When you think of scuba diving, what comes to mind? If it’s warm, clear water, calm conditions, and light filled coral gardens, then the Caribbean might be calling! 

The Caribbean boasts beginner-friendly underwater experiences, incredible marine life, and an incredible selection of world-class dive sites – from shore dives and plunging walls, to wrecks and thrilling shark encounters. You can also witness surprising marine megafauna migrations, explore fascinating limestone formations and even learn to dive with some of the most affordable options for scuba certification in the world.

Keep reading to discover the best diving destinations in the Caribbean right now, plus details of the can’t miss dive sites, handpicked by ZuBlu’s pro team of travel experts.

The Bahamas

Sharks are a highlight of diving in the Bahamas
Sharks are a highlight of diving in the Bahamas

Famous for crystal-clear water, sharks, and shipwrecks, the Bahamas is a dive destination in a class of its own! This chain of pristine islands boasts some of the most impressive underwater experiences in the Caribbean. Alongside bull and tiger sharks, Caribbean reefs sharks, great hammerheads, and playful pods of dolphins, you’ll also have a chance to explore over 30 wrecks – some made famous by the James Bond films of the 1970s – and fascinating limestone formations including caverns and blue holes.

But, diving in the Bahamas isn’t solely focused on action-packed adventure. Visitors can also enjoy laid-back reef exploration amid shallow, light-filled coral gardens and gentle currents clouded by colourful fish. The snorkelling is fantastic here, too, with plenty to see from the surface, including thriving reefs, sea turtles, southern stingrays, and nurse sharks. Plus, a chance to swim with the famous swimming wild pigs!

  • Highlights: Sharks, dolphins, wrecks

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Mexico’s Yucatan Coast

Cenote diving in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula
Cenote diving in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

A true tropical paradise for divers, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula offers a bit of something for everyone. Explore sprawling reefs and steep walls carpeted in healthy corals, dive deep below the jungle in underwater caves known as cenotes, or head out in search of some of the ocean’s most impressive species – including whale sharks, sailfish, bull sharks, and manta rays. Simply put, this incredible dive destination has it all!

Besides these exciting and adventurous diving areas, the Yucatan also offers plenty of calm and shallow sites ideal for scuba students. This region also makes for an excellent classroom thanks to a large number of well-established dive centres boasting world-class facilities and highly experienced crews. And, with dive sites just minutes from the beach, miles offshore and – in the case of cenotes – even inland, you'll find outstanding sites and conditions year round.

  • Highlights: Cenotes, coral reefs, sharks of all kinds

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Belize

Belize is one of the Caribbean’s classic dive destinations, and for a good reason. This tiny nation boasts unparalleled access to the Great Mesoamerican Reef, the planet’s second longest barrier reef system, guaranteeing numerous top-quality dive spots filled with flourishing coral gardens and fantastic marine wildlife such as sea turtles, sharks, and rays. You’ll also encounter plunging walls dropping off into hundreds of metres of open ocean – ideal for spotting pelagics. 

But, Belize isn’t just a reef diving destination. Despite its small size, the coast claims a wide variety of aquatic environments, including mangrove forests, seagrass beds, sand flats, and three of the four known coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere. This is also where you’ll find the Great Blue Hole, one of the world’s most breathtaking limestone formations, offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for adventurous exploration.

  • Highlights: Blue Hole, whale sharks

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The Bay Islands of Honduras

Located in the Bay Islands, the island of Utila offer year-round whale shark encounters
Located in the Bay Islands, the island of Utila offer year-round whale shark encounters

The Bay Islands of Honduras – Utila, Roatan, Guanaja, and Cayos Cochinos – play host to some of the very best scuba diving in the Caribbean. While each of the islands has its own distinctly different personality, they all share a few key things in common; fantastic conditions, healthy reefs, and easy access to the biggest fish in the sea.

Honduras is also among the planet’s most affordable and popular places to get scuba certified. Students can choose from a large number of well-established dive centres, with a range of courses running from beginner to pro. The islands’ diving environments incorporate a wide variety of reefs and walls, some just minutes from the shore, alongside protected marine parks teeming with sea turtles, nurse sharks, and more. Not to mention the year-round whale shark encounters off the coast of Utila.

  • Highlights: Learning, affordable, whale sharks

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Turks and Caicos Island

Humpback whales migrate past the Turks and Caicos Islands
Humpback whales migrate past the Turks and Caicos Islands

With pristine reefs, footprint-free white sand beaches, and far fewer visitors than neighbouring destinations in the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos are a true tropical paradise. Often overlooked in favour of hotspots like the Bahamas and Belize, these islands offer up some of the region’s most spectacular scuba diving. And, best of all, this diverse destination boasts sites suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to dive pros.

With two distinct sides to explore – the Turks Islands, and the Caicos – this destination is home to adventure and exploration suiting divers of every stripe. Snorkel with dozens of docile nurse sharks, tour kilometres of pristine coral, take on high-speed drifts in the Sandbore Channel, and explore breathtaking walls dropping into the abyss. If you’re lucky, you might even spot migratory humpback whales en route to their seasonal mating and calving grounds!

