7 Best Dive Sites in the CaribbeanNovember 17, 2022
From drop-offs and flourishing coral walls, to wrecks and blue holes, the Caribbean Sea has something for every scuba diver. If you would love to spot sharks, swim alongside diverse tropical fish, spot unique endemic species, and bask in sun soaked, white sand beaches on your surface intervals, the Caribbean is the perfect location for your next diving vacation.
We have put together a list of the best seven dive sites in the Caribbean so you know where to head for.
1.Bloody Bay Wall - Little Cayman
Considered to be the most breathtaking drop-off reef of the Caribbean islands, Bloody Bay Wall is one of the best scuba destinations in the Cayman Islands. Home to 22 different sites, all teeming with life and boasting excellent clarity. Sharks, eels, rays, reef fish, and a colorful selection of corals are all to be seen around the dive sites of Bloody Bay Wall.
Little Cayman is the smallest of the three islands that make up the Cayman Islands. It offers many dive sites for scuba divers of all levels to explore. November to April is the best time to go for diving, when the water temperature is around 78-82°F (25-28°C).
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2. Lighthouse Reef - Belize
Lighthouse Reef is the easternmost atoll of the Belize Coral Reef. Around 50 miles south-east of Belize in the Caribbean Sea, Lighthouse Reef is the healthiest atoll of the three Belize atolls. Delivering colorful reefs with well preserved, beautiful gardens of vibrant corals including barrel sponges, and purple, yellow, and orange gorgonias. Many endangered species such as the American crocodile call the reef its home, as well as three species of sea turtles.
Belize is considered by many to be the best dive site in the Caribbean. Liveaboard diving is the best way to explore the exquisite scuba diving around Belize. You can dive there year-round, but there are more shark sightings between April and June.
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3. Saba Bank - Caribbean Netherlands
The largest submarine atoll in the Atlantic Ocean, Saba Bank in the Caribbean Netherlands has some of the richest diversity of marine life in the world. The reefs in Saba Bank are populated with a diverse selection of fish species. Over 150 species have been recorded by Ecological surveys. These include parrotfish, triggerfish, snapper, angelfish, and grunts, as well as pelagic fish including great barracuda, horse-eye jacks, wahoo, tarpon and five species of shark.
The Caribbean Netherlands boasts healthy corals, close to shore walls, and year-round diving with a comfortable water temperature of between 77F-84F (26C-28C).
4. Great Blue Hole - Belize
Most divers have heard of the famous Great Blue Hole of Belize. Nearly 300m across, and almost 125m deep, this dive site is popular both with scuba divers, as well as freedivers who hold an annual competition here. Located in the middle of the beautiful lagoon of the Lighthouse Reef, the Great Blue Hole is really a sight to see. With sloping walls and sandfalls, it certainly delivers some incredible underwater selfie opportunities, and it is definitely worthy of its place on our list of best dive sites in the Caribbean.
With year-round diving, Belize has a diverse selection of dive sites, from the Great Blue Hole, to its surrounding Lighthouse Reef, as well as Glover’s Atoll, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and Turneffe Atoll… just to name a few.
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5. Stingray City - Grand Cayman
Known fondly as "the best 12ft dive in the world", divers can sit underwater on a sandy bottom just 3.6m deep, and have playful stingrays circle around them. The area is a protected environmental zone, and is exclusively set aside for divers and snorkelers. The stingrays are not shy and it is not uncommon for them to brush your face, or hug your back. The water is crystal clear so this dive site definitely gives another fantastic selfie opportunity for your Instagram.
The Cayman Islands have around 365 dive sites in total, meaning you could dive there every day for a year and always see something new. Grand Cayman is famous for clear waters and regular sightings of sharks and turtles. Another fantastic dive site in Grand Cayman is Babylon, which delivers swarms of fish. The best time of year to dive stingray city is between May and November, when there is less wind for boats to get there.
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6. El Aguila - Roatan
One of three main shipwrecks off the coast of Roatan, El Aguila is 75m long, and is broken into three pieces. Spanish for "the Eagle", El Aguila sits at 33m deep and has become a beautiful artificial reef that is home to reef fish like parrotfish and snapper.
Roatan is situated on the second largest barrier reef in the world and has some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean. A variety of sharks are spotted frequently including hammerheads and whale sharks, as well as rays such as eagle and manta. Roatan delivers walls, caves, caverns, and wrecks. You can dive in Roatan year-round but expect the rainy season between October and December.
Would you like to learn to wreck dive? Check out the SSI Wreck Diving specialty.
7. Santa Rosa Wall - Cozumel
Cozumel is an island in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo that sits off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the Caribbean Sea. The Santa Rosa Wall of Cozumel is part of the Great Mayan Reef, which is a steep drop-off southwest of Cozumel. You can expect crevices, overhangs, and tunnels, as well as rich marine life including beautiful corals, angelfish, eagle rays, turtles, parrotfish, and many others. The average dive depth is around 22-25m deep, which is where the best marine life can be spotted.
Cozumel boasts some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean, and is famous with scubies worldwide who flock here to experience them. Vast corals, colorful sponges, an abundance of tropical fish, thriving ecosystems, and steep walls that lead to vast, deep blue ocean. Cozumel is considered to have some of the best wall diving in the world. The Santa Rosa Wall is advisable for advanced divers due to strong currents.
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