Archive for the ‘Central America’ Category

100 Best Scuba Diving Sites, Operators, Destinations and More

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Top 100 Readers Choice Awards: Gold List

At the beginning of every year, Scuba Diving magazine sends a survey to our print and digital subscribers to find out where they love to scuba dive — among many other questions. The Top 100 Gold list is the compilation of reader votes for the best dive sites, dive operators, liveaboards, big-animal encounters and more, regardless of location. We are proud to present the list that you — our readers — brought to life!

Underwater Photo Wall Diving

Shutterstock.com

Best Wall Dives

#1 Palancar Deep, Cozumel, Mexico

#2 Bloody Bay Wall, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

#3 Molokini Crater Back Wall, Maui, Hawaii

#4 Blue Corner, Palau

#5 Half Moon Caye, Lighthouse Reef, Belize

#6 Big Tunnels, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#7 Mary’s Place, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

#8 Amphitheater, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

#9 Cane Bay Wall, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Underwater Photo Diver in Devil's Grotto Cayman Islands

Shutterstock

Best Dive Sites

#10 Cathedrals, Lanai, Hawaii

#11 Devil’s Grotto, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#12 Something Special, Bonaire

#13 Cenote Dos Ojos, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

#14 Eagle Ray Pass, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#15 Darwin’s Arch, Galapagos

#16 Cod Hole, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

#17 Great White Wall, Fiji

#18 Farnsworth Bank, Catalina Island, California

Thistlegorm Wreck Red Sea Egypt Trucks Underwater

Shutterstock

Best Wreck Diving

#19 Spiegel Grove, Key Largo, Florida

#20 Kittiwake, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#21 Fujikawa Maru, Truk Lagoon, Micronesia

#22 El Aguila, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

#23 Oriskany, Pensacola, Florida

#24 Corsair, Oahu, Hawaii

#25 U-352, Morehead City, North Carolina

#26 Thistlegorm, Red Sea, Egypt

#27 Liberty, Bali, Indonesia

scuba diver in kelp forest underwater photo california

Shutterstock

Best Shore Dives

#28 CoCo View Wall, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

#29 Alice in Wonderland, Bonaire

#30 Buddy’s Reef, Bonaire

#31 Blue Heron Bridge, Riviera Beach, Florida

#32 Avalon Underwater Park, Catalina Island, California

#33 La Jolla Cove, San Diego, California

#34 Mala Wharf, Maui, Hawaii

#35 Sharks Cove, Oahu, Hawaii

#36 Lighthouse Point Reef, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Underwater Photo Diver in Cenote in Mexico

Shutterstock

Most Unusual Dive Sites

#37 Great Blue Hole, Belize

#38 Devil’s Throat, Cozumel, Mexico

#39 Christ of the Abyss, Key Largo, Florida

#40 1,000 Steps, Bonaire

#41 Jellyfish Lake, Palau

#42 Cenote Chac Mool, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

#43 Bonne Terre Mine, Missouri

#44 Pelagic Magic, Kona, Hawaii

#45 Washing Machine, Exuma, Bahamas

Underwater Photo Manta Night Dive Kona Hawaii

Shutterstock

Best Night Dives

#46 Manta Ray Night Dive, Kona, Hawaii

#47 Davis Reef, Key Largo, Florida

#48 Bari Reef, Bonaire

#49 Bailey’s Key, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

#50 Sunset House Resort Reef, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#51 Frederiksted Pier, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

#52 Shark Ray Alley, Ambergris Caye, Belize

#53 Fluorescent Night Dive, Koh Tao, Thailand

#54 Coral Spawning Dives, East End, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Snorkeler with Whale Shark Underwater Photo

Shutterstock

Best Big Animal Encounters

#55 Whale Sharks, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

#56 Manatees, Crystal River, Florida

#57 Sand Tiger Sharks, North Carolina

#58 Caribbean Reef Sharks, Shark Arena, New Providence, Bahamas

#59 Spinner Dolphins and Humpback Whales, Maui, Hawaii

#60 California Sea Lions, Santa Cruz Island, California

#61 Hammerhead Sharks, Galapagos

#62 Frogfish, Bari Reef, Bonaire

#63 Whitetip Reef and Blacktip Reef Sharks, Beqa, Fiji

#64 Pacific Manta Rays, Ulong Channel, Palau

Best Wall Diving Palau

Shutterstock

Best Beaches

#65 Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#66 Ka’anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

