Bahamas

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Scuba Diving in the Bahamas

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Check here for the latest travel advisory to the Bahamas in the light of the current coronavirus outbreak.

Bahamas Diving Highlights

There are many great things about diving the Bahamas, but the world-class shark diving is probably the best thing about this year-round Caribbean destination.

Divers flock to the Bahamas to dive with tiger sharks at Tiger Beach, oceanic whitetip sharks off Cat Island and great hammerhead sharks in Bimini. Various other shark species can also be regularly seen in these areas. 

In 2011, their government banned all commercial shark fishing, allowing sharks in the Bahamas to roam freely. Apart from shark diving, the diverse range of diving in the Bahamas includes blue holes and caves, historical wrecks and lush reefs, and dynamic walls.

The Bahamas also offers unmatched visibility and a wide range of diving opportunities for divers of any level, which, all in all, make the Bahamas a strong contender for those seeking the best diving in the Caribbean.

Interested in diving the Bahamas?  View the live availability of some of the best liveaboards in the Bahamas and book online at the best price or check out our sidebar for land-based options!  

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Marine Life & Environment - Best Dive SitesDiving Conditions

How to Get There - How to Dive the Bahamas - Best Time to Dive

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View availability of all Bahamas liveaboards and book online OR see our sidebar for land-based options.

 

Intro to the Bahamas

Home to colorful reefs and great visibility, the Bahamas diving host a stimulating underwater environment, with easily accessed and diverse sites. There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas, meaning that there is truly a paradise for everyone.

Thrill-seekers can experience unique underwater adventures in the Bahamas, such as shark feeding dives, while parents can find plenty of family fun. There also is a Hollywood novelty to be found in the Bahamas as it has hosted many major motion picture film crews above and below the water's surface - bring your best underwater video camera. Divers enjoy incredible dive site diversity, exploring blue holes, walls, caves, wrecks, and healthy reefs in warm, clean waters.  

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Diving Information

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Marine Life & Photography Subjects

A rich and diverse marine life can be found in the waters of the Bahamas. The reefs are populated with eels, clownfish, angelfish, barracudas, Nassau grouper, nurse sharks and porcupine fish. Shark diving is popular in the Bahamas. The shark species that divers can encounter here include bull sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, oceanic whitetip, hammerhead sharks, lemon sharks, and of course, tiger sharks.

Check out other great shark diving destinations such as Fiji or French Polynesia.

Other marine life in the Bahamas' waters are sponges, conch, lobsters, hogfish, snappers, bonefish, and many other fish. Several species of whales and dolphins, including humpback, sperm, minke, and pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, and the Atlantic spotted dolphins are found in the seas around the islands.  

Read more about the shark diving diversity in the Bahamas here...

shark diving bahamas

Shark diving at tiger beach, Bahamas

Tiger Beach is a popular area in the Bahamas for divers to take underwater photos and videos of various sharks such as Tiger sharks, Lemon sharks and sometimes great hammerheads. Divers will sit on the sandy bottom at 20-50ft depth with a dive guide, and sharks will often appear minutes after the dive starts.

Check out our detailed guide to diving Tiger Beach.

Watch for the big tiger shark at the end! 

Diving with Great Hammerhead Sharks

One of our users shared this video of his awesome rare Great Hammerhead encounter!

Best dive sites in the Bahamas

Besides the Tiger Beach in Grand Bahamas, there are plenty of other exciting dive sites and dive areas to explore. Here are some of the best dive spots in the Bahamas.

1. The Blue Hole/The Crater in Andros - If you dived the Blue Hole in Belize, you might want to also jump in the blue hole that is also known as the Crater in the Bahamas. It has unique topography and even a cave system below. Compared to the Blue Hole in Belize, it is richer in marine life and you can spot some rays, turtles and eels.

2. James Bond Wrecks in New Providence - There is nothing like exploring the wrecks made famous by James Bond himself. You will be able to dive the Vulcan Bomber from the movie "Thunderball" from 1965 or the Tears of Allah that was used in the movie "Never say Never Again" from1983. Besides reliving the movies, the sites have beautiful marine life, are relatively easy to dive and the wrecks are covered with gorgeous coral.

Interested in diving shipwrecks? Check out our list of the best ones to scuba dive here...

3. Current Cut in Eleuthera - If you love drift diving, you must not miss this dive spot. Between the islands, the tidal change forces wather through a narrow passage making it a proper adventure dive. Lots of Caribbean Reef fish pass by and you can even see sharks and rays. The current is quite strong, which makes it more suitable for advanced divers. 

4. Runaway Wall/Stuart's Cove Dive Bahamas in Nassau - The capital of the Bahamas itself provides plenty of great dive sites, but the Runaway Wall or also known as the Stuart's Cove Dive Bahamas has a shark arena where you can get thrilling encounters with sharks. Having a reputation for some of the best shark diving in the world, this dive site will not disappoint. 

