Our selections for the Best Caribbean Diving Destinations at which to explore the region’s coral reefs were made using the following main criteria, all of which must be “good to outstanding” for a destination to be included in our list:
- Quality and variety of coral reef diving sites
- Diversity and condition of reef life
- Active coral reef ecosystem management incorporating environmentally responsible diving practices
- Ready accessibility by international visitors
- Acceptable accommodations available at reasonable cost
Let’s take a moment to more thoroughly explain what we mean by each of the above standards.
The quality and variety of coral reef diving sites refers to the condition (i.e., “health”) of the coral reefs, average underwater visibility, water quality, and diversity of shallow and deep dive sites readily accessible by a short (no more than a 30-45 minute) boat trip.
The diversity and condition of marine life refers to the number of fish, coral, and other invertebrate species you are likely to see while diving at this destination, and their health.
Active coral reef ecosystem management incorporating environmentally responsible diving practices means that the referred destination has designated reasonably sized portions of its coral reef ecosystem(s) and adjacent waters as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
It also means that the dive operators at the destination adhere to sensible, reef-friendly dive practices aimed at long-term protection of the coral reef ecosystems they visit.