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February 2019 / Travel / by Sophie Hampton

Diving in the Caribbean’s Vibrant Underwater World

Ultimate destinations for unique diving and yacht hotspots in the Caribbean.

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Diving in the Caribbean is another way to explore one of the most coveted destinations on earth. Long one of elite travellers’ most favoured hotspots for a luxury tropical holiday, the Caribbean’s picture-perfect vistas are not hard to visualise, even if you’ve yet to visit. Crystal clear blue waters and the shimmering white sands of a thousand island shores certainly paint a memorable and seductive portrait.

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Bustling marine life

But beneath the crystal blue waters and pristine beaches and coves is more than just white sand. The underwater world of the Caribbean is brimming with vibrant, bustling life, serving up a diver’s paradise from one island to the next. From diverse coral reefs teeming with colourful life to fascinating historical wreck dives, the Caribbean sea attracts beginner and expert divers from all over the world in search of the perfect diving spot.

Once in the warm climes and laid-back atmosphere of the region, a diving holiday in the Caribbean certainly does not disappoint. Perfect underwater conditions with warm, clear water make for amazing visibility allowing divers to get up close and personal with marine life, including whale sharks, manta rays, tiger sharks, sailfish, dolphins and a fantastic array of fish.

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Best season for world-class diving

Though the waters of the Caribbean Sea are generally warm all year round, most visitors looking for the ultimate dive experience in the Caribbean choose to visit in December to April to avoid the rainy season. The wet season in the Caribbean kicks off around May and lasts until October. Although daily tropical showers are part of everyday life all year round, daily temperatures of between 24°C (75°F) and 32°C (90°F) more than make up for it.

One of the best ways to taste diving in the Caribbean is on a yacht charter holiday, where travellers can explore deserted islands and hidden coves for the ultimate diving freedom. Just a handful of the most popular Caribbean yacht charter hotspots include St Lucia, St Barths and the Bahamas. Here are some of the top spots for a spectacular experience diving in the Caribbean.

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The beautiful Bahamas

The Bahamas are renowned for their amazing fishing and spectacular diving, offering visitors a chilled, tropical vibe in a paradisiacal setting. With over 700 islands, exploring the Bahamas by superyacht is a unique experience that provides an opportunity to access the top dive sites. Not to miss are the tiger sharks at Tiger Beach, the Andros Barrier Reef and the Thunderball Grotto – the latter of which got its name from the 1965 James Bond movie which was shot on location in these unique caves.

When you’re done with diving, the islands of the Bahamas are full of life, with casinos, lively beach bars, nightclubs and world-class restaurants to enjoy. The lower Bahamas including the remote Exumas are an idyllic retreat for a perfect luxurious vacation in the Caribbean.

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Fishing, diving and snorkelling in the Leeward Islands

The Leeward Islands are situated where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and are well known as the home of lush green rainforests, blinding white beaches and crystal clear waters. With the ocean full of some fantastic coral reef and fantastic fishing, various species of rays and turtles can be easily spotted in St Kitts, while excellent wreck dives such as the 320-foot ‘Charlie Brown’ in Statia make for unique memories at sea. Many luxury yacht charters offer itineraries in the Leeward Islands, which comprise more than 30 islands, including St Barths, Antigua and Barbados.

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Discover diving in the Greater Antilles

With direct flights from Europe and the US, diving in the Caribbean is easily accessed in the Greater Antilles. Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are some of the island nations that make up the Greater Antilles, each offering visitors a colourful cultural melting pot and breathtaking natural landscape. For those looking for more unique dive spots in the Caribbean, the Greater Antilles is a fantastic way to get off the beaten track, with quiet, isolated yacht anchorages and waters teeming with hundreds of species of marine life.

Although most of the Caribbean islands have a well-developed diving industry, the best way to go out and taste the best diving in the Caribbean is on a yacht charter holiday with a fully qualified PADI Instructor on board to keep you safe and take you to the most secret hangouts.