5. Victory Reef in Bimini Island - This lively coral reef is home to a large variety of marine life. Scuba divers can spot turtles, Caribbean reef fish, sharks and rays. Besides marine life, it has some great swim-throughs and reef structures. 

6. Conception Island Wall in Long Island - Here you can find some amazing drop-offs, superb visibility and a mix of soft and hard corals and sponges. 

7. Columbus Point in Cat Island - This remote dive site is truly breathtaking and has some great marine life to display. Its pinnacles attract lot's of marine life, especially groupers. The stronger currents and depth of the dive site is also bring plenty of pelagic sharks to the area. 

Want to learn more about the Bahamas? Check out our trip report to Bimini, Bahamas here...

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Diving Conditions

  • Water Temperatures: Summer water temps are in the 80s, while winter months drop to the mid-70s.
  • Visibility: Average visibility is between 80-100 ft.

 

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Travel Information 

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How to Get to the Bahamas

The largest airports in the Bahamas are at the capital Nassau, on New Providence, and Freeport, on Grand Bahama. Smaller airports are scattered amongst the other islands. Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau in the Bahamas is the largest international gateway into the country. The Freeport Grand Bahama International Airport receives international flights and the George Town International Airport on Exuma also receives a few international flights.  

 How to Dive the Bahamas

Scuba diving in the Bahamas is user-friendly. There are a lot of land-based dive operators in the Bahamas, but liveaboard dive travel is the most popular choice for those who want to explore the scuba diversity of the vast range of islands.  

Check out our Bahamas Liveaboards or our Bahamas Dive Resorts.

The Bahamas is also one of the best liveaboard destinations for beginner scuba divers. Check out the full list here...

 

Best Time to Dive the Bahamas

The diving season in the Bahamas is year-round. The best time to dive would depend on what you're hoping to see since many of the marine animals are seasonal, i.e. whales, certain sharks like hammerheads and bull sharks.

 

Topside & Non-Diving Activities

The Bahamas offer something for everyone. Between dive days, there are many activities and attractions, including dolphin encounters, cultural and historical tours, golf, tennis, cycling, kayaking, snorkeling, canoeing, jet-skiing, kite surfing, parasailing, fishing, ecotourism, spas, shopping, and more. In the capital of Bahamas, Nassau, you can join Bahamian food tours to get a taste of the local cuisine and visit a local rum distillery for a proper Caribbean vibe. Of course, with some of the most dazzling beaches in the world available, many visitors to the Bahamas choose to simply enjoy the sunshine. 

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liveaboard availability

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Please contact us for the availability of the following liveaboards: MV Shear Water, Phoenix Liveaboard, and Blackbeard's Cruises

 

 

Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: Bahamian dollar (BSD)
  • Language: The official language is English
  • Main Airport Code: NAS
  • Time Zone: UTC-5
  • Electricity: 120V, 60Hz

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Reviews (8)

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Scuba Diving in The Bahamas is superb. I've dived all over the world and love coming back to The Bahamas. Marine life is plenty and varied - you can see various species of sharks, macro life, reefs, shipwrecks, blue holes and deep wall dives all in a space of 1 day! The water is warm all year round (although the winter months you will need a 3mm wet suit at a minimum). Summer months the water is generally flat with little waves but winter months the waves can be choppy - especially if there is a cold front coming through. Nevertheless, the water clarity is very good most of the time (100ft+ visibility).

Visited on 06/2019 - Submitted on 04/16/2020
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5-star, 5-star, 5-star... 2-star? Well, The palm tree-lined beaches are pretty, but it's really kind of a hot, dry, bland area; if you're not going there to dive, I think you're just not going to see or do much. I suppose you could read and lounge, maybe write some journals or detective stories. Great diving though!
I hesitate to even call it “Caribbean” diving however, since the Bahamas are in the Atlantic Ocean and not the Caribbean Sea, but the crystal waters and shallow reefs make it similar enough I suppose (and no one like a literalist). As diving and tourism are so well-established there, it’s also relatively cheap, even coming all the way from the west coast of the US.

The spring and summer offer warm, beautifully clear waters, plenty of reefs, fish, dolphins, turtles, sharks big & small; be warned however, it’s pretty much a desert climate, and the sun can get downright brutal. Wear light but concealing layers, lots of sunscreen, and bring a big hat! I spent several days on the deck of a small private boat (looking for oceanic whitetip sharks, which can be abundant around Cat Island), and most of us barely escaped sunburn, even with full coverage. Mid- to late winter is a great time for big sharks, and it is cooler topside – but that comes at the price of much rougher and cooler waters*, and potentially iffy visibility. (*For Tiger Beach in Jan/Feb, I wear a 7mil suit, as even 75F water can get chilly after several hours at a time.) There’s no bad time to go though, and I think the region offers something for everyone – snorkeling, reefs, sharks, wrecks, deep walls, etc. I think it would be possible to spend years here, just exploring and discovering all the reefs and critters.

