The Bahamas in Pictures
Diving in the Bahamas offers an incredible range. Shipwrecks, deep, dazzling walls, coral reefs galore and blue holes too. There is also plenty of shark action in the Bahamas. Prepare to be thrilled.
Marine life in the Bahamas
The Bahamas is home to colorful subtropical reefs, an extensive array of fish and lots of shark and dolphin encounters. From seagrass meadows and mangrove swamps in the north, pristine coral reefs to the 1,820m (5971 ft.) oceanic trench near Andros and the deep blue waters on the Atlantic side – the waters surrounding the Bahamian islands offer a grand variety of marine habitats.
If you’re lucky, you may spot whales along the coast: sperm whales, minke whales, humpbacks, pilot whales are all frequent visitors in whale season. Coral enthusiasts won’t be disappointed, with five percent of the world’s coral found in the waters of the Bahamas.
October is manta ray season. December and January bring the huge Nassau grouper schools, and in winter you might see schools of Hammerhead sharks or a whale shark or two.
Dive Conditions in the Bahamas
The Bahamas are an island complex within the Lucayan Archipelago in the West Indies. It lies Southwest of Miami, Florida in the Caribbean Sea. The Bahamas are comprised of 700 islands and 2,400 coral cays scattered over about 260,000 square km (100,000 square miles) of ocean.
Dive conditions here are excellent with really warm water all year round, and arguably the clearest waters in the world! It’s also home to the world’s third-longest barrier reef.
Best Time to Dive the Bahamas
The subtropical Bahamas gets plenty of sunshine and is a year-round diving destination.
Hurricane season takes place during summer, from June to October which is also the low season, and it usually rains daily for a short time. Air temperatures during the summer months range from 24-33°C (75-91°F) and water temperatures are around 31°C(88°F).
November to May is the dry season and you can be sure of sunny, hot conditions. Air temperatures range from 18-25°C(65-77°F ), while water temperatures are 24-27°C (75-80°F). It is also the high season for tourism and booking ahead is recommended.
For shark diving enthusiasts, October to June is the time to go. Tiger sharks frequent the Bahamas from October to January at Tiger Beach, and hammerhead sharks congregate at Bimini from December to March. Oceanic Whitetips can be seen from April to June.
Best Dive Sites in the Bahamas
Nassau welcomes you with crystal-clear, warm waters and numerous drop-offs that are close to shore. Blue holes, caves, historical wrecks, tropical reefs, exhilarating wall dives and shark diving are all on offer for all levels. Most dive sites are found on the southwest side of the island
Grand Bahama Island
Grand Bahama Island is the closest island to Palm Beach, Florida. Diving is possible all year round. Brace yourself for tiger shark and dolphin encounters, shipwrecks, and caverns.
On Long Island, you can dive Dean’s Blue Hole, known to be the world’s deepest blue hole plunging to 192m (663 ft) on the ocean floor. Incredible reefs, wrecks like The Comberbach and deep wall dives are the order of the day.
Exposed to the Atlantic, the reefs of the Abaco offer different topography from the rest of the Bahamas. Many sites are great for beginners. Abacos offers shallow reefs, shipwrecks and the chance to see the Carribean reef sharks on mass.
The dive experiences in Andros range from shallow water, wreck and blue hole dives to spectacular wall dives off the 6,000 feet deep Tongue of the Ocean. The Andros Barrier Reef, the world’s third-largest barrier reef, is located approximately 1 mile off to the east.
The amazing underwater limestone rock formations just south of Bimini make for interesting diving. The north section (called North Bimini Wall) begins in 36m (120 ft) of water and is a drift dive for experienced divers. To the south are many other walls such as the South Cat Cay Wall, Victory Cays Drop-off and Riding Rock Wall that begin in about 6 to 27m (30 – 90 ft). This is the place where the hammerheads hang out.
San Salvador is renowned for great diving, with more than 50 dive sites on the island’s lee side, including ruins and shipwrecks. Unusual, must-see sites are Devil’s Claw and Vicky’s Reef, where you can encounter stingrays and sharks. French Bay is another worthwhile site with Elkhorn and staghorn coral on display.
Exumas is an exciting place to dive. Grey and reef sharks are often seen at the dive sites here and there are wrecks and blue holes too. Colorful reef fish abound in the clear waters. Top sites are Thunderball Grotto, Amberjack reef and Angelfish Blue Hole.
How to get to the Bahamas
There are three international airports in the Bahamas: Freeport Grand Bahama International Airport, George Town International Airport, and Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau. Connecting flight or boats to the many islands are plentiful and easy. You can also arrive by cruise ship, ferry or private boat.
Some liveaboards even leave from Florida, just 85 km (53 miles) away.