SCUBA diving in the Bahamas

Reefs, Wrecks, Blue Holes, Sharks and More

The Bahamas offers a lifetime of diving possibilities for everyone from resort divers to explorers. Discover the cinematic reefs off New Providence featured in films from Thunderball to Into the Blue. Swim with wild dolphins off Bimini, drift a wall on the Tongue of the Ocean, relax in sunlit coral gardens at the Exuma Land and Sea Park or descend into a blue hole. For big thrills, sign up for encounters with a tiger, hammerhead, lemon, reef and oceanic white tip sharks. Topside water sports include kayak and sailing tours, flats casting and big game fishing. Dance barefoot in the sand at a local beach bar or try your luck at Nassau’s glittering casinos.

Highlights

  • Best for: Everyone from novice and casual divers to advanced explorers
  • Best season to visit: Year-round, with some areas exposed to cold fronts in winter months
  • Weather: Sub-tropical climate similar to Florida, with warm water temperatures in summer, becoming cooler in winter when cold fronts pass

Bahamas Information

About Diving in the Bahamas

Many dive sites are sheltered from prevailing trade winds and oceanic swells, but can be susceptible to local winds. Dive operators will select daily destinations accordingly. Water conditions are often calmest in summer. A limited number of sites—predominantly patch reefs— that can be reached from shore, but most will require a boat ride of 10 to 30 minutes. Underwater visibility often exceeds 100 feet, thanks to the lack of coastal runoff.  Currents, depending on the region chosen range from non-existent to strong. Dive profiles range from less than ten feet to walls that drop well past 150 feet, making the Bahamas a suitable destination for divers of every experience level. Water temperatures range from the mids 70s in winter into the low 80s in summer.

Diving in the Bahamas Tips

Because most diving is done by boat  there is no need for booties with thick, hard soles. Either open or closed-heel fins are fine. Video and still cameras work well even without lights, as the clear waters provide ample ambient light to bring out the details. For shark encounters, it is sometimes advised—though not required-— to wear dark wetsuits and possibly dark gloves and a light hood.

Best Places to Dive in the Bahamas

Popular favorites include the barrier reefs and blue holes of Andros, Tuna Alley and The Bimini Road, the walls and reefs of the Exumas Land and Sea Park, the coral grottoes of the Abacos and the renowned Shark Dive at Stuart Cove’s.

What to Pack for Diving in the Bahamas

A light skin suit or 3-mm wetsuit is sufficient for  summertime. From December through March a 5-mm suit might be in order, and a cover-up to mitigate evaporative cooling during surface intervals. Pack a deployable surface marker if a drift dive is on the schedule.

Specials

Dive

Bahamas

Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach

GRAND BAHAMA ULTIMATE DIVE SPECIAL 7 nights All-Inclusive Ocean View Room accommodations, 5 days of 2-tank boat dives with Reef Oasis Dive Bahamas. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks daily. Unlimited beverages including alcohol, cocktails and wine. Unlimited non-motorized watersports, scheduled activities, nightly entertainment, exclusive check-in/check-out service, hotel taxes and service charges.

Rates from $1105 per person/double diver. Valid for travel through 12/16/21.
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From $1105 per person double diver

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Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach

GRAND BAHAMA ULTIMATE DIVE SPECIAL 5 nights All-Inclusive Ocean View Room accommodations, 3 days of 2-tank boat dives with Reef Oasis Dive Bahamas. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks daily. Unlimited beverages including alcohol, cocktails and wine. Unlimited non-motorized watersports, scheduled activities, nightly entertainment, exclusive check-in/check-out service, hotel taxes and service charges.

Rates from $749 per person/double diver. Valid for travel through 12/16/21.
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Small Hope Bay Lodge

ANDROS - INSTANT $250 AIR CREDIT includes 4 night Beach Front accommodations, 3 days of 2-tank boat dives, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks and beverages included alcohol, use of kayaks, paddle boards, bicycles, hotel taxes and service charges.

Purchase of airfare required. Discount included and averaged between two divers. Some blackout dates apply.

Valid through 11/15/22. Blackout Dates Apply 11/25/21-11/27/21, 12/23/21-1/1/22, 4/14/22-4/17/22.
From $1607 per person/double diver.

Book by 7/31/21.
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From $1470 per person/double diver

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Green Turtle Club Resort & Marina

ABACO - INSTANT $250 AIR CREDIT includes 4 nights Deluxe Club Room accommodations, 3 days of 2-tank boat dives with Brendal’s Dive Center & Water Sports, hotel taxes and services charges.

