So I really don't like these type of lists, because I honestly believe you can find great diving anywhere you go. Sure, some areas may be better for this or that type of diving or marine life, but it all comes down to personal diving preference. However, I have been asked to put this particular list together for the “mainstream” media, so here goes. Feel free to suggest your own in the comments section below and hammer me as you see fit. 😉
- The Nature Island consistently delivers the best in Caribbean diving, if not the world. Champaign reef and Scott's Head drop off are just a couple of the many underwater highlights.
- South Bimini – Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center offers ‘Big Animal Safaris’ – Shark, Dolphin & Stingray Encounters.
- Deep Water Cay – A private island paradise that offers excellent diving and a offers truly unique snorkel through thrift harbor that ends in blue hole.
- Stay on island and dive with one of the local operators or book a a weeklong Explorer Ventures liveaboard trip, which includes a few extra sites in St Kitts-Nevis.
- Consistently considered the shore diving capital of the world! Take in a night dive off the docks at Captain Don's Habitat and you'll likely have a friendly giant tarpon as your dive buddy.
- Tavernier – Captain Slate's Scuba Adventures has a creature feature dive that is a must do for any diver!
- Ft Lauderdale – Often overlooked for their quality of diving. The “Aqua Zoo” and Sea Emperor sites are the main attraction for operations like South Florida Diving Headquarters.
- Panama City – Lots of wrecks and bridge spans to dive in this area. If you're really adventurous, add on trip out to the USS Oriskany…the largest artificial reef in the world!
6. Cayman Islands
- Grand Cayman is diving made easy for all levels of experience. To get away from the crowds, consider Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.
- Considered the drift diving capital of the world. Experiencing the beauty of Palancar Reef without having to kick will spoil even the most jaded divers.
- The Spice Island offers up the “Bianca C” wreck dive that features regular fly-bys of spotted eagle rays and an underwater sculpture park that is truly unique. Piggyback a few days in Carriacou to explore a few more of the remote dive sites in the area…definitely worth the effort.
- Spooky Channel and Dolphin Den are two of the many excellent sites divers like to mark off their list in Roatan. Heading over to Utila during Whale Shark season is worth an add-on as well.
10. Catalina Island
- The Casino Point Underwater Dive Park in Avalon was established in 1962 and was the country’s first city designated underwater park. With its rich and abundant sea life, easy access, and typically good visibility, it is a very popular dive sites hosting thousands of divers a year.
List compiled by “Greg The Divemaster” Holt: Host of ScubaRadio, the first and only nationally syndicated radio show devoted to diving!