By Sarah Phillips
Some vacationers head to the Caribbean to soak up the sun, relax and enjoy an adult beverage or two. Others go for the adventure and exploration. Surprisingly, one of the most exciting adventures is right underneath you – literally. There’s a whole magical world to be discovered in the big blue sea just under, well maybe a few hundred feet down in some cases, the water.
Here are 5 mind blowing Caribbean dive spots:
Belize is home to The Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole at 1,000 feet in diameter that descends more than 400 feet into the deep. The Blue Hole is a guided dive with deco stops where you’ll see stalactites hanging from indented caverns along the wall. This is a bucket list diving location. While you won’t see a ton of sea life at the Blue Hole, Belize is home to the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world and you will find all sorts of creatures throughout the waters including sharks and manatees. Belize is also home to three of the Western Hemisphere’s four atolls. Belize is definitely a great spot for adventurous divers of all levels. The best time to visit is in late spring and early summer.
2. Grand Bahama, Bahamas
Grand Bahama delivers on its reputation of being an adrenaline rush for divers by offering shallow reefs, deep caves, wrecks and abundant marine life that includes sharks, dolphins, angelfish, parrotfish, snappers and more. In Grand Bahama, you’ll find Shark Junction, one of the world’s best shark diving locations. As for wrecks, you’ll find several sunken ships that offer a chance to explore and marvel and the sea life that call these ships home. Local reefs offer the chance to explore caves, tunnels, canyons and even secret rooms. Any experience level diver will find the perfect adventure here.
3. Turks and Caicos
Calm Water and colorful marine life make these chain islands a popular diving spot. While some other diving locations can become crowded with tourists, these islands remain relatively calm and peaceful; many of them aren’t inhabited. Some of the biggest draws to explore here are the colorful marine life and the coral reef system the live in. Keep your eyes open in your mask as your might come face to face with a not-so-friendly barracuda or spy a humpback whale during winter months. You’ll find some large drops here to create wall diving. Some of the best places in the islands to five are Grand Turk, Grace Bay and West Caicos.
4. Cozumel, Mexico
Diving here was made famous by none other than Jacques Cousteau. Today, it’s a world-famous diving destination. With over 100 dive operators on this small island, you can find any type of dive including night dives, wreck exploration and deep dives. You don’t have to go too deep to find the fishes here. Cozumel is part of the Maya Reef and you’ll find fish in every color, shape and size. A special feature of Cozumel diving is the chance to swim and dive with whale sharks during certain times of the year.
Not a common cruise destination, but truly an underwater gem. Located in the Southern Caribbean, Bonaire is part of the ABC islands with Aruba and Curacao. It’s typically listed in the top diving destinations in the Western Hemisphere. Since 1979, the water around this island’s been protected as a marine park, so you’ll find pristine conditions on your dive. This is another favorite spot for night diving. Be sure to check out Bonaire Marine Park and Calabas Reef while you’re visiting here.
Have you been on a diving excursion in the Caribbean? What’s are favorite Caribbean dive spots? Or your best diving story? We’d love to hear from you.