#67 Tulum, Mexico

#68 Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

#69 Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

#70 The Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

#71 West Bay Beach, Roatan, Bay Islands

#72 Destin, Florida

#73 Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia

Belize Aggressor Liveaboard Dive Vacations

Aggressor Fleet & Dancer Fleet

Best Liveaboards

#74 Galapagos Aggressor III

#75 Aqua Cat, Bahamas

#76 Cayman Aggressor IV

#77 Arenui, Indonesia

#78 Belize Aggressor III

#79 Spoilsport, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

#80 Odyssey Adventures/Truk Odyssey, Micronesia

#81 Turks and Caicos Aggressor II

#82 Maldives Aggressor

giant stride at Orange Bowl

David Benz

Best Dive Operators

#83 Buddy Dive Bonaire

#84 Reef Divers, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

#85 [Jack’s Diving Locker], Kona, Hawaii

#86 Stuart Cove’s, New Providence, Bahamas

#87 Ocean Divers, Key Largo, Florida

#88 Sunset House, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#89 Sam’s Tours Palau

#90 Amigos Del Mar, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

#91 Scuba Club Cozumel, Mexico

Best Dive Resorts Sunset House Cayman Islands

Sunset House

Best Dive Resorts

#92 Sunset House, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

#93 Anthony’s Key Resort, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

#94 Scuba Club Cozumel, Mexico

#95 CoCo View Resort, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

#96 Little Cayman Beach Resort, Cayman Islands

#97 Turneffe Island Resort, Belize

#98 Deep Blue Resort, Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

#99 Beqa Lagoon Resort, Fiji

#100 Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

World’s Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Dive Sites

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Why do the Top 100 Readers Choice Awards, now in their 23rd year, still matter to divers? Because these are your picks, based on thousands of votes from the most experienced dive travelers on the planet. Why do they matter to us? Because every month you hear from our editors on what we think matters in the world of dive travel. For the January/February issue of Scuba Diving we get to listen to you, and we’re taking notes.

Here, we proudly present the No. 1 ranking destinations in the Best Cave/Cavern/Grotto Diving category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Scuba Diver Underwater Photo Mexico Cave System

Laurent Benoit

Mexico

Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

An explosion in eco-adventure tourism has made the Mayan frontier an attractive destination for avid cave divers. Caverns as measureless as the imagination offer unique opportunities for novices, and miles of fresh exploration line present new adventures for seasoned explorers. Glass factories of intricate calcite ornaments fill passages with eye candy. Massive speleothems are stacked like wedding cakes left melting in the tropical heat. Swimming through nature’s time capsule, you’ll spot the exploration-line arrows of diving legends, and perhaps a few artifacts of cultures lost. Refreshing water and endless tunnels present hours of soak time every day. Accessible adventure, extraordinary beauty and a warm culture of colorful hospitality make Mexico the top of the list for cave divers. — Jill Heinerth

Caribbean and Atlantic

1. Mexico

2. Cayman Islands

3. Bay Islands

4. Belize

5. Bonaire



Underwater Photo Cave Diver in Palau Chandelier Cave

Aaron Wong

Palau

Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

Adventurous (and properly trained) divers know that Palau harbors dark secrets ripe for exploration. Over the eons, salt-water erosion carved caverns, tunnels and other exciting structures into the Micronesian archipelago’s limestone geography. At such world-famous sites as Chandelier Cave, Siaes Tunnel and Blue Holes, those brave enough to enter will find thrills and mysteries galore.
Eric Michael

Pacific and Indian Oceans

1. Palau

2. Hawaii

3. Australia

4. Malaysia

5. Thailand



Scuba Divers Florida Springs Cave Diving

Wes C Skiles/National Geographic Creative

Florida

Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Diving in North America

With crystal-clear water, Florida’s springs offer alluring portals that beckon divers into labyrinthine museums of natural history. Cathedral-size galleries, pristine fossilized remains and a playground of the natural variety make Florida’s caves a seductive attraction for cave divers. The freshening flow, tepid water and easy dive access make a return visit mandatory.
Jill Heinerth

North America

1. Florida



World’s Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Dive Sites

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Why do the Top 100 Readers Choice Awards, now in their 23rd year, still matter to divers? Because these are your picks, based on thousands of votes from the most experienced dive travelers on the planet. Why do they matter to us? Because every month you hear from our editors on what we think matters in the world of dive travel. For the January/February issue of Scuba Diving we get to listen to you, and we’re taking notes.

Here, we proudly present the No. 1 ranking destinations in the Best Cave/Cavern/Grotto Diving category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Scuba Diver Underwater Photo Mexico Cave System

Laurent Benoit

Mexico

Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

An explosion in eco-adventure tourism has made the Mayan frontier an attractive destination for avid cave divers. Caverns as measureless as the imagination offer unique opportunities for novices, and miles of fresh exploration line present new adventures for seasoned explorers. Glass factories of intricate calcite ornaments fill passages with eye candy. Massive speleothems are stacked like wedding cakes left melting in the tropical heat. Swimming through nature’s time capsule, you’ll spot the exploration-line arrows of diving legends, and perhaps a few artifacts of cultures lost. Refreshing water and endless tunnels present hours of soak time every day. Accessible adventure, extraordinary beauty and a warm culture of colorful hospitality make Mexico the top of the list for cave divers. — Jill Heinerth

