Best Scuba Diving in Africa – Top 8

Wild, exotic, and the place of legend, Africa is an exciting alternative scuba diving destination offering a huge variety of underwater experiences. With coastlines on the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean, Africa boasts some of the world’s best scuba diving . From the flourishing reefs of northern Egypt through to shark cage diving with great whites on the southern tip of South Africa, there’s something for everyone in Africa!

On top of all that, many countries offer great top-side culture and wildlife experiences, making for a fantastic all-around vacation.

With such a variety of amazing dive spots, deciding on the best place to go scuba diving in Africa is no easy task. But, worry not! We’ve rounded up a list of the best places to go scuba diving in Africa complete with information on what to see, when to go, and where to stay, so that you can pick the perfect spot for your next Africa dive trip, hassle-free!

Best spots to go scuba diving in africa

Pick a destination or scroll down to read the entire list:

1. The Northern Red Sea – A Huge Variety of Diving Experiences

2. The Southern Red Sea & Sudan – Frontier Scuba Diving on the Doorstep

3. South Africa – Big Adventure for Thrill-Seeking Divers

4. Madagascar – A Nature Lover’s Paradise

5. Mozambique – Extreme Diving at the Edge of Africa

6. Zanzibar and Tanzania – Rich and Diverse Above and Below the Waterline

7. Kenya – A Hidden Macro Gem

8. Outlying Islands – Mauritius, Seychelles, Cape Verde, and the Canary Islands

Can’t wait to start planning your next African scuba diving trip? Our team at Bluewater Travel can help you book a resort or liveaboard in Africa or anywhere in the world.

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1. the Northern Red Sea

A huge variety of diving experiences

As the most northerly tropical sea in the world, the Red Sea offers an exceptional range of dive experiences and some unique fish and coral species not found anywhere else. Named as one of the seven wonders of the underwater world, this 1,400-mile long inlet of the Indian Ocean is sandwiched between the African nations of Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea to the west, and Suadi Arabia to the east. There are various different dive areas ripe for exploration in the Red Sea, but in particular, the northern waters are home to the stunning coral gardens and shallow drifts of Ras Mohammed National Park. To the northeast, the four reefs of Tiran offer deep walls and stronger currents that support huge gorgonians and vast numbers of small and medium reef fish. Other notable spots include the golden triangle of Brothers, Daedalus, and Elphinstone, three offshore reef and seamount systems that attract vast numbers of pelagics and some exciting shark action.

The northern Red Sea is also well-known for its numerous accessible wrecks, many within recreational dive limits. Perhaps the most famous is that of the SS Thistlegorm, a 420-foot military supply ship that was bombed during WWII. She now rests in 100 feet of water and her cargo of jeeps, motorbikes, ammunition, and various other military supplies can still be explored. Many of the Red Sea’s wrecks have been absorbed into the reefs they floundered on, and so now create fascinating artificial reefs smothered in life.

Red Sea fiji corals

The Red Sea is home to large Green Turtles, as well as hard corals teeming with life and is one of the most popular places to go scuba diving in Africa. Photos by: Bluewater travel advisor/trip leader Tim Yeo.

How to dive the northern red sea

The majority of scuba diving in the northern Red Sea is accessed through Egypt, in particular the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. Both towns offer a good range of dive shops and the majority of hotels have a dive center on-site. Day trips from Sharm take you to the nearby sites of Tiran and Ras Mohammed which are some of the best in the area. There are also numerous smaller dive resorts dotted along the Egyptian coast and in Israel, Djibouti, and Jordan.

However, most divers exploring the Red Sea will do so via a liveaboard. Red Sea liveaboards are some of the most affordable in the world and offer exceptional value for money. There are dozens of boats to choose from with departure points varying depending on the route, but most northern boats are based in Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada. Both towns have international airports, often with a transfer through Cairo.

Scuba diving in Africa is available year-round, however, the height of the summer experiences extreme top-side temperatures and very busy inshore dive sites. Most liveaboards and resorts close for a month in January.

Discover our full range of Red Sea liveaboards.

Practical information

Temperature: 70 to 84 o F (21 to 29 o C) with the highest temperatures in September, and the lowest in February.

