Regardless of whether you choose an Atlantic adventure, a Pacific paradise, or anywhere beyond or in between, there is no shortage of places in the world in which to have amazing scuba diving experiences, regardless of whether you are a novice or beginning scuba diver, or an expert in the field.
This sampling of scuba diving vacation destinations is intended to provide novice or beginning scuba divers with a mere introduction for the kinds of scuba diving experiences that are available worldwide.
Once a scuba diver has completed the required training and instruction, the underwater realm offers a multitude of possibilities for discovery, exploration, education, and adventure. The following examples represent just a few of those possibilities.
There are several periodicals and websites devoted to the world of scuba diving. Most of these periodicals complete an annual survey of the best places to scuba dive based on readership polling. Invariably, the best places are chosen for different reasons. Categories can range from geographic location to the abundance of marine life or types of scuba diving available, just to offer a few examples.
In 2013, then, the best overall places to dive in the Atlantic included Mexico, Bonaire, the Bahamas, the British Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos. All of these scuba diving vacation destinations have received numerous commendations over the years for their excellent scuba diving experiences. They represent the best that scuba diving has to offer, not only in the Atlantic, but worldwide as well.
Mexico is often listed as a premier scuba destination for several reasons. First, the Yucatan peninsula is home to not one, but two, scuba diving wonders: the Great Maya Barrier Reef, and some of the world’s most famous Cenotes, “sink holes.”
The Great Maya Barrier Reef stretches along the coastline of the eastern side of the Yucatan peninsula down through Belize to Honduras. Ranging more than two hundred miles long (320 km), it is the second largest barrier reef in the world.
The Cenotes, “sink holes,” that can also be found along the coast line of the Yucatan peninsula are some of the most unique and distinctive in the world. They offer scuba divers, both recreational and technical, the opportunity to explore fish and plant life that cannot be seen anywhere else.
Bonaire often ranks as one of the most enjoyable scuba diving vacation destinations because of the island’s continued commitment to marine life preservation and conservation. The island, which is located off the coast of Venezuela and to the east of the island of Curacao, is home to beautiful underwater landscapes and crystal clear waters. In addition, Bonaire has several professional diving operators that work to aid in all types of scuba diving experiences. The island’s marine life treasures can be explored at the Bonaire Marine Park.
The Bahamas are a group of seven hundred islands located to the north of Cuba and just off the coast of Florida. Scuba diving in the Bahamas occurs year round, making these islands one of the most popular scuba diving vacation destinations. In Grand Bahama, for example, you can dive with dolphins, explore Shark Junction (not recommended for everyone) and Devil’s Backbone.
One of the most popular scuba sites in Grand Bahama is Theo’s Wreck, which was purposefully sunk by UNEXSO in 1982. UNEXSO also sunk the Sea Star in 2002 and La Rose in 2006.
Keep in mind that hurricane season is June-November. Scuba divers should be aware that these tropical weather systems can produce poor scuba diving conditions.
4. British Cayman Islands
Like the Bahamas, the British Cayman Islands also offer scuba divers year round scuba diving experiences. Some of the most noteworthy scuba diving experiences include Grand Cayman’s North Wall and Stingray City. In addition, scuba divers have the opportunity to explore the Kittiwake wreck, a decommissioned US Navy Submarine rescue ship. Grand Cayman also hosts the Professional Association for Diving Instructors’ (PADI) annual Total Submersion event. The Cayman Islands are located to the northwest of Jamaica and to the south of Cuba.
5. Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are located to the southeast of the Bahamas and to the north of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They also offer year round scuba diving experiences. Three of the most notable of these experiences include the Providenciales, Grand Turk, and Salt City.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are unique in that they have a coral reef system that stretches over sixty-five miles across (105 km) and is two hundred miles long (322 km). In addition, the Turks and Caicos Islands are one of only two locations in the world where humpback whales can be seen in the waters.
There are many wonderful places to enjoy scuba diving in the Atlantic Ocean and these are only a few of them. What’s your favorite place to scuba dive? Share your thoughts in the comments section please.