than 470 species of fish - be sure to look out for them. Top dives include the Hilma Hooker, a 72-metre shipwreck resting on the sand between two reefs; Bari Reef, an easy dive offering a glimpse of seahorses and octopi; and Salt Pier, another site great for beginners and photographers, with colourful corals and many species of vibrant fish.
For more adventurous divers, the waters of St Croix are filled with mysterious wrecks and reefs. St Croix, the largest member of the U.S Virgin Islands, is recognised as one of the Caribbean’s best diving spots. Look out for 40 types of coral and hundreds of species of fish, including the queen triggerfish and spiny Caribbean lobster. Both experienced divers and beginners should visit Butler Bay to explore its eerie shipwrecks. The 177-foot freighter wreck, the Rosa Maria, makes for a fascinating dive; while the shallower wrecks of the Suffolk Maid and North Wind are perfect for beginners. Armageddon is the most challenging dive.
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Divers and underwater photographers flock to the British Virgin Islands to dive the wreck of the 150-year old RMS Rhone. Just off Salt Island, this impressive royal mail steamer offers divers the opportunity to explore one of the best preserved underwater sites. Divers can also venture to a small group of islands off Virgin Gorda, named The Dogs. These remarkable islands offer twisting tunnels, chimneys and arches to dive through.
At 6,000 feet below the surface, Grand Cayman’s North Wall is home to remarkable marine species such as the spotted eagle ray and sea turtles. Beginners may wish to stay closer to the surface and explore Kittiwake, a wreck just 55 feet under the water, or Stingray City, a very shallow dive (or snorkel) with hundreds of gentle, southern stingrays.
Turks and Caicos
The archipelago of Turks and Caicos is a haven for divers. With one of the most extensive coral reef systems in the world - 200 miles long - you’ll be spoiled for choice. Princess Alexandra National Park offers a kaleidoscope of colours through its reefs and tropical fish. The reefs reveal tunnels and arches to dive through and the opportunity to explore wrecks including Convair, an airplane, and HMS Endymion, which offers dramatic chains and anchors extending away from the imposing wreck.
Trunk Bay, St John
Trunk Bay’s informative and beautiful underwater trail is perfect for snorkelling. Glide through the crystal clear water and learn about species of coral and other marine life through a series of plaques. The island, St John, offers plenty of opportunities to spot unique species. Explore the rocky shorelines and venture into deeper water if you’re a confident swimmer. You’re likely to see vibrant corals, angelfish, butterflyfish and parrotfish.
Curacao Underwater Marine Park
Set just off Curacao’s southeast coast, this underwater park offers a 12-mile stretch of reefs, shipwrecks and unique rock formations. With around 19 established dive sites, you won’t tire of this remarkable place. Approximately 350 species of fish call this reef home, making it the ideal place to capture photographs and discover some of the Caribbean’s native species. Explore this protected site while diving or snorkelling on a Caribbean cruise.
The mountainous Caribbean island of Dominica, often referred to as ‘Nature Island’ is hugely popular among divers. With deep sea walls, reefs, corals and volcanic vents, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on your underwater voyage. If you’re lucky, you may see sea turtles or even sperm whales, as well as seahorses, frogfish and batfish.
Interested in learning more about the diving opportunities available in the Caribbean? Call us on 0808 102 3798
Image credits: KatieThebeau, Everett Carrico, Curtis & Renee