Hundreds of sun-kissed islands in the Caribbean Sea, each with it's own cultural and historical charm represent a true paradise for a scuba diving holidays. You will have it all: marvelous underwater scenery, sheer drop-offs and deep walls, mysterious blue holes, swim-throughs and caverns together with shallow reefs and picturesque beaches. Reefs, wrecks, milliards of tropical fish and large pelagics attract many divers all year round (beware of June -October period is at risk of hurricanes in the Caribbean).
Best time to go: November - MayWhy this one
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- One of the World's best destinations to experience thrilling shark diving! Put yourself face to face with oceanic whitetip, silky, hammerhead and even tiger and bull sharks. You will also encounter eagle rays, dolphins as well as lots of reef fish.
- Bahamas is the right place for adventurous diving into Deep Blue! Explore vertical walls on drift dives at Bimini, channels and wrecks at Eleuthera, blue holes and caverns at Exuma, more wrecks and vertical walls at San Salvador.
- There is a place for everybody! Because of amazing diving conditions, clear waters, shallow reefs, beautiful lagoons and paradisaical beaches, Bahamas is a perfect fit for divers of any experience level.
Belize Outer Atolls and Cayes
Best time to go: November - JulyWhy this one
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- Famous not just for its Mayan Ruins and Rainforests! Declared as the World Heritage Site, Belize features the second largest Barrier Reef in the World and three offshore atolls that are visited by liveaboards, Lighthouse Reef, Half Moon Caye and Turneffe Reef.
- Clear waters with literally almost no currents are perfect for new divers. Dive with pelagic fish like tunas, schools of jacks and barracudas, rays, turtles, reef and nurse sharks. Between April and June you will also encounter Whale Sharks on a southern atoll.
- Perfectly shaped 145m deep Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef was made famous by Jacques Cousteau. A deeper you go, more recede walls of the hole become revealing impressive stalactites. Additional adventure ensure sharks that become more numerous here.
St. Maartens / Saba / St. Kitts
Multi-cultural islands with an European flavor are the least crowded in the Caribbean. Pristine and healthy coral reefs are full of marine life. Encounter green and hawksbill turtles, stingrays, jacks, barracuda and interesting invertebrates.Search for offers
Humpback Whales at Silver Bank
Enjoy admirable sightings of Humpback Whales that come to the area to calve. Join special snorkeling tour aboard Turks&Caicos Aggressor II from January through March.Search for offers
Turks & Caicos
Best time to go: October - JuneWhy this one
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- Abundant and living protected coral reefs makes these islands one of the most desirable diving destinations in the Caribbean. Featuring great diving conditions and excellent visibility, diving at breathtaking walls, swim throughs and channels become even more impressive!
- Pristine waters are known for frequent pelagic visitors. Sea turtles and rays, schools of jacks, groupers, wide range of sharks (incl. nurse sharks and hammerheads) can be spotted almost all year round. Dive sites are rich on hard and soft corals featuring huge elephant ear sponges.
- Absolutely remarkable are the months from late January through March when Humpback Whales pass these waters during their migration. They might not come too close to the walls to be clearly seen, but you will hear their songs when in the water. You might join special snorkeling tour to Silver Banks.
Best time to go: October - JuneWhy this one
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- Diving at Cayman Islands is a synonym to Wall Diving! While Grand Cayman has both, walls and shallow coral reefs suitable for new divers, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac feature thrilling diving at deep walls, caves and swim throughs for experienced divers.
- Marine life is so diverse. Play with stingrays on a famous Stingray City, enjoy turtles feeding, encounter nurse sharks, eagle rays and different kinds of moray eels. Moreover there is also a place for angelfish, lionfish, peacock flounders, nudibranchs and other tiny invertebrates.
- You will have an outstanding experience while diving on the wrecks in a crystal clear waters around Cayman Islands. There are 6 wrecks, historical and artificial, that are perfect spots for underwater photographers as a visibility gets to 30m.
British Virgin Islands
Volcanic in origin BVI feature abundant reefs in great shape full of forests of waving fans and soft corals. A true diving highlights of the area are its wrecks: Chikuzen and RMS Rhone that are home to schooling fish, sharks, turtles and rays.Search for offers
Roatan & Utila of Honduras
Bay Islands of Honduras feature vibrant color reefs, dramatic drop-offs and walls, tunnels, canyons and swim-throughs. Together with astonishing tropical fish and pelagics like Manta Rays, Sea Turtles, Whale Sharks are spotted from mid-February to April.Search for offers
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Reviews about Caribbean Liveaboards
Friendly, Helpful and Enthiustiastic Staff
I can't say enough about the crew of Bahamas Aggressor. They are to a person, truly on top of their game, striving to deliver a personable, exciting, and safe as possible open water diving experience on some great dive sites around Exuma and Eleuthera islands.
