The eastern Caribbean is vast and diverse. Islands here are either self governed such as popular Jamaica, or are a province of another nation such as Puerto Rico is to the U.S., Aruba is to the Netherlands, and St. Barth’s is to France. With different influences and histories, each island is unique and travel worthy. The Western Caribbean is home to Central America and most islands belong to the neighboring mainland constituency. Cozumel, Mexico, Caye Ambergris, Belize, and Roatan, Honduras are among the larger more well known islands in this area.
The following provide a guideline for narrowing down the choices depending on the type of diving vacation, or holiday, you are searching for.
Check out Kids Sea Camp run by Margo Peyton. Peyton has been in the industry for over 20 years and is a pro at family fun vactaions. With her daugther in tow, they lead several groups every summer to various Caribbean outposts. This year they will spend 2 weeks at Laguna Beach Resort, in Utila, Honduras. The camp will rent the entire resort. With no road access and a large pool shaped like a whale shark, there is very little for parents to worry about. In addition to typical resort features, Kids Sea Camp offers additional staff these weeks, allowing parents to have the day of diving to themselves while the kids and teens are with an instructor and group of their own. The perfect combination of family and fun.
Gay and Lesbian Friendly
The European islands tend to be the most liberal in terms of open acceptance of different social standards. Saba, located in the Windward Islands, is a tiny speck on the map. With a large gay and lesbian community, as well as, residents and travelers from all over the world, it is a mixing pot of the nth degree. Diving is a bit advanced, but spectacular with several sea mounts off the southern coast that are world reknowned. Sign up with a group such as Coconuts and meet like minded divers.
Bonaire is the place. With the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean due to diligent monitoring and laws, Bonaire is a divers dream. Frequently in the top 5 of almost everyone’s list, it is a must do for shore divers. The entire island is set up for diving. When you book your trip you will most likely get the hotel, jeep, and dive tanks all in one go. Hop in your vehicle, grab your tanks and head out to one of the over 60 marked dive sites. Park, follow the friendly signs to the entrance point and off you go on your adventure!
The ultimate boat diving experience is a liveaboard. Most non-divers, or newbies, are not familiar with this term. It is the best way to dive, dive, and dive some more. Check out the Belize Aggressor. The Aggressor Fleet is one of the oldest operating fleets in the industry. With boats located all over the world you can be assured the level of service and quality of your experience will be second to none. With the ability to motor anywhere, the itineraries are varied and interesting. Hit many dive sites inaccessible by land based operations. Eat, Sleep, Dive! is the Aggressor motto.
Renowned for sailing and diving, the British Virgin Islands are a perfect meld of over and under. No sailboat, no problem. Charter a 36 foot catamaran from the Moorings and hop aboard after a quick check out. Rent tanks and be on your way. Sail among the islands, explore the reefs at your leisure. If you are not comfortable as a captain, hire one–and perhaps a chef as well!
Dominica is remote, unique, and dramatic. There are only a handful of dive operations on this small island. Check out here is plenty topside as well as underwater. Bubbling lakes, waterfalls, and mountainous terrain give this island nation it’s place in the dive world.
Quick and Easy
Cozumel has many direct flights from several different locations in North America. Fly straight in and get picked up for your dive adventure. Most packages include 2 boat dives per day. Stay in town and party, or on the more remote southern side at an all inclusive resort. Book for a three day weekend or several weeks at current rock bottom prices. Experience the exhilarating drift diving that everyone talks about. Topside is a bit more commercial than many other Caribbean islands, but if you want to let loose this is the place to be!