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 2022, then, the best overall places to dive in the Atlantic included Mexico, Bonaire, the Bahamas, the British Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Catalina Island, the Silfra Fissure, the Canary Islands, and the Azores. 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. Swimming with manta rays, stingrays, and whale sharks has long been part of the standard diet of many divers vacationing here.
As soon as you get into its calm and warm waters, you immediately realize that it was not you who came to see its underwater world, but vice versa. Large flocks of reef fish, so curious that they almost knock on divers’ masks. Among the various corals and sea sponges, you can see many types of moray eels, ranging from spot to giant green, and several species of scorpionfish. Almost all kinds of sea turtles live in the Caribbean Sea, so meeting them is very likely, although green turtles are most often found, as well as large-headed ones.
The Cenotes, “sink holes” that can also be found along the coastline of the Yucatan peninsula, are some of the most unique and distinctive in the world. They offer recreational and technical scuba divers the opportunity to explore fish and plant life that cannot be seen anywhere else.
The fascinating underground world, a miracle of nature, filled with ancient legends – even if you look at senοt from the inside, it means to get unforgettable impressions.
And if you add swimming along the underground river, jumping into the water from a height, or touring through a cave, emotions will last for many years.
Bonaire is a cozy little island municipality of the Netherlands, located in the southern Caribbean, on the coast of Venezuela. This paradise has been voted the best place for diving in the Caribbean, as a marine park surrounds it, and the island’s western side is sheltered from the winds. Divers of all levels and experiences will enjoy scuba diving in Bonaire.
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. This perfect place for diving 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. Moreover, you will find a desert landscape filled with cacti, Washington Slagbay National Park, an ecological reserve, and a flamingo reserve.
The Bahamas are a group of islands located north of Cuba and off the coast of Florida. The Bahamas are amazing just because of their size – they are an archipelago of 700 islands where the western Atlantic Ocean waves meet the waves of the Caribbean Sea.
The water here is amazingly transparent, so divers have ample opportunities to make exciting dives on flowering reefs. It’s fantastic to admire tunnels, caves, and deep sinkholes; There is perhaps the best diving with sharks in the world. The subtropical climate provides about 340 days of sunshine a year, and diving conditions are excellent all year round. Each island of this dive destination boasts something unique. Amazing wrecks, stunning walls, healthy coral growth, and some of the most intimate shark dives in the world – the vast Bahamas offer an incredible variety of dives.
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 and 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 UNEXSO purposefully sank in 1982. UNEXSO also dropped the Sea Star in 2002 and La Rose in 2006.
Keep in mind that hurricane season is June-November. Therefore, scuba divers should be aware that these tropical weather systems can produce poor scuba diving conditions.
4. British Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are located to the northwest of Jamaica and the south of Cuba. The islands are surrounded by reefs that make the archipelago a natural paradise for a beach holiday and one of the best places for exotic diving. Some of the best 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 annual Total Submersion event for the Professional Association for Diving Instructors (PADI).
Not many marine animals are found here, but incredible underwater landscapes compensate for this.
The diving symbol of the islands has long been large turtles, which live here in huge numbers. Another reason scuba divers and free divers travel to the Cayman Islands is the numerous shipwrecks. Over 325 ships sank in the archipelago waters during various periods of history.
The Cayman Islands allow diving all year round due to the warm tropical climate. The water temperature fluctuates between 26-28C. Visibility is about 18-30 meters. The summer months in the Caymans are more rainy, and in connection with this, the level of visibility in the water drops. June marks the beginning of the so-called hurricane season in the Caribbean.
5. Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are located southeast of the Bahamas and north of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Three of the most notable of these experiences include the Providenciales, Grand Turk, and Salt City.
A coral reef system that stretches over sixty-five miles across (105 km) and is two hundred miles long (322 km) makes these Islands the best place for diving. In addition, the Turks and Caicos Islands are one of only two locations worldwide where humpback whales can be seen in the waters.
Diving in the Turks and Caicos Islands is dizzying vertical walls and coral reefs. Yet, even experienced divers do not remain indifferent. There are few places on Earth where it is possible to see such diverse corals as in the Turks and Caicos. Black corals, staghorn and pillar corals, and giant elephant ear sponges open the islands’ reefs. Diving in the Turks and Caicos, you can find the sunken sailing frigate of the Royal Navy Endymion (XVIII century). The wreck is home to coral and fish watching. This incredible activity here can provide the most memorable moments.
On the Turks and Caicos Islands, you can dive all year round. The period from January to June is the high season for diving in this country. And for whale watching, it is better to choose the winter months. The water temperature is about 27C, and visibility is from 25-40 meters. Hurricanes can be from June to October.
6. Catalina Island
Catalina Island covers an area of 9 sq. km. and is entirely uninhabited. Catalina is located near the famous resort of La Romana (20-30 minutes by boat) and from the resort of Bayahibe (30-40 minutes). Local authorities protect the natural beauty of Catalina. Therefore, today the island has the status of a national park.
