Affiliate Disclosure: This blog post has affiliate links to liveaboard diving in the Caribbean tours that might blow your mind. If you book a tour, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Opinions are my own and based on 12+ years shark diving and blogging about the ocean’s most epic creatures. Cause sharks rock. 🦈🦈🦈


If you’re a serious diver in Canada or the United States, it’s a good bet liveaboard diving in the Caribbean has crossed your mind. And why not? With great weather, even better visibility, over 700 islands, cays and islets, and mind-numbingly stunning water colors, it’s a trip you simply have to do.

You’ll see sharks while diving in the Caribbean, along with rays, wrecks and a variety of marine life. Also, given the immense size of the region, diving in the Caribbean is suitable for all skill levels. And liveaboard diving in the Caribbean can access some seriously awesome spots, not to mention making one of the best vacations you can even fathom.

Stoked yet? You should be. Let’s talk more about liveaboard diving in the Caribbean, and what you need to know about diving in this slice of paradise on Earth.

What Caribbean Island is Best For Scuba Diving?

That depends on you. If you’re a beginner diver, Grand Cayman would be a good choice (although the Caribbean in general is good for beginners). If you want to see sharks, the Bahamas are likely the way to go, though again, you’ll likely see a good variety of sharks through the Caribbean region no matter where you dive.

Want wrecks? Think about Grand Cayman yet again or Turks and Caicos. There’s a bit of everything for divers in the Caribbean.

Liveaboard diving in the Caribbean makes it even more accessible, because you’re able to get far off-shore and into those special spots that only a long-range boat can access. Plus, it’s kinda rad. Does anyone really need to twist your arm to spend 5+ nights on a liveaboard in the Caribbean? I didn’t think so.

Caribbean Map. Photo Source: By Kmusser – Own work, all data from Vector Map., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14857874

Before You Go…

A few things to think about before you make your booking.

Best Time to Visit – June to early November is hurricane season in the Caribbean. This brings slightly more rainfall, and less visibility in Belize waters thanks to summer plankton blooms. But the waters are calm in Belize, and a little choppier in Cuba and the islands of Turks and Caicos.

Generally speaking, November to March is the best time to dive in the Bahamas, Cuba and Turks and Caicos.

Still, don’t sweat this too much. You can dive the Caribbean pretty much year-round. The weather doesn’t fluctuate much outside the 74 – 88° F (23 – 31° C) range in this well-known and pleasant region.

Timing is good – but it’s not everything in the Caribbean Sea.

Currency – Other than Cuba and St Kitts, the US Dollar is widely accepted in Caribbean nations. For the former two countries, St Kitts accepts the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. For Cuba, you’ll need to bring cash and exchange it for the Convertible Peso.

Language – You’ll find English spoken pretty much anywhere you go in the Caribbean. Even in Cuba, where Spanish is the native tongue, if there are tourists, you’ll likely find most services offered in English.

Further Costs – Be sure to check with each country you intend to visit for any additional diving fees, like Marine Park fees and dive gear rental.

Liveaboard Diving in the Caribbean

Enough chat. Let’s talk about diving in the Caribbean. That means sharks, shipwrecks, white sand beaches and ridiculously beautiful water for your soon-to-be adventure.

It really is a tough life when diving the Caribbean.

1 – Bahamas

For Sharks, Rays, Reefs and Blue Holes

Tiger Beach in the Bahamas is one of the best places to see Tiger Sharks. Photo Credit/Epic Karma to: Gerald Schombs, Unsplash.com

If you’ve ever asked a diver where to dive with sharks, you’ve likely heard the words “Tiger Beach”. Congratulations – you just found it. Tiger Beach is the place to see sharks in the Caribbean, with its namesake tiger sharks, along with hammerheads, reef sharks and even bull sharks at this diver’s mecca.

But you don’t dive the Bahamas for sharks alone. The Bahamas have rays too, along with stunning reefs, mild weather and, ever heard of Dean’s Blue Hole? Yup, that’s in the Bahamas too – although that’s for expert free divers only.

Bahamas Travel Info:

Point of Departure: Nassau, Bahamas

Price Range: $1,000 – $2,500

Skill Level: Beginner

Length: 8 – 11 Days

Why It Pops: Some of the best shark diving in the world, with 7 species seen in the region. Also, rays, reefs, shipwrecks and those totally wicked blue holes.

Top Boats: Bahamas Master, Aqua Cat, Blackbeards Morning Star

View All Liveaboard Dive Boats For the Bahamas

2 – Cayman Islands

For Beginners, Liveaboard Safaris, Sharks and that Whole Captain Sparrow Thing

The Cayman Islands have excellent shipwreck diving. Photo Credit/Much Love to: Reiseuhu/Unsplash.com

Arrr matey! You know that whole Pirates of the Caribbean thing? You’ll find a lot of that in the Cayman Islands – three giant underwater peaks that make the Cayman Islands, and where many a pirate did that whole Disney thing in the 17th century.

As a diver in the Cayman Islands, you may in fact see a few shipwrecks, along with sharks, rays (you NEED to check out Stingray City) and even the odd whale shark.

The Cayman Islands are a very good spot for new divers. Do a liveaboard diving tour here and you also have the option of doing a liveaboard safari, which means the tour may combine snorkeling and/or island excursions in the intinerary.

It’s all good in the Caymans, baby.

