Antigua and Barbuda are fast rising up the ranks as one of the hottest scuba diving destinations in the Eastern Caribbean. Packed with fascinating sea life, well-preserved coral reefs, walls and shipwrecks, the beautiful underwater world of this twin island nation is something not to be missed.
Free from the crowds often found at other Caribbean dive sites, the tropical blue waters of Antigua and Barbuda remain a largely undiscovered diving paradise just waiting to be explored. The best scuba dive sites in Antigua can be found on the islands’ south-eastern coast and provide good diving for all skill levels. From snorkeling over stunning coral gardens to challenging wreck dives and spectacular encounters with nurse sharks, Antigua scuba diving attracts divers with its variety of aquatic life.
At Relocate Antigua, we’re proud to call this tropical oasis home, and have made it our personal mission to offer clients a little taste of what Antigua and Barbuda do best. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you craft a bespoke scuba diving stay in the spiritual home of beachfront living.
Read on for everything there is to know about Antigua and Barbuda’s underwater scene, from the very best diving sites to where to hire your gear – and what makes this place unlike any other. If you’re looking for a crash course in all things Antigua scuba diving, you’ve come to the right place.
Introducing Antigua & Barbuda
Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Antigua and Barbuda consist of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands. Home to close to 100,000 people, the country is nicknamed “Land of 365 Beaches”, and locals like to say it has a different beach for each day of the year. Its capital is St. John on Antigua. Antigua is also the diving epicenter, with Barbuda’s diving scene being less developed.
English is the country’s official language, which means communication with dive instructors and guides is uncomplicated. Getting to Antigua and Barbuda has become relatively easy in recent years. Direct flights and easy connections are available from the US, Canada and the UK and many European countries, and tourists from these countries, as well as many other countries do not require a visa.
Relocate Antigua is your one-stop shop for all the guidance you need in unpicking Antigua and Barbuda’s visa requirements. Whether you’re interested in finding out more about gaining residency through the country’s generous citizenship-by-investment scheme, considering relocating with work or on the lookout for work permit details, we’re here to guide you through the jargon.
Reach out to the Relocate Antigua team today to find out how we can help.
Antigua at a glance
- Hot, tropical climate.
- Consistent temperatures and hours of sunshine per year: little variation for a year-round destination.
- High season: December to April is cool and dry (average daily maximum temperature of around 28.5°C/83.3 °F).
- Low season: June to November are wet and humid (top temperatures of up to 31°C/87.8 °F). Brief heavy showers with skies quickly clearing.
- Hurricane risk: Mid-August to mid-September.
- Water temperature: Never below 26°C/78.8°F – perfect for year-round diving.
Antigua is a fairly small island. It usually does not take longer than 45 minutes from one place to another. Divers can practically stay anywhere on the island and will still be able to reach all Antigua dive sites. Divers who are unsure where to best book themselves in can also reach out to the experts of Relocate Antigua who know the island inside out and will be happy to guide them. Drop us a line, and let us help you map out the stay of a lifetime.
The 10 Best Antigua Dive Sites
Antigua is set on a shallow bank and almost completely surrounded by well-preserved coral reefs. Although there are a few deep dives, most of the scuba diving in Antigua is shallow. Most dive sites are less than 30 meters (100 feet) deep and are just a short boat ride from shore.
One of Antigua’s most popular offshore sites is Cades Reef, an underwater park that impresses with visibility of up to 30 meters deep when the sea is calm. Another well-known spot, especially for beginner divers, is Pillars of Hercules, which has gotten its name from the majestic rock formations that sit above the site. Close to English Harbour, this site offers one of the greatest examples of diversity of reef life in the Caribbean and is often promoted as a second or ‘refresher’ dive.