A picturesque reef with soft and hard corals envelop the entire island on its coastline. Diving on Catalina Island, located in the Caribbean Sea, will appeal to the most discerning tourists and professional divers, as the island is considered one of the best places for scuba diving in the Dominican Republic.
The sea near Catalina Island is always calm, but sometimes waves rise, and visibility deteriorates sharply. The average visibility near Catalina is 15-30m, there is usually no current, but there are exceptions. Here you can meet stingrays, lionfish, lobsters, shrimps, crabs, crustaceans, gorgonians, and even dolphins.
7. The Silfra Fissure
Photo credit: pinterest.com
The Silfra fissure is between the North APmerican and Eurasian tectonic plates in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park. Silfra was formed in 1789 by earthquakes that accompanied the separation of two tectonic plates. This giant crack in the earth’s surface where the plates meet is still expanding at about 2 cm per year. In the depths of the Atlantic, this fissure is primarily invisible, but at Silfra, transparent water makes it visible.
The Silfra fissure is very popular among divers because the visibility in the water is up to 300 meters, and swimming along it, you can touch both parts of the world – Europe and America at the same time. Silfra also impresses with the beauty of the underwater world.
The Silfra fissure occupies a relatively small area, approximately 600 by 200 meters. This area has several different sections and a network of underwater tunnels, including those with air chambers. But it is worth remembering that diving in all underwater caves of Silfra is strictly prohibited. The Silfra caves are dangerous for diving because of their instability and narrow passages.
8. The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean about 100 km (62 miles) west of the Moroccan coast. Known as the land of eternal spring, the Canary Islands offer divers the opportunity to dive into the clear waters of the Atlantic with its richest underwater world.
Amazingly transparent water with a visibility of up to 50 meters even at great depths makes diving in the Canary Islands unforgettable. It attracts divers and the Canary Islands, a paradise for underwater photography lovers. Every year, the archipelago attracts thousands of amateurs and professionals of underwater photography who come here to participate in various competitions related to this exciting activity.
Diving in the Canary Islands is a great variety of underwater life: turtles, dolphins, sharks, tuna, groupers, barracudas, and rays. At a distance of several hundred meters from the southwestern coast of the island of Tenerife, sperm whales, pilot whales, and fin whales live, whose water fountains are visible from the shore with the naked eye.
In the area of the Canary Islands, you can dive throughout the year. The difference in air temperature here is no more than 6-7 degrees between the warmest and coldest seasons, due to which there is practically no concept of a season on the islands. There are also no windy months, stormy periods, or rainy seasons. The air temperature fluctuates between 22 – 27 degrees, and the water temperature is 19 – 26 degrees throughout the year.
9. The Azores
The Azores are a group of islands of volcanic origin, located 1460 km from the European continent. It’s the westernmost point of Europe. These Islands are a great place that attracts many diving enthusiasts. Almost every one of the nine paradise islands has a well-developed diving infrastructure. The mild subtropical climate makes diving in the Azores an absolute pleasure, accessible to adults and children.
Diving in the Azores attracts connoisseurs of unusual volcanic landscapes and explorers of the underwater world of the Atlantic. The divers can watch whales and sperm whales, killer whales, fin whales, blue sharks, and several species of dolphins, some of which are endemic in their natural habitat. It’s also possible to swim surrounded by dozens of manta rays and whale sharks and see numerous flocks of tunas and barracudas, groupers, and marlins. Diving in caves, where the space among the stone landscape is saturated with diverse macro-life and stingrays, and octopuses hide in the sandy bottom, is an unforgettable experience that each driver should relieve.
The diving season is between May 15th and October 15th. The best time is late summer, September, and early October. During the summer, the water warms up, and underwater life appears in its rich biodiversity. Visibility under water is from 15 to 40 m.
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.
Where the Atlantic Ocean has the best scuba diving?
The Turks and Caicos Islands are the best places for scuba diving in the Atlantic Ocean. These picturesque islands in the ocean are just perfect for diving. Beginners usually go to the sandy Caicos Island, with gentle beach slopes and shallow underwater routes. And the pros, eager for a change of scenery, swim along a sheer cliff in the Turks.
Which is the best season for scuba diving?
In fact, there is no single best time for diving on all the islands. The high season depends on the area you want to visit for diving. Such areas as the Cayman Islands allow this activity all year round. Others have certain months for diving.
Where is the most beautiful place to scuba dive?
The most beautiful place for scuba diving is the Canary Islands. Only here you can see such a rich abundance of fish, shellfish, mammals, and various vegetation, as well as the landscape of the water area, which fascinates with its beauty. Every year, the archipelago attracts thousands of amateurs and professionals of underwater photography who come here to participate in various competitions related to this exciting activity.