Last Updated on August 18, 2021

When the mind wanders to the Caribbean many things come to mind. From white-sand beaches and swaying palms to sipping smooth dark rums as the sun goes down. Inevitably the turquoise colors of the Caribbean Sea float to the forefront of our visions. That’s when the questions begin to arise – Just how magical must it be below the surface?

Below are our top 5 Islands to Scuba Dive in the Caribbean! Let’s get started!

Best places for scuba diving in the Caribbean

The Caribbean and the Why It’s Ideal for Scuba Divers

The Caribbean, from the Windward Islands down to the Lower Antilles, is home to world-class scuba diving.

Its crystal clear waters, white sand, and vibrant reefs create colors not often seen around the world. Furthermore, the calm and friendly waters make diving here a treat to be savored.

There are many amazing diving spots on every island, in fact, from the Bahamas to Barbados, and each has its own underwater world that you can experience. These are the islands that you simply have to place on your diving adventure itinerary.

1. Bonaire

Now a municipality for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bonaire remains much loved by travelers and those that love to dive. The island sees incredibly consistent weather all throughout the year, thanks to being protected from hurricanes.

With a fifth of the island listed as a national park, the land itself is in pristine condition. But it doesn’t compare to the water. Bonaire was the pioneer of marine protection in the Caribbean, and the fruits of that endeavor are still paying off.

100% of the turquoise sea surrounding Bonaire is protected, leaving you with an untouched natural world to explore. Diving here is pure, it feels as if you are seeing the reefs as they have always been.

There are over 300 species of fish and over 55 types of coral inundated with vibrant sea life that has made the island the best in the Caribbean for off-shore diving.

– Where to Dive

Bonaire has excellent scuba diving for all skill levels, along with free-diving and snorkeling. There are a total of 60 sites accessible from the shore and a further 20 that will need a boat. Some of Bonaire’s famous dive spots include the Bari Reefs, Hilmer Hook Wreck, and 1000 Steps.

Local dive outfits are known for running unlimited shore diving packages which will give you a way to see as much of the island as you can!

– Info & How to Get There

  • Season: Year-round
  • Water Temp: 27-30C/80-86F
  • Difficulty: Many beginner sites ranging up to expert.
  • How to Get There: Fly to Flamingo Airport (BON), named after the thousands of flamingoes that call the island home.
  • Where to Stay: For the best towns on Bonaire check out Karendeljik & Rincon

2. Jardines De La Reina, Cuba

Diving in Cuba

If you are a diver looking for a thrilling underwater experience in the Caribbean, then you must pack your bags and head to Cuba. On Jardines De La Reina you will find an amazing world of shark diving, saltwater crocs, and reefs full of life.

It is the epic animals that make this island stand out from the rest on this list, and indeed the whole of the Caribbean. Reef sharks and silky shark sightings are as guaranteed as things can be underwater. While hammerhead, lemon, and blacktip sharks roam in great numbers at certain times of the year.

It is hard to believe, but you can swim close to American saltwater crocodiles which will be a story worth telling for years to come.

– Where to Dive

There are 80 dive spots to choose from on Jardines De La Reina and more are added each year. The most popular include Pipin, Vincente, Black Coral I & II and Farallon.

Farallon is a divers paradise, with a mountain of coral, sharp drop-offs, and tunnels to swim through. Black Coral is the most exciting, with a drop-off home to a strong population of 30 reef sharks.

– Info & How to Get There

  • Season: Dry Season, November to April
  • Water Temp: 22-29C/72-84F
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
  • How to Get There: Fly into Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport (HAV)
  • Where to Stay: Havana, Trinidad, and Baracao

3. Cayman Islands

When it comes to sheer diversity for scuba diving, it doesn’t get any better than the Cayman Islands. Do they have a site for every day of the year?

Well, just ask the locals. With three islands to choose from, you have your pick between popular and developed, untouched, and somewhere in between.

Diving off of the islands is the most common way to explore the islands. However, the Cayman Agressor (https://www.aggressor.com/destination/Cayman) offers a liveaboard that will take you everywhere.

– Where to Dive

Grand Cayman comes with numerous intricate shipwrecks (including USS Kittiwake) and immense wall sites. The most memorable is Stingray City, which might spoil the surprise.

Cayman Brac is in a similar mould as Grand Cayman, although with fewer crowds. However, Little Cayman has its own personality, with 50 dive sites, known for incredible colours and dramatic routes.

– Info & How to Get There

  • Season: Year-round scuba diving
  • Water Temp: 26-28C/78-82F
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
  • How to Get There: Fly to Owen Roberts International in Grand Cayman (GCM)
  • Where to Stay: George Town and Rum Point

4. Roatan, Honduras

Roatan is a great option for budget divers without having to bid adieu to the big walls, wrecks, and cave sites. Roatan comes with more of a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for those simply going with the flow.

The biggest island in Honduras is also home to West Bay Beach, once voted the best in Central America. Along with the Mesoamerican Reed, it is the second largest in the world.

– Where to Dive

Thanks to 1100km (700 miles) of reef, diving here is in no short supply. Due to this, it is easy to be specific about how deep and difficult you want your dive to be. Having said that, witnessing the El Aguila Wreck and the island’s hoard of seahorses is a highlight.

– Info & How to Get There

  • Season: all-year-round scuba diving
  • Water Temp: 27-31C/81-88F
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
  • How to Get There: Fly to Juan Manual Galvez International in Roatan (RTB)
  • Where to Stay: West End and Sandy Bay

5. Dominica

Dominica is known for its mountainous terrain that evokes a rugged feeling of adventure. Some of the scenery may feel familiar to those who love Pirates of the Caribbean.

Once underrated by tourists and divers alike, Dominica is finally getting its due recognition as one of the most spectacular places to visit and explore below the surface.

Dominica is home to an array of amazing scuba diving sites. When you are relaxing in the natural hot springs, born from volcanic activity, you can be diving through bubbles caused by volcanic emissions. While with barely any current to worry about, you’ll have no reason not to explore to the limit.

 – Where to Dive

Champagne Reef is the most iconic site in Dominica. It got its name from the volcanic emissions mentioned above. You can reach it from the shore which also makes it a great spot for a night dive.

Whale watching is another huge part of the Dominican experience. Diving outfits often combine excursions with trips to see the massive sperm whale.

– Info & How to Get There

  • Season: Year Round (Nov-Mar for whales)
  • Water Temp: 25/29C/78-84F
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
  • How to Get There: Fly to Douglas-Charles Airport (DOM)
  • Where to Stay: Boca Chica and Cabarete

Well, there you have it, the Top 5 Spots to Scuba Dive in the Caribbean. With so many beginners to advanced dive sites, the Caribbean is accessible for everyone. So fill up the cylinders and get ready to go.