Where are the best places to SCUBA dive?
Choosing the right spot for your SCUBA experience means considering the quality of diving as well as the quality of “topside”. After all, you can’t spend all your time underwater. (Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die offers a lot more information about the best places to SCUBA dive, but we’re going to tackle the subject a little more briefly here ourselves.)
To pick a diving spot, first decide what type of sights you want to see and how hard you’re willing to work to get to a solid dive experience. Looking for coral reefs to explore, or deep sea ship wrecks to dive near? Every great SCUBA destination has its specific appeal; you just need to figure out what you’re looking for.
The best places to SCUBA dive include the Bay Islands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Aruba, Belize, Cayman Islands,St. Kits and Nevis, Tobago, the Turks and Caicos, and Antiqua.
Here’s some specifics on what many people think are the best places to SCUBA dive in the world.
The Bay Islands are located 12 and 40 miles off the coast of the country of Honduras. The Bay Islands, known in the native tongue as Las Islas de la Bahia, are like a remote tourist outpost in the center of the world’s second largest barrier reef system outside the Great Barrier Reef.
The islands are the visible portion of something called the Bonacca Ridge–an underwater mountain range formed by volcanic activity in the ocean hundreds of years ago. These islands’ jungle mountains slope steeply down to ideal white sand beaches studded with coconut palms, like something out of a movie. The under-ocean mountain ridge means there’s plenty of natural beauty and marine life, so your diving experience will be memorable.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
The diving here is fantastic, and the famous Seven Mile Beach really is as gorgeous as it is purported to be. There’s plenty to do on Grand Cayman after a dive too. Grand Cayman is a favorite stop for cruise ships and other tourist ventures, but you can avoid town for the most part when cruise season is in full swing. If you can deal with a few lousy tourists, the best beaches in the world await you on Grand Cayman.
The best feature of diving near Little Cayman is the Bloody Bay Wall. This feature was discovered by accident by amateur divers and was proclaimed a wonder of the diving world. The Bloody Bay Wall is often called “the greatest SCUBA destination in the world”. It is a giant, nearly-completely-vertical wall with clear views out to the ocean and some of the greatest marine life in the world. The Cayman Islands are some of the top attractions for SCUBA enthusiasts the whole world over.
If you’re looking for a dive site with a great topside experience, Jamaica has it all. Jamaican diving spots offer incredible views of underwater life and intricate undersea formations. The hospitality of the people of Jamaica and the beauty and slow pace of life on the island will keep you satisfied in your time above water. Speaking of water, the ocean around Jamaica is perfect for diving, maintaining a temperature between 78 and 80 degrees year round.
Mexican SCUBA diving is famous for providing multiple water colors, from clear and crystal to jewel-tones of blue. Schools of fish will greet you on your many dives in this varied country, and with so many miles of coastline, you can have the SCUBA experience of your choice. Like diving with dolphins? Diving in Mexico is the perfect place to find them.
A SCUBA diver’s paradise, this diving spot is consistently rated the top diving destination in the Caribbean. Bonaire offers much more and much closer shore diving than any other spot, and that shore diving offers plenty of looks at gorgeous marine life, healthy and thriving reefs, simple diving, year-round warm water, crystal visibility, and all that you could want from a dive spot.
Diving in the Bahamas is like diving anywhere else in the Caribbean–good water, good marine life. One upside is the lack of tourist traffic during the off-season, and this dive spot’s proximity to the States which makes for an easy roundtrip. The best part of Bimini? The topside life is great–plenty of local flavor to soak up when you arent diving. For an exotic diving experience close to home, the Bahamas are hard to beat.
For more ideas, we recommend the book Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die, available at Amazon. We make a small commission if you buy it via our link, too.
This is part of a series of “where are the best places” posts:
- Where Are the Best Places to Propose?
- Where Are the Best Places to SCUBA Dive?
- Where Are the Best Places to Study Abroad?
- Where Are the Best Places to Honeymoon?
- Where Are the Best Places to Retire?
- Where Are the Best Places to Travel?
- What Is the Best Places to Incorporate?
- Where Are the Best Places to Elope?