Scuba Diving Near Barbados

The waters off the coast of Barbados are great for snorkeling and scuba diving

Photo credit: © Olga Khoroshunova |

Scuba Diving

The crystal clear waters off the white sand beaches of Barbados are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving, with visibility between 80 to 98 feet for most of the year.

More than two dozen dive sites sit between the western and southern coasts and beaches of Barbados. This is great news for active vacationers who want to get in a little underwater adventure during their Caribbean vacation. Also, the calm waters along the western coastline are perfect for snorkeling, so you don't have to go far beneath the waves to explore the amazing ocean terrain that is home to unique ocean life such as flat coral reefs, sea fans, barrel sponges, an array of tropical fish species, and much more.

Where to Go

The waters around Barbados' west coast offers divers a multitude of underwater opportunities with a diverse range of dive sites and ocean scenery. Bell Buoy, a coral reef formed in the shape of a dome with brown coral tree forests, is home to a large number of fish. At Dottins Reef, underwater wildlife like barracudas and turtles that can grow to up to 60 feet dwell within the nooks and crannies of the coral. Maycocks Bay on the northwest coast of Barbados features coral reefs separated by large corridors; divers can see about 100 feet or more down these natural underwater halls.

...some eerie underwater exploration...


The sunken freighter Pamir lies off the coast of Six Men's Bay. It is 165 feet long, and its hull remained together after it sunk. You can peep through the freighter's portholes and view all kinds of vivid fish and aquatic animals. Divers exploring the waters of Silver Bank can glimpse coral reefs that are home to numerous tropical fish and sea fans. If you're lucky, you may even be able to spot the sunken Atlantis submarine that is located at depths of about 60 to 80 feet. Another sunken wonder off the west coast is the Stavronikita. This Greek freighter can be found at around 135 feet, and makes for some eerie underwater exploration.

Just off the southwestern shores of Barbados is Carlisle Bay, which is a natural harbor that has been turned into a marine park. Here divers can rummage the sea floor for empty bottles that have accumulated after generations of sailors tossing them overboard. Also, you can find other relics from ships including cannonballs, cannons, anchors, and a few shipwrecks at 25 to 60 feet or more, and all close enough for you to visit in one dive. Here you can also find the Barbados' newest shipwreck, the Bajan Queen, which was sunk in 2002.

The aquamarine sea that laps at Barbados' sandy shores houses large, vibrant coral reefs which provide shelter for millions of spectacular sea organisms. Barbados' extensive ocean habitat is perfect for divers and snorkelers because of its unique animal and plant life.

Things to Remember

The breathtaking underwater scenery off the coast of Barbados is truly spectacular. While you're beneath the waves, remember a few important safety considerations for both snorkelers and divers.

  • It can be easy to become disoriented or stray too far away while underwater, so always be aware of your positioning in the ocean.

  • Though it may be tempting, don't feed the fish or touch the animals living in the coral reef. This can be harmful to the animals' protective covering.

  • Some of the animals living in the sea can be hard to see and you may easily step on a creature, such as a stingray or urchin, that can hurt you like. Shuffle your feet when walking in the shallows.

  • Fish like barracudas are attracted to shiny objects, which may resemble their prey; don't wear jewelry while snorkeling and scuba diving.

  • Finally, don't take objects from dive sites, because it's illegal.

Getting Equipped

To get fully equipped for your dive or snorkel excursion, visit Dive Barbados Blue, which has diving instruction of all levels, as well as reef and shipwreck dives, free transportation, and the underwater camera rentals. Hightide Watersports is another west coast dive shop with equipment rental and PADI instruction.

On Barbados' south coast, you'll find plenty of dive shops and snorkeling gear suppliers like the Dive Boat Safari, which offers three dives a day. The Dive Shop Ltd. is the oldest and possibly most well known dive shop on Barbados. It also heads out for three dives daily, but has special dives for beginners, and scuba diving certification. Many of the dive and snorkeling equipment shops offer cruises that will take you to spots with gorgeous scenery.


The cost of your scuba diving or snorkeling excursion will depend on several factors. First of all, before you can scuba dive, you must be a certified diver. To become certified you have to take classes with a licensed scuba instructor, which can cost around $350(USD) for a week long certification course. Once you become a certified diver, you will have to pay for dive runs, which cost around $120(USD) to $170(USD) for a one-tank dive and $110(USD) to $240(USD) for a two-tank run.

You should budget for the cost of the equipment rental. Most dive runs will include the cost of your scuba equipment in the cost of the overall dive, but you may have to pay extra for snorkeling equipment rental.


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