Introducing Relocate Antigua’s cheat sheet to Antigua’s top ten diving spots:
|Cades Reef||10 – 20 meters||South West||Excellent visibility|
|Pillars of Hercules||8 meters||South||Huge diversity of reef life|
|Black’s Point||3 – 9 meters||South||Stunning marine life and coral reef|
|Rendezvous Bay||12 – 21 meters||South||Nurse shark-spotting|
|Stoney Cove||6 – 18 meters||South East||Reef shark sightings|
|Sunken Rock||2 – 25 meters||South||Antigua’s only wall dive|
|Red Rocks||11 – 21 meters||South||Gorgeous sloping reef and sandy seabed|
|Carib House||12 – 21 meters||South||Textured landscape, shark and octopus sightings|
|Godzilla’s Lair||11 – 21 meters||South||Excellent choice for certified divers|
|Nanton Point||4 – 18 meters||South||Epic boulders, turtles|
Shark Diving Antigua
Divers who have shark diving on their bucket list should definitely head to Antigua and Barbuda. It’s a great spot to encounter sharks, particularly reef and nurse sharks. If the many Antigua scuba diving reviews are anything to go by, it’s not unusual to see three to four sharks on a single dive, making shark diving in Antigua and Barbuda an unforgettable experience. The reef shark is the most commonly encountered shark while scuba diving in the Caribbean Sea. They usually grow up to 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and are not considered dangerous to divers unless provoked.
Nurse sharks are bottom dwelling sharks that grow to lengths of 2.2 to 2.7 meters (7 to 9 feet). Brownish in color, adult nurse sharks can weigh up to 120 kilograms (265 lbs). Nurse sharks tend to rest on the ocean floor during the day. They can be spotted under ledges and in the crevices of the reef. More experienced divers should consider a night dive to see this shark in action.
Dive Shops in Antigua
Antigua’s scuba diving community is supported by plenty of dive operators. Indigo Divers
is widely regarded as one of Antigua’s leading dive centers operating from Jolly Harbour on the west coast. The Antigua Scuba School is also based in Jolly Harbour. All Antigua dive shops offer scuba diving activities and PADI certifications for all levels of divers, from beginners to experienced scuba divers. Another well-known dive operator is DiveCarib, based in English Harbour on the island’s south side. DiveCarib prides itself on being the only independent 5-star PADI facility offering a variety of scuba diving activities including guided dive tours and PADI courses.
Antigua Dive Resorts
As an upmarket travel destination, Antigua and Barbuda boast a wide selection of luxury hotels and resorts offering scuba diving. From small boutique hotels to upscale resorts, Antigua has it all.
Relocate Antigua lets you in on a few of our favorite accommodation options to offer diving facilities as a nice little added extra…
- The Sandals Grande Antigua is certainly one of the best Antigua dive resorts. It is located on Antigua’s most famous beach, Dickenson Bay, and scuba diving is part of the resorts all-inclusive offering.
- Scuba diving is also included in the Curtain Bluff, which sits on a peninsula between two beaches and is ranked among the best all-inclusive resorts in the world.
- St James’s Club & Villas also offers great scuba diving, with the dive shop of Mamora Bay Divers being located on the resort’s premises.
- Other popular resorts include the Jolly Beach Resort, the Barrymore Beach Club and the Pineapple Beach Club.
All resorts are able to organize scuba diving lessons, and those who fancy unique scuba diving adventures can contact Relocate Antigua’s personalized tour service which can organize tailor-made underwater experiences.
Why to Dive in Antigua
Antigua is definitely one of the up-and-coming dive destinations in the Caribbean, simply because it is filled with terrific dive sites, from Sunken Rock to the famous Pillars of Hercules. Ready to step out of the shadow of the more established Caribbean destinations such as Bonaire and the Cayman Islands, Antigua diving surprises with abundant marine life and crystal-clear waters that ensure scuba divers of every level have a great time. Besides, there are plenty of things to do and enjoy before and after the next scuba dive.
For travelers who want to experience the best of Antigua and Barbuda in and outside of the water, Relocate Antigua can put together a fully customized itinerary packed with activities and adventures ranging from zip-lining through rainforests and sun-bathing on pristine beaches to sunset watching and unwinding with a shot of rum or one of the many rum-based cocktails Antigua is so known for. With years of experience in tailoring perfect Caribbean holidays, give us a call or drop us a line today and we’ll start curating your dream stay.