Five recommended places to dive in the Caribbean
If you are searching for vivid reef, tropic marine life or an old shipwreck treasure, our recommendations in the Western Caribbean won’t disappoint you. Brazil, Belize and Honduras are some of the best places to dive and provide an endless wonders to discover for seasoned and inexperienced divers alike.
Great Blue Hole
This is a popular spot among recreational scuba divers who are lured by the opportunity to dive in sometimes crystal-clear water and meet several species of fish, including midnight parrotfish, Caribbean reef shark, and other juvenile fish species. Other species of sharks, such as the bull shark and hammerheads, have been reported there, but are not regularly sighted. Usually, day trips to the Great Blue Hole are full-day trips from the coastal tourist communities in Belize.
On-shore caves of similar formation, as large collapsed sinkholes, are well known in Belize and in the Yucatán Peninsula, where they are known as cenotes. Unlike the mainland cenotes which often link to underwater cave systems, there is little evidence of horizontal development in the Blue Hole.
In 2012 Discovery Channel ranked the Great Blue Hole as number one on its list of "The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth". In 2018, they featured a two-hour special titled Discovery Live: Into the Blue Hole featuring Fabien Cousteau and Richard Branson.
Mary's Place is one of Roatan's most renowned dive sites and is located in the south side of the island close to the towns of Mt Pleasant and French Harbour. It is by far the most recognizably named dive site in all of Roatan. At one point Mary’s Place experienced such a heavy influx of diver traffic that visitation had to be restricted for a few years in order to relieve pressure on the area and allow the coral to recover.
Multiple colonies of bushy and feather black coral as well as wire coral protrude and decorate the walls as you swim through the crevices at the beginning of the dive. You can find large concentrations of azure vase sponges on the southern tip in addition to large barrel sponges and gorgonians throughout the entire site. Very large bearded fire worms as well as juvenile spotted drum fish are also readily seen. After the passageways, it opens up to a beautiful wall dive searching for the occasional sting ray, turtles, crabs and lobster.
Mary's Place is an Advanced deep dive and requires good buoyancy control. Beginner divers can follow along the top of the crack at the 60 ft. level.
Prince Albert Wreck
In the early 1980s the ship was known as the Maas, and it arrived in Roatan filled with Nicaraguan refugees before falling into disrepair and being abandoned to rust in some mangroves. In 1984, local businessman Albert Jackson offered to tow the wreck to Coco View resort for divers to use as an artificial reef — it’s for Jackson that the ship was renamed the Prince Albert. After running aground on a reef in late 1984, the ship was finally sunk in CoCo View Channel in 1985.
Qualified PADI Wreck Divers can enter and explore the interior, whilst the exterior is equally fascinating. Squid, southern stingrays and eagle rays are common sights; you should also expect to see schools of creole wrasse and possibly turtles. Arrow crabs, seahorses and a colony of garden eels also call the wreck home, and the shimmering display of schools of silversides can be seen inside the structure.A DC-3 plane fuselage lies next to the wreck and is also well worth investigating.
Half Moon Caye
Located at the southeast corner of the same Lighthouse Reef atoll in Roatán, here you will find a lot of movement and a vast array of colour and scenery seen along a vertical reef wall of 1828 meters. The dive begins shallow and then drops off creating a free fall effect over spur-and-groove canyons thick with different coral species. There are some jaw-dropping sponge formations and large pelagics such as groupers, sea turtles and eagle rays are almost certain to be seen.
Colombia Wall, Cozumel
Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island and is located in the Western Caribbean, just 72km south of Cancun, Mexico. Known for its easy drift dives with stellar visibility, vibrantly colored sponges, and marine life like turtles, nurse sharks, and rays. All of Cozumel’s reefs are considered excellent by Caribbean standards. The drift diving technique utilized on the reefs is the easiest type of diving by any standards. Most important is the fact that these reefs are now protected by Mexican law and will be preserved forever.
This site is commonly separated into two dives; Colombia Deep and Colombia Shallows. The shallows are a firm favourite as it’s an inexpensive and technically simple dive that rewards with a wonderful mix of rays, turtles, colourful corals and countless fish species. Colombia Deep has 15 meters coral pillars rising up from the seabed at 30 meters deep, where the reef gently slopes away into the endless blue depths. Nurse sharks, rays and turtles are pretty much guaranteed at this famous diving site in the Western Caribbean, where you can enjoy wall diving with plenty of swim-throughs.
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