Diving in the Bahamas
From exhilarating shark encounters and thrilling drift dives to beautiful coral gardens in the shallows and maze-like cave systems - The Bahamas tick all boxes on a diver's wishlist
Covering an area of 470,000 square kilometres of the Atlantic Ocean, The Bahamas are known for their large variety of diving experiences.
The Bahamas have built up a reputation of hosting some of the best shark dives in the world. Several operators put on a show for shark enthusiasts that attracts bull, tiger, lemon, reef and nurse sharks – or all of them at once. Even encounters with oceanic whitetips are possible if you decide to venture out to the blue water off Cat Island or San Salvador in the east.
While most of the diving takes place in the depths no deeper than 30m, the archipelago also beholds some true tech diving gems. The reefs are riddles with blue holes, caves and tunnels and the cave system of the Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island is one of the longest underwater cave systems on Earth. Along Andros, the Tongue of the Ocean lures with some of the best wall diving sites of the Caribbean. Snorkellers and divers will find beautiful coral gardens and an abundance of reef fish in the shallows while tech divers can explore the depths and swim-throughs of this underwater canyon.
Primarily known as one the world's best sailing destinations, the calm waters of The Abacos are often overlooked by visiting divers. Diving here is easy and slow-paced and takes place in small groups. A handful of operators explore the beautiful coral gardens in the shallows with stunning elkhorn formations or take divers through caverns and easy swim-throughs. The atmospheric light at the Cathedral dive site is said to make it a photographer's dream. The sunlight beams through openings of the cavern and reflects on thousands of silversides inside.
Don't miss: Coral Caverns, Cathedral and the Bonita wreck
Visiting Andros guarantees for an adventure-fuelled holiday - both on land and underwater. Also known as 'the Big Yard', Andros' widely uninhabited topside scenery ranges from lush primal forests to 3700 square kilometres of mangrove swamps in the east. Next to bone fishing, diving is the biggest draw to the island. Being by far the largest island of The Bahamas, Andros offers also the greatest variety of dive sites. Parallel to Andros runs the world's third largest barrier reef that stretches for 225 kilometres along the west coast of the island. The western side of the reef wall plunges to a jaw-dropping 557m deep oceanic trench called Tongue of the Ocean offering an inexhaustible number of dive sites. The reef is littered with blue holes, caverns and swim-throughs and is home to some of the most spectacular wall dives in the Caribbean.
Don't miss: Over the Wall, the Barge and Hole in the Wall
Reefs, walls, wrecks, shark feeds and wild dolphin encounters – you can find all of that in just a short boat trip from the coast of Bimini. Year-round guaranteed encounters with lemon sharks and bull sharks are on the list plus the chance to get real close to great hammerheads during the late winter months.
Don't miss: hammerheads, the Sapona wreck, dolphin encounter
Cat Island is the starting point for a lot of the open water dives which seek to get divers close to the usually elusive oceanic whitetips that tend to hang around further off shore. Apart from this thrilling experience, the island offers pretty shallower dives and snorkelling sites, just a few minutes by boat from the Hawk's Nest marina.
Don't miss: Oceanic whitetips, the Playground, Tartar Bank
ELEUTHERA & HARBOUR ISLAND
Eleuthera & Harbour Island are home to some of the most exhilarating underwater experiences. Current Cut at the north tip of the island is said to be one of the best drift dives in the world, with currents as fast as 10 nautical knots. Wreckies will be delighted to hear that the Devil's Backbone Reef has some treacherous wreck sites.
Don't miss: Current Cut
Compared to Eleuthera & Harbour Island, diving in The Exumas is slow-paced and relaxing. There are some beautiful reef sites and a few blue holes that are available to less experienced divers.
Don't miss: The James Bond wreck Vulcan Bomber, Amberjack Reef
GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND
Only 80km from the Florida coast, The Bahamas' northernmost island mixes historical attractions with glamourous beaches and one of the world's largest cave systems, the Lucayan Caverns.
Don't miss: Theo's wreck, Mount Olympus, Memory Rock
You won't get around using superlatives when describing the diving off Long Island: the best shark dive, the most spectacular drop-off, the deepest blue hole...The Stella Maris Resort, a pioneer of Bahamian shark encounters, puts together action-packed packages covering all the best sites. The visibility is great and the coral reefs pristine ensuring you get the best of the best of what The Bahamas have on offer.
Don't miss: Dean's Blue Hole, the MV Comberbach, Conception Island wall
NASSAU & PARADISE ISLAND
Whatever it is that you expect from your holiday in The Bahamas, you will probably find it in Nassau & Paradise Island. The destination is home to the largest city of The Bahamas and offers a vibrant nightlife, international restaurants, large resorts and a long list of land and water based activities while the southwest of the island still has some secluded and quiet beaches. The surrounding waters boast with wreck, drop-offs, coral gardens, and marine life encounters but sharks are certainly the biggest attraction: The shark feeds run by operators off the island are known to be exhilarating and fast-paced encounters with lemon sharks, Caribbean reef sharks and tiger sharks joining the feeding frenzy at the same time.
Don't miss: Shark Arena, Willaurie wreck, Shark Wall