Caribbean Sea Liveaboard Diving
The Caribbean Sea is one of the major liveaboard diving destinations in the world with diving destinations like Cuba, Belize, Cayman Island and even the Bahamas.
Cuba has been on an embargo list of the United States for decades, one of the impacts of this is that American citizens have many restrictions to overcome to visit Cuba. Most do not meet the requirements, so travel to Cuba for them have been restricted. While these restrictions are being reviewed by the United States government with a goal to remove them, they are still in place. A large percentage of the Scuba divers in the world are from the United States and they have been denied the wonders of liveaboard diving Cuba.
The rest of the world have been enjoying this great diving destination. Diving is excellent all around the island and the Caribbean waters on the south coast are the destination of a number of liveaboards that sail in Cuban waters.
Isla de la Juventud, Cuba’s second largest island and a part of the Canarreos Archipelago, is one of the major liveaboard destinations. Jardines de la Reina, another favorite diving liveaboard destination, is a national park and an archipelago that is about 20 miles wide and 90 miles long.
You will find all the liveaboards cruising around Cuba here.
Belize is a destination that has a growing reputation for retirement, tourism and Scuba diving. The majority of the visitors to Belize are cruise ship passengers that just spend the day.
Scuba Divers and other adventure seekers make up the majority of those that stay longer than a day tour. Belize is protected from the open seas by the Belize Barrier Reef. The Barrier Reef itself and the hundreds of reefs and cays on its lagoon side provide divers with some of the best diving in the world.
Beyond the protection of the barrier reef is three true atolls which provide outstanding diving themselves. The famous Great Blue Hole is located on one of these atolls. While dive resorts do provide a great way to dive Belize, the distances involved makes diving from a liveaboard a very attractive means to dive Belize.
You will find all the liveaboard boats cruising around Belize here.
Cayman Island Liveaboards.
The Cayman Islands’s 365 dive sites promotion gives some insight to the range of diving that is available in the Cayman Islands. A British Overseas Territory, closely associated with scuba diving, the island nation of The Cayman Islands has two main industries, banking and tourism.
Scuba divers make up a good percentage of those important tourist. Cayman Islands have three major islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Diving in the Cayman’s can be done from resorts, however, to fully enjoy the variety of the dive sites around the different islands a liveaboard is a much better option.
Budget Caribbean Sea Liveaboards.
Given the diversity of diving that is available within the Caribbean Sea and the number of different dive destinations it is difficult to create a list of the best budget Caribbean Sea liveaboards. Here are a selection of some of the best for different destinations.
- Vision III – Cuba. The look of this liveaboard and the experience onboard tells you it should not be considered a “budget” choice. The Vision III is a sailing yacht with just 5 staterooms and takes no more than 8 divers to explore the Canarreos Archipelago. Sail the islands in relax comfort with many opportunities to explore between your dives. Possibly the best choice for a luxurious small vessel in the Caribbean.
MV Caribbean Explorer II Diving from St Kitts
- Caribbean Explorer II – St.Kitts or St.Maarten. Caribbean Explorer II departs from either St.Kitts or St.Maarten and sails the northeastern Caribbean. The Saba Marine Park as well as the St. Kitts and Nevis Islands are the prime destination for this 35 meter luxury liveaboard. While a luxury liveaboard that carries 18 guest in 9 staterooms, it is one of the best values in the Caribbean offering one of the lowest per day rates in the region.
Luxury Caribbean Sea Liveaboards
The scuba diving liveaboard industry has come a long way since the days of converted fishing trawlers. Most scuba diving liveaboards are now custom built for the purpose of scuba diving.
- Avalon Fleet – Cuba. The Avalon I and the Avalon II sail the waters of Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park in Cuba. This destination is only available to a few liveaboards and is too far off shore to be dived by land resorts. Each of these liveaboards offer an outstanding dive and cruising experience. The Avalon I offers accommodations for 16 divers in 8 staterooms. Avalon II has 10 staterooms for up to 20 divers.
- Aggressor Fleet. The Aggressor fleet is well represented in the Luxury category of Caribbean liveaboards. The M/V Cayman Aggressor IV is a 33m, luxury liveaboard scheduling year round, 7 night/8 day diving cruises around the Cayman Islands. MV Cayman Aggressor IV has nine luxury staterooms equipped with private bathroom and shower. Another Caribbean vessel of the Aggressor fleet is the M/V Belize Aggressor III. She is a 33m luxury liveaboard that comfortably accommodates 18 divers attended to by an attentive crew of 6 members.
- Turks & Caicos Explorer II. This member of the Explorer is just slightly more expensive than the Caribbean Explorer II bringing her out of the budget range and making it the best value in the luxury class. The Turks & Caicos Explorer II sails around the islands providing Scuba divers access to dive sites no one else dives. It also spends about 11 weeks each year at the Silver Banks giving divers an unmatched experience with migrating humpback whales. Approximately 80 miles north of the Dominican Republic, and 100 miles southeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands are the shoals of the Silver Bank.
Caribbean Liveaboards Itineraries
While there are some seasonal variations, the liveaboards in the Caribbean Sea have limited itineraries. Most do a standard week long sailing with 3 to 5 dives a day including night dives. Vessels tend to sail from the same ports or set of ports year round.
When to dive the Caribbean
Temperature wise, diving is great year round. The Caribbean has a hurricane season that runs from June through November. The majority and most dangerous are generally between August and September when the waters of the Caribbean are at their warmest. The eastern Caribbean is more prone to have them hit then other locations. Locations to the south and west such as Belize get very few.
Caribbean Liveaboard last minute
The Caribbean has a mix of large and small Fleet liveaboards. The large fleets have very effective marketing offices that generally get the vessels filled months before sailing. There are times when the liveaboards are not fully book a month or two before sailing. When this happens you may check our Caribbean liveaboards last minute page. If you are considering a trip to any of the Caribbean destinations in the near future take a look at the last minute pages.
The Caribbean Sea is a part of the tropical portion of Atlantic Ocean. The sea’s boundaries are Central America to the west and south west, the northern coast of South America to the south and the Antilles providing the northern and easterner limits.
Having an area of about 2,754,000 square kilometers. (1,063,000 sq mi), The Caribbean Sea is one of the largest seas of the world. Within the confines of the Caribbean Sea is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). The MBRS is also called the Great Mayan Reef.
A portion of the MBRS, and the reason it is a barrier reef system is the Belize Barrier Reef is contained within the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. The diving destinations of this area includes Cayman Islands, Cuba, Belize, Mexico’s East coast, Jamaica, United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and others. While often closely associated with the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas are located in the Atlantic Ocean.