Diving in Bahamas

With incredible shipwrecks, stunning walls, healthy coral reefs and some of the most intimate and up-close shark diving in the world, the colossal Bahamas offers incredible diversity of diving experiences along with accommodation and liveaboard options to suit everyone.

Highlights

Silky Sharks at Shark Buoy

Just an hour into the open ocean from New Providence, silky sharks come together at a large yellow shark buoy to dine on reef fish.

Andros Wall

Andros Wall - considered one of the top wall dives in the Bahamas - boasts fascinating canyons and unusual marine life due to its depth of 90 ft (27m).

The Oceanic Whitetips of Cat Island

Come face-to-face with oceanic whitetip sharks from April to June, when this open-ocean predator chases the gigantic tuna migration to Cat Island.

Tiger Beach

A mesmerising, adrenaline-inducing experience with Tiger Sharks, where dozens circle and feed on chum while you kneel, eyes wide, in the sand.

Diving in Bahamas

Quick facts

The sheer size of the Bahamas is breathtaking - an archipelago of 700 islands located at the meeting point of the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

The clear waters offer incredible diversity of dive environments. You'll find the third-largest barrier reef offshore, plus deep walls, fascinating wrecks, blue holes, tunnels, caverns and some of the best shark diving in the world.

The climate is subtropical, providing around 340 sunny days a year - alongside superb diving conditions. But one of the most attractive features of the Bahamas is that every island offers its own signature experiences.

The waters off New Providence, where Nassau is the main city, provide drop-offs that are close to shore, blue holes, caves, historical wrecks and thrilling shark diving. Directly exposed to the Atlantic, the pristine reefs of the Abacos are slightly different from much of the Bahamas with many relatively-shallow dive sites – 18 meters/60 feet or less. Andros, meanwhile, has wrecks, blue holes and spectacular wall dives off the “Tongue of the Ocean.”

Diving off Grand Bahama Island gives you the chance to see dolphins and visit several shallow wrecks. On Long Island, you can dive the world’s deepest blue hole, find great reefs, visit wrecks and look over walls that drop into the deep blue.

The warm waters of Bimini are filled with an incredible diversity of sea life, while Eleuthera and Harbor Island offer a rip-roaring drift dive. The Exumas have an intriguing combination of beautiful walls and rich shallow reefs, and San Salvador boasts vertical walls, underwater caverns and many wrecks. Most importantly, however, all the islands have a laid back vibe and gorgeous, white and pink beaches to relax on after diving.

Recommended training

Take the PADI Deep Diver and Drift Diver courses to be prepared for the fabulous wall diving in the Bahamas. The PADI Wreck Diver course will get you ready for exploring the diverse wrecks. The AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation course will help you appreciate the many marine protected areas and coral monitoring programs in the islands.

When to go

There's plenty of sunshine in the subtropical climate of the Bahamas, meaning superb diving is available year-round. Hurricane season takes place during summer, from June to October. For shark diving enthusiasts, October to June is the time to go.

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 for short periods of time.

June to October is also considered hurricane season. Traveler's insurance is strongly recommended. Air temperatures during the summer months range from 75-91°F (24-33°C) while water temperatures are approximately 88°F (31°C).

This is low season in the Bahamas. Besides sometimes stormy weather and differing animals under the waves, diving in the Bahamas changes little from month to month.

November to May

November to May is the dry season. Expect sunny, hot and mildly humid conditions. Air temperatures range from 65-77°F (18-25°C), while water temperatures are 75-80°F (24-27°C).

This is the best time to go for shark diving. Tiger sharks are present from October to January at Tiger Beach, and you’ll find hammerhead sharks at Bimini from December to March. Oceanic Whitetips can be seen from April to June.

November to May is the high season for tourism in the Caribbean. Book early to get a good deal on accommodation and flights.

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Where to dive

Beginners will find shallow reefs near most islands. Andros is a favorite of advanced divers, and tec divers enjoy the caves of Grand Bahama.
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USD 1.618Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 1.884Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
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USD 995Per trip

Snorkeling in Bahamas

As with diving, the Bahamas offers diverse snorkeling opportunities. Most islands are surrounded by shallow coral reefs with incredible visibility, making them ideal for topside spotters. Snorkeling sites are mostly very accessible, especially those around New Providence, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Long Island, Exumas, Elbow Cay and San Salvador.
Shark Buoy, New Providence: Out in the middle of some of the deepest, bluest water in the Bahamas and about an hour out from New Providence, this large, yellow buoy attracts a lot of marine life, but the main attraction is Silky Sharks.

James Bond Wrecks, New Providence: Relive the adventure of 007 by diving the Vulcan Bomber, a wreck that was purposefully-sunk for the movie Thunderball. There's also the Tears of Allah, used in the move Never Say Never Again.

Sugar Wreck, Grand Bahama: This old four-masted sailing ship went down during a hurricane in the late 1800s, carrying a cargo of sugar. Located off the West End of Grand Bahama, it lies at about 6 meters/20 feet, making for a nice sunlight dive with an abundance of fish life and coral.

Littlehale’s Lair, Grand Bahama – Named for the National Geographic photographer, Bates Littlehale, in the 1960s, this site has two small caverns (lairs) – one of which you can swim through, which was created by coral growing around surge channels. Home to grunts and snappers, this site is popular with underwater photographers.

Comberbach, Long Island – This purpose-sunk 34 meter/110 foot British freighter sits upright on a 30 meter/100 foot deep coral reef with lots of sponge and fish life. It’s been opened up to make exploring safe for divers and includes a 1975 Ford van inside its open cargo hold.

