Diving in the Bahamas
Known for its crystal-clear water and fascinating marine life, the Bahamas is an incredible dive travel destination for divers of all experience levels. Travelers will find that the beautiful archipelago – once swarming with pirates and now home to swimming pigs – is paradise above and below the surface.
The following are a few of the many Bahamas diving highlights to take into consideration when planning your next dive trip!
#1 – There’s a Huge Variety of Dive Sites in the Bahamas
Variety may be a bit underrated, but its value is clear once you’ve dived a handful of different sites in the Bahamas – especially throughout the Exuma Cays.
Walls, wrecks, shallow patch reefs, swift drifts, and blue holes are all within a few miles of each other in this area! On a liveaboard, such as Aqua Cat, you can log up to five dives a day while spending your surface time sitting in a pool chair on the sun deck or napping in your private cabin.
You could dive a deep wall in the morning, then a shark feeding dive before lunch, the famed Washing Machine swift drift (after a good nap), a calm scattered reef before dinner, and finally a night dive on a smugglers’ plane wreck to finish the day!
There are very few places on the planet that boast the same level of variety for divers. It’s an uncommon luxury to enjoy swim-throughs on walls at ninety feet and shallow, sunlit patch reefs in the same day!
The reef topography found in the Bahamas is extremely interesting – especially that of the walls throughout the Exumas. Divers will see many large swim-throughs and the occasional tall pillar. Some sites are reminiscent of an underwater ski slope, whereas others are beautifully jagged masses of coral. You can be certain that, no matter the shape, each reef hosts an abundance of captivating marine creatures.
The wrecks of the Bahamas are also an interesting facet of its diving world. Though you cannot penetrate many of them, several are airplane wrecks – which are quite uncommon as dive sites.
The high-speed drift dives in the Exuma Cays are another uniquity of the area. Drift dives are common around the world, but the speed of the Washing Machine and Wax Cut are unparalleled.
Also, many divers in the Bahamas enjoy descending into one of the country’s many blue holes. With a max depth of over 200 feet and a cave in the middle, you won’t find many other places like this to dive. The Lost Blue Hole is visited almost every week by each of our Bahamas liveaboards, and it’s certainly one of our favorite spots.
#2 – You Can Try Bahamas Shark Diving
Sharks are probably the biggest draw for divers heading to the Bahamas – for good reason! The waters of the Exuma Cays are teeming with Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks, plus the several other species that are also commonly spotted.
Divers can expect to see sharks on nearly every dive in the Exumas. Five- to eight-foot-long reef sharks patrol the reefs year-round!
Bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads, lemon sharks, and even whale sharks can also be spotted by lucky divers who find themselves in the right place at the right time.
While shark sightings on regular dives are extremely common, shark feeding dives draw even larger numbers of these exciting animals all at once!
On All Star Liveaboards trips in the Bahamas, we offer a shark dive every week – often attracting over a dozen large sharks to the site. For wide-angle photographers, this is a great time to capture stunning images of the ocean’s most fierce predators up close and in action.
We utilize a passive feeding method for these dives, simulating a carcass with frozen chum. We choose this over hand-feeding to prevent association between food and humans. Safety, for our divers and the sharks, is the top priority – this way, we can continue to enjoy these sharks in their natural habitat with minimal effect on the environment’s natural order.
A lesser-known shark occurrence in the Bahamas is the blacknose shark migration every year! Bahamas travelers can witness hundreds of schooling blacknose sharks swarming the Lost Blue Hole from May to August. The best time to go to see large schools of these sharks is May and June. Looking up from within the blue hole to see hundreds of sharks circling the top is an experience you don’t want to miss!
Other large animals that are seen while diving in the Bahamas include massive black grouper reaching over four feet long, plus every species of sea turtle and occasional pilot whales. Whale sharks are even spotted from time to time!
#3 – Low Current, High Visibility (Easy Diving!)
The Bahamas is one of the easiest places in the world to dive! Beautifully clear water with very little current makes for a great diving experience for divers of any skill level.
Many advanced divers enjoy the simplicity and variety of Bahamas diving – this is especially true for underwater photographers. Snapping the perfect picture of a tiny nudibranch is much easier without fighting the current.
New divers will enjoy the ease of diving most of all. After being certified in a cold, low-vis quarry in the US, many first-time dive travelers visit the Bahamas for warm, calm, and clear water to experience everything diving can be.
Keeping an eye on your dive buddy is definitely effortless with visibility of well over 100 feet, and it makes spotting colorful fish and critters easier, too!
The lack of currents on most of the Exumas’ dive sites also contributes to more comfort under the water for new divers. Building confidence in an easy diving location helps divers stay motivated to continue logging dives.
On liveaboards, such as Blackbeard’s, the vessel’s captain makes sure that every dive is done on a site with optimal diving conditions. Divers don’t have to worry about choosing a bad spot due to wind or currents or anything else! You can be sure that you’re diving the best sites in the area every time you get in the water.
#4 – It’s Easy to Travel to the Bahamas
Another underrated aspect of a dive trip – or any vacation, for that matter – is the ease of travel. Fortunately, travel to the Bahamas is extremely simple, affordable, and fast!
Many airports, especially on the eastern side of the US, have direct flights into Nassau. Time between leaving your house and descending on your first dive could be just a few hours!
Accessing such remote areas of a world-class dive destination with this level of ease is a huge bonus!
There is also no language barrier or issue with currency exchange – your cash from the US can be spent in the Bahamas, too! The Bahamian dollar’s value is set to be equal to the US dollar, so you’re likely to get your change back in a combination of Bahamian and American bills.
#5 – Exuma Cays Shore Excursions Are Awesome
This one isn’t directly related to the diving, but it’s such a nice benefit! The Exuma Cays is made up of 365 islands, each one with its own charm. Many divers love the opportunity to visit the islands between, or in place of, dives.
There are endless things to do in the Exumas. Besides diving, travelers can hike, visit uninhabited beaches, explore caves, snorkel around mangroves, and much more.
There are even some famous swimming pigs that lucky travelers can visit and feed if weather permits. Iguanas are yet another fun animal to visit and feed between dives.
Liveaboards like Cat Ppalu make stops at the best of these islands to enjoy different adventures. Aqua Cat even has a 28-foot skiff in tow to take passengers on exciting excursions without interrupting the diving for everyone else!
Visit the Bahamas for Your Next Dive Trip!
With options for any budget and any level of comfort, we have a dive trip for everyone in the Bahamas! We’ve been taking divers to this destination for over 40 years, and we even drilled most of the country’s moorings for sites being dived to this day.
Come out with us for award-winning service and a week’s worth of memories that will last a lifetime!