The fall weather has started to arrive. And with cooler breezes and the threat of frost, a diver’s attention immediately turns to white sand beaches, sapphire colored waters and warm sunny days.
And one of the easiest winter getaways a diver can plan is to the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, even in the dead of winter, it feels like a summer day, and the reefs and tropical species can be admired all year long.
So if you’re thinking of planning a winter getaway and thereby enjoying a few months of anticipation while the local temperatures drop where should you go?
Though veritably any destination in the Caribbean can serve as a great starting point for a fantastic diving trip, there are a few key locales that lead the pack regarding visibility, the abundance of wildlife and sheer diving joy.
Belize is regularly at the top of international diving lists and Glovers Reef lies within an unspoiled and undeveloped island that is just off the coast.
Because of its isolation, it doesn’t experience the same flood of tourism as other portions of Belize, and as such, has some of the healthiest and most vibrant and colorful coral reefs in the country.
With an assortment of dive sites in the surrounding area, divers can spend a full week in this isolated area and never get tired of exploring.
The clear and warm waters off of the Silver Bank in the Dominican Republic offer quite a surprise for new adventurers namely, humpback whales.
This area is a breeding ground for humpbacks in the spring months, and baby humpbacks are prevalent in the waters after the breeding period has, well, come to term.
As a result, divers often encounter some “tiny” humpbacks that are innocently curious about visitors, and who like to cruise alongside swimmers and divers.
And while these gentle giants can be spotted in other remote destinations around the globe, their presence is never quite as consistent or enjoyable than in these clear and refreshingly warm waters.
Ever hear of the island of Saba? If you have, then chances are you’re one of the avid divers who adore this site, and if not, then try to keep the secret from spreading.
Tent Reef Wall is increasingly becoming one of the most popular sites for divers off the almost unnoticeable island of Saba, and for a good reason.
Following the wall, divers will spot a teaming variety of wildlife including brightly colored mollusks, dropping and large barrel sponges.
And eventually, they will see a sandy bottom that’s cluttered with hundreds of southern stingrays, razor fish and garden eels.
The result is a brilliant blaze of color that’s seemingly never-ending, and thoroughly fascinating with every visit.
Bonaire Island is another one of those destinations where scuba divers flock to, and which always has a high ranking on any diver’s bucket list.
And rest assured, that your aspirations for visiting Bonaire are valid! The Bonaire Marine Park has a whopping total of 86 dive sites that includes some shore diving sites as well as nearly 60 species of soft and stony corals, and more than 350 observed species of fish.
Best of all, because so many of the shore dive sites are within driving distance of each other, visitors can effectively hop from one stop to another without venturing too far from their accommodations.
The Caribbean is known for its collection of purposely sunk ships that provide some of the best wreck diving conditions in the world.
The USS Kittiwake is arguably the pinnacle of this collection of sites for avid divers. Stretching 251’ ft. long, and located just a 5-mile cruise from Seven Mile Beach, the easy accessibility of this boat alone deserves accolades.
Facing upright, with a collection of species that congregate around its haul, this boat is a dream destination for anyone who wants to try wreck diving with minimal effort.
Not for the squeamish, this dive site is a Mecca for shark divers thanks to its population of Caribbean Reef Sharks.
The translation of “Cara a Cara” literally means “face to face” and that’s exactly what divers will encounter when they head to this dive site where the reef sharks swarm.
Unlike other shark species, the Caribbean Reef Sharks are not shy, so be prepared for an up-close-and-personal introduction to these unique local residences.
No matter where you land, the Caribbean is home to hundreds of dive sites in neighboring waters, as well as weather conditions that are appealing all fall and winter long.
So start dreaming of your escape, while giving yourself plenty to look forward to, and make a date with a Caribbean expedition that is truly out of this world.
If you live in the Dallas area, swing by our shop in Carrollton. We’ll be happy to chat with you about scuba.