Visibility: Up to 650 feet (200m).

Non-Diving Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, other watersports, cultural tours in Egypt, desert trips, and sightseeing.

Required Skill Level: All levels.

2. THE southern RED SEA & Sudan

frontier scuba diving on the doorstep

Relatively unexplored compared to the northern stretches, the southern Red Sea offers frontier diving and some exciting unexplored stretches of reef with barely another dive group in sight. Generally referred to as the ‘Deep South’, diving is relaxed and varied, with marine life rich in small and medium fish species and some notable macro. Fury Shoals is a vast plateau of coral gardens, home to grazing turtles, dolphins, and reef sharks. Just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Zabargad and Rocky Islands are surrounded by stunning blue lagoons and offer diving amongst thriving corals and huge gorgonians as well as rare black coral trees. The stronger currents here attract some impressive open ocean visitors including manta rays, whale sharks, and hammerheads.

On the border with Sudan, St John’s Reef is exciting in its isolation and as such is virtually untouched. Caves, tunnels, and overhangs are overgrown with corals and patrolled by large pelagics. While those brave enough to venture into Sudan’s rarely visited waters will be overwhelmed by the exotic and large-scale topography on display. Marine life is unphased by divers and huge shoals of fish are ever-present at close range. There are also some more challenging deep and wreck penetration scuba dives available, including the wreck of the Umbria which is on the itinerary of many Sudan-based Red Sea liveaboards.

Red Sea

Get ready to say hello to a Napoleon wrasse, or an even a whale shark during your dive in the Red Sea. Photos by Tim Yeo.

HOW TO DIVE THE southern RED SEA & Sudan

Diving in the southern regions of the Red Sea is almost exclusively via liveaboard, with departures from Port Ghalib or Hamata in Marsa Alam for the Deep South routes and from Port Sudan for Sudan itineraries. Both towns have international airports although most travelers into Sudan will transfer through Khartoum Airport. The Sudan routes tend to be more expensive and with longer itineraries due to the expedition-like nature of the trips.

Boats depart year-round, however, strong winds between October and April can cause choppy surface conditions.

practical information

Temperature: 79 to 84 o F (26 to 29 o C) with the highest temperatures in September, and the lowest in February.

Visibility: 33 to 115 feet (10 to 35m).

Non-Diving Activities: Southern Egypt and in particular Sudan, are rarely frequented by tourists, however, Naqa and Musawarat are worth a visit, as are the Meroe pyramids.

Required Skill Level: Deep South all levels, Sudan is best suited to advanced divers.

3. South Africa

big adventure for thrill-seeking divers

With nearly 1,700 miles of coastline bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, diving South Africa offers a unique and thrilling experience full of challenge and adventure. Scuba diving is possible along both coasts but varies dramatically between regions due to the sheer size of the country. The milder tropical climes of the northeastern KwaZulu-Natal province offer warm water diving along stunning beaches and some of the country’s richest marine life. One of the best spots is Sodwana Bay, perfectly positioned within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The reefs here are unspoiled and bursting with Indo-Pacific life.

Exploring further south past Durban, the legendary Aliwal Shoal is the staging post for some epic shark diving with bull sharks, hammerheads, tiger sharks, blacktips, and the local favorites, sand tiger sharks. And a sight not to be missed is the annual sardine run, a high-energy event that draws countless sharks, game fish, dolphins, birds, and seals to feast on giant, ever-moving baitballs of millions of sardines.

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On South Africa’s Western Cape, the cooler kelp-filled waters and rugged coastline of the Atlantic coast are home to countless seal colonies and African penguins which in turn attract apex predators. Towns such as False Bay and Gansbaai are renowned shark cage diving destinations, and while great white sharks are what everyone wants to see, there is an excellent chance of encountering seven-gill sharks, dolphins, and even orcas.

Read our full destination guide to diving South Africa.

how to dive south Africa

South Africa is a huge country, so when to dive and how to get there can vary drastically. The northeastern coast is diveable year-round with temperatures rarely dropping below 70. Durban’s King Shaka International Airport is the best point of access to explore the region’s coast. The sardine run occurs annually between May and July, with the peak time in late June.

