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Diving in Nassau (New Providence)

The capital city of Nassau rests easily on New Providence and is home to popular dive sites such as easy wrecks, walls and open ocean shark encounters.

Highlights

Silky Sharks at Shark Buoy

An hour into the open ocean from New Providence, a large yellow shark buoy serves as a meeting point for pelagic species, especially silky sharks.

The Underwater Hollywood

From 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to James Bond, Nassau has long been known as “The Underwater Hollywood.” See these famous sites for yourself!

Lost Blue Hole

So named because of its position below the surface, Lost Blue Hole begins at 45 feet (14m) below the surface and is 100 feet (30m) in diameter.

Diving in Nassau (New Providence)

Quick facts

There are dives to enjoy around the entire perimeter of New Providence, though many of the favorites can be found on the western side of the island. Above Lyford Cay there are several wall dives to take in. Further south, more walls await, as well as a fantastic shark dive or two.

The wrecks around the island seem as abundant as the reefs, so getting your wreck diving certification here is an excellent bet. Caves can be found off the island’s shore as well.

Aside from deep walls and technical caves, most of the diving surrounding Nassau and New Providence is suitable for beginners. In fact, it’s considered a great place to gain an initial scuba diving certification.

While it is possible to access a number of the reefs from shore, the majority of diving takes place from small speedboats. If you wish to visit more remote dive sites, consider booking a liveaboard. That way you’ll get to dive on the best sites around Nassau as well as those surrounding the Out Islands.

Keep in mind that spearfishing or collecting fish while scuba diving is prohibited.

When to go

Diving at New Providence is best from November to May when topside conditions are at their peak. June to October is hurricane season and best avoided.

June to October

The Bahamas enjoys a hot and sunny climate year-round, although June to October is considered the rainy season. It usually rains once a day, every day but only for short periods of time.

June to October is also considered hurricane season. If you are planning a trip to the Bahamas during these months, consider taking out travelers insurance on the off chance a hurricane forms during your vacation.

Air temperatures during the summer months range from 75-91°F (24-33°C) while water temperatures are approximately 88°F (31°C).

If you enjoy getting the best deals and diving at uncrowded dive sites, book your trip from June to October. This is low season on New Providence. Besides the sometimes stormy weather and the number of sharks present, diving in the Bahamas changes little from month to month.

November to May

November to May is the dry season in the Bahamas. During these summer months, you can expect sunny, hot and mildly humid conditions.

Air temperatures during the winter months range from 65-77°F (18-25°C) while water temperatures are 75-80°F (24-27°C).

In addition to great topside conditions, November to May is also the best time for shark diving. You’ll find the most Caribbean reef sharks from November until May.

However, November to May also represents high season for tourism in the Caribbean. So be sure to book early in order to get a good deal on accommodation and flights.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

Most dive sites are found on the southwest side of the island with almost all of them accessible to beginners. Advanced divers can go deeper on the walls.

    Snorkeling in Nassau (New Providence)

    With clear and colorful waters, snorkeling around New Providence and Nassau is easy on the eyes. You’re sure to find plenty of dive operators willing to take you out on a day-long excursion. A few of the best destinations for such trips are Goulding Cay, Gambier Deep Reef and Rose Island Reef. While not as colorful, it’s also possible to rent snorkel gear and create your own snorkeling trip from several of the island’s beaches.
    The walls and reefs on the southwest side of the island can be explored by Open Water and Advanced divers. Popular sites are Goulding Cay Wall and Schoolhouse Reef. Those interested in shark diving without a need to see the bottom should check out Shark Buoy. Otherwise, Shark Arena is a shallow dive with plenty of Caribbean reef sharks. If you’d like to try wreck diving at New Providence, look for the Cessna Wreck, as well as the Sea Viking Wreck. The latter requires you to have an Advanced Open Water Certification, as swimming around the debris can be a bit challenging. Shallower wrecks include the James Bond Wrecks and The Willaurie Wreck. Tec divers will also enjoy exploring Lost Blue Hole, and Trinity Caves is a favorite of many daredevils.

    What to see

    An endless array of marine life make their home in these waters. There are small creatures like the Bahama sea star, blue tang, snapper, sea bass, squid, spiny lobster, queen conch, angelfish flounder, butterfly fish and octopus. Schools of silversides prefer the cover of Nassau’s many wrecks. Nassau grouper and sea turtles swim among the healthy coral reefs, and stingrays camouflage themselves on the sandy bottom. There are also huge animals, including an impressive array of sharks. Caribbean reef sharks and silky sharks are common visitors. The occasional tiger shark wanders by. Keep a lookout for dolphins, as well, frolicking just offshore.

    Calendar

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    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

    Area

    New Providence is the most populated island of the Bahamas and is home to the capital city, Nassau. More than 70% of Bahamians make their home here. The city of Nassau has been around since 1695 and has been growing steadily for decades.

    Long ago, salt traders made their way to the island, creating communities in the late 1600’s. Although the island was once under Spanish control during Christopher Columbus’s exploits, the many islands of the Bahamas traded hands several times, but have been independent since 1973.

    Today, the island flourishes on its own accord, and tourism is exceedingly popular, especially from the United States. Non-stop cruise ships dock here, bringing in visitors from all over the world.

    Other attractions

    There are massive resorts in which to laze as well as sun-soaked beaches to walk along. For a touch of local history and a drink, check out John Watling’s Distillery, a historical rum distillery that dates back to 1789. Alternatively, the Aquaventure Water Park is a fun-filled family destination in Nassau. To live the pirate history of the Bahamas, be sure to explore the Pirates of Nassau Museum. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, head to the Queen’s Staircase, a lovely hike that offers up unparalleled views of the island and the sea beyond.

    Getting there

    Fly into Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau or come by cruise ship from the United States. Then, rent a car or take taxis to get around New Providence. If you own a boat, there are plenty of sizeable marinas where you can dock, giving you an easy way to travel through the rest of the Bahamas.

    UTC-05:00

    Time zone

    BSD

    Currency

    +1242

    Calling code

    120 V

    Electric volt

    A, 

    B

    Plug type

    NAS

    Main airport
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