The Bahamas has been a popular diving destination for many, and for good reason. Made up of nearly 700 islands, there is something for all divers, of all levels. The islands boast beautiful white sandy beaches that come with crystal clear waters and warm temperatures. If you’re considering diving in the Bahamas, you’re most likely choosing between Freeport or Nassau. Both are similar when it comes to diving conditions and when to visit, however getting there will be different and marine life can vary very slightly.
Freeport is the much more traditional of the 2 - there isn’t much nightlife and if you’re not there solely to dive/snorkel you may struggle to find activities. It is much quieter, with fewer people.
Alternatively, Nassau offers much more in the way of nightlife and caters for holiday makers who don't want to party at the end of a day's diving. It is a lot busier with greater shopping options too.
Diving in the Bahamas is year round, all thanks to its subtropical climate. However, June to October is hurricane season which can greatly interrupt your diving and travellers insurance is greatly encouraged. Temperatures during this time range from 24-33℃, and water temperature tends to stay at approximately 31℃. If shark diving is your thing, it's best to visit from October to June.
November to May is known as the dry season; high temperatures, sunny days and slight humidity. Expect the temperatures to range from 18-25℃, and water temperatures to range from 24-27℃. The dry season is definitely the best time to go if you want to dive with sharks.
The Bahamas has 3 major international airports, and flights arrive regularly to all of them. The 2 most popular airports for the cheaper flights are Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) and Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO). Travelling to further islands after the international airports is fairly easy too.
Some airlines may offer direct flights to the Bahamas from the UK - specifically British Airways from London-Heathrow (LHR). Direct, it is a 9 hour flight from the UK. However, be aware that direct flights are rare. For Nassau, fly into Lynden Pindling International Airport which will most likely be a 1 stop journey.
If you are travelling from America, you can get there by cruise ship. Rent a car or take taxis to get around the island. For Freeport, fly into Grand Bahama International Airport. From Europe, you’ll most likely need to stop a few times.
If you wish to travel between islands, your options are ferries, commuter planes or privately by speedboat.
The Bahamas are known for their crystal clear and gorgeous blue waters - truly the definition of paradise. Visibility isn’t the only brilliant thing about these waters - they also offer an incredibly diverse amount of marine life and diving environments.
A very popular site is Tiger Beach. Appropriately named, this is the number 1 site for all things shark. Tiger and lemon sharks are seen in abundance, with regular sightings of great hammerheads and nurse sharks - with the occasional visit from bull sharks.
Depths of 6-7m means that this dive site doesn’t exclude those who are less experienced, or those who have yet to certify to deeper diving depths. It's also a very popular site for those with an interest in videography and photography. Should you want to visit Tiger Beach, you should go with Freeport.
Freeport offers primarily boat diving, however there are some sites you can reach from the shore. Most of the liveaboards depart from Freeport too. If you choose a liveaboard tour from Freeport, you’ll see most of the best sites and those located around the Out Islands. Although Freeport is known for its extensive marine life experiences, it also features a few shallow wrecks, one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems and coral reefs along its southern shore - all protected.
Should you choose Nassau, you’ll be able to enjoy many dive sites around the whole island. However, many of the favourites tend to sit on the western side. A high volume of marine life prefers the cover of the many wrecks in Nassau and many fish live on the reefs. You may also see a few tiger sharks, however they’re not as common in Nassau.
Marine life: What to expect diving in the Bahamas: a wide variety of different shark species (like tiger, hammerheads, reef sharks to name a few), whale sharks, dolphins, turtles, grouper, reef fish, whales and a few different species of ray.
Who to dive with:
Stuart Cove (Nassau)