The Atlantic side is wilder and colder with the summer months of October through to March preferred for diving. Temperatures can drop below 55 and conditions can be challenging. Cape Town International Airport is the best starting point for visiting the west coast.

practical information

Temperature: 68 to 82 o F (20 to 28 o C) on the east coast and 53 to 64 o F (12 to 18 o C) on the west coast.

Visibility: Varies, but is often better in the winter.

Non-Diving Activities: Explore the famous Winelands or head north on a safari in Kruger National Park.

Required Skill Level: Intermediate and advanced divers, although beginners can be catered for.


a nature lover’s paradise

Off the southeast coast of the African continent, the country of Madagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world and boasts unique flora and fauna of endemic species that have evolved in geographical isolation from the rest of Africa. While Madagascar is increasingly popular as a destination for nature lovers, the island’s dive scene is still relatively quiet, and even in the busier tourist hubs, the beaches and dive sites will seem uncrowded compared to other Indian Ocean vacation islands. The oceans and reefs around Madagascar boast incredibly rich biomass and the chance to spot some rarer species such as the coelacanth and Omura’s whale. There are 34 different species of cetacean found around Madagascar, and one of the best places to spot them is Ile Sainte-Marie of the northeast coast, directly on the migratory route for humpback whales.

Arguably the best area for diving in Madagascar is the northwestern archipelago of Nosy Be. At least 300 types of hard coral play host to 1,300 species of reef fish, turtles, and over 50 types of shark. This is also a prime spot for whale shark encounters in October and November each year. The scuba diving here is perfect for beginners while still offering experienced divers a stunning insight into the region’s breathtaking biodiversity. Further north, the clear waters and fascinating volcanic topography of the Mitsio Archipelago offer up awesome manta and shark encounters as well as some great pelagic action.


Madagascar’s dive infrastructure is well established with a good number of land-based resorts and dive operators, especially around the north of the country. While Madagascar can be dived year-round, most centers will close during the cyclone season between December and March. The best time to visit is between May and December when whale sharks and migrating humpback whales are visiting. Visibility is generally over 100 feet, and while the odd plankton bloom can reduce visibility it will also draw in pelagics.

There are also a small number of liveaboards that visit Madagascar’s outlying islands and archipelagos. This is a great option to reach the most remote regions.

practical information

Temperature: 77 to 83 o F (25 to 28 o C) with the warmest temperatures from July until September and the coldest months January through March.

Visibility: Over 100 feet (30m), and while the odd plankton bloom can reduce visibility it will also draw in pelagics.

Non-Diving Activities: The topside wildlife is spectacular, and best explored on nature treks and kayak tours.

Required Diving Skill Level: Suitable for all levels, including snorkelers.

5. Mozambique

extreme diving at the edge of Africa

Mozambique’s 1,500-mile long coastline is an exhilarating introduction to southeast Africa’s impressive megafauna. While it may not be the most accessible of dive destinations, this makes for relatively untouched dive sites, few other divers, and the feeling that you’re at the frontier of underwater exploration. The northern Quirimbas Archipelago enjoys the protection of one of Africa’s largest Marine Protected Areas. Over 125 miles of remote, undeveloped islands, sandbars, mangroves, and healthy reefs are home to the best of the Indian Ocean’s tropical marine life as well as some fascinating underwater topography. Further south within the Mozambique Channel, the Bazaruto Archipelago boasts exciting drift dives along walls of canyons, caves, and overhangs.

Heading south another 150 miles, Praia do Tofo is a well-known manta and whale shark destination boasting regular year-round sightings of these pelagic giants. August and September are also prime humpback months and migrating whales can be spotted daily on their journey through the Mozambique Channel. In the country’s deep south, Ponta do Ouro is a spectacular location, and one of the best in the southern hemisphere to scuba dive with big pelagic shark species. Bull sharks, known here as Zambezi sharks, and hammerheads, are just two of the 19 species that frequent these waters.

Scuba Addicts Scuba Addicts

Scuba Addicts Scuba Addicts

The photos above are provided by Armin-Tratnau

HOW dive Mozambique

The main challenge with diving in Mozambique is getting there. Maputo International Airport (MPM) in the south of the country is a good springboard for the southern destinations, however, at least one, sometimes two domestic connections are required to get to the northern archipelagos. It may be easier to fly into Tanzania and then take a local flight south. There are also ferries that service the islands.

