Best Caribbean Resorts to Learn to Dive

At these waterfront resorts, scuba lessons come with an extra helping of underwater enjoyment

 

Forget your hometown pool or lake. Where better to learn to scuba dive than in a Caribbean resort where the waters are warm and clear, and colorful coral reefs are just a fin kick away. We’ve picked five top resorts that combine first class instruction and comfortable amenities with immediate access to world-class reefs.

Sunset House, Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman Island is the Caribbean’s number one dive destination, and Sunset House remains a favorite with scuba divers. Just steps from oceanfront rooms are shallow reefs where calm, warm waters are ideal for learning the basics of scuba, then venturing out to discover sights such as wrecks and the island’s iconic underwater mermaid sculpture. Rooms are reasonably priced and well equipped, and the open-air bar and sea view restaurant are a favorite with the local dive crowd.

Grand Cayman Sunset House

Grand Cayman’s Sunset House Resort is a favorite with the scuba crowd. A short swim from shore leads to a maze of coral-covered ledges and a submerged mermaid sculpture. Photo: Cathy Church/Sunset House

Buddy Dive, Bonaire

In addition to being one of Bonaire’s premier waterfront resorts, Buddy Dive is home to the only PADI 5-star Career Development Center in the southern Caribbean. The same facility that turns out dive instructors and specialists is ideal for learning the basics, which can be practiced right off the resort docks, where Bonaire’s famously colorful reefs are just yards offshore.

Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

The waterfront scuba center at Buddy Dive resort is the starting point for boat trips to area dive sites. Divers can also enter right from the dock to discover a pristine reef just offshore. Photo: Buddy Dive

Lions Dive, Curacao

Sitting right on the edge of the National Curacao Underwater Park, the lushly landscaped Lions Dive Beach Resort houses the island’s number one dive shop and scuba training facility: Ocean Encounters. With the help of attentive instructors, newbies can master the basics in the 50-meter pool, and on shallow reefs just offshore of the Sea Aquarium Beach, and then catch the daily dive boats for visits to nearby coral gardens.

Curacao Lions Dive Beach Resort

Daily boat trips from Lions Dive Resort carry divers to sites within the Curacao Underwater Marine Park, where submerged slopes are covered in colorful growths of corals and sponges. Photo: Lions Dive Resort

Bimini Big Game Club, Bahamas

Though best known as a fishing lodge, the Big Game Club is also a great place to learn to dive, thanks to an affiliation with Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center. The calm shallows around the island are ideal for practicing basic skills, and a bonus for newly-minted “bubble blowers” is the chance to dive some of the region’s most famous underwater attractions, such as the mysterious Atlantis Road and the playful pods of dolphins that gather nearby.

Bimini Big Game Club Bahamas

The docks of the Bimini Big Game Club are just a short boat ride away from prime dive sites such as the Mysterious Bimini Road, which is said to be the remains of the lost city of Atlantis. Photo: Bimini Big Game Club

Utila Lodge, Bay Islands

The Bay Islands of Honduras are famous for their lush coral reefs and thriving fish populations. Perched in the heart of the island diving scene is Utila Bay Lodge. This charming family owned lodge offers both dorm-style lodging and private ocean view rooms, and it is also home to the Bay Islands College of Diving. Snorkeling and introductory dive sites are right off the dock, and as skills are mastered, new divers can discover Utila’s many famous underwater attractions.

Honduras Bay Islands Utila Lodge

With warm, calm waters right off the docks, and pristine coral reefs just a short swim or boat ride away, the Utila Bay Lodge is an ideal location to learn to scuba dive. Photo: Utila Bay Lodge

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