  • Highlights: Humpback whales, sharks

Turks and Caicos dive resorts

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Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman is known for its abundance of stingrays
Grand Cayman is known for its abundance of stingrays

The Cayman Islands are a quintessential Caribbean diving destination, with colourful coral reefs, dramatic drop-offs, and some of the finest wreck diving in the Western Hemisphere. These islands are actually the peaks of a submerged undersea mountain range, offering divers a chance to explore right on the edge of the ocean’s depths, where Caribbean reef sharks, sea turtles, and eagle rays calmly cruise by in the blue. 

With over 300 dive sites open for exploration between the three islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman – you’ll never run out of action packed adventures here. There’s plenty for less experienced divers to enjoy, too, with shallow light-filled coral gardens boasting calm currents and excellent visibility. Iconic Cayman Islands attractions like Stingray City are even open to snorkelers, with some of the region’s most exciting wildlife found in just a few metres of water.

  • Highlights: Wrecks, walls

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British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands are home to some great wreck dives
The British Virgin Islands are home to some great wreck dives

Combining Atlantic swell and calm Caribbean waters, this archipelago of over 50 individual islands is a dream destination for watersports enthusiasts of all kinds – whether you’re into sailing or scuba diving. In fact, these two ocean-oriented pastimes interact in more ways than one here in the British Virgin Islands, with many shipwrecks welcoming exploration below the waves. The Chikuzen Wreck, RMS Rhone, and Kodiak Queen are certainly the most impressive examples, though several others can also be found. 

Beyond the wrecks this archipelago is awash with shallow coral reefs, ensuring divers of all levels can enjoy their time here. And, for the more adventurous, one of the longest reefs in the Caribbean, Horseshoe Reef, promises secluded sites punctured with maze-like tunnels and frequented by rays, nurse sharks, and schools of tropical fish.

Highlights: Wrecks, remote reefs

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Dominica

Snorkel with sperm whales in Dominica
Snorkel with sperm whales in Dominica

Dominica is a unique Caribbean escape which places an emphasis on adventure, both above and below the waves. The island’s volcanic origins promise stunning scenery and dramatic underwater topography, with shallow reef formations falling sharply into the abyss – creating opportunities suitable for scuba divers and free-divers of all experience levels. What’s more, multiple marine parks have helped these fertile shores to sustain impressive marine growth, leaving sites densely carpeted with hard and soft corals, sponges, crinoids, sea fans, whips and black coral bushes.

Dominica’s proximity to deep waters also make it a hotspot for cetaceans, with at least six different species known to make regular visits. But, it’s the island’s resident sperm whales that really steal the show, offering year-round sightings and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to swim alongside the world’s largest predator.

Highlights: Drop-offs, whale watching

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St Lucia

St Lucia is as beautiful below the surface as it is above.
St Lucia is as beautiful below the surface as it is above.

St Lucia is an understated and often overlooked Caribbean dive destination delivering a rich variety of underwater experiences spread across a score of individual sites. Despite its lack of recognition, the island’s reefs are in better shape than many other destinations in the region, featuring large multi-coloured sea fans and bulbous barrel sponges. And, several marine parks are in place on the island’s west coast, helping to protect the prolific coral growth seen throughout some of the most popular sites. 

Visitors to St Lucia can capitalise on stress-free shore entries or hop on a boat to venture further offshore. Underwater experiences include multiple deliberately scuttled shipwrecks, several current-fuelled drifts, and numerous descents over dizzying drop-offs. And, don’t forget to spend a night dive searching for St Lucia’s large yet elusive “sea monster”.

Highlights: Healthy corals, drop-offs

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St Vincent and the Grenadines

Exploring one of St Vincent's rich reefs.
Exploring one of St Vincent's rich reefs.

Among scuba diving circles, St Vincent’s biggest attraction is its abundance of macro marine life. So much so, in fact, that this noteworthy nation has been coined the “critter capital of the Caribbean”, promising some of the best critter-hunting hotspots outside of the Coral Triangle. Eagle-eyed divers can expect to spot all manner of sought-after subjects here, such as flying gurnards, frogfish, seahorses, and pipefish, along with a variety of nudibranchs and crustaceans.

But, if macro-diving is your thing, St Vincent and the Grenadines has plenty more to offer. Spanning a total of 32 islands, this archipelago offers plenty of opportunities for underwater exploration. With over a hundred dive sites, divers of all descriptions are sure to find an experience to their liking – whether it be reefs, walls, caves or wrecks.

Highlights: Macro, reefs, wrecks

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Bonaire

A diver makes their way to the One Thousand Steps dive site in Bonaire
A diver makes their way to the One Thousand Steps dive site in Bonaire

Known as the shore diving capital of the Caribbean, this island offers more freedom than any other destination in the region. Grab your buddy and dive gear, and hit the waves whenever and wherever you want – with accessible and easy to navigate shore dives, and calm conditions suitable for all skill levels. Designed specifically for divers, resorts here offer 24-hour service, drive through tank pick-up, and other perks to help you plan the ultimate adventure. 

Bonaire is truly Caribbean scuba diving at its best, with colourful reefs and walls loaded with marine life. In addition to its fantastic shore diving, the island also offers more challenging exploration on its windward side, multiple artificial reefs, and outstanding boat dives from Klein Bonaire – a small islet on the southwest coast.

  • Highlights: Shore diving, self-guided exploration

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