Diving Mozambique is predominantly shore-based, with local operators and dive shops supporting the lodges and hotels. Planning ahead is crucial as not all areas offer tourist accommodation. Diving can be remote and logistics challenging, so while the rewards are more than worth the effort, this is a destination for experienced divers.

practical information

Temperature: Quirimbas Archipelago 77-79 o F (25-26 o C), Bazaruto Archipelago 73-75 o F (23-24 o C), Praia do Tofo and Ponta do Ouro sites 73-84 o F (23-29 o C).

Visibility: 26 to 130 feet (8-40m), but can vary due to plankton blooms.

Non-Diving Activities: Mozambique is a great cultural location, with lovely colonial buildings and market streets to explore, as well as some good museums. Fishing and watersports are popular.

Skill Level: Some sites are suitable for all levels, however the more exposed sites and those with stronger currents require some experience.



Spread across the equator on Africa’s east coast, the country of Tanzania is perhaps best known as a topside safari destination. However, it also boasts varied Indian Ocean diving along its coastline as well as some exceptional sites around the outlying islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia. Zanzibar and Tanzania truly are must-visit destinations when scuba diving in Africa. On the mainland, diving is possible as far north as the border with Kenya and south to the town of Mtwara, with the underwater landscape gradually changing from tropical reefs to deeper ocean trenches and a wilder coastline further towards the border with Mozambique.

Most scuba divers to the region will choose to visit the renowned island of Zanzibar, famous for its Spice Island heritage and stunning beaches. Along with Pemba to the north and Mafia 125 miles further south, these three islands offer some of the best diving in Tanzania. Large pelagic species traveling up Africa’s eastern seaboard compete for space on lush tropical reefs where an abundance of medium and small reef fish, barracuda, trevally, reef sharks, and several types of turtle are all common spots. November and December are peak months for whale shark and humpback whale sightings, and manta rays can be found year-round in Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park.

Diving in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Kenya

Photo by Hagai Zvulun

How to dive Zanzibar and Tanzania

Almost all diving in Zanzibar and Tanzania is from the shore or day-boats. Accommodation takes the form of beach resorts or hotel apartments as well as the more traditional style lodges. Zanzibar has a good number of dive operators, as well as some resorts with in-house dive centers. Pemba is more remote, so accommodation tends to be far more exclusive, whereas Mafia Island has a reasonable selection of dive operators and accommodation options.

Diving is available year-round, although the main season is from November through to March.

practical information

Temperature: 78 to 85 o F (25 to 29 o C) year-round.

Visibility: Upwards of 100ft (30m) outside the wet season.

Non-Diving Activities: The Spice Islands offer a wealth of history and culture, while Tanzania is a world-class safari destination.

Required Skill Level: Suitable for all levels.


a hidden macro gem

Despite being almost completely off the radar for most divers, Kenya offers a surprising array of marine life, particularly for macro-lovers. Nearly 900 miles of coastline are protected within four marine parks and six marine reserves where beautiful reefs and some fascinating topography remain relatively undisturbed. Watamu Marine National Park is one of the best-managed conservation areas in the country, home to green turtles, dugongs, and diverse fish life. In the country’s far south, Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Reserve offers stunning coastlines and year-round diving on Wasini Island. Over 40 species of coral and 250 different types of reef fish can be found here, as well as manta rays, turtles, and large pods of bottlenose dolphins.

One of the most popular scuba dive areas is Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve just north of the city. Here, large coral heads are home to a unique array of nudibranchs and opisthobranchs, including some rare species and color variations not found anywhere else. The outer reefs feature shelves and overhangs as well as the interesting Vuma Caves with a chimney exit at Kilifi Creek. Eels barracuda, grouper, and other dark-loving critters loiter in the gloom while the occasional whale shark can be spotted in the blue.

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Diving in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and KenyaDiving in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Kenya

Photos by Hagai Zvulun

How to DIVE Kenya

Scuba diving Kenya is exclusively from shore-based operators running day boats into the protected reserve areas. The majority of dive shops can be found along the south coast, and this is also where the main beach resorts and hotels are centered.

