- Diverse reef and wall diving with sharks, turtles, eagle rays, and schooling fish
- Beautiful white sand beaches - one of the most idyllic islands in the Caribbean
- Incredible wreck diving with vessels of all sizes, penetration routes, and outstanding conditions
- Conditions for all with easy currents, excellent visibility, and warm water
- Up-close encounters with sharks during feeding experiences and in the wild
Nassau's Paradise Island was one of the very first developed resorts in the Bahamas. Today, the main island has also earned a reputation as a classic seaside paradise - with calm turquoise water, white sand, swaying palms, and accommodations for all - not to mention some exceptional diving. Visitors are in for a treat here, thanks to postcard-worthy scenery, forest preserves and national parks, plus unique scuba attractions including shark dives, blue holes and stunning underwater statues.
Scuba diving Nassau and New Providence
Eagle rayYear round
Schooling reef fishYear round
Walls & pinnaclesYear round
Caves & cavernsYear round
Nassau is the most popular diving destination in the Bahamas, famous for its flourishing reefs and plunging walls. Many of the area's most pristine sites begin as shallow light-filled gardens that slope gradually toward plummeting drop-offs where pelagics like turtles, eagle rays, and sharks patrol. These waters are home to all creatures great and small, from seahorses and jawfish to pelagic predators, including tiger sharks.
Nassau's shark diving
When it comes to scuba diving in Nassau, sharks are easily the number one attraction. At the Stuart's Cove Sharks Arena, Caribbean reef sharks gather by the dozen, offering plenty of excitement for a two-tank trip, with outstanding visibility and depths of just 12 metres. Here, local experts use bait and some hand feeding to lure these powerful predators in close while divers rest comfortably on the bottom.
If you'd rather see sharks in a more natural setting, head to Shark Buoy. Anchored in deep water, this chained piece of a sonar testing station attracts numerous pelagic species like jacks from the open ocean. Reef sharks, and other local shark species then gather to feed. Silky sharks are also sometimes seen aggregating here during summer months - with the best chances for an encounter in June.
Diving Nassau's wrecks
Nassau is home to an exciting collection of sunken vessels, with options for everyone. The Bahama Mama wreck is one of the most famous, a battered ex-party boat sunk in 1995 that offers a few easy options for penetration and depths of just 15 to 18 metres. The Cessna wreck, also known as the Nari-Nari, was purpose-sunk in just 18 metres of water for a Hollywood film and is often dived along with a nearby wall, famous for its resident population of reef sharks.
The nearby James Bond Wrecks are often dived as a two-tank experience. The RAF Vulcan bomber was used in the Thunderball movie of 1965. Later, the neighbouring Tears of Allah shipwreck was featured in the 1983 film Never Say Never Again. Both boast dense coral cover and an impressive amount of marine life! Lastly, the Ray of Hope, Nassau's newest wreck sunk in 2003, offers the best options for penetration. It is perfect for wreck speciality certification, and its exterior has started to attract life, slowly transforming into an artificial reef.
Exploring the Lost Blue Hole
This is one of Nassau's most fascinating dive sites - a collapsed sinkhole with sheer limestone walls and incredible underwater formations, including massive stalactites. The Lost Blue Hole stretches well beyond the recreational diving limits - most tours max out at around 30 metres. There is plenty of wildlife in and around this submerged site, with sand flats and turtle grass shallows playing host to some of the Bahamas' best macro. The sinkhole's ledge is well-known for its napping nurse sharks and loggerhead turtles, while seasonal aggregations of silky sharks can be found just outside.
Reefs, walls, caves and wrecks
10 - 40m+
20 - 40m+
22 - 31C
- Take a day trip to Cable Beach for small beachside resorts and uncrowded snorkelling.
- Don't miss out on diving Nassau's Lost Blue Hole, famous for its clear water and limestone formations.
- Shark Buoy is one of the Bahamas' best natural shark dives - with no baiting or feeding allowed.
- Avoid the less touristic urban areas on the mainland side of Paradise Island bridge.
About Nassau and New Providence
Nassau is the Bahamas' capital, located on the northeast coast of New Providence Island and home to roughly 70% of the country's population. So, the island of New Providence might feel a bit more urban than the rest of the archipelago - but that means more options for accommodation, vibrant nightlife, and arguably some of the Bahamas best food, too!
Diving, snorkelling, and beautiful beaches are Nassau's main attractions. But, the island boasts plenty to see and do beyond these tourist magnets. Museums, shopping plazas and fine art galleries, and golf are top picks, as are spas and wellness centres - offering yoga, meditation, mindfulness and more. Beach bums will also find plenty of relaxation with kilometres of white sand and a calm turquoise sea. Most of Nassau’s tourist attractions and resorts are scattered along the island’s exterior. Inland, the island is dominated by undeveloped forest preserves, lakes, the international airport’s massive campus, and a few local communities.
Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport serves as the gateway to the Bahamas. This is the Caribbean's busiest airport, receiving arrivals from the United States and Canada, Europe, Latin America, and beyond. This same airport's domestic terminal is also where local flights to other parts of the Bahamas depart, making it a vital stopover for visiting other areas.
Once you've arrived in Nassau, your easiest options for getting around are via public taxis and mini busses known as jitneys. Rental cars are available, but they are expensive, and some non-European drivers may be uncomfortable using the left side of the road. If you're hoping to visit Paradise Island, you can choose between optional crossings by boat or bridge. Paradise Island is easy to navigate on foot but best explored by rented scooter, allowing you to take in kilometres of stunning coastline in between attractions.
Nassau is also a regular stop on most Bahamas liveaboards. These six to ten-night scuba safaris frequently combine Nassau with the Exumas and Eleutheras or Grand Bahama.
Where to stay
Most tourists opt to stay along one of the island's beautiful sandy beaches, or northeast of the mainland on the smaller Paradise Island. About half of this tiny strip of land is occupied by Atlantis - the largest resort in Nassau. But, the entire island is picture-perfect with a classic all-inclusive resort ambience, spotless beaches, and arguably one of the planet's prettiest golf courses. Paradise Island is easy to explore on foot, taking less than an hour to walk to all of the most scenic spots.
If you're looking for a more laid-back resort ambience, head to Cable Beach on the main island. Here, smaller hotels boast outstanding facilities but with a less over-the-top atmosphere. Hostels and friendly guesthouses are also common, making the area a hotspot for backpackers and budget travellers. You'll find plenty of options for dining and nightlife, especially along the lively waterfront. This area is easy to reach from the airport and within walking distance of topside attractions including sea caves, scenic lookouts, and, of course, more beautiful beaches!
Nassau's southern coast, especially around South West Bay, is ideal for dedicated divers. You'll be perfectly situated for exploring some of the island's best sites - and you'll have the most renowned dive centres right at your doorstep. This area offers fewer resorts and hotels than elsewhere on the island, favouring private condos and vacation rentals instead. But, guests who don't mind self-catering will be rewarded with easy access to both the Bonefish Pond National Park and Clifton Heritage National Park. Not to mention other exciting attractions, including the Primeval Forest and Adelaide Beach, one of the island's loveliest stretches of sand.
Nassau's diving seasons and weather
Nassau has a tropical savannah climate with far less humidity than destinations further south in the Caribbean. You can expect plenty of sunshine and daytime temperatures between 25 and 32°C all year round. During the mild winter between November and April, nights can become quite cool, with temperatures dropping to 18°C and occasionally below. Then, between June and October, the rainy season brings warmer temperatures and a few days of precipitation per month.
The Bahamas are frequently impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms between June and November, with a peak in storm risk during August and September. During these months, passing storms can create rough surface conditions and poor visibility - even if they don't hit Nassau.
The busy season in the Bahamas runs from November through May, with two main peaks - Christmas and New Year holidays, and Spring Break. Divers who prefer uncrowded sites and lower prices should visit during May and June or in November between storm season and the holiday rush.
Nassau enjoys good visibility all year round, with 25 to 30 metres on most days. Water temperatures fluctuate dramatically, with lows of 22°C in January and highs of over 30°C in August. Depending on the month of your visit, you may want to dive in a simple rash guard, 3mm, or even 5mm wetsuit.
Once known for its out of control tourist development and unchecked growth, the Bahamas have been making steady improvements for years. In 2008, an unprecedented, region-wide collaboration called the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) was launched. This programme joins countries across the Caribbean in a voluntary commitment to protect and effectively manage at least 20% of their nearshore marine environment by 2020. So far, the effort has led to 15 new marine protected areas and three expanded areas, comprising over 11 million newly protected acres.
Other local efforts include developing sustainable fisheries, protecting Bahamanian coral reefs, and promoting environmentally responsible tourism. NGOs like The Nature Conservancy, Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, and the Bahamas National Trust are leading the charge. Additionally, more and more resorts and dive centres are joining the fight by banning single-use plastics, promoting reef-safe products, and upholding high environmental standards in their operations.
If you're hoping to get involved with conservation or citizen science during your time in Nassau, you'll find plenty of volunteer opportunities to choose from. The island is home to multiple coral reef restoration projects, sea turtle sanctuaries, and environmental conservation efforts that accept volunteers.