DIFFICULTY

Beginner

DEPTH

80 feet (24 meters)

VISIBILITY

100 feet (30 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Macro life

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

Amazing life-like statues on the Ocean floor

Voted as one of the Top 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic, the underwater sculpture park offers something for everyone. Weirdly life-like sculptures scatter the seabed with some pieces of artwork slowly being engulfed by vibrant marine life. Sculptures include a circle of life like sized children holding hands known as ‘Vicissitudes’ and ‘Sienna’ an elegant sculpture of a young diver from a much loved local story. Whether you are a newbie diver or an experienced veteran this is a dive site you cannot miss!

DIFFICULTY

Intermediate

DEPTH

75 feet (23 meters)

VISIBILITY

180 feet (55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Manta Rays, turtles and nurse sharks

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

A massive drift dive

Without doubt one of the top drift dives in the Caribbean, Tobago’s Kamikaze Cut welcomes all adrenaline junkies with open arms. This windward isle located near the coast of Venezuela is continuously buffeted by some massively strong currents which regularly deposit rich nutrients from the Orinoco River nearby. This makes the site a mecca for Pelagic species such as manta rays which are regularly seen on this site. The entrance point for this dive is at the edge of a site called Japanese Gardens. If you catch the current on the right day you will be thrown headfirst past stunning reef gardens teaming with life. The current increases throughout the dive until eventually you are met by a narrow two-meter-wide passage, known as the kamikaze cut. Once you are catapulted through this opening, the current dissipates, and you can finally breathe again. Kamikaze Cut is one hell of a dive!

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DIFFICULTY

Beginner

DEPTH

75 feet (23 meters)

VISIBILITY

180 feet (55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Southern stingrays and goliath grouper

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

Excellent photographic opportunities

The Cayman Islands were originally named Las Tortugas by Christopher Columbus but were renamed the Cayman Islands after the Caiman crocodiles that resided there. Today however you are more likely to come across the blue iguana than any member of the crocodilian family. Public transport in Grand Cayman is limited with most diving taking place in the west. Marine Life here is typically Caribbean with heaps of hawksbill turtles, large gorgonian fans, lobsters and the occasional eagle rays.

Most famously however is the USS Kittiwake, which after 50 years in the US Navy was sunk as an artificial reef and playground for divers. She has often been photographed standing entirely upright, sadly however a storm recently repositioned her lying her on the portside. Since open as a dive site the USS Kittiwake has been revered as a premier dive site, with often exceptional visibility. Garden eels can be seen thriving in the sand around the wreck with southern stingrays and eagle rays often visible in the distance. The site is also well known for its semi-resident goliath grouper.

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DIFFICULTY

Advanced

DEPTH

90 feet (27 meters)

VISIBILITY

60 to 180 feet (18 to 55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Eagle Rays & Barracuda

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

The largest wreck in the Caribbean!

This is the largest wreck in the Caribbean! The diving across Grenada is phenomenal, offering frogfish, mantas, and seahorses aplenty. You can find everything here from rough tailed stingrays to tiny nudibranchs. The sites across Grenada lend themselves to outstanding underwater photography as the visibility tends to be outstanding and if you are a Nitrox certified diver then Grenada is the site for you! This is because of Grenada’s Bianca C wreck. The Bianca C sits on the sand at just over 165 feet deep and is over 600 feet long and thoroughly deserves its nickname ‘Titanic of the Caribbean’.

The vessel sank after a fire in the main boiler room quickly spread throughout the ship, however remarkably only one soul died and that was only due to the initial explosion. There are no mooring lines and currents tend to be strong so the dive is often done as a drift dive. Keep an eye out for the ships swimming pool as it’s a fantastic photo opportunity!

DIFFICULTY

Intermediate

DEPTH

32 feet (10 meters)

VISIBILITY

60 to 180 feet (18 to 55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Great Hammerhead sharks

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

One of the only places in the world to see Great Hammerhead Sharks close up

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This is an epic dive! There are very few dives where you can get so close to such a large shark without a cage. Some of the sharks can be over four meters in length and you can get over 10 sharks on some dives. it is a very relaxed experience and the Bahamas offers clear, warm blue waters and excellent visibility. This is a shallow dive giving you plenty of time to spend with the sharks.

