Turquoise waters, sandy beaches, coral reefs, and tropical fish. This is the Caribbean; one of the most popular areas for scuba diving in the world.
And, one of the best countries to dive in the Caribbean is the Bahamas; a string of 700 islands southeast of Florida. This tropical country is popular with cruisers, honeymooners, or Americans looking to escape winter for a warm weather vacation.
However, while the sun and sand may be The Bahamas’ most obvious draw, divers know that scuba diving opportunities in the Bahamas are reason enough to visit.
The Bahamas are a great dive destination, but we are also aware that sometimes planning the PERFECT dive holiday to the Bahamas can be somewhat stressful due to the lack of useful information online.
But it doesn’t have to be.
In this guide, it is my goal to show you all of the best dive locations in the country, how to get there, what to expect, who to dive with, visa information, and more.
There are a ton of options when it comes to diving in the Bahamas, so I will tell you what makes each one unique and special, and once you decide where you want to go, I’ll give you all the information you’ll need to make it happen.
Without the stress of not knowing what to expect, and letting you plan every detail. Here is everything you need to know about scuba diving the Bahamas.
Where should you dive in Bahamas?
With 700 islands, you know that the Bahamas has hundreds of scuba diving sites. From blue holes to shark dives, ship wrecks, reefs, walls, and more. Here are the best picks.
A beautiful wall plunging 27m deep, the Andros wall is one of the top dive sites in the Bahamas.
In Nassau, this site is one of the top shark sites in the Bahamas where divers will have the opportunity to swim with Caribbean reef sharks. It’s a popular pick because this site is suitable for all levels of divers.
Close to Grand Bahama, this is the spot to dive with tiger sharks. Though it’s more of kneeling on the sand while the sharks feed on chum around you, it still promises to be an exhilarating experience.
Out in the open ocean, about an hour from New Providence, a yellow buoy marks the spot where silky sharks converge.
During the months of April to June, whitetip sharks can be found around Cat Island as they follow the tuna migration.
James Bond Wrecks
Divers who are also James Bond enthusiasts will recognize these two wrecks in Nassau; the Vulcan Bomber appeared in “Thunderball” (1965) and the Tears of Allah wreck featured in ‘Never Say Never (1983). Both are about 12m deep and covered in corals and sponges, attracting plenty of marine life.
French Wall Bay
A huge wall in San Salvador Island with plenty of overhangs, crevasses, and crannies to explore. The area is divided into several dive sites and is a popular spot for night dives.
The Washing Machine
A fun drift dive in the Exumas that will spin and flip you around. Once released from the current, divers will find themselves over a colorful coral reef.
Another exciting drift dive by North Eleuthera Island, the water flow here can reach a speed of 9 knots making for a fun ride. Watch for eagle rays, barracuda, and even some sharks.
A 5-mile coral reef near Bimini, this site has swim-throughs and caverns. Because of the gulf stream, it’s a great spot to see not only colorful reef fish but also bigger species such as turtles, sharks, and rays.
Near Andros Island, this must-dive site is a blue hole that opens up into a cave system below. Of course, only divers with proper certifications should explore its depths, but all divers can experience the beauty of this dive site which is home to turtles, rays, and more.
MV Comberbach Wreck
Once a British steel freighter, this wreck, near the Long Island, now serves as a beautiful artificial reef that is home to several blacktip reef sharks.
Dean’s Blue Hole
Another dive site by Long Island, Deans Blue Hole is known to be the deepest blue hole in the world at 202m. It’s a popular training spot for free divers as well.
A popular dive site in the Abacos, 18m coral pinnacles attract macro critters and schools of fish. Turtles and rays can also be spotted here.
One of the most beautiful reefs in the Exumas. Keep an eye out for the coral-encrusted jeep that gives this reef its name.
Another popular dive site in the Exumas, the highlight of this dive site is the swim through. Sunlight steams through it from above making it a favourite for photographers.
There is plenty to under the waves of the Caribbean in terms of marine life. Here are a few species that you are most likely to see.
Sharks, sharks, and more sharks: The Bahamas are famous for their shark dives, and you can find several species here. Silky sharks, reef sharks, nurse sharks, and tiger sharks are the most commonly seen.
Turtles: Green, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles frequent many of the Bahamas dive sites
Dolphins: Bottlenose dolphins commonly can be found in the dive sites around Bimini.
Queen Conch: Perhaps the most iconic species in the Bahamas.
Blue Tang: Finding Nemo fans will love seeing ‘Dory fish’ throughout the reefs in the Bahamas.
Bahamian Rock Lobster: Also known as spiny lobsters, keep an eye out for the in the nooks and crannies.
Blue Marlin: The national fish of the Bahamas.
Bahamas Travel Information
How to Get to the Bahamas
The Bahamas are made up of 700 islands, but travellers will likely arrive either in Freeport or Nassau. It is possible to get non-stop flights from larger cities across America, especially Florida.
From Freeport or Nassau, travellers can connect to the outlying islands via smaller domestic flights or, depending on where you are going, you may also be able to take a ferry.
It is also possible to arrive to the Bahamas by boat with one of the overnight Bahamas cruises that leave from Florida.
These trips land in Grand Bahama Island and are normally just for one or two nights, but are a good option for those looking for a short getaway.
Visa Information for Americans
Visiting the Bahamas is easy for American passport holders. No tourist visa is required; just two blank passport pages so you can receive your entry stamp on arrival. You may be asked to show proof of departure upon entry.
If you are from a country other than the USA please look into visa requirements.
Best Times to Visit
When it comes to travelling to the Bahamas, the peak period is between December to April. While this is the busiest time to visit, it’s also the best. The weather during these months are ideal; hot, dry, with warm turquoise waters.
Rainy season starts in May, with June to November being hurricane season which, obviously, is not ideal for travel much less scuba diving. If you are looking for great weather, calmer waters, and good visibility, a visit between December and April is your best bet.
Shark season falls within these months as well.
Other Things to See and Do in the Bahamas
The Bahamas may be a scuba diving haven, but there’s plenty of other things to do in this island paradise.
As with other Caribbean islands, snorkeling, fishing, boating, kayaking, and parasailing activities can be found across the islands.
If you are interested in history, there are some historical tours around Nassau or if you are a foodie, consider taking a food tour, cooking class, or trying a local fish fry.
Perhaps the best known attraction in the Bahamas are the swimming pigs which can be found at Big Major Cay. Day trips can be arranged to see these friendly animals from Nassau or the Exumas.
If you are looking for a break from sun and sand, visit John Watling’s Distillery on New Providence Island. This distillery is best known for their rum, but also make vodka and gin on site as well.
With over 700 islands to explore, you won’t be stuck wondering what to do; there is more than enough to keep you entertained and busy.
The Bahamas is a coral-based atoll located in the Atlantic Ocean and not in the Caribbean. The Bahamas is a Spanish word for “Shallow Water”.
It is comprised of 2,000 islands and islets, small islands that were formed on coral reef and yet only 30 islands are inhabited with its total population of 391,232. The total area is 13,878 km and 28 of it is water.
The massive Andros Barrier Reef is the home of scuba diving and snorkeling.
Capital city of Bahamas: Nassau
Best times to visit Bahamas: Summer in The Bahamas is warm and rainy. Best time to go is November to mid-April for it’s a great spot for spring break.
Currency of Bahamas: The currency in Bahamas is Dollar
Official Language of Bahamas: English is the official language of Bahamas
UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bahamas
There is no UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bahamas and 2 on their tentative list.