Tropical undersea treasures abound underneath the clear azure waters of the Bahamas, home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef. An abundance of marine creatures, sea fans and all sorts of fish dart in and out of this colorful coral reef. Many of the best spots to see these creatures are right off the beach, including Dean’s Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole that is the deepest blue hole in the world. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera when you try our top 6 spots to dive and snorkel in the Bahamas.
1. San Salvador Island
Snorkelers will find miles of unpopulated beaches with shallow-water reefs filled with hundreds of fish just off the shore on this remote island. Some of the best spots to dive are Bamboo Point, Fernandez Bay, and Long Bay, which are close to Cockburn, the island’s main village. You can also head to the southern tip for excellent snorkeling at Sandy Point.
Multi-colored fish shimmer about amid the black-coral gardens that draw snorkelers to Bimini. Snorkelers will also find underwater treasures around the gigantic flat rocks that jut out from the water at Paradise Point. Keep your eyes open for the pods of spotted dolphins that pass by this chain of islands.
3. Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
A remote paradise stretching some 22 miles (35 kilometers), Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park sparkles with some of the most colorful sea gardens, caves and coral reefs just offshore in the Caribbean. Diving is spectacular here, too, and you’ll uncover a rich underwater world of abundant marine life. Wandering the unspoiled beaches also reveals such treasure as the endangered Bahamian iguana and ruins of an 18th century settlement.
A stroll down a wooden path that winds through fragrant mangrove, palm and pine trees and snorkelers will uncover a lovely secluded beach fronting crystal clear water. Underneath the translucent waters, you can glimpse the kaleidoscope of colorful sea life that flitter and glide over the offshore coral reef. For a real treat, take a trip inside the world’s largest underwater cave system, where a bounty of ancient Arawak treasures awaits your discovery.
5. Peterson Cay
Jump in a kayak and take a day-trip to Peterson Cay, a tiny sun-drenched island just a mile offshore from Barbary Bay Beach on Grand Bahama. Peterson Cay makes for a perfect day of snorkeling. A half-hour over calm waters by kayak rewards snorkelers with colorful coral gardens and shallow limestone reefs, where you’ll spot flittering tropical fish in all colors, sea fans and maybe even sting rays and barracudas.
6. Dean’s Blue Hole
Truly a highlight on a trip to the Bahamas, Dean’s Blue Hole offers divers and snorkelers a rare chance to explore the world’s deepest underwater cave, plunging to a depth of 663 feet (202 meters). Right off the beach, surrounded by beachrock cliffs, the dark blue hole supports unusual coral formation and rare lionfish.
- William Travis