The Bahamas is made up of over 3,000 islands, islets and cays, and 180,000 square miles of ocean space. The origin of the name Bahamas is derived from the Spanish ‘baja mar’, meaning "shallow sea." Most of the tourism and traffic in and out of the Bahamas takes place around its larger islands, residing in the northeastern part of the island nation. The islands of Andros, Grand Bahama and Abaco are some of the larger islands.
The city of Freeport is on the southern coast of Grand Bahama island- the northern most major Bahama Island. Grand Bahama is the closest major Bahama destination to the US state of Florida and a common docking port for cruise ships coming to and from the large US port of Miami, Floridian. There are many dive shops and dive sites to explore off Grand Bahama.
The Bimini Islands are a group of small islands that are also close to Miami, Florida, USA. To the south of Bimini and off the coast of the Florida Keys is the Cay Sal Bank that is part of The Bahamas vast ocean territory. The Cal Sal Bank is a huge area between Cuba and the Florida Keys, where there are a few scattered, very small reef islets, where birds and plants live just inches above sea level. This is an amazing place to scuba dive and explore, just one of many in The Bahama territory.
The largest island in the Bahamas is Andros. Andros lies along the western most territory of the Bahamas and is about 200 miles from Florida. Andros Town on the eastern coast of Andros is the island's main city and port. Offshore from Andros is the small island of New Providence, where the capital city of the Bahamas, Nassau resides. Just offshore from Nassau is Paradise Island, home to the famous resort Atlantis. Nassau has a population of over a quarter million people, and 70% of the Bahamas population live on the small island of New Providence. Nassau is a major tourist port for boat and air travel.
Between the island of Andros and the island of New Providence is a deep U-shaped oceanic trench known as the Tongue of the Ocean that is part of the Great Bahama Canyon. The trench extends south and at its deepest point reaches 6,600 feet deep. The deep trench is in stark contrast to the miles and miles of shallow bank that lies off shore most of the Bahamas islands.
To the north of Andros and Nassau are the islands of Abaco, made up of Great Abaco and Little Abaco to its north. On Abaco is Cooper's Town, a common place to embark on scuba and snorkel trips.
In general, the northwestern islands of the Bahamas offer great scuba diving and easier access because of the major ports and international airports of the larger islands. There is literally scuba diving off all of the Bahama Islands due to their shallow waters that offer pristine viability and reef that stretch for miles and miles along shorelines and offshore out in the extensive Bahama Bank shallows.
There is great scuba diving throughout the Bahama Islands and the surrounding shallow wonders of the Bahama Bank. The western Bahama Islands include the larger islands of Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros and the small island of New Providence, where the capital of Nassau resides. These core islands of the country see the most tourism and boat and air traffic compared to the more remote and less travelled southern realm.
If you fly into Nassau, there are great scuba diving sites right off the island of New Providence. About 10 miles east of Nassau is Lost Ocean Blue Hole for starters. This bell shaped blue hole drops to about 300 feet, and is a great blue hole for beginner and advanced divers to explore. It is common to see French angelfish, large Nassau grouper, southern stingrays and blacktip reef sharks at the site.
There are so many established scuba diving sites off the western shore of New Providence island. Out off Lyford Cay off the island's northwestern shore there are the dives sites: Lampton Wall, Elkhorn Gardens and the wreck dive known as Abilin Wreck. These scuba diving sites not far from Nassau are fairly close to shore and are suitable for intermediate level divers.
Scuba diving in Bimini is a treat especially because it is so close to Miami, Florida and is a relatively short boat trip if adventuring from the mainland USA. The infamous Bimini Road is a great place to dive and explore the mystery and lore of the area. The shallows of Bimini provide a perfect habitat for reef fish, coral, and large marine life such as dolphins and many varieties of sharks such as nurse sharks and hammerheads. If you patiently wait in the shallows around coral and anemones, you will spot one of the most exciting dive sites in Bimini; drift diving along the Bimini Wall. The wall's edge is at 120 feet below the surface and the wall plunges to the darkness below. This wall dive is for advanced scuba divers only.
A unique and remote place to dive is the Cay Sal Bank, out in the far western territory- but still considered the Bahamas. This shallow oasis is cut by deep walls all around but the huge expanse of shallow bank extends for miles and miles with only a few islands barely jotting their rocky heads above the surface of the clear blue waters. There are blue holes interspersed with islands of reef and vast beds of white sand like underwater deserts that, as a diver, you can literally get lost in if you do not pop up for a look. Many liveaboards offer weeklong trips out to the Cay Sal Bank, and getting on board for a trip to the bank is well worth it. Some of the Cay Sal Banks dive sites include the blue holes and reef around Damas Cays in the eastern zone of the Cay Sal Bank.
The Cay Sal Bank Wall is one of the most magnificent places to drift dive that I have ever encountered, the depth is amazing and the swarming hammerheads seem to float in space far below you. The huge grouper and fans swaying in the swift current are amazing, as your eyes swish past your liveaboard, floating above with you. The Cay Sal Bank should not be missed!
When arriving into the Bahamas, most scuba divers start in Nassau, flying into the Bahama's highest traffic airport, Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS). There is also Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) on the northern island of Grand Bahama. There are also domestic and private airstrips on most of the Bahamas western islands.
There is also the option of boating or sailing the Bahamas, the multiple shallow reefs and islets require an experienced captain to avoid becoming a future artificial reef dive site yourself. If you are hop flying around and want to get to Andros, book a flight from Nassau or Freeport to any of Andros four active airstrips including Andros Town Airport (ASD). The small Bimini islands have three active airports as well. Basically, all of the larger Bahama Islands have one or more airstrips, and even small cays have airstrips and hop flights can be booked last minute at reasonable prices.
In Nassau, there are many dive shops for scuba divers to choose from. Most dive shops offer great instruction, certification building classes and interesting day trips on their private boats to locations around Nassau and beyond. Check out the Nassau dive shop Bahama Divers or Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas to book a scuba diving trip to explore the Bahamas around the Nassau vicinity.
Along the western shores of The Bahamas are the Bimini Islands. Famous for the Bimini road, possibly an underwater ancient road when the water was receded thousands of years ago or a natural structure. To dive Bimini is amazing, and there are several dive shops that service the island chain. Check out Neal Watson's Bimini Scuba Center, this all-in-one dive shop is in conjunction with Bimini Sands Resort & Marina. Together the resort and the dive shop offer scuba instruction and classes, day trips, and equipment rentals for beginners and advanced divers.
The largest island in the Bahamas is Andros and there you will find many resorts, restaurants, and dive shops to explore the many scuba diving sites along the big island. The dive shop known as Small Hope Bay Lodge is a scuba resort that offers accommodations and access to the dive sites around Andros. Another resort called Tiamo Resort on South Andros is a great romantic getaway location, private and designed to accommodate scuba divers, snorkelers and those who just want to eat well and relax on the beautiful white sand beaches.
Exuma Bahamas is a perfect scuba get-a-way! We loved it! Rented a wonderful beach house on bone fish flats. Huge deep blue hole just around the corner, got lobsters & shrimp and saw rays, tons of various fish,(great fishing) reefs all over snorkeled more than we scuba dove. The water is so clear, we stayed in from dawn till dusk, Gotta try the local coconut bread! Best vaca. EVER!
There is great scuba diving throughout the Bahama Islands and the surrounding shallow wonders of the Bahama Bank. The western Bahama Islands include the larger islands of Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros a...
When arriving into the Bahamas, most scuba divers start in Nassau, flying into the Bahama's highest traffic airport, Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS). There is also Grand Bahama In...