The Caribbean diving established itself as a first-rate decades ago, with ideal island getaways close reefs, walls and wrecks that have become legendary. Think you’ve been everywhere in the region? The Caribbean still has places that are delightfully pristine, unexplored and fresh. Here is best Caribbean diving sites: Isla Mujeres Diving, Caye Caulker diving, Abacos diving, Grenada diving, and else. Take a look.
It doesn't have Cozumel's epic long, linear drifts (or Cozumel's appreciative dive crowds). What Isla Mujeres does have is comparable reef sections, excellent wrecks and a chance of diving among feeding schools of sailfish.
Just eight miles out from Cancun, the "Island of Women" has standouts like the 100-foot-deep Ultrafreeze, whose cargo of iron and metal has attracted huge amounts of baitfish, which in turn attract a host of upper-food-chain players including dolphins, sharks, jacks, grouper and barracuda. Manta rays and turtles aren't uncommon, and migratory whales are known to amble by, making Isla Mujeres diving place - one of the best Caribbean diving sites.
In winter months, Mujeres' waters host schools of sailfish feeding on migrating sardines. It's a scene straight from Animal Planet - feeding frigate birds pounce from above and drive the sardines below, where billfish cooperatively herd their victims while taking turns blasting through the bait balls. Buy, borrow or steal a video camera - this whirling display is a spectacle relatively few have seen from below. That what Isla Mujeres diving is all about (top diving sites).
Little Caye Caulker hasn't changed that much from its roots as a fishing village and '70s hippie hangout. Just a bit south from popular Ambergris Caye, this cozy island has an unhurried, undeveloped charm — think the Florida Keys of the '50s. And like the Keys, the best dives are only minutes from shore.
The island's main playground is Caye Caulker Marine Reserve, a newly protected area with fishy canyons, spur- and-groove sites, and swim-throughs like Raggedy Anne and Tunnels. Protection has its benefits, and the reefs here shelter nurse sharks and hammerheads, stingrays, spotted eagle rays and thousands of reef fish. Minutes away is Caye Chapel Reef, home to the Myner's Gold tec dive, where the 90-degree wall becomes inverted at 160 feet and treats divers to a long, panoramic section of overhanging reef and the occasional snoozing nurse shark, making Caye Caulker diving place - one of the best Caribbean diving sites.
With some 700 islands, cays, rocky islets and sand spits comprising the Bahamas, you don't have to look too far beyond New Providence and Grand Bahama islands to find solitary-diving bliss. The Out Islands is a low-key island chain that has a seductive number of uninhabited islets along with near-virginal dive sites.
Take the Abacos: This mini Bahamas is a 120-mile-long island chain ringed by the world's third-longest barrier reef. Much of the diving is on shallow reefs bathed by warm, clear, nutrient-rich Gulf Stream waters that create conditions on par with the "proper" Caribbean islands hundreds of miles south. Mountains of star coral sprout on reef tops that are riddled with exploration-worthy crevices, fissures and swim-throughs, making Abacos diving place - one of the best Caribbean diving sites.
Despite being just a 90-minute fast ferry away from Grenada, Carriacou is a world away in terms of lifestyle. Where Grenada is bigger and bustling, Carriacou is more laid back, with hidden beaches and nary another tourist. But the islands share one trait: fabulous diving to keep you occupied for days.
With help from NGOs, Carriacou Marine Park was established in August 2010. Among the best sites now protected are four purpose-sunk wrecks — including the twin tugs Boris and Westsider— and several dives close to shore that feature eels, nudibranchs and seahorses. While these sites are a nice way to round out a day of diving, the island's can't-miss dive is at Two Sisters, a pair of pinnacles five minutes from Arawak Divers' beachside dive center.
The slope on the west side of the larger sister is covered in deepwater gorgonians and immense black-coral bushes in whites, reds and oranges. Schools of fish swarm at the point, while turtles, nurse sharks and thick morays find shelter out of the current, making Grenada diving place - one of the best Caribbean diving sites.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines diving.
There are ample reasons the Windward Islands nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is called the "Critter Capital" of the Caribbean. Dropping in at sites such as Anchor Reef off St. Vincent is like entering a sunken marine laboratory where sail fin blennies, frogfish, yellow seahorses, short nose batfish and other macro oddities seem to populate every inch of the kaleidoscopic reef.
