Diving the Caribbean
The Caribbean. Just saying the name conjures up images of sun drenched beaches, locals playing guitars and riding bicycles, and evenings spent drinking too much rum. But there is more to the Caribbean than music and parties and palm trees. The Caribbean is consistently rated as having some of the most outstanding dive sites in the world, and whether you’re a complete novice looking to get started, or a seasoned diver looking for something more challenging, the Caribbean has something for you.
Bonaire’s main attraction is the continuous reef that surrounds the island, often only meters away from shore. The dive sites are marked with yellow bricks along the coastal road, so you can literally pull up and begin a shore dive from any of them. If boat dives are more your thing, you can arrange a trip out to one of the many offshore sites in the Bonaire National Marine Park.
Situated at the tip of an underwater volcano, the hot water vents mean that the dive sites surrounding St Lucia are filled with exotic marine life normally found in more remote sites. You’ll almost certainly see Frogfish, Seahorses, Turtles, Nurse sharks and Golden Spotted Eels (to name just a few!)
Made up of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the Cayman Islands have a huge number of attractions for divers. Whether you’re after canyons, swim throughs or walls, there are dive sites here to suit all divers. There are also several wrecks, including Capt. Keith Tibbetts, a 330ft Russian warship which begins in just 20 feet of water, off Cayman Brac, and Grand Cayman’s 251ft Kittiwake wreck that was purpose sunk in 2010.
The Turks and Caicos
Surrounded by one of the most extensive coral reef systems in the world (it is 65 miles across and 200 miles long), the Turks and Caicos Islands has some of the most pristine reefs in the world. Diving conditions here are actually pretty easy, making it ideal for Open Water students or infrequent divers. For more advanced divers there are some exceptional wall dives and both old and new wrecks. It is also one of the only two destinations in the world where you have a chance of seeing humpbacked whales in the water!
Most islands in the Caribbean have plenty of reputable dive companies you can join for a couple of dives. Or if you’re interested in diving more frequently, you could consider booking somewhere like Le Sport St Lucia where you get unlimited dives with their professional instructors for the all-inclusive price.
Writer Details: Laura is a backpacking freelance writer, blogger and sometimes-telly-maker. Twitter: @iamlaurad Blogs at: laurarichards.tumblr.com