Caribbean and Atlantic

1. Mexico

2. Cayman Islands

3. Bay Islands

4. Belize

5. Bonaire



Underwater Photo Cave Diver in Palau Chandelier Cave

Aaron Wong

Palau

Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

Adventurous (and properly trained) divers know that Palau harbors dark secrets ripe for exploration. Over the eons, salt-water erosion carved caverns, tunnels and other exciting structures into the Micronesian archipelago’s limestone geography. At such world-famous sites as Chandelier Cave, Siaes Tunnel and Blue Holes, those brave enough to enter will find thrills and mysteries galore.
Eric Michael

Pacific and Indian Oceans

1. Palau

2. Hawaii

3. Australia

4. Malaysia

5. Thailand



Scuba Divers Florida Springs Cave Diving

Wes C Skiles/National Geographic Creative

Florida

Best Cave, Cavern and Grotto Diving in North America

With crystal-clear water, Florida’s springs offer alluring portals that beckon divers into labyrinthine museums of natural history. Cathedral-size galleries, pristine fossilized remains and a playground of the natural variety make Florida’s caves a seductive attraction for cave divers. The freshening flow, tepid water and easy dive access make a return visit mandatory.
Jill Heinerth

North America

1. Florida



World’s Best Destinations for Advanced Diving

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Why do the Top 100 Readers Choice Awards, now in their 23rd year, still matter to divers? Because these are your picks, based on thousands of votes from the most experienced dive travelers on the planet. Why do they matter to us? Because every month you hear from our editors on what we think matters in the world of dive travel. For the January/February issue of Scuba Diving we get to listen to you, and we’re taking notes.

Here, we proudly present the No. 1 ranking destinations in the Best Advanced Diving category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Wreck Diving in the Cayman Islands Underwater Photo

Copyright PADI 2012

Cayman Islands

Best Advanced Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

Rebreathers let divers see the Kittiwake shipwreck in a new way.

Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

1. Cayman Islands

2. Bonaire

3. Mexico

4. Bay Islands

5. Belize



Underwater Photo Jakes Seaplane Wreck Dive Palau

Brandon Cole

Palau

Best Advanced Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

This “Jake” seaplane — Allied code for the Aichi E13A-1 Japanese navy seaplane — went down off Palau in World War II.

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

1. Palau

2. Indonesia

3. Costa Rica

4. Maldives

5. Galapagos



Underwater Photo Diver in Air Canada Wreck British Columbia

All Canada Photos/Alamy

British Columbia

Best Advanced Diving in North America

A diver exits the purpose-sunk wreck of an Air Canada 737 near Chemainus, British Columbia.

Best Overall Diving in North America

1. British Columbia

2. North Carolina

3. Florida

4. Washington

5. California



How We Got the Numbers Thousands of Scuba Diving subscribers and online users rated their experiences at dive destinations in a variety of categories on a scale from one to five. Final scores are an average of the numerical scores awarded. A minimum number of responses was required for a destination to be included in these ratings.

World’s Best Destinations for Advanced Diving

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Why do the Top 100 Readers Choice Awards, now in their 23rd year, still matter to divers? Because these are your picks, based on thousands of votes from the most experienced dive travelers on the planet. Why do they matter to us? Because every month you hear from our editors on what we think matters in the world of dive travel. For the January/February issue of Scuba Diving we get to listen to you, and we’re taking notes.

Here, we proudly present the No. 1 ranking destinations in the Best Advanced Diving category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Wreck Diving in the Cayman Islands Underwater Photo

Copyright PADI 2012

Cayman Islands

Best Advanced Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

Rebreathers let divers see the Kittiwake shipwreck in a new way.

Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean and Atlantic

1. Cayman Islands

2. Bonaire

3. Mexico

4. Bay Islands

5. Belize



Underwater Photo Jakes Seaplane Wreck Dive Palau

Brandon Cole

Palau

Best Advanced Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

This “Jake” seaplane — Allied code for the Aichi E13A-1 Japanese navy seaplane — went down off Palau in World War II.

Best Overall Diving in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

1. Palau

2. Indonesia

3. Costa Rica

4. Maldives

5. Galapagos



Underwater Photo Diver in Air Canada Wreck British Columbia

All Canada Photos/Alamy

British Columbia

Best Advanced Diving in North America

A diver exits the purpose-sunk wreck of an Air Canada 737 near Chemainus, British Columbia.

Best Overall Diving in North America

1. British Columbia

2. North Carolina

3. Florida

4. Washington

5. California



How We Got the Numbers Thousands of Scuba Diving subscribers and online users rated their experiences at dive destinations in a variety of categories on a scale from one to five. Final scores are an average of the numerical scores awarded. A minimum number of responses was required for a destination to be included in these ratings.