Conception Island Wall, Long Island - This wall begins in 14 meters/45 feet and drops off to dramatic depths. Visibility is usually amazing and the entire wall is decorated with stunning sponge and coral formations.

Shark Rodeo at Walker's Cay, Abacos – This famous shark dive is renowned for the large number of sharks that come to the feeding. Divers wait on a sandy bottom in about 11 meters/35 feet surrounded by coral reefs. Normally, more than 100 reef and blacktip sharks arrive and the rodeo truly begins.

Coral Caverns at Green Turtle Cay, Abacos – Tall coral formations create a series of twisting alleys and large swim-throughs to explore. Schools of silversides and a large variety of reef fish can be seen gliding in and out of the coral caverns.

Andros Wall, Andros – Called one of the greatest of all Bahamas’ walls, the Andros Wall begins at 21-27 meters/70-90 feet and offers many sites with interesting canyons and unusual life due to the depth.

Great Blue Hole, Andros – This hole is the second deepest blue hole in the Bahamas. You start at the entrance at 12 meters/40 feet, then descend down an ancient waterfall chute and pass under a swim-through called the sky light room. The big room is next on the tour, where you can look down into the abyssal depths of the hole.

Bimini Wall, Bimini - The North Bimini Wall begins in 38 meters/120 feet of water and is typically a drift dive for experienced deep divers. To the south are many other shallower walls, such as the South Cat Cay Wall, Victory Cays Drop-off and Riding Rock Wall, that you can drift dive with the chance of seeing large pelagic species pass by.

Sapona, Bimini – This cement vessel grounded on Turtle Rocks reef in 1926 during a hurricane. Sitting in only 6 meters/20 feet of water, half the wreck is above the surface. Below, the Sapona is encrusted with invertebrate life and is home to numerous fish species.

Current Cut, Eleuthera – Experience the fast flow of water that moves through the narrow channel between Eleuthera and Current Island. It’s a fast trip with the possibility of seeing sharks and eagle rays as well as lots of reef fish.Devil's Backbone, Eleuthera – An incredible number of ships have wrecked on this jagged reef over hundreds of years. Great for snorkeling and diving, in the shallow waters you can see remnants of many wrecks like the Train Wreck, a Civil War era barge that sank carrying a steam locomotive.

Anglefish Blue Hole, Exuma – This hole is located in an enclosed bay and goes down to about 27 meters/90 feet. Jacks circle the entrance and eagle rays and turtles often swim past. Looking up from the hole provides nice silhouette photo opportunities.

Amberjack Reef, Exuma – This beautiful reef at about 15 metes/50 feet is full of interesting creatures, such as garden eels, and is known for its abundant fish life including pirate blennies. See schools of jacks, black groupers and several shark species.

Hole in the Wall, San Salvador – Along this coral covered wall is a huge indentation – the hole in the wall – that is about 30 meters/100 feet across and goes back about 45 meters/150 feet. Big sponges and soft corals line the hole's entrance and large gorgonians hang off the wall.

Vicky’s Reef, San Salvador – Swim along large coral ridges and then peek over the wall that drops off into the deep. Look for black coral trees on the wall and a variety of life on the reef, including colorful sponges and bluebell tunicates.

What to see

The Bahamas not only hosts hundreds of colorful fish. Pelagic species also love this archipelago. In particular, scuba divers flock to the area for one-of-a-kind encounters with hammerhead sharks, bull sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and silky sharks. Other than sharks, graceful dolphins and whales travel around the islands. Also, keep an eye out for the Nassau Grouper, a goliath fish that can reach almost 20 pounds and is the national fish of the Bahamas. Often frantically swimming around the Nassau Grouper are their little friends, the wrasse, which cleans the grouper in exchange for protection. Perhaps the most iconic aquatic creature is the Queen Conch, a massive mollusk that slowly make their way across the sandy bottoms. Prized for their colorful and extravagant shells, conchs are often harvested in great abundance. Spiny lobsters are also common, and the “March of the Spiny Lobsters” takes place a couple times a year in shallow waters.

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Country

The Bahamas are made up of over 700 islands and islets, all of which are ripe for exploration. Found just off the eastern coast of Florida and the northern shores of Cuba, this idyllic archipelago is within easy reach for North American and Caribbean divers. The Bahamas have a lurid and complicated past, changing hands and fighting for freedom. The island nation finally gained their independence in 1973, after being a source of contention since the times of Columbus. Pirates and slave ships roamed the surrounding waters for centuries, leading to a melting pot of cultures and ideals.

Other attractions

The Bahamas' sheer sizes means there's plenty of non-diving activities. What these are generally depend on which islands you visit.

Most excursions focus on deserted,white sand beaches. While in Nassau, 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 and if you're interested in the maritime history of the area, be sure to check out the Pirates of Nassau Museum.

If you love nature, try:

  • the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve and Glass Window in Eleuthera
  • Queen’s Staircase in Nassau
  • Abaco Wild Horse Preserve near Treasure Cay
  • Lucayan National Park in Grand Bahama

Getting there

The Bahamas features three international airports, namely Freeport Grand Bahama International Airport, George Town International Airport on Exuma and Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau. Flights arrive regularly and onward travel to the many islands is a simple trek. Arriving by cruise ship, ferry or private boat is another popular option. To travel between islands, you’ll need to use commuter planes, ferries or private transfers by speedboat.

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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
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