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Best Diving in Antigua

The 5 Best Diving Spots in Antigua

Planning a sailing vacation in Antigua? If scuba diving and snorkeling are on your agenda, you’re in luck—Antigua boasts a diverse array of renowned dive sites, from shipwrecks to lush coral reefs.

If you love wreck dives, Antigua offers several significant shipwrecks. These melancholy sites have been transformed into vibrant habitats for colorful aquatic plants and schools of fish. If you prefer a reef dive, there are some magnificent biodiverse coral reefs not too far off the coasts.

Join us as we explore the best diving and snorkeling spots in Antigua, perfect for every skill level. 

What is diving in Antigua like?

Diving in Antigua is an easy-breezy and serene experience all-year round. The sizzling Caribbean climate keeps the waters pleasantly warm, and the endless sunshine means that visibility is great too. Not to mention, the preventative work done to protect the coral reefs (like banning toxic sunscreens) has kept them in great condition for tourists, natives and marine life alike. 

Moreover, if you’re new to snorkeling or scuba diving and don’t have the necessary equipment or training, there are plenty of opportunities for beginners. You can rent equipment and take lessons to ensure you get as much as possible out of the best dive sites in Antigua. 

When is the best time to dive or snorkel in Antigua?

The best time to dive or snorkel in Antigua is between December to April, also known as the dry season when divers can experience bright blue skies, calm waters and crystal clear visibility. 

The wet season falls between June and November when rain falls almost daily and humidity levels are high. August, September and October also bring hurricane season which we recommend avoiding where possible.

Andes Wreck (Wreck of the Andes)

The Andes Wreck is a three-masted sailing boat that sank in 1905 after catching on fire while en route to Chile. This site offers some of the best diving in Antigua – it isn’t too deep (only 30ft underwater), and thus suitable for snorkeling and scuba diving. 

A wide variety of different fishes are visible here, flurries congregating around the wreckage. Alongside schools of parrotfish, damselfish and angelfish, you may also see lobsters, arrow crabs and turtles if you’re lucky.

The Andes Wreck is just off the coast of Deep Bay – you could take a refreshing dive around this shipwreck after a morning of sunbathing on the long, white-sand beach, or hiking the trails around Fort Barrington.

Long Bay Beach

With a shallow reef just off the beach, Long Bay Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots in Antigua, especially if you’re spending a night in the nearby adults-only resort Pineapple Beach Club. 

The sea bed is covered with fields of turtle grass and other aquatic plants billowing gently in the currents, along with diverse sea sponges and pillar corals. Expect to find fish hiding in the craggy formations, including tangs of every color.
As this site is not far from the village of Willikies, you can venture there afterwards for a leisurely walk on land and to fetch some supplies for dinner onboard your sailing or power yacht.

Pillars of Hercules (Pillars Reef)

In English Harbour, beside Galleon Beach, you can find the Pillars of Hercules – these magnificent rock formations are already brilliant to look at from your yacht, but there are even more wonders hidden below the surface of the water.

As we have expressed before in our best diving in the Caribbean blog, Pillars Reef is one of the best places to snorkel or go scuba diving in Antigua. The visibility is fantastic – the rocky landscape, dotted with healthy corals, is near the surface and great for beginners and more advanced snorkelers and divers alike. Here, you may be able to spot peacock flounders, spotted eagle rays, pufferfish and black durgons.
The Pillars of Hercules are just around the corner from Freeman’s Bay, and our base at Nelson’s Dockyard. Read our Antigua sailing itinerary for more information on what to do around Freeman’s Bay.

Cades Reef

A two-mile long barrier reef, Cades Reef is something special to behold. We consider this one of the best diving and best snorkeling spots in Antigua for two reasons. Firstly, you can spot many reef fish here, including trumpet fish, nurse sharks, barracudas, moray eels and (if you’re really lucky) octopuses. 
Secondly, Cades Reef is a sobering place to visit for people passionate about the ocean and marine life. While it is still teeming with life, you can see a fair amount of bleached coral here. We think it’s valuable for sailors to visit places where the coral is suffering to understand the impact we can make. Read all about Our Ocean Promise to learn what The Moorings are doing to champion sustainable travel.

Stingray City

On the northeast side of Antigua, just 30 minutes from St Johns on the water, is Stingray City. This attraction is incredibly popular, and for good reason – Stingray City is perhaps the most delightful place to go snorkeling in Antigua. 

Like the name implies, these shallow and crystal-clear waters are a place that dozens of southern stingrays flock to, so you can go swimming with them and even feed them. The stingrays are used to humans and extremely friendly, so this is a lovely activity to experience with family and friends. Bring plenty of reef-safe sunscreen, as there isn’t any shade here, and prepare to be delighted.

Other things to do in Antigua

Outside of snorkeling and scuba diving, there are plenty of things to do in Antigua for sailors. This paradise of lush, green landscapes, rugged coves and cays, and inviting towns is the perfect place to let your cares melt away. Whether you’re inclined to dig into its rich colonial history or try as many of the lively beach bars as possible, Antigua is a treasure trove.

Book your dive experience at Andes Wreck with The Moorings today!

Contributor

isabelcoltham

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