The boat is well kept, although we did have a failure of the nitrox system during filling of tanks before the last dive of the trip, and during the run back to Nassau the AC unit failed (it was repaired not too long after our arrival at the dock).
Food? Fantastic! And plenty of snacks between dives. If I win the lottery I might hire the cook away from Bahamas Aggressor.
The first and last nights were spent in port of Nassau. There is a party / bar boat a couple hundred feet from where BHA ties up. Its music blares until early in the AM and the pounding bass is not easily muffled, even with a pillow over ones head and wearing noise canceling headphones. I probably got four hours of sleep the first night. The last night I was tired enough that I got about six hours.
I'd go out on BHA again on the Tiger beach itinerary, it runs out of Freeport much less a party city and port, I am told. I'd think twice about the Nassau itinerary again, great diving but good gosh that music!
Questions and Answers
Why go diving on a Liveaboard in the Caribbean
The Caribbean Sea is a vast area that begins from the Bahamas in the northeast and ends at Panama in the southwest. Most of the Caribbean coastline is inhabited and open to scuba divers. Every resort and hotel has its own scuba itinerary, yet they have access only to a handful sites. For this reason going on the Caribbean liveaboard tour is a much more beneficial way to embrace all the regional beauty here.
Due to the large size, the Sea can offer itineraries for divers of all levels and interests. There are enchanting sharks and massive whales in Turks and Caicos as well as endless coral gardens, aquarium-like fishes and unique turtles living at the shores of British Virgin Islands. The Caribbean is all about diversity of marine life, underwater landscapes, diving levels and personal preferences. You can come face-to- face with moray eels longer than your armspan and fish that is smaller than a toy car. The Sea also has lots of places with breathtaking grass gardens and tiny sea horses, shrimps, and sponges. If you’re willing to fit the most into the shortest liveaboard trip, then Caribbean liveaboards availability will definitely help your dreams come true whenever you can or want to! Most boats here offer 7 nights (8 days) trips, while more extended options for 10 nights (11 days) are possible too.
Top destinations to visit on a Liveaboard in the Caribbean
Bahamas on their own have plenty dive sites on the plate. Here you will find world’s deepest blue hole together with shallower coral gardens and mystique wrecks. The truly unique place is Shark Rodeo at Walker's Cay where you can spot up to 100 reef and blacktip sharks at the depth of only 11 meters to enjoy it regardless of your certificate. Coral Caverns at Green Turtle Cay, Abacos will take your breath with tall coral twisting alleys and large swim-throughs to suck you into adventure. Littlehale’s Lair, Grand Bahama is an ideal spot for underwater photographers to make memorable shots for the Bahamas liveaboard trip. If you’re interested in seeing gracious Manta rays, look for Bahamas liveaboard diving in October, when these magnificent creatures come closer to the shores.
Belize is famous for its cayes, which are coral sand and mangroves islands in between the barrier reef and the mainland. They are home to a vast diversity of marine species: from tiddly arrow crabs to massive whale sharks. The second largest Barrier Reef in the world can amaze you with sharks, diversity of rays, whales, turtles and thousands of smaller fish inhabitants. In Belize liveaboard diving follows the same pattern with every boat so you will be able to observe major sights here regardless of the boat and itinerary. For seekers of unseen places, caverns and the Great Blue Hole of Belize are available for exploration and enjoyment.
The thriving ecosystem of the coral reef and breathtaking walls create unforgettable experience for Turks & Caicos liveaboard guests. The home to enormous variety of turtles, this place is famous for its alluring turquoise species. Turks & Caicos are in fact 40 different islands separated into two larger parts. Turks is separated from Caicos by the Columbus Passage, which is a water highway for migrating fish, turtles, rays, dolphins and Humpback whales from January through March. One of the biggest islands - Provo - is protected by the National Parks Ordinance, which as a result offers divers abundance of marine life. To get the most of Turks & Caicos liveaboard diving, come to Grace Bay dive site to see small walls with deep coral canyons together with turtles and pregnant reef sharks.