Getting in & out does require a passport, as close as it is to the US, but I’ve used US currency at stores. Not sure if that’s normal or not. As southern Florida is the most obvious gateway to the Bahamas, I also heartily recommend adding a few days to a trip so as to do some Florida diving. It’s a neat mix of tropical and temperate, and you can find goliath groupers, giant southern stingrays, even the odd hammerhead shark, as well as some really cool wrecks.

Visited on 05/2011 - Submitted on 10/31/2014
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DIVING BAHAMAS INTRO

I have been to the Bahamas many times over the last six years with over 120 dives. I absolutely love going there. The water is super clear and there is an abundance of sea life. I will start off with hotels and resorts which there is an abundance that ranges in various needs.

BAHAMAS HOTELS

Atlantis is a super resort with a long list of activites, restaurants and different grades of rooms. It is on the pricey side but the water park access that comes with your room can help offset that cost. It is located on paradise island. Bahamas divers is located near by and most of the excursions leave from that end of the island. Located on Cable beach are another group of hotels: Breezes(all-inclusive) exceptional dining and very friendly staff, there is some night life activities also at this resort, The Wyndham which will soon be Bahamar(the next super resort in Nassau) which also contains one of the two casino's on the island. This resort has a nice location on one of the nicest beaches in Nassau. Our favourite resort to stay at is a smaller family owned and operated resort on the West end of the island called OrangeHill Beach Inn. When you stay there, you feel like you are staying with family. The home style bahamian cooking at the restaurant is a very affordable menu. A Steak meal for around $25 dollars!!! They have a pool and the beach is only a two minute walk. When you are on the beach there is a 50% chance you will be the only people there, with a tiny reef system with in swimming distance(experienced swimmer). There is also a few rocks with some small coral and various sea life showing up. We have seen spiny lobster, octopus, sting rays and even a Baracuda all within 20 yards from shore.

BAHAMAS DIVE OPERATORS

Almost all of my diving in the Bahamas has been with Stuart's Cove. They have a knowledgable staff and run a decent operation. However they are a large volume outfit and you can get that rushed feeling which isnt the nicest when diving. The dive shop is well stocked and the gear is in decent shape. The burgers at the dock are a MUST TRY! If you are a James Bond fan there are some sites that are a must dive. The bomber plane from thunderball, the shipwreck from Never say never. Other movie dive sites include "Into the Blue" , Jaws and then there are the shark dives, absolutely amazing dives with the local shark population.

The other destination I have dove was in Exuma with Dive-Exuma, we dove Angelfish Bluehole and Elizabeth Reef. While the bluehole was not terribly exciting due to the size(40' opening at the top narrowing to about 8' at 90ish feet before turning into single file cave diving) and lack of sea life, Elizabeth reef was amazing with great coral formations and an abundance of sea life. The dive shop was very small but well run.

IN CONCLUSION

All in all the Bahamas is what you make of it, you can do it expensive or you can do it fairly cheap. We have done a 15 day trip for 5 people costing around $7500 for hotel, food, flights. I would definately recommend the Bahamas.
See you there!

Visited on 02/2014 - Submitted on 06/17/2014
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I had the opportunity to dive the Bahamas in the Summer of 2009.

By far the highlight of my diving was doing a shark feed with Stuart Cove. This dive offered a chance to swim with, at times, 30+ Caribbean reef sharks - which is a truly adrenaline filled experience. That said, at no time did I feel unsafe. Doing this shark dive is something that I would highly, highly recommend.

The diving in the Bahamas is suitable to all experience levels. The water is warm and clear, and there was little to no current on the dives that I did. While the highlight for me was the shark diving, the other dives that I did (albeit only a couple) were enjoyable - the life in the shallows was healthy and abundant.

Topside, the weather was always warm, though we did experience one heavy storm in the week we were there. As far as topside activities goes, the Bahamas has a well developed tourism industry with plenty to do for all ages.

Visited on 07/2009 - Submitted on 03/03/2014
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San Salvadore, the Bahamas. A dive heaven. dives from 30 foot fish dives to bottomless wall dives with large sharks and rare corals. Night dives are spectacular. There is not a lot of beach diving but the great diving is only minutes from the dock. This is the ideal "take classes in cold USA and open-water dives in paradise. Just great diving.
The Riding Rock Inn is a bit old but exceptionally comfortable. Great bar and restaurant. You must try their Bahama Mama, best drink in the Caribbean. Not a lot else to do on the island. I guided group trips here in the 70's and still in the 2010's it is a dive paradise. when on the east coast it is my go-to dive site.

Visited on 02/2014 - Submitted on 02/22/2014

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