No matter what your skill level or experience there is something about scuba diving in the Caribbean that holds a special place in a diver’s heart and log book. It could be the clarity of the water, the diverse marine life or the sheer number of different dives available that makes this place so special, whatever it is it has lured countless divers to the waters here and looks set to do so for the foreseeable future.
Caribbean Diving Basics
Water Temp: 25°C – 30°C (77°F – 86°F) – Seasonal Variations
Suit Requirements: Shortie or 3mm Wetsuit
Visibility: Between 10-40 metres (30-130ft) depending on location
Dive Types: Walls, reefs, wrecks, drop offs, caves and tunnels
Marine Life: Stingrays, manta rays, eagle rays, sharks, barracuda, grouper, jacks, moray eels, lobsters, crabs, octopus, scorpion fish, star coral, brain coral, barrel sponges, sea fans and a broad variety of tropical fish on the reefs.
Best Time to Go: Scuba diving in the Caribbean is good any time of year, as the area boasts good weather and sun all year round. Avoid September time though as this is when any hurricanes may strike the islands. The high tourist season is between December to April due to the hotter weather, and the rainy season is between July and December.
With 34 destinations to choose from and over two thousand miles of ocean to explore, there are plenty of world class diving sites on offer here from beautiful reefs to abandoned wrecks which are suitable for novices and masters alike. With warm water and great visibility you can be sure that experiences of scuba diving in the Caribbean will be memorable ones.
The variety of different sites available to dive makes this an exciting place to be. Beautiful reefs that are teeming with life attract underwater photographers whilst the wall dives which drop from anywhere from six to six thousand meters call to a divers sense of adventure. Abandoned wrecks and undersea caverns demand exploration and the added extras of fumaroles, pinnacles and volcanic gasses offer an underwater playground unlike anywhere else on the planet.
Such is the popularity of scuba diving in the Caribbean that almost all of the islands offer dive shops to cater to the wealth of divers the region attracts. The dive sites of the Caribbean always make it into top ten lists of the best dive venues in the world and once you get into the water you will understand why.
Top Dive Sites
With the water quality here always relatively good the Caribbean offers excellent quality both in and out of the water, as the islands are geared up to support their diving operations throughout the islands.
- Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman has to be at the top of everyone’s list. This is a region famed for its themed dives such as Stingray City where you can drift through the shallow waters and encounter immense stingrays everywhere you turn. The Caymans offer excellent scuba diving in the Caribbean for beginners and novices too.
- Cozumel: (The Mexican Caribbean) Cozumel offers fabulous marine life, exciting currents and unbelievable visibility under the water.
- Bonaire: (The Dutch Caribbean) One of the great things about this island is that you can get to all of the dive sites straight from the beach without the need to charter a boat.
These are only three of the top dive sites that you really should visit when you go scuba diving in the Caribbean, but there are many, many more.
The cost of a seven night stay in the Cayman Islands will set you back around $2,500 for flights, transfers and accommodation, dive packages and equipment rental will be extra. Dive packages vary in price, but for Diving at Cozumel a six dive package can cost $275, Nitrox refills are charged at $15 extra per tank, and full scuba rental (wetsuit, regulator and BCD) costs around $15 per dive. If you are looking to stay in Bonaire accommodation will cost around $800 for 7 nights with an average package of three boat dives and unlimited shore divers coming in at $100 per day.
Wherever you decide to visit, scuba diving in the Caribbean will give you a lifetime of memories.