The swaying palm trees, crystal clear waters, magical white beaches, and tropical cuisine make the Caribbean islands the perfect summer getaway. The most amazing thing about these magical islands are the enchanting Caribbean corals and Caribbean reefs that are perfect for scuba diving!
Can it get any better than this?
You can spend summer mornings scuba diving at the divine coral reefs and spend days lounging in hammocks by the beach. The islands are close to each other which make it easier for travelers to visit more than one coral reef. So, here’s our guide to the top 9 Caribbean coral reefs you can visit for your scuba diving dreams!
The Blue Hole, Belize
The Blue Hole is a part of the vast Barrier Reef Reserve System and deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, too. The Blue hole is a gigantic sinkhole and the largest of all. It is around 60 miles away from the harbor of Belize. It is known as one of the greatest Caribbean coral reef spaces.
Over the years it has become one of the most visited Caribbean coral reef ecosystems. Scuba divers from across the globe love coming here and diving deep to explore the underwater marvels of the Blue Hole. At around 1,000 feet wide and 400 feet deep, this sinkhole has stalactite formations in caves and is mesmerizing.
RMS Rhone Wreck
Source: RMS Rhone – Ghost Wreck Files
When history meets the underwater, magic is created. It is the same story with the RMS Rhone which sunk in 1867. Now living its second life, the RMS Rhone wreck has become a beautiful artificial reef for scuba divers and sea creatures alike. The RMS Rhone now lies at the ocean floor away from the British Virgin Islands.
It was labelled as an unsinkable ship under the UK Royal Mail Ship. Unfortunately it had to face to tumultuous hurricanes and sunk. Now, covered with colorful coral and a plethora of aquatic life, the RMS Rhone is one of the best coral reefs for scuba diving.
Tortugas Reef, Playa Del Carmen
Source: Scuba Diving in Playa del Carmen
Tortugas Reef is 50 feet from Loggerhead Key, and is one of the most famous reefs in the area because of its resident namesake. The word “Tortugas” in Spanish means “Turtles”, and in this colorful and vibrant area you will find Loggerhead, Green, and Hawksbill turtles. The depth of this dive is 20-40 feet.
Tortugas Reef is considered a “carpet” reef, meaning that the area is mostly wide and flat. This provides an ideal viewing area for the other aquatic life there. In addition to the turtles, you will also find Moray eels, Nurse sharks, and Rays. Other unique fish in the area incluse Batfish, Orange Filefish, and the Bluespotted Cornetfish.
The little uninhabited island of Kline Bonaire is part of the vast Bonaire Island. While Bonaire is surrounded by a massive marine park, Kline Bonaire is the real secret treasure of the Caribbean corals and reefs. The main island’s marine park is known for having the most vibrant Caribbean coral reefs.
You can visit Kline Bonaire by taking a short boat ride to the island. The surface of the island is barren and doesn’t seem to have a lot. But once you dive into the pristine waters of Kline Bonaire, you’ll be immersed into the beautiful world of corals, sponges, and all kinds of colorful sea creatures. Kline Bonaire has a lot of slopes and steps which makes it more magical. The coral reefs start just below the water surface and go deeper and deeper.
Bianca C, also known as the Titanic of the Caribbean is another famous Caribbean wreck-turned coral reef spaces underwater. The Bianca C was a cruise liner that sunk in 1961 due to an engine fire. The 600-foot ship now lies underwater in wrecked pieces which make for the perfect deep diving.
The Bianca C is an amazing underwater adventure for all levels of scuba divers. You can start at the surface of the wreck ad go deeper if you’re a thrill junkie. While at this spot, you’ll be able to sight eagle rays, the great barracuda and if you’re lucky, you might even find some reef sharks.
Gardens of the Queen, Cuba
Gardens of the Queen at Cuba are living proof of how beautifully enchanting nature can be. This Caribbean coral reef ecosystem has a very interesting history to its name. It is said that when Christopher Columbus sailed into the Southern coast of Cuba and saw this massive coral island, he was taken over by its beauty and names it Jardines de la Reina; giving honor to Isabella the Spanish Queen of his time.
Scuba diving at the coral reefs here is said to be on every diver’s scuba diving bucket list. The Gardens are open on a limited basis to ensure complete preservation of its beauty.
The Cathedral, Eagle Shoals at St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Eagle Shoals is one of the lesser known scuba diving sites at the U.S. Virgin Islands. But, it has one of the most enchanting coral reefs across the Caribbean. Located off the east end of St. John’s coast, the Cathedral is the main attraction for scuba divers at Eagle Shoals.
It is a huge underwater alcove that is replete with splendidly colorful coral. While scuba diving here, you are sure to sight Black Triggerfish, Silverside and Pork Fish. The bright sun rays that seep into the waters and dance with the waves makes it all the more picture perfect.
Stingray City at Cayman Islands
Located off the Northern coast of the Caribbean Sea, the Grand Cayman is another glorious coral reef. Stingray City is situated here on Cayman ridge which is an underwater mountain range. It is one of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean belt. It is known for its diverse underwater exploration opportunities.
It boasts of 162 diving sites making it a scuba diver’s paradise. Stingray City is a must visit while you’re at the Grand Cayman. It is a shallow dive off the coast of the Cayman Islands where you can snorkel around sting rays as they swim with you.
West Caicos at Turks and Caicos
Source: Turks & Caicos Diving
No trip to the Caribbean islands is complete without a visit to the Turks and Caicos. And no scuba diving adventure is complete without a dive into the thrillingly unpredictable corals of West Caicos Island. Just off the shore and a quick dive into the sea, you’ll encounter one of the most brilliant sea walls that exist.
The sea wall here is etched with vibrant corals and faces the open ocean. What’s more exciting about this scuba diving site is the chance encounter with reef sharks and dolphins! It doesn’t get any more exciting than this!
Turks Head Passage
It is no secret that the Turks and Caicos Islands are a favorite among those who want to relax and those who love underwater adventures. The Islands are replete with awe-inspiring reefs and Caribbean corals. But the real highlight of this place is the migration of the Caribbean Humpback Whales.
The best time to visit the Turks Head Passage is anytime from January to early April. This is the time when you can spot the Caribbean Humpback Whales. While the islands have coral covered ocean walls and colorful reefs, the migration of these whales is the highlight.
So, without any delay, get packing and dive into the serene waters of the Caribbean!