The country’s capital, Nairobi, is the main arrival hub, with direct flights from the east coast of the US and Europe. Once in Nairobi, reserves and lodges often offer private transfers for their guests.

practical information

Temperature: 78 to 85 o F (25 to 29 o C) year-round.

Visibility: Upwards of 100ft (30m) outside the wet season.

Non-Diving Activities: The Spice Islands offer a wealth of history and culture, while Tanzania is a world-class safari destination.

Required Skill Level: Suitable for all levels.

8. Africa’s outlying islands

Mauritius, Seychelles, Cape Verde, and the Canary Islands


Six hundred miles off the east coast of Madagascar, the small island nation of Mauritius is famous as the home of the dodo. As expected for an Indian Ocean island, Mauritius offers an excellent marine diversity with endemic species and some unique hard and soft corals. Despite the damage done by regular cyclones and over-fishing, scuba diving Mauritius is definitely worthwhile, and sites such as Grand-Baie’s and Trou-aux-Biches offer some great macro diving. There are several offshore spots that are renowned for pelagic and shark encounters, with bull sharks, grey reef sharks, and silvertip reef sharks at The Shark Pit and Belle Mare on the island’s east coast. There is also some exciting dolphin action at Tamarin Bay, and the Djabeda wreck is completely covered in pink soft coral.

Mauritius can be dived year-round from in-house dive centers based at many of the resorts. November through to April offers the best visibility and warmest waters.

Mauritius Mauritius

A diver discovers an octopus creeping across the wreck of the Djabeda, Coin de Mire, Mauritius (L) & A spinner dolphin releases CO2 from its lungs before reaching the surface and taking a breath of air (R)


Another 1,100 miles directly north of Mauritius, Seychelles boasts some of the best scuba diving in the Indian Ocean. The three main islands of Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue are where the majority of diving takes place, with protected coral islets and atolls offering reefs with corals abound. The inner reefs are home to a plethora of small and medium-sized reef fish such as angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, and parrotfish, as well as turtles and nudibranchs. Further out around the less-visited outer reefs, sailfish, reef sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, mantas, and whale sharks can often be spotted. The southern islands also offer some great drift and wall dives.

Seychelles can be dived year-round from either a liveaboard or from a resort. The best conditions are in April and May and in October and November when the seas are at their calmest.


On Africa’s Atlantic coast, the Cape Verde islands sit 390 miles west of Dakar in Senegal. Located at the junction of tropical equatorial waters and cooler currents from the Mediterranean, marine life around the islands is unique and diverse. When researching what scuba diving in Africa is like, you might not initially come across Cape Verde as a top destination as diving is still in its infancy here, however, year-round access to some rich and unusual dive sites makes it memorable for all who visit. Large schools of fish are a common sight, with turtles, manta rays, and many different types of moray eel also common. Between January and March, the islands are visited by humpback whales.

Diving is available on three of Cape Verde’s 10 inhabited islands, with local operators offering day trips in conjunction with the hotels. Diving is available year-round but is best between April and November.


Off the northwest coast of Africa, the Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago that enjoys the sub-tropical climate of their closest neighbor, Morocco. The islands’ volcanic origins result in clear water and some fascinating underwater topography. There are some notable large species to be encountered here, including angel sharks, turtles, and five different species of ray. Caverns, swim-throughs, and crevices provide the perfect home for moray eels, grouper, barracuda, and plenty of small reef fish.

With a warm wetsuit, it is possible to scuba dive the Canary Islands year-round. Diving is shore-based, with local dive shops and operators running day trips to local sites.

Plan your next African dive vacation

Bluewater Travel is a full-service dive-travel agency. Whether you’re looking to plan a trip scuba diving in Africa or anywhere else, we can book you a resort or a liveaboard almost anywhere in the world at the same price, or even lower, than booking any other way. Our team of travel advisors has been to most of these places, for some of them even many times. We know the diving, resorts, liveaboards, and logistics better than anyone else in this industry. To get started you can:

Email us to start planning your trip!

Further Reading

Check out these useful resources from our sister websites, Bluewater Photo and Underwater Photography Guide.

