Clear blue water, stunning wall dives, and colorful marine life are some of the biggest reasons why the Caribbean is such a popular area for diving adventures. If you’re an avid diver, you’re probably wondering which is the best Caribbean diving spot.
This depends on what you’re looking for, as you can find shore diving options for beginners, deep wrecks for adventure seekers, and plenty of marine life for animal lovers. To help you find the perfect one for you, here is our list of the 10 best Caribbean diving spots.
The Bahamas is a top Caribbean diving spot for all types of scuba divers, offering more than 700 islands. Located close to the U.S. and between the Caribbean and the western Atlantic Ocean, The Bahamas has a variety of diving options.
If you’re an animal lover, you can see swimming pigs and flamingoes as well as a variety of sharks across the area. You’ll find tiger sharks swimming around the aptly named Tiger Beach and hammerheads over at Bimini, located on the same strip.
Are tiger sharks and hammerheads a little too much? Those looking for a dive site with a little less marine life in the area can see Jeep wrecks down in Jeep Reef, or head off on a drift dive near Harbour Island.
Situated on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Cozumel is an excellent diving destination all year round. Easily accessible and offering a range of diving resorts plus 45 different dive sites, it’s a good spot for all budgets and skill levels.
The southern area of Cozumel is a protected marine park that contains a plethora of colorful marine life including a variety of fish species. Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced diver, you’re sure to have a great time in the waters here.
If you’re looking for marine life that is more than just pretty fish and coral, Cozumel will not disappoint. Divers frequently encounter an array of sea life, including the rare splendid toadfish, as well as more common species such as turtles, nurse sharks, eagle rays, and green moray eels.
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
The largest of the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix offers opportunities from beginner-friendly shallow reefs to thrilling wall dives and gorgeous swim-throughs. This is one of the best Caribbean diving spots for American citizens, as you can travel here without a passport.
If you’re looking for a truly exhilarating experience, head to Cane Bay Wall, which drops from 40 feet to over 3,000 feet and has plenty to see within the recreational limits, including 300-year-old anchors and marine life such as stingrays and seahorses.
Divers who love exploring wreckages should definitely try St. Croix. With shipwrecks at Butler Bay, tugboats, and giant oil barges accessible to even newer divers, there truly is something for everyone.
St. Croix is a popular spot for night divers too. Head over to Frederiksted Pier, where you may be able to encounter frogfish, crustaceans, squid, octopi, and other nocturnal marine life.
Bayahibe is arguably the most popular dive location, as it offers interesting wrecks and caves and is a good spot for deep dives. Beginners are able to access the Atlantic Princess Wreck at 43 feet, but if you’re a more experienced diver, you can explore Saint George at 120 feet down.
For a fun diving day trip, head to Silver Bank. Located just north of the Dominican Republic, this sunken bank is one of the very few locations in the world where you can experience swimming with humpback whales. Try to visit between January and April, as it is a dedicated breeding and calving zone so you may be able to swim alongside some humpback babies!
The Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands also offer a variety of scuba diving spots. At Grand Cayman, the largest and most popular of these islands, you will be able to see one of the best wrecks in the Caribbean: the USS Kittiwake at around 65 feet deep. Even if you’re a beginner, you can access this breathtaking site.
One of the biggest draws to Grand Cayman for divers is Stingray City. This is a collection of sandy banks that are home to giant stingrays, where both divers and snorkelers can swim alongside these majestic animals.
If you get a chance for a day trip to Little Cayman, you will have the opportunity to visit the world-famous Bloody Bay Wall, a dream destination for many divers.
Turks and Caicos
Located just southeast of The Bahamas is Turks and Caicos. This secluded archipelago houses 40 islands split by the Turks Island Passage, a 7,200-foot underwater trench, well worth exploring if you get the chance.
Many tourists choose to visit Providenciales, which is also a popular spot for divers looking to explore reef walls and gatherings of nurse sharks between the months of July and September.
Arguably one of the best Caribbean islands for scuba diving, Turks and Caicos is well worth a visit between January and March. During this time, the trench separating the islands serves as an underwater passageway for migrating marine life. You can encounter some truly magnificent species here, including turtles, humpback whales, and even dolphins.
There is also a great range of unbeatable wall dives with submerged cliffs. With a variety of drop-offs and caverns, where you can see colorful and exciting marine life such as nudibranchs.
If you are looking for a beautiful destination where you can see some truly amazing shipwrecks, then Grenada is the spot for you. Located just north of Venezuela, this relaxed and laid-back island has a huge range of wreck dives on offer for all levels. Be sure to visit the Bianca C, which sits between 100 and 165 feet deep. This world-class cruise liner is a truly magical sight to behold deep beneath the waters.
Hoping to encounter some marine life? Grenada doesn’t hold back in this respect either. At Fisherman’s Paradise, where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic, you can find an array of animals such as octopi, nurse sharks, eagle rays, and moray eels.
Be sure to take a trip to the world-famous Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park; you don’t even need to be in the water to experience this one. It is also a popular spot for snorkelers and guests traveling on glass-bottom boat trips.
Situated just between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is home to the world’s second-largest reef system. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the best Caribbean diving spots you can find.
Scuba divers in Belize can enjoy gentle conditions for shore diving, which are great for those just starting out, as well as amazing whale shark encounters if they visit between the months of April and June.
If you get a chance, head to Half Moon Caye. One of the most popular dive sites in Belize, here you can see a range of corals and underwater plants. It is also frequented by animals such as reef sharks and sea turtles.
A large island in the Dutch Caribbean, Curacao is known for being home to a great variety of marine life and colorful coral reefs. It also offers gentle conditions, making it one of the best Caribbean diving spots for beginners.
There is also a selection of wrecks to be explored here, including the Superior Producer, where you can enter the ship’s cargo holds and wheelhouse and can find marine life such as groupers and barracudas making themselves at home.
One of the most famous dive locations in the Caribbean is located just a 10-minute boat ride from the shores of Aruba: the Antilla wreck. This sunken wreckage is split into two and rests at 60 feet deep, but some parts still stick out above the water. If you choose to visit this area, you may encounter marine life including lobsters, turtles, and moray eels.
The fun doesn’t stop there, however, as Aruba is actually home to 14 reef dive sites, seven wrecks, and seven dedicated drift sites. Plus, it’s a comfortable location to visit all year round, as it sits outside of the hurricane belt. This makes it one of the best Caribbean dive spots for summer trips.
After reading our list of 10 best Caribbean dive spots, which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments. And if you would like help planning a scuba diving trip, reach out to one of our experienced travel advisors via our Contact Us page.