Bimini has emerged as one of the best places on the planet to encounter these amazing predators. They have evaded scuba divers for years with most just getting a distant snap of a shark-like shadow rather than anything close to what is on offer here. You can only dive with great hammerheads from December to April as this is the only time these elusive giants come up close, so we recommend booking well in advance.

DIFFICULTY

Intermediate

DEPTH

60 feet ( 18 meters)

VISIBILITY

60 to 180 feet (18 to 55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Crocodiles, Silky and Caribbean Reef Sharks

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

Pristine Reef

Jardines de la Reina is famed for its shark encounters, both silky and Caribbean reef sharks are found here in large numbers. Fewer than 800 divers per year are allowed to make the journey to dive the marine park. The journey time itself is intense with it taking around 12 hours from Havana. The roads are often slow, but the traffic is just as exciting, consisting of horse and carts and vintage American and Russian cars.

The destination itself is phenomenal and given the journey, it is well worth considering a liveaboard. A boat will typically take 6 hours to get to Jardines de la Reina which directly translates as ‘gardens of the queen’. Diving is often done from a small skiff, with sites just a small boat ride away from the liveaboard. The condition of the reef is pristine, with an immaculate abundance of life and amazing 30-meter visibility.

Shark dives at this site are incredible, with a shiver of silky sharks often seen swimming directly beneath the boat. Often there are very few divers at each site which allows you to get the full enjoyment of these creatures on every single dive. Also, keep your eyes peeled for Goliath Groupers lurking in the depths!

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DIFFICULTY

Intermediate

DEPTH

114 feet ( 35 meters)

VISIBILITY

100 feet (30 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

A semi-tame grouper and macro life

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Turtles and corals

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

Multiple species of Sharks!

photos of the caribbean islands

An eventful dive, shark hotel offers intermediate divers everything they are looking for in a Caribbean dive site. The dive has a nice swim through at 115 feet (35 meters) which acts almost like a chimney taking you out at 90 degrees to the wall. The dive has a large multitude of marine life including groupers and several reef sharks. Although there are no crazy large pelagics on this dive the site does often entertain a semi-tame grouper that will come over from the depths and follow you for a large part of your dive.

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DIFFICULTY

Intermediate

DEPTH

90 feet (27 meters)

VISIBILITY

180 feet (55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Eagle Rays and Barracuda

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

A great drift dive

For those looking for a bit of metal in the Caribbean the Lesleen M is one of the prettiest artificial reefs to be found. It is a 51 meter Cargo shit just south of Marigot Bay. Since being sunk in 1986 it has become a haven for marine life with moral eels, trevally, soldierfish, and lobsters being regular sites. It is in relatively shallow water with the top of the wheelhouse at 45 ft to the surface. The cargo holds are wide open and empty allowing for divers to easily head inside and then swim to the rear where the engine room is. At the rear of the ship, you can get a full admiration for the vessel whilst searching for arrow crabs and nudibranchs.

The little wreck is extremely photogenic and a great dive site for an up and coming photographer, especially with the contrast of the rusty bow against the colors of the corals and sponges. A highlight is a propeller and rudder on the stern of the boat which is heavily encrusted in marine life.

DIFFICULTY

Intermediate

DEPTH

90 feet ( 27 meters)

VISIBILITY

180 feet (55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

Eagle Rays and Barracuda

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

Incredible drift diving

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If you fancy a different kind of drift dive then Palancar Deep in Cozumel may be just what you are looking for. It is the unofficial capital of drift diving in the Caribbean and the site which has helped it to gain such a reputation is known as Palancar Deep. This small section of lengthy reef system is littered with swim-throughs and deep cracks, giving divers an opportunity to dip in and out of the current to marvel at the colorful reef below. The increased current also brings barracuda and eagle rays to the site.