10 Best Places for SCUBA Diving in The Caribbean

Prepare for your next Caribbean vacation by learning about the best places and islands to go scuba diving in the Caribbean that offer the most tantalizing underwater views and diving experiences.

While the beaches and restaurants are enough to draw tourists to the Caribbean, you may want to take your sightseeing to the next level by diving in the Caribbean. The breathtaking underwater views of tropical fish and coral reefs will make your Caribbean vacation an unforgettable experience.

When you go scuba diving in the Caribbean, you will have the opportunity to see the remains of shipwrecks, the colorful coral reefs, varieties of exotic marine life, and the underwater landscape. The warm, clear waters of the Caribbean make it the perfect place for scuba diving. While you can enter the deepest waters by dive boats and boards, novice divers have the option of diving right from the shoreline.

Even if you have never gone scuba diving before, you can still have an amazing experience by keeping it simple with drift dives that provide equally spectacular views. Scuba diving is an activity that you won’t want to miss out on your next Caribbean vacation. Here are some of the best places for diving in the Caribbean:


If you really want to connect with a variety of marine life, including sea turtles and whales, you should check out the scuba diving on Dominica Island, which is otherwise known as Nature Island. You can enjoy the unique jacuzzi-like experience of diving in warm bubbling waters courtesy of the geothermal vents caused by underwater volcanic activity. When you dive or snorkel in Dominica, you will get to observe and experience vast marine life, including seahorses and urchins.


This Central American country offers an amazing scuba diving experience due to the deep waters of the iconic Blue Hole which is one of the deepest holes in the Caribbean that drops down 400 feet into the darkest depts of the Caribbean.

While the Blue Hole is a diving location that’s best suited for more experienced divers, the views include unique marine life that you won’t find on any other dive. If you aren’t thrilled with the idea of plunging that deeply into pitch black water, the Half Moon Caye Wall is another awesome place for diving in Belize that provides views of eels and brightly colored coral reefs.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is the most popular destination for diving in the Caribbean out of all three of the Cayman Islands. If you are brave enough to dive deeply, the North Wall is a diving locale that’s loved by many, going as deep as six thousand feet and offers views of rarely seen marine life, such as the spotted eagle ray.

Once again, divers who aren’t keen on deep dives have the option of shore diving on Grand Cayman which offers spectacular views of coral reefs. If you are fascinated by history, then you may want to check out the notorious Kittiwake shipwreck that can be found fifty-five feet beneath the surface of the Grand Cayman waters. Another famous feature of the Grand Cayman diving experience is Stingray City where you can swim alongside thousands of tropical stingrays.


Of course, the Bahamas has made the list with its seven-hundred islands that offer several of the best places for diving in the Caribbean. If you are interested in underwater shipwreck tours, then New Province Island is the perfect place for you to dive as there have been numerous shipwrecks that occurred in the waters over the span of three centuries.

The Shark Wall is another great place to dive in the Bahamas that offers divers the opportunity to be amazed at the sight of some of the most beautiful coral in the Caribbean. Alternatively, you can swim through the vast barrier reefs of Andros, which includes the famous Tongue of the Ocean.


If you have become enchanted by the historical sight of shipwrecks and are fascinated by underwater landscapes, then Grenada is the ideal place for you to dive in the Caribbean. The view is the underwater equivalent of touring the Grand Canyon with its plateaus and drop offs that make it amongst the best locales for underwater exploration.

Shipwreck fanatics can investigate the wreckage of the Blanca C cruise ship, while marine life loving divers can swim through the waters of Isle De Ron to enjoy the sight of tropical fish and breathtakingly beautiful reefs and caverns.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

If you love exploring underwater landscapes and unique coral reefs, then you will thoroughly enjoy diving in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In addition to traditionally colored corals, you can have the experience of taking in the sight of black coral reefs, and some of the most remarkable underwater cliffs and drop offs at Anchor Reef.

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The Japanese Garden offers the most relaxing diving experience of the Caribbean that offers breathtaking views of sea fronds and corals as you swim along a naturally winding white sand path and take in the sight of tropical fish.


Although Bonaire is the smallest of its sister islands, the volcanic roots of this island resulted in the most pristine reefs that you will ever find in the Caribbean. If you are looking for a simplistic, yet beautiful and eco-friendly diving experience, you may want to try scuba diving in Bonaire.