Purchase of airfare required. Discount included and averaged between two divers. Some blackout dates may apply.

Valid through 4/30/22. Blackout Dates Apply 11/25/21-11/27/21, 12/23/21-1/1/22, 4/14/22-4/17/22.

Book by 11/15/21.
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From $995 per person/double diver

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Riding Rock Inn Resort & Marina

SAN SALVADOR SAVE $250 - DIVE SPECIAL 7 night Standard Ocean View accommodations, 16 boat day dives, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, free WiFi, cocktail reception, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges.

Valid 10/19/21-11/13/21. Rates from $1467 per person/double diver. Book by 11/1/21.
Valid 11/14/21-4/30/22. Rates from $1595 per person/double diver. Book by 11/1/21.
Valid 11/2/22-4/30/22. Rates from $1750 per person/double diver. Book 11/2/21-11/15/21.

Based on space availability. Blackout Dates: 11/25/21-11/27/21, 12/23/21-1/1/22, 4/14/22-4/17/22.
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Rates from $1467 per person double diver

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Breezes Bahamas

NASSAU 2021 DEAL - ALL INCLUSIVE DIVE PACKAGE includes 5 night’s Classic Room accommodations, 3 days of 2-tank boat dives with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks and beverages including alcohol, free WiFi, recreational activities, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.

Travel 11/7/21-12/24/21. Rates from $1161 per person/double diver (rate based on SU-FR combo or SA-TH combo).

Book by 11/30/21.
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From $1161 per person double diver

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Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina

BIMINI 4 night Standard room accommodations, 3 days of 2-tank morning boat dives with Neil Watson’s Dive Bimini, hotel taxes and service charges.

Hotel amenities include fresh water swimming pool, lounge chairs and deck-side hammocks; patio and pool bar; free WIFI, complimentary paddleboards, kayaks, game area with billiard table, access to a pristine sandy beach (3-minute walk) and golf cart rentals (at additional cost).
Great Hammerhead Shark Safari upgrades available December through April. Daily space is limited (additional charges apply).

Valid through 5/26/22 & 9/6/22-5/25/23.
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From $871 per person/double diver

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Orange Hill Beach Inn

NASSAU 2021 DIVE PACKAGE SALE 5 night’s Pool Side Room accommodations, 3 days of 2-tank boat dives with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges.

Travel 12/18/20-5/1/21. Rates from $862 per person/double diver.
Travel 5/2/21-12/16/21. Rates from $804 per person/double diver.
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From $804 per person double diver

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Pelican Bay Hotel

GRAND BAHAMA 5 nights Island View accommodations, full daily breakfast, 3 days of 2-tank boat dives Unexso Diving, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes, and service charges.

Valid through 9/2/21-11/15/21. Rates from $971 per person/double diver.

Optional add-ons for Watersports Activities and Topside Activities available in the shopping cart after room category is selected.
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Bahamas Master

HAMMERHEAD AND TIGER SHARK EXPERIENCE ITINERARY 7 nights Deluxe Cabin accommodations, unlimited diving as scheduled, all meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages and port fees are additional.

Hammerhead and Tiger Shark Experience covers the best of the West End of Grand Bahama Island. Expect to see lots of sharks including hammerheads, nurse sharks, lemon sharks, tiger sharks, and even bull sharks, as well as dolphins, rays, grouper, turtles and octopus. Other dive sites include Hawksbill Reef where the turtles rest at 15 meters on the sandy bottom and Alice Island where you can dive with over 50 sting rays and experience the fast and agile black nose shark.

Valid for departure 12/30/21. Space is limited/based on availability.
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From $3,290 per person double diver

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Packages

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Bahamas

Riding Rock Inn Resort & Marina

SAN SALVADOR - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night standard ocean view air conditioned accommodations, 16 dives, 21 meals, free WiFi, cocktail receptionm roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges.
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From $1,650 per person double diver

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Small Hope Bay Lodge

ANDROS - 7 NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes beachfront cottage accommodations, 5 days of 2-tank boat dives, breakfast, lunch, dinner daily and all beverages including alcohol, free WiFi, complimentary bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, hotel tax and service charges.

