Whether you’re an expert diver or just love the ocean and all of its creatures, Mexico and the Caribbean are stuffed full of dive gems unlike anything you’ve seen before. Here are a few places we’d recommend making the trip to see:
Caribbean Dream: Turks and Caicos
Tucked in the middle of the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos is an ocean lovers dream. This 170 sq. mile island is home to some of the bluest waters, lushest landscape and richest coral walls – a diver’s dream. The entire island is home to endless amount of cays and reefs, which is why CheapCaribbean.com travelers have named this island as one of their favorite spots to dive and snorkel.
A few of the best spots on this island consist of lots of aquatic life and even a few great shipwrecks. The shipwrecks off the coast of Turks & Caicos can be found at Birch’s Lookout, Northwest Reef and Blue Hills. All of these sites are the final resting places for a whole slew of sunken ships lost to the ocean years ago. If you’re a diver looking for stunning coral reefs and sea creatures, spots like Grand Turk and South Caicos are buzzing with big fish and underwater walls that are packed full of sponges and corals. Sea turtles populate these waters pretty heavily year round, and for those of you diving during the winter months, you can try to catch a humpback whale as they pass through their winter migratory route.
To complete this “Diver’s Paradise,” you’ll need a fine selection of resorts. Turks and Caicos is home to a vast majority of four and five star resorts that are meant to accommodate all walks of life, from dive fanatics to honeymooners looking for a quiet getaway. Chose from resorts like Seven Stars Resort, which brings together exploration and luxury. Equipped with loungers by the ocean, a beachside pool, top-of-the-line cuisine and all the extra amenities, Seven Stars Resort is the perfect place to rest your head after an adventurous day of diving and snorkeling.
The Dark Diving Horse: Cozumel
Cozumel is located about 60 miles off the coast of Cancun. It’s opposite of Playa del Carmen and sits in the Yucatan Channel, giving it it’s diving fame. This island houses mild currents and shallow coral gardens, coral pinnacles near the wall drop-off and vertical walls in the deeper water currents making it perfect for all skill sets.
A few of the top diving spots on this island are Paradise Shallows and Reef for beginners, Tormentos Reef for intermediate divers looking for quick currents and rich aquatic life and Barracuda Reef for an expert diver. Among the other 20 or more dive sites, these were voted top picks by CheapCaribbean.com traveler’s like yourself. Paradise Shallows and Reef provides exactly what it’s name states – shallow waters to get acquainted with and marine life that’s sure not to disappoint. Tormentos Reef is known for its fast currents and ever-changing sand formations. There’s also a decent amount of Angelfish, grouper and snapper in these waters. Barracuda Reef is deemed an expert dive spot because of its depth and the strong drift that comes from the north. There’s no island beyond the end of this reef making it a tough dive and one that the Port Caption monitors heavily. You can expect to see large pelagic like reef sharks and eagle rays looking for converging currents.
After hours spent exploring the ocean floor, you’ll want somewhere to call your temporary home. Cozumel is a great vacation, no matter your level of interest in diving, because of the resort options you have. You can easily spend all your days snorkeling and diving away, or have a nice mix of relaxation and exploration. El Cozumeleno Beach Resort is a recommended choice when planning your diving trip. This 4-star resort is located right on the beach and offers close proximity to some of the best dive spots on the island. Feel free to end your day with a swim up to their bar for a refreshing cocktail or finish the night off at one of three bars, including a disco. El Cozumeleno is the perfect compliment to your next dive trip.
The Triple Threat: Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is another area that’s home to some top-notch dive spots as picked by our travelers. Consisting of three small islands, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, The Cayman Islands are tucked in the Caribbean Sea, which brings warm water temperatures and great water visibility.
One of the top rated dive spots to check out in the Caymans is Stingray City. It’s an area suitable for snorkelers and divers where you will literally find hundreds of southern stingrays swimming in these waters. Stingrays began congregating here years ago because the local fisherman would find their catch and throw the excess overboard, leaving lots of food for these stingrays. Stingray City is an area of 12 feet deep water where you can feed the stingrays in the shallow parts or dive down deeper to get a better view.
The Cayman Islands are also home to shipwrecks from years ago that are perfect for the wandering diver. Wrecks of Captain Keith Tibbetts in the Cayman Brac or the wreck of the Cali, a masted schooner blown up by the British Corps of Army Engineers in 1957 make for great shipwrecks to explore.
For the diver looking for cays or reef walls, be sure to check out Devil’s Grotto on Grand Cayman Island which is a series of long and intricate underwater tunnels surrounded by breathtaking coral and ample amounts of marine life, or Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay Wall is one of the most well known dive spots on The Cayman Islands. This underwater ledge starts at twenty feet and goes all the way down a thousand feet, all the while packed full of caverns, exotic sponges and stunning coral gardens.
The Cayman Islands are stuffed full of wonderful dive and snorkel spots but also offer luxury accommodations, making this Caribbean destination the total package. Resorts like Grand Cayman Marriott Beach All-Inclusive give the boutique hotel option a new meaning. Most of the resorts on these islands are on the smaller side but still bring five-star amenities. Grand Cayman Marriott Beach All-Inclusive offers 303 guest rooms with restaurant options, spa, dive shop and bar, just to name a few. There’s also a free-form pool stretching 85 meet with a spa tub to unwind in after a long day of exploring. And if you’re looking for a quick spot to snorkel, there’s a 100-yard beachfront snorkeling reef 50 yards off shore.
It’s safe to say that divers are part of community with a wandering spirit and exploring intuition. Cheapcaribbean.com has been founded on those same unique principles and works to make your vacations, whether diving inspired or not an exceptional reality. So isn't about time that we all took a dive...