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DIFFICULTY

Intermediate

DEPTH

75 feet ( 23 meters)

VISIBILITY

180 feet (55 meters)

ACCESSIBILITY

Boat dive

NOTABLE SEALIFE

A resident giant tiger shark is rumored to frequent the caves here

WHAT IS IT FAMOUS FOR

Russian Frigate 356 wreckage

The Brac which in Gaelic means bluff is a giant limestone cliff that rises 45 meters out from deep clear water. Birdlife here is fantastic with peregrine falcons and the rare Cayman parrots a regular site. Here you can see snapper covered cave systems, exquisite red sponges with exceptionally friendly angelfish and if you are lucky you may even get to visit the wreck of the Russian frigate 356. It Is particularly exciting as it is one of only a handful of Russian wrecks in the western hemisphere that can be dived easily.

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Best Diving Months

It is very mild throughout most of the year and rainfall is pleasantly predictable. The best time to visit the Caribbean is between December to April when it’s much cooler and drier than other months. May to November can be wet but diving is great all year round, with many islands to choose from it is easy to escape the wilder weather. For example, Trinidad and Tobago very rarely get hurricanes through July to October. Water temperatures vary but you can generally expect the temperatures to average from 26 to 29 degrees centigrade with the warmest temperatures between April to November. Visibility too varies from island to island but in remote dive sites, it can reach around 100 feet with regular visibility of around 50-65 feet.

Rainfall

Rainfall varies enormously, even on individual islands. Jamaica, for example, experiences approximately 80 inches of rainfall a year with the Blue Mountains getting over 200 inches of rain annually, so rainfall is very hard to predict from month to month. Hurricanes, however, are much more frequent from July to October, so avoid these months especially if you are prone to seasickness.

Temperature

Temperatures throughout the Caribbean are an average of 24 – 29 degrees year-round. Coldest months are between December to April with temperatures reaching 24 degrees in December.

TIME ZONE: Most areas of the Caribbean use -5 GMT however some areas such as the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands use -4 GMT.

CURRENCY: There are a number of different currencies serving multiple different territories in the Caribbean. The most widespread is the East Caribbean Dollar, The United States Dollar, and the Euro.

CALLING CODE: Area codes vary from island to island however in order to call any of the islands from abroad you use the prefix of 001 before the area code.

ELECTRIC VOLT: Most American-made electrical appliances work at 110 volts. South America and the Caribbean tend to use a voltage between 100 and 125 volts.

PLUG TYPE: Depending on which island you visit depends on the plug type however, as a rough example, most islands exhibit an A/B plug type.

MAIN AIRPORT: Each island has a main airport but the busiest airports are in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Jamaica.

1. How far in advance do I need to book?

Places on resorts and especially on liveaboards can book up fast so it’s important that you try to book at least several months in advance. Some dive spots, especially around the Caribbean, can be exceptionally popular so book in advance to avoid disappointment.

2. What diving license do I need?

It all depends on what kind of diving you want to do. If you are looking to dive Bianca C in Grenada for example, it is the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean! It would not be recommended that you attempted such a dive as a novice so you would be looking to at least have your advanced certification as well as probably a nitrox certification so you can extend your decompression limit. PADI Open Water Diver licenses are accepted for the majority of dives in the Caribbean, however the best way to avoid disappointment is to thoroughly research the diving where you will be staying and enquire about the minimum certification requirements for any diving locations that grab your fancy.

3. Should I bring a wetsuit?

This depends on many factors. For starters, do you get cold? If the answer is yes then we would recommend that you bring a short wetsuit or shorty at least for your diving experience. Full-length wetsuits can be ideal if you have fair skin for example and are worried about burning. They are also useful if you are doing deep or technical dives. This is because although it is very warm on the surface the deeper you go the colder the water will be. Some dives will be between 40 – 50 minutes long and if you are diving on a liveaboard you may be diving as much as 3-4 hours per day. As a result, even the warmest person can find themselves getting a little chilly from time to time.

4. Shall I bring all my own gear?

Most dive resorts these days will have a full rental gear set up for you however there are two items that we would recommend you to bring with you. A well-fitting mask is essential if you are to fully enjoy the underwater world in all its splendor also rental masks rarely fit and can often leak. A dive computer is your life jacket underwater and having your own is essential for any diving activity especially if you are looking at doing deep dives.

As always, we create our content with you, fellow divers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next dive is a great one!

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