Resort designed to facilitate relaxation with no televisions, no telephones (WiFi available in the main lounge). Air conditioning is available for a small additional fee in all cabins.
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From $2,879 per person double diver

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Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina

BIMINI - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night Standard room accommodations, 6 days of 2-tank morning boat dives, hotel taxes and service charges. Hotel amenities include fresh water swimming pool, lounge chairs and deck-side hammocks; patio and pool bar; free WIFI, complimentary paddleboards, kayaks, game area with billiard table, access to a pristine sandy beach (3-minute walk) and golf cart rentals (at additional cost).

Great Hammerhead Shark Safari upgrades available December through April. Daily space is limited (additional charges apply).
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From $1,590 per person/double diver

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Resorts

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Bahamas

Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach

GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND - Nestled on the southern coast, this 26-acre, 276-room all-inclusive resort features a pool, beautiful white sand beach, three bars, three restaurants, theater, fitness center and onsite Reef Oasis Dive Club. As the only all-inclusive resort on the island, surrounded by tropical forests and park lands, a stay here is like having your own private paradise.
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Grand Lucayan Lighthouse Pointe Resort

GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND - The Grand Lucayan strikes the perfect balance between the luxuries of a modern-day resort and the magic of one steeped in Bahamian culture. it's about delivering an experience that exudes authenticity yet welcomes the creature comforts that make traveling a pleasure and a passion.
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Sandals Emerald Bay

GEORGETOWN, GREAT EXUMA - Unfolding like a grand estate, Sandals Emerald Bay is a 500-acre resort set along a one-mile stretch of white-sand beach. This all-butler resort offers a selection of 183 magnificently appointed, luxurious accommodations with styles that range from beachfront villas to charming bay house settings. **Call for the best available rate**.
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Small Hope Bay Lodge

ANDROS - Located on Andros Island, a short boat ride from the world’s third largest coral reef, the diving and bonefishing are nothing less than spectacular at this all-inclusive resort. What really sets Small Hope apart is its unique heritage, its simple and friendly ambiance and a special soulful energy that simply cannot be cloned or imitated.
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Green Turtle Club Resort & Marina

ABACO - Explore Earth's third-largest barrier reef, explore historic wrecks, walls, and swim-through caverns, dive with dolphins, turtles, and sharks, hand feed stingrays, tropical fish , and Brendal's pet groupers - Junkanoo and Calypso - all at exotic Green Turtle Caye.
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Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina

BIMINI - Founded in the 1930’s as an elegant dinner club, and later in 1947 relocated to its current home and expanded, the Bimini Big Game Club is known the world over among “top of class” sportsmen and their families.
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Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour Marina

ABACO - Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina is a classic Bahamian getaway that captures the true essence of the Out Island spirit. The resort is a destination for leisure travelers, honeymooners, destination weddings, incentive and corporate groups, boaters, fishermen, adventurers and those simply looking for an authentic Caribbean escape. With 40-beachfront acres and a prime location within Marsh Harbour, Abaco Beach Resort offers guests access to a variety of land- and water-based activities ranging from island-hopping and diving to shopping and dining. The resort caters to families, couples, friends and groups looking to escape the crowds of some of the larger islands and experience the relaxed hassle-free attitude that makes The Abacos so unique.
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Breezes Bahamas

NASSAU - Miles away from everyday life, but only minutes from the airport. Breezes Bahamas is located on a stretch of the island’s best beach: The powder white sands of Cable Beach. Crystal clear waters gently lap the shore as everyday worries drift away. Just a short stroll along the beach takes you to the excitement of Nassau’s glittering casinos.
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Orange Hill Beach Inn

NASSAU Located on the beach and close to airport. 32 air-conditioned rooms accessible via exterior corridors and feature safes and ceiling fans. Rooms open to patios. Televisions come with satellite channels. Recreational amenities at the hotel include an outdoor pool.
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Diving in the Bahamas