When diving at Bonaire’s Front Porch you can swim alongside jawfish and eels as you follow the fifteen-foot reef and explore a historical sunken tugboat. While Bonaire may not seem to offer much when it comes to diving, most of its coral reefs have been virtually untouched by man making it one of the most natural diving experiences.

Turks and Caicos

If you are enchanted by the sight of coral reefs, then Turks and Caicos is the ideal place for you to scuba dive in the Caribbean as it boasts the largest coral reef system that includes expansive views of pristine reefs, tropical fish, shipwrecks, and even glimpses of whales during certain seasons at the Princess Alexandra National Park. The perimeter of this vast reef system spans sixty-five by two hundred miles making Turks and Caicos a scuba diving locale that you can continue to explore year after year.

The Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands is another great place for diving in the Caribbean, especially if you appreciate the historic value of investigating and exploring notorious shipwrecks. The 1867 wreckage of the HMS Rhone is amongst the most popular diving destinations in the Caribbean, making it a wreck that you will definitely want to add to your sightseeing list.

Alternatively, you may want to check out the tiny island cluster, known as the Dogs, that offers views of a unique underwater landscape that includes reefs and caverns. However, the HMS Rhone is the attraction that draws the most scuba divers to the Virgin Islands.

Puerto Rico

A United States territory, Puerto Rico consists of a large island surrounded by tinier islands that are set aside a continental shelf. In addition to gorgeous coral reefs, the underwater caves make Puerto Rico the perfect place for diving and exploration in The Caribbean. If you are brave enough, you can even take the bold chance of swimming with the nurse sharks that lurk in the waters of Cayo Lobito.

But swimming alongside sharks isn’t for everyone. If you prefer to play it safe, you can enjoy the sight of the one of most colorful coral reefs in the Caribbean, known as Candyland. This highly recommended scuba diving destinations will leave you speechless once you witness the beautiful array of colored corals and sponges.

Candyland is a must-see attraction to add to your list on your next vacation to Puerto Rico. Although Puerto Rico provides some of the best beaches and most tasteful Latin cuisine, the true gem lies deep beneath the waters.

The ex-USS Kittiwake was a Submarine Rescue vessel (ASR-13). She was part of the 6th Submarine squadron (SUBRON 6) homeported at the Destroyer-Submarine piers in Norfolk, VA. The location for sinking the Kittiwake is at the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, on the West or lee side of Grand Cayman.

Final Thoughts

If you thoroughly enjoy scuba diving or are an amateur diver seeking to maximize the experience of your next Caribbean vacation, these locales are hands-down the best places for diving in the Caribbean. Although you can find stellar hospitality, beautiful white sand beaches, luxurious hotel accommodations, and delicious ethnic foods at many destinations throughout the Caribbean, there is only a handful of places that are perfect for scuba diving.

Sure, you can try scuba diving in any body of water throughout the world, and given the tropical location of the Caribbean, you will catch glimpses of coral reefs and tropical marine life at most Caribbean diving spots, but there seems to be a little compromise when it comes to the best places for diving in the Caribbean.

So, when you are packing your bikinis and swimming trunks to head out on your next Caribbean vacation, don’t forget to pack your scuba gear or at least inquire about places that rent out scuba gear at your desired destination. While there is much to love about Caribbean vacations, you are missing out on the full experience unless you tour the depths of the Caribbean waters.

The Best Scuba Road Trip Across the Northeastern US

Splash sites from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic coast.

Lake Erie shore

Lake Erie, the southernmost Great Lake, has diveable wrecks as shallow as 10 feet and as deep as 200 feet. M. Frank

This Northeastern road trip stretches from Pennsylvania to Maine and hits five of the best dives in the region. Many operators close for winter, so it’s best to make this trip over summer. Still, you’ll want to pack a drysuit or 7-mil wetsuit, as water temperatures only reach the mid-70s, and most of the diving is deep.

Day 1: Lake Erie, Pennsylvania

Kick off your trip with a dip in Lake Erie. This Great Lake has one of the world’s largest concentrations of shipwrecks, with diveable wrecks in 10 to 200 feet of water. To reach the best wrecks, rent a charter and tanks through local operator Diver’s World, which partners with Lake Erie Adventure Charters to take divers to sites like the Indiana and SK Martin.