Cayman Islands Travel Info:

Point of Departure: Georgetown, Cayman Island

Price Range: $2,500 – $3,500

Skill Level: Beginner

Length: 8 – 11 Days

Why it Pops – The Caymans are the epitome of diving in the Caribbean. Stingray City, North Wall, Bloody Ball Wall (relax – it’s one of the most beautiful dives on Earth) are all highlights you’ll want to see. As for marine life, that’s sharks, stingrays, groupers and beautiful coral reefs.

Top Boats: Cayman Aggressor V  – one of the most popular dive boats in the Aggressor fleet.

View All Liveaboard Dive Boats For the Cayman Islands

3 – Dominican Republic

For AWESOME Whale Snorkelling

The snorkeling’s good at the Dominican Republic. Photo Source: Liveaboard.com/Turks and Caicos Aggressor II

We can’t talk about liveaboard diving in the Caribbean without the Dominican Republic. Time your visit right and you might find yourself snorkelling with hundreds of humpback whales, which migrate here from January to March. It’s here that humpbacks from the North Atlantic get their love on – and it’s here you can dive, snorkel and otherwise watch humpbacks congregate in family groups and mother-calf formations.

Dominican is an excellent option for liveaboard diving in the Caribbean, whether you’re a diver or not.

Dominican Republic Travel Info:

Point of Departure: Ocean World Marina and Puerto Plaza

Price Range: $400+ Per Day

Skill Level: Beginner

Length: 8 Days

Why It Pops: Love whales and the Caribbean? This is your dive.

Top Boats: Turks & Caicos Aggressor II

View All Liveaboard Dive Boats For the Dominican Republic

4 – Belize

For Blue Holes, Marine Life and Sheer Paradise

Great Blue Hole in Belize – not to be confused with Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. Photo Source: Wikipedia.com

With one of the biggest Blue Holes on the planet (Great Blue Hole – creative naming, huh?), mild currents, shallow sites, deep underwater walls and the biggest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, Belize simply takes liveaboard diving to a higher level. This is paradise – straight up.

You’ll see a huge variety of marine life here, from reef sharks and sea horses to barracudas, manta rays, dolphins and nesting turtles. Diving in Belize is about as close as you’re gonna get to paradise in the Caribbean – if not the planet. Belize, please!

Belize Travel Info:

Point of Departure: Belize City, Belize

Price Range: $2,500 – $3,000

Skill Level: Beginner

Length: 8 – 11 Days

Why It Pops: Belize has an awesome variety of dive sites, from shallow areas to deeper spots. Speaking of which, it’s hard to get much deeper than a blue hole. If you’ve ever wanted to see one, there are several in the neighbourhood. Just remember to look but not touch (AKA, don’t dive in unless you’re an expert diver and with an instructor).

Top Boats: Belize Aggressor III, Belize Aggressor IV

View All Liveaboard Dive Boats For Belize

5 – Turks and Caicos

For Fewer Crowds and Lots of Pelagics (Including Hammerheads)

Turks and Caicos Explorer Liveaboard Dive Boat. Photo Source: Liveaboard.com/Turks and Caicos Explorer

Just southeast of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos are two groups of islands that bring fewer crowds than its famous neighbour. Turks and Caicos is an archipelago and generally uninhabited. That’s a very good thing if you’re keen on liveaboard diving in the Caribbean because it means there is plenty of pelagic life here. You might see hammerhead sharks at Turks and Caicos, along with barracudas and humpback whales.

The best diving spots in Turks and Caicos – and there are many of them – are pretty spread out, making liveaboard diving an especially good option.

Turks and Caicos Travel Info:

Point of Departure: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Price Range: $2,500 – $3,500

Skill Level: Beginner

Length: 8-11 Days

Why It Pops: Turks and Caicos are a quieter version of the Bahamas to the north. Pelagic life thrives here. You may see Hammerhead sharks if you’re lucky. Also, the miles of white sand beaches ain’t so bad either.

Top Boats: Turks and Caicos Aggressor II, Turks and Caicos Explorer

View All Liveaboard Dive Boats For Turks and Caicos

6 – Cuba

For Sharks and Friendly Groupers (Yes, Really)

Cuba is a communist country, but that’s actually been a very good thing for its abundant marine life. Much of Cuba’s waters are protected marine areas. The government capped the number of divers who could explore the area. In turn, most of Cuba’s reefs are marine life are well-preserved and numerous. 

They’re also sociable. The groupers of Cuba tend to be curious and even bond with divers. The abundant shark population is also a good thing for Florida’s sea life, just 90 miles to the north, thanks to a 2015 partnership between Cuba and American scientists. With more sharks, fish populations become healthier and balance is established.

Communism may have ravaged the country, but it did help the sea that sustains it. 

Cuba Travel Info:

Point of Departure: Jucaro, Cuba

Price Range: $2,500 – $4,000

Skill Level: Beginner

Length: 7 – 8 Days

Why It Pops: A relatively untouched underwater paradise with great visibility and friendly groupers. Seriously, if you’ve ever wanted to bond with a grouper, liveaboard diving in the Caribbean may be the best thing you ever did.

Note that Americans CAN travel to Cuba at the time of this writing but there are conditions. Please speak with each Cuba liveaboard boat for details.

Top Boats: Avalon II, Tortuga 

View All Liveaboard Dive Boats For Cuba

 

Further Reading:

The Adventure Junkies

Liveaboard.com