Almost infinite visibility on Cayman liveaboards made this one of the to diving destinations. Devilish drop-offs and world class wrecks in combination with traditionally marvelous coral reef attract divers from all over the world. Grand Cayman’s North Wall is a dive site that goes into abyss for as deep as 1800 m (6000 ft); this place will stay in your memory because of the spotted eagle rays and abundance of turtles. Little Cayman with its fascinating swim-throuhgs and vibrant colors can become a perfect shot for any underwater photographer. Whether you’re looking for reef diving or wrecks occupy your mind completely, Cayman Islands liveaboard diving can offer it all!
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
British Virgin Islands liveaboards are also famous for turtles and abundance of marine life. Due to the absence of necessity to fish for food here, blossoming corals and schools of diverse fishes continue developing and multiplying everywhere around the islands. Traditional inhabitants of the Caribbean Sea are also common here, including but not limited to nurse sharks, moray eels, barracuda, eagle rays, groupers, spiny lobsters, etc. In case you’re looking for large marine mammals, British Virgin Islands are not the best place to meet them. You will meet many dolphins at the majority of dive sites here, but don’t expect these creatures to be very interested in your personality. British Virgin Islands, however, compensate this fact with unforeseen coral reefs due to the ban on reef anchoring.
ST. MAARTEN / SABA / ST. KITTS
The Northeastern Caribbean is not a traditional touristic place where you’ll face thousands of beach lovers. No, these islands are hidden from the public’s view by the tourist centers and this is what adds to their charm. These islands are famous for the dormant volcano (which is around 900 m /3000 ft high) and submerged offshore pinnacles. The marine life here will amaze you with barracudas, morays, rays, sharks (from the mellow nurse shark to the white tip reef shark), large schools of traditional reef fishes. During the winter months you may even encounter migratory whales during your dives. The most famous dive site here is St. Eustatius which is a protected area with large Angel fish, frog fish, sea horses, octopuses, turtles, and curious larger pelagics.
ROATAN ISLAND, HONDURAS
Roatan Island is a part of West End Marine Reserve, which is one of the few places in the world that improve every years in terms of their marine inhabitants. Here dozens of amazing dive sites are at your disposition, but CoCo View Wall is definitely a must-see. This is a huge reef wall that drops into the blue oblivion together with the current will give you the feeling of a fairy tail. The series of deep canyons at Mary’s Place with the tunnels maze and tiniest macro life can leave a mark in your memory forever. Here you will spot huge blue fans, feathery looking sea plumes, and green and gold sea rods that are hardly seen in any other destinations of the liveaboard diving vacation in the Caribbean.
Read before you go
Though the territory of the Caribbean is large, scuba diving and Caribbean liveaboards are available here all year round! The weather in the region is similar to the standard weather difference of the Northern Hemisphere. While at different locations and itineraries seasonality may differ, November through May is the best time to come here. Water temperatures vary, but they rarely go lower than 23℃ (73℉) and it gets warmer toward the summer season – around 29℃ (84℉). Visibility is also close to 30 m (100 ft) everywhere, yet it may drop at the shores of Belize up to 6-9 m (20-30 ft) due to the local harsh winds. Beware of the hurricane season that comes here between late June and very early October. While the hurricane rarely comes to the islands in terms of distraction, it brings heavy rains and winds that can spoil visibility and make some dive sites unapproachable. Generally, visibility at all Caribbean liveaboards diving sites offers up to 30 m (100 f), however during the high winds season, which lasts from November to February, visibility may lower to 6-9 m (20-30 ft).
In order to always feel comfortable while liveaboards diving vacation in the Caribbean, take a full 3mm wet suit for spring vacations and 5 mm for winter season. Do not take your diving gloves because in many dive sites they are prohibited (for instance, in all sites of British Virgin Islands). Dive computers are mandatory for every guest on all yachts. Consult with your boat representative about the valves adapters because some boats operate only on YOKE valves.
English is widely spoken in the Caribbean as the main language, yet at some countries local population may also speak some other ones (Spanish, Dutch, local languages). Local currencies may differ, but US dollar is accepted everywhere as well as credit and debit cards. Before coming to any destination in the Caribbean ensure that you do not require a visa, your passport is valid for at least 6 months and you have one free page in the passport for the arrival stamp. There are local fees for the departure and for reservations and protected areas that go up to $150 per diver, so ensure that you take some money on board. For some parks demonstration of a return airline ticket is required, so ensure to print it in advance. Tips are widely welcomed in the Caribbean for all services and equal 15-20% of the paid sum. Be ready that the Internet is available only at larger hotels and Internet cafes; if you need it onboard, don’t forget to check it with your tour provider. Not all phone cards will be working in the Caribbean, so be ready to buy a local card for contact. Some countries do not allow tourists to bring meat and meat products, so check regulations of your destination prior to arrival.