Diving in the Bahamas is all about diversity. Tens of thousands of new divers have made their first submersions on the nearshore reefs of New Providence and Grand Bahama, but these same waters attract treasure hunters, adventurers and cave explorers, and have been the subject of hundreds of nature documentaries and feature films. The vast majority of the 700 significant islands of the Bahamas sit atop a pair of shallow limestone banks: Little Bahama Bank and Great Bahama Bank, which together encompass tens of thousands of square miles of submerged habitat. Many islands are surrounded by vast landscapes of shallow coral heads that are home to grouper, lobster and a wealth of colorful tropical species. Wrecks from Spanish treasure galleons to smuggler's yachts ran afoul on these reefs, and have since been joined by purpose-sunk wrecks. Beyond the shallows lie steep underwater walls, offshore pinnacles and blue water where big fish swim. The hand feeding of Caribbean reef sharks has long been a hallmark of the Bahamas diving scene, and each year thousands of divers earn bragging rights for swimming with the sharks, secure in the knowledge that these interactions have a stellar safety record. Emboldened divers seeking a less scripted encounter with apex predators can meet up with everything from hammerheads and lemon sharks to tigers, bulls and oceanic white tips. Even more compelling for some is the opportunity to interact with pods of wild dolphins in the sand flats near Bimini and north of West End. Island substrates are riddled with water-filled caverns that come to the surface in the form of blue holes. Cave divers have mapped miles of spectacular passages beneath the islands of Grand Bahama, Great Abaco and Andros, while Long Island is home to the world's deepest known saltwater blue hole, which plunges to a depth of 663 feet.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

Entry/Exit Requirements: All U.S. Citizens are required to present a valid passport. No visa is required for American citizens. All persons, six years and over leaving the Bahamas, pay a Government Departure Tax of 29.00 which should be included in your international airline ticket taxes.

Immunizations

Vaccinations are not required for entry into the Bahamas. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at Traveler's Health CDC The Bahamas.

 

Culture and Customs

Though still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bahama's English heritage is obvious only in the historic architecture of Nassau, a love for the Queen, and the nation's parliamentary system of government. The cosmopolitan resorts of Paradise Island and Grand Bahama may be more spiritually aligned with Miami or Las Vegas, but move into the Out Islands and you transition to island time, where the phrase “soon come” is the mantra for a relaxed, welcoming way of life. The big event on the calendar is Junkanoo, which is celebrated from December's Boxing Day to New Years Day. Every island stages a celebration, but the big show happens in Nassau when thousands of lavishly costumed revelers march through the streets to the accompaniment of horns, goombay drums and cowbells. Come March, the island sailboats are packed with passengers headed for the National Family Island Regatta in Georgetown. Here, crews from across the archipelago race traditional island sloops by day, then party the night away at Regatta Village Cricket season lasts from March to November, and ongoing commentary of the matches fills the local airwaves.

Celebrated since the 17th century, Junkanoo has grown into a large, organized event with groups that compete for cash prizes for best music, best costume, best dancing, etc. Traditionally held on New Year’s Day, Boxing Day and Independence Day, parades are also held during the annual “Junkanoo Summer Festival” and the “Just Rush” competition. Many hotels also offer Junkanoo shows for their guests throughout the year.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity in the Bahamas is 120 volts/60 cycles, which is the same as the U.S. and all U.S. appliances are compatible. the country code/area code for the Bahamas is 242. The local phone company BTC (Bahamas Telephone Company) should be available on your cell phone, so check with your carrier for costs for calls and data while in the Bahamas on roaming. There are many public hotspots, and you will find most hotels offer WiFi, as well as many bars, restaurants and shops.

Water Quality

Tap water is safe to drink on the main islands of the Bahamas. Bottled water is available for purchase.

Language & Currency

English is the official language, however you may hear locals speaking "Bahamian English" which has a mixture of African influence, island dialect and the Queen's diction. The H is often dropped so thanks sounds like tanks. The local currency is the Bahamian dollar (BSD) but U.S. Dollars are accepted everywhere. The Bahamian and the U.S. dollar are equivalent so as a visitor you don’t need to exchange any money. Credit cards are accepted at most locations on Nassau, Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island. Cirrus and +PLUS ATMs can be found on Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama and most of the major Out Islands.

Time

The Bahamas are in the Eastern Time Zone. The Bahamian Islands do observe Daylight Savings Time. They are 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 during Eastern Standard Time) and 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time during Daylight Savings Time (-4 Eastern Daylight Time).

Location, Size and Population

The Bahamas are located in the North Atlantic Ocean on the eastern edge of the Caribbean. They are approximately 45 miles Southeast of Florida. The Bahamian Islands are made up of approximately 700 islands and 2,000 cayes of which about only 30 are inhabited. The islands are north of Cuba, northwest of the Turks and Caicos, and Southeast of the Florida Keys. The size of the Bahamas is approximately 5,382 square miles with a coastline of 1,368 square miles. The capital city of the Bahamas is Nassau, located on New Providence and is approximately 80 square miles. The population of the Bahamas is 392,575 (2016).