After your dive, hit the road for a three-hour drive to Bellefonte, a quaint town about halfway between Erie and Dutch Springs.

Where to Eat: Shoreline Bar & Grille in Erie, The Governors’ Pub & Restaurant in Bellefonte
Where to Stay: Our Fair Lady in Bellefonte

Day 2: Dutch Springs, Pennsylvania

The next morning, you’ll drive for just under three hours to reach Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, PA. This 100-foot-deep, 50-acre spring-fed lake is filled with sunken boats, buses, trucks, airplanes, and plenty of freshwater fish for divers to see. Tank rentals are available onsite, so you can dive at your leisure and rinse off with a warm-water shower before getting in the car again.

Stop for a cheesesteak on your way out of Pennsylvania, then venture an hour and a half east into New York City.

Where to Eat: Newburg Deli in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City
Where to Stay: The Knickerbocker in New York City

Day 3: New York City, New York

While passing through the Big Apple, rent gear from Manhattan’s Pan Aqua Diving and check out a popular local site: Beach 8th Street off Far Rockaway. Diving at slack tide, you can encounter hordes of crustaceans, sea bass, parrotfish, jellies, and more. Afterward, return your tanks, grab a signature slice of New York-style pizza and journey on to Montauk, New York, two and a half hours from NYC at the tip of Long Island.

Where to Eat: Joe’s Pizza in New York City, Sel Rrose in Montauk
Where to Stay: Gurney’s Montauk

Day 4: Montauk, New York

Wake up bright and early, grab breakfast on the go, and meet the Eastern Long Island Wreck Diving Club — the Hampton Dive Center’s club —for a full day of adventure with the Sea Turtle Charter. In the summer, the Gulf Stream brings warm water up Montauk’s coast, along with schools of blue, mako, and thresher sharks. The Sea Turtle Charter offers shark-and-wreck trips that include cage diving and shipwreck exploration, neither of which should be missed.

Once you return to shore, have a relaxing night in at your hotel or check out a Long Island favorite for dinner and post-dive drinks.

Where to Eat: Hampton Coffee Company and TT’s Montauk
Where to Stay: Gurney’s Montauk

Day 5: Fort Wetherill State Park, Rhode Island

Start the day with a four-hour drive (including ferry ride) to Giant Stride Dive Shop in Warwick, Rhode Island. From there, it’s a 40-minute drive down to Jamestown’s Fort Wetherill State Park. The park’s sheltered cove is a hotspot for shore diving you can even see Caribbean fish that have migrated north in the fall.

Take some time to explore, then drive an hour and a half to Boston, returning your tanks on the way up.

Where to Eat: Kitchen Little in Mystic, Connecticut; Giacomo’s Ristorante (and a cannoli at Mike’s Pastry) in Boston
Where to Stay: Battery Wharf Hotel in Boston

Day 6: On the Road

It’s only a three-hour drive from the Bay State to New Harbor, Maine, which gives you plenty of time to wander around Boston before getting back on the highway. Walk part of the Freedom, tour Fenway Park, visit a museum — whatever you’re in the mood for. On your drive up, stop at Johnson’s Sporting Goods in Brunswick, Maine, to pick up tanks for your final dive of the trip.

Where to Eat: The Friendly Toast Restaurant in Boston, Shaw’s Fish & Lobster Wharf in New Harbor
Where to Stay: The Bradley Inn in New Harbor

Day 7: Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve, Maine

At high tide, descend into the cove at Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve in New Harbor. The rocky site bottoms out around 100 feet right offshore, with sloping walls covered in bright anemones, sea urchins, and crustaceans.

When the tide changes and you’re back ashore, poke around the tide pools. Then, head down to Portland, return your tanks on the way, and cap your trip off with a night of fresh local seafood in the ocean breeze.

Where to Eat: The Cupboard Café in New Harbor, Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland
Where to Stay: Portland Harbor Hotel in Portland

This guide is one in a running series of great scuba diving road trip itineraries. Keep the adventure rolling with more drive-and-dive road trip ideas!




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