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Scuba diving in the Caribbean is amongst the top of any diver's wish list as the azure waters of these destinations offer all kinds of adventures for divers. Caves, reefs, wrecks and walls are waiting. Read to find 10 best places to dive in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean undoubtedly offers some of the finest scuba diving in the world. The crystal clear waters of exotic destinations such as Mexico, Cuba, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are teeming with colourful sea life, whilst all kinds of underwater treasures such as wrecks, caves and reefs provide exhilarating underwater experiences for divers day and night.
The Underwater Museum in Cancun has to be one of the most unique diving experiences imaginable. Located within the Cancun National Marine Park off Isla Mujeres, these crystal clear waters host one of the largest underwater museums in the world. Divers can observe over 400 original, life-size sculptures here, in depths ranging from 9 to 20 feet, which have all been designed to become artificial reefs.
Creator of the world's first underwater sculpture park is British artist Jason de Caires Taylor. The main focus of the museum is "The Silent Evolution", which represents a contemporary and cultural portrayal of how the Mayan people have evolved over the years. The statues have been moulded from pH neutral clay to encourage the growth of corals and other marine life, which will thrive here in the future. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity not to miss.
Located approximately 50 miles south of the mainland of Cuba and 80 miles north of Cayman Brac, the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) is Cuba's premier dive destination and the largest marine reserve in the Caribbean. This beautiful archipelago comprises over 250 virgin coral islands surrounded by mangroves, and extends over 75 miles along the southern coast of Cuba to form the third longest coral barrier reef in the world.
Jardines de la Reina was given its name by Christopher Columbus to honour the Queen of Spain, believing that it resembled a beautifully maintained garden. This exclusive, underwater paradise is most famous, however, for its unforgettable shark encounters. This is one of the best places in the world to get close to up to seven species of these magnificent creatures in their natural environment.
This is one of the most popular attractions on the island. Divers can touch and hand-feed dozens of domesticated Southern stingrays in this shallow bay before exploring the magnificent coral reefs, which are inhabited by hundreds of colourful tropical fish and a plethora of other marine life.
Located off Little Cayman, the smallest and least developed of the three Cayman Islands, Bloody Bay is a famous underwater cliff face and designated Marine Park which offers spectacular diving for divers of all levels. The shallowest point of this breathtaking, one mile long wall starts at around 20 feet and plunges to an incredible 6000 feet. The protected waters have enabled marine life to flourish here and a plethora of colourful fish, corals and other marine life such as sharks, sea turtles and ocean critters can be found amongst a wide range of dive sites. One of the highlights of Bloody Bay Wall is its vibrant collection of exotic sponges, which is unlike any other in the Caribbean. This is wall diving at its best.
Renowned for its exceptional natural beauty and diverse wildlife, Virgin Gorda hosts one of the most interesting geological wonders in the eastern Caribbean - The Baths. Located at the southern tip of the island, this extraordinary natural landscape features spectacular granite boulders strewn across one of Virgin Gorda's most beautiful white sandy beaches. These gigantic rocks, some of which measure up to 40 feet in diameter, were the result of volcanic activity thousands of years ago. Today they are a significant landmark, forming a labyrinth of unique tunnels, grottos and tidal rock pools which are a delight for divers and snorkelers to explore. Many fish species and rays can be spotted in these waters, and even turtles and seahorses if you're lucky.
Located in an underwater National Park off Salt Island in the BVI, the wreck of the RMS Rhone is one of the best and most famous wreck dive sites in the Caribbean, if not the world. This huge, 95 metre long Royal Mail Steamer sank during a hurricane in 1867. Today, the wreck offers exciting underwater exploration for both new and experienced wreck divers. Aside from being inhabited by a myriad of sea life such as fish, turtles, starfish and moray eels, the bow section and the stern near the 15ft propeller remain intact, as well as many other interesting artifacts. No matter how many times you dive the beautiful RMS Rhone, you can always discover something new.
Known as Columbus Passage, this 22-mile waterway separates the Turks Islands from the Caicos Islands. The deep sea channel is a major route for migrating humpback whales, dolphins, and eagle and manta rays, and a popular area for diving due to the rich diversity of sea life. Salt Cay is one of the best diving spots in the passage, boasting spectacular walls, caves and the remains of the HMS Endymion, an old British warship, nearby. Diving along the passage walls is a unique experience not to be missed.
Belize is a diver's paradise, famous for unique dive sites such as The Great Blue Hole, located in the center of Lighthouse Reef. At approximately 1,000 feet in diameter and over 400 feet deep, this magnificent limestone sinkhole is believed to be the largest blue hole in the world. During the dive you can see beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations along the wall, and in deeper waters the occasional Hammerhead or black-tip shark can often be spotted, as well as angelfish, butterfly fish, small groupers and multicoloured corals and sea fans. Diving this rare, seemingly bottomless hole is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Located in the South Caribbean, Bonaire is widely recognised as one of the Caribbean's premier diving destinations. This small, beautiful island is renowned for its pristine fringing reef and diverse marine life, which fortunately remain untouched due to its protected waters within the Bonaire Marine Park. Bonaire's fish population is the most diverse in the Caribbean, ranking amongst the best in the world. The island boasts over 90 dive sites, most of which are accessible from the shore, making it an ideal destination for divers of all qualification levels. Divers can also enjoy some of the world's best pier dives here, including Salt Pier which is a photographer's dream both day and night due to its vibrant sponges and corals.
Considered as one single island, and the largest in the Bahamas, Andros actually comprises hundreds of small islets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and tidal marshlands. This unique combination of ecosystems supports a rich diversity of marine life for divers to observe. Diving highlights include the Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest reef in the world, and the world's largest collection of blue holes. The island is also situated close to the Tongue of the Ocean, a deep oceanic trench which features a network of walls with drop-offs that plunge almost vertically over a mile to the sea floor. An incredible variety of fish and other marine life can be found here.
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