A longtime haunt of East Coast yachties, SVG is actually a place of many places: The larger main island hub of St. Vincent sits to the north, tethering a chain of smaller islands, cays and shoals that swoop southward to create a 150-square-mile water world. Around St. Vincent, experts credit the spectacular macro scene to nutrient-ripe currents and plentiful freshwater runoff from the island's 4,048-foot peak.
Throughout the Grenadines, you'll likely dive without another soul in sight. Many reefs around the island of Bequia drop like elevator shafts to multilevel terraces bejeweled with ornaments of coral, and visited by squadrons of eagle rays and occasional mantas.
Cayos Cochinos diving. Honduras
The two small islands and tiny coral cays of the Cayos Cochinos Archipelago are considered part of the Bay Islands, but the association is in name only. Lying 18 nautical miles northeast of La Ceiba on the Honduran coast — the "Hog Islands," as the British once called them — evoke a Gilligan factor: no mega resorts, tourists, roads or cars, and just a smattering of native Garifuna fishing villages. Cayos Cochinos' waters are some of the healthiest, most pristine in the Bay Islands, thanks to the efforts of the Smithsonian Institute in helping establish a 177-square-mile Marine Protected Area, part of the Meso-American Barrier Reef System.
If there's any complaint, it's that there's little else to do here but dive. Which might be perfect considering there are 26-plus dive sites — walls, reefs, wrecks, seamounts, caverns, caves and shoals you will have all to yourself.
The devastating volcanic eruptions that began in 1995 put Montserrat in a tourism limbo, but that's helped preserve this British overseas territory from development and throngs of cruise-ship day-trippers. Another unexpected upshot: the island's recovered dive scene. Along the 13-mile Volcanic Maritime Exclusion Zone, boulders scattered throughout the shallow reef from pyroclastic flows have created thriving patch reefs densely adorned with sponges, hard corals, invertebrates and communities of fish.
Montserrat is encircled by a shallow shelf that gently slopes to 60 feet before nose-diving into the abyss. There are pristine advanced dives on the windward eastern shore of the island, usually a tricky proposition because of high winds and lashing Atlantic swells and surf. Dive operators love Redona, a petite island 10 miles offshore that's festooned with dozens of old ship anchors encased in bright corals and surrounded by barrel sponges. Arrive in spring, and you can experience two extraordinary encounters: migratory humpback whales and countless fruitbats hanging from the cliff ceiling above Rendezvous Bay
Klein Curacao diving & East Point.
Curacao has got the deck stacked for shore dives, caves and overall reefy splendor of its West End sites. Here's a little secret: Head east past Willemstad, and the hits keep coming — but with fewer divers and big-time diving off East Point and Klein Curacao.
Private ownership has prevented shore access to East Point, so sites are unspoiled and accessible from boats only. Divers fin among lush gorgonians, sponges and hard corals that seemingly stretch forever. At the natural coral formation known as Underwater Bridge, large schools of tarpon hover in the current. East Point also is a drift-dive zone where sharks, eagle rays and large barracuda ride the currents.
As good as this diving is, don't overlook Klein Curacao. This uninhabited islet eight miles off Curacaos southeast coast has a combo of steep slopes, mini- walls, sandy plateaus, and caves, caves and more caves surrounding the island. With manta rays, green moray eels, pods of dolphins — if it swims, slithers or slinks in this corner of the Caribbean, chances are it's in the neighborhood.
Chinchorro Banks diving. Mexico
Christened a Biosphere Reserve in 1996, Chinchorro Banks is the largest atoll in the northern hemisphere, a 30-by-9-mile elliptical lagoon enclosing four cays 19 miles off Mahahual on the Mexican mainland. More than 200 fish species and 95 coral species have been identified in this lush marine playpen. Want wrecks? At least 18 confirmed Spanish galleons lie scattered throughout Chinchorro.
Getting to the banks is a bit difficult — it's at least a one-hour ride from the mainland on a fast boat — but its rewards are magical. Green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles are abundant in the inner lagoon. Vertical and sloping walls drop 3,000 feet, with east-side upwellings bringing in a buffet of nutrients that supercharge a profoundly luxuriant tapestry of marine life.
Wrecks are there for the diving, from every era and in various states of decomposition. If you want lots of bottom time, explore Cuarenta Canones (40 Cannons) and its large brass cannons strewn in just 12 feet of water.
10th is up to you!!