Best boat and shore diving locations

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sujo

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looking to vacation and do do some diving in the Caribbean. Looking for any place that has good shore diving as well as boat diving. Not particular in area, have dived in Bahamas, Roatan and Cozumel but any new place would be okay as well. Appreciate your time
 

drrich2

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Good shore diving narrows the options right on down. Locations known for it:

Possibly the best:

1.) Bonaire - long strip of west coast lee-ward side of the island, reef close in, dive industry infrastructure very conducive to high volume shore diving, coast-hugging road with multiple dive sites close to each other, but most shoreline isn't sandy & you walk in over iron shore so thick soled boots are needed. I've been to Bonaire 8 times; never dove Curacao.

2.) Curacao - by reputation IIRC, similar to Bonaire, but bigger, more non-dive stuff to do, more sandy beaches with easier entries but longer swim outs, the dive industry infrastructure isn't quite as shore-diving focuses (e.g.: not a lot of rental trucks loaded with tanks in the back going up & down the road), and the road paralleling the coast doesn't hug the shore line as closely so you're apt to do more driving between sites. If I got any of that wrong, someone will be along to correct it. Airfare to get there tends to be a little cheaper.

Bonaire tends to be warm, minimal current, nice reefs, pretty fishy, but not a lot of big stuff. Big would be tarpon, green morays, cubera snapper, tiger grouper, barracuda (most I saw there small), green & hawksbill sea turtles, the occasional string ray, rainbow parrotfish.

In Bonaire I have not seen sharks, black grouper, gray angelfish or pork fish, interestingly enough.

While boat diving is 'good' in Bonaire, a number of people consider it not worthwhile since it's mostly the same diving you do from shore. Neighboring Klein Bonaire, a little island, is an exception, but the diving there's said to not be all that different. From what I'm told Curacao has some boat sites that are more 'special.' Bonaire's mainly boat access sites spoken well of include Small Wall (which to me just looked like a bigger version of The Cliff) and Rappel (? spelling, which I haven't done).

Bonaire vs. Curacao.

Said to be good:

1.) St. Croix.

2.) Maybe Grand Cayman.

A thread discussing St. Croix as a dive destination.

Richard.
 

vincent54

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My favorite spot in the Caribbean is Cayman Brac. All types of shore dives, including some drift diving if you coordinate it. If you want boat diving, the two dive operations are top notch. Expensive, but worth it.
 

BoltSnap

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What drrich2 said!!! I have been to Bonaire few times and Curacao about 13 times. I generally prefer Curacao over Bonaire but either Island is great diving. The only other recommendation I have that has excellent diving is St. Vincent but it isn't shore diving. St. Vincent is great for small critters but it is all boat diving (short boat rides generally).
 

drrich2

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I've read of shore diving in Cayman Brac, but I don't have a handle on how the dive infrastructure supports it. How helpful are the dive op.s at providing tank rentals? Looking at Cayman Brac Reach Resort's website, I get sent to Reef Divers Cayman Brac's website, and at a glance, seems it's all about the valet boat diving.

So, if someone showed up mainly to shore dive, or wanted to do a couple of afternoon shore dives per day, how would that work?

Richard.

@vincent54
 

diversteve

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drrich2

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You've already been to Roatan, but where there? Are you familiar with the shore diving at CocoView on Roatan?

Richard.
 

KathyV

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My favorite spot in the Caribbean is Cayman Brac. All types of shore dives, including some drift diving if you coordinate it. If you want boat diving, the two dive operations are top notch. Expensive, but worth it.

I've read of shore diving in Cayman Brac, but I don't have a handle on how the dive infrastructure supports it. How helpful are the dive op.s at providing tank rentals? Looking at Cayman Brac Beach Resort's website, I get sent to Reef Divers Cayman Brac's website, and at a glance, seems it's all about the valet boat diving. So, if someone showed up mainly to shore dive, or wanted to do a couple of afternoon shore dives per day, how would that work? Richard.

I'm curious about this too. We have been to Brac several times and love it but we always boat dive with Reef Divers - and that is enough for us. I imagine that there must be good shore dive sites available because the boat rides to the reef are usually pretty short; but whenever I hear about the great shore diving on Brac I wonder "where and how?"
 

KathyV

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There's very good shore diving and boat diving available on Grand Cayman. Most of the good shore dive sites like Turtle Reef have on-site operators that will rent tanks and weights. A few resorts like Cobalt Coast and Sunset House have great house reefs as well as onsite dive operations and boat diving.

Bonaire is our favorite spot for shore diving but we like to mix in some boat dives while we are there. There are some dives sites that are just easier as boat dives (IMO) and there are some very nice sites around Klein Bonaire that are not accessible from shore.

Rich mentioned St. Croix and that is another good choice. We mostly boat-dived while we were there but the Fredricksted Pier is one of the easiest and best shore dives that we have ever enjoyed.
 

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