All the major islands offer diving trips, lessons, and equipment, but here are the top picks.
- Bonaire: The highly accessible reefs that surround Bonaire are pristine, and the island's environmentally conscious diving industry ensures they will remain that way. Created from volcanic eruptions, the island is an underwater mountain, with fringe reefs right off the beach of every hotel on any part of the island.
- Virgin Gorda (B.V.I.): Many divers plan their entire vacations around exploring the famed wreck of the HMS Rhone, off Salt Island. This royal mail steamer, which went down in 1867, is the most celebrated diving site in the Caribbean.
- Grand Cayman: This is a world-class diving destination. There are 34 dive operators on Grand Cayman (with five more on Little Cayman, plus three on Cayman Brac). A full range of professional diving services is available, including equipment sales, rentals, and repairs; instruction at all levels; underwater photography; and video schools.
- Puerto Rico: With the continental shelf surrounding it on three sides, Puerto Rico has an abundance of coral reefs, caves, sea walls, and trenches for divers of all experience levels to explore. In southern Puerto Rico, the continental shelf drops off precipitously several miles off the southern coast, producing a dramatic wall 32km (20 miles) long and teeming with marine life.
- Saba: Islanders can't brag about its beaches, but Saba is blessed with some of the Caribbean's richest marine life. It's one of the premier diving locations in the Caribbean, with 38 official diving sites. The unusual setting includes underwater lava flows, black sand, large strands of black coral, millions of fish, and underwater mountaintops submerged under 27m (89 ft.) of water.
- Turks and Caicos: These islands provide a rich assortment of relatively unexplored underwater sites, including sea lanes where boaters and divers often spot whales from January to March. A collection of unusual underwater wrecks and miles of reefs house colorful marine life. Right off Grand Turk, experienced divers explore the many miles of "drop-off" diving, where the sea walls plunge into the uncharted depths of blue holes more than 2,100m (6,890 ft.) below sea level. As you descend, you'll see colonies of black coral, rare forms of anemone, purple sponges, stunning gorgonian, endless forms of coral, and thousands of fish.
- St. Croix: Increasingly known as a top diving destination, St. Croix hasn't yet overtaken Grand Cayman but has a lot going for it. Beach dives, reef dives, wreck dives, nighttime dives, wall dives -- they're all here. The highlight is the underwater trails of the national park at Buck Island, off St. Croix's mainland. Other desirable sites include the drop-offs and coral canyons at Cane Bay and Salt River. Davis Bay is the location of the 3,600m-deep (11,811-ft.) Puerto Rico Trench, the fifth-deepest body of water on earth.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.