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Written by Scuba Divers ~ DIVEIN.com’s Complete Guide to:

The Best Diving in Barbados

Weather in Barbados

AVERAGE TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F RAINFALL DAYS — 112mm / 4.4 inches

Water in Barbados

AVERAGE WATER TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F

Currency

Barbadian dollar (BBD)
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Language

English
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The authors:

torben lonne

Katt Andryskova

Scuba Instructor and Writer at DIVEIN.com

Plucky little Barbados offers visitors a treat both above and below water. Submerged wrecks, warm tropical waters, thrilling deep water dives in the Atlantic, and plenty of turtles and barracuda make Barbados a destination that many scuba divers return to year after year.

On land, the laid-back island vibe and diversity of the local population makes for a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Plus, with some of the prettiest beaches in the region, you’ll be hard-pressed to decide between staying dry or lounging in the sun!

Situated in the Lesser Antilles, Barbados is surrounded by the Carribean Sea on its west coast and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. While most diving in conducted on the sheltered western side, occasionally divers head to the east for a different body of water and some open-ocean thrills.

The 20 Best Dive sites in Barbados?

Sort this list to fit your scuba level and wishes

Recommended Level


  1. Beginner
  2. Intermediate
  3. Advanced

Dive Type


  1. reef
  2. Boat
  3. Wreck
  4. Shore
  5. Macro
  6. Drift
  7. Slope
  8. Shallow
  9. Night
  10. Muck

Show only the very best


  1. Yes
  2. No

The Boot

Aptly named, The Boot dive site on Barbados’ west coast is situated just off the famous Sandy Beach. This reef combines the best of two worlds, reef and wreck, thanks to the small Coast Guard ship that met its end in these waters. The reef itself is vibrant with excellent coral cover. Sponges and corals also coat the wreckage. At between 12 to 24 meters (40-80ft), and in a sheltered location, The Boot is a good site for all divers and a popular Barbados dive.

Things to see

Turtles are the big find here with more than one species present most of the time. Keep an eye out for trumpet fish and peacock (flowery) flounders, too.


Beginner reef Boat Wreck Our Favorite

Carlisle Bay

Barbados has some of the best wreck diving in the Caribbean in terms of diversity and accessibility and Carlisle Bay is a good example of why. Situated on the island’s south-west coast, Carlisle is home to six sunken vessels. A marine park, the sheltered bay offers the ideal place for beginner divers to start exploring Barbados’ wreck diving sites.

Things to see

Apart from the ever-present turtles, divers flock to Carlisle for the wrecks, the most popular of which is the Bajan Queen. The Berwin is also worth a visit, this French tug, which sunk in 1919, is the oldest wreck in the bay. She rests at 7.6m/25ft.


Beginner reef Boat Wreck Shore

Cement Plant Pier

It’s not every day one gets to dive among the remnants of an abandoned cement factory but this is what diving at Cement Plant Pier is all about. Located on the north coast, the pier’s chunky columns provide homes to a wide variety of marine life. The site is also accessible from both shore or a boat. This dive is one of the most popular in Barbados, so chat with your dive school and try to arrange a time when it is less frequently visited.

Things to see

The remains of the pier have excellent coral cover all over the imposing columns. Lots of tropical fish hide here, including the elusive frogfish. Divers should also look out for crabs, scorpionfish, gurnard, lobster, and long-snout seahorses.


Beginner reef Boat Shore Macro Our Favorite

SS Stavronikita

Considered by many to be the best wreck dive in Barbados, the SS Stavronikita has been resting upright between 35 and 9 meters (114-29ft) in Barbados’ west coast since 1976. The Greek freighter caught on fire in the early 70s and after being rescued, finally sunk in Barbados’ tropical waters. Because of the depth variations, the wreck is suitable for divers of all levels. It is also penetrable but special training is advised before divers undertake this.

Things to see

The wreckage is an established artificial reef and now, after thirty years under the surface, it is encrusted with coral and life. Keep an eye out for the large gorgonian fans, barracuda, and turtles.


Beginner Boat Wreck Our Favorite

Barracuda Junction

Called Barracuda Junction because of the large schools of barracuda who prowl the lengths and depths looking for a meal, this Barbados reef provides a home to plenty of fish, so the barracudas usually get lucky. Most dives here are done as a drift between 18 and 24 meters (65-80ft) but the reef does slope down to a maximum depth of around 44 meters (150ft).

Things to see

Apart from the barracuda who give the site its name, there are plenty of colorful sponges and reef fishes to keep divers engaged. Large schools of baitfish also congregate here.


Advanced Boat Wreck Drift Our Favorite

Pamir

Purposefully sunk on the west coast, the Pamir is a well-preserved wreck that has been delighting divers since 1983. The interior divisions have, for the most part, been torn away so penetration of the wreck is easy. Plus with plenty of marine life making the Pamir their home, it’s a great dive all-round.

Things to see

Look out for the small submarine, which located just off the bow’s port side. Snake eels, plenty of tropical fish, and the occasional turtle passing by mean photographers will be happy to dive the Pamir.


Beginner Boat Wreck

Consett Bay

When the waters are calm and the weather is good, divers can leave the sheltered Carribean side of Barbados and head to Consett Bay on the Atlantic east coast. Unlike the more colorful, tropical west side, the waters here are packed with huge coral formations, caverns, and swim-throughs. Plus with the Atlantic ocean comes the chance to see sharks — creatures Barbados isn’t well known for but that certainly visit the island.

Things to see

Sharks! If you’re in luck, large pelagics such as jacks and king trevally will cruise past you in the blue water, too.


Advanced reef Boat Our Favorite

Maycocks Bay

While beautiful Maycocks Bay is not ideal for swimmers, it does house some excellent diving for those willing to go under the water in this bay’s sometimes tumultuous waters. Once under the surface, divers are met by large blocks of reef interspersed with white sandy channels to follow and explore.

Things to see

Plenty of parrotfish live here and help contribute to those pure white sands you see everywhere in Barbados. Look out for the schools of Bermuda chub and the lobsters who hide in the reef’s crevices. The barrel sponges make for great photographs, too.


Advanced reef Boat

Highwire

Located not too far away from Dover beach is Highwire, a dive site that takes its name from one unusual feature: submerged cables suspended over the reef. Although the waters aren’t always calm here, it’s a great dive site that is infrequently visited, just save it for a day when the surface is flat. Located at a depth of 18 to 36 meters (60-120ft), this Barbados dive is best reserved for advanced divers.

Things to see

The reef itself is in good condition, sponges and corals hide plenty of tiny creatures including shrimp and nudibranchs — good news for slug lovers! Macro photographers will have a ball at this site and there’s plenty to discover for those without a camera, too.


Advanced reef Boat Macro Drift

Victor’s

Off Fitts Village on the west coast and located near the SS Stavronikita, is one of the lesser-visited dive sites around the island. Victor’s reef offers depths between 15 and 37 meters (50-120ft) and features a combination of both soft and hard corals, making it quite different from other reefs in the area. This varied topography forms a backdrop for huge numbers of fish and marine life.

Things to see

Victor’s is a great dive for seeing some of the bigger creatures, such as turtles and rays. But look to the reef closely and you’ll be treated to some smaller life including soldierfish, butterflyfish, and even the elusive seahorse.


Beginner reef Boat Macro Drift

The Muff

The Muff is a 25-meter-wide (80ft) ridge sitting at 18 meters (60ft) depth. It’s also probably the Barbados dive site with the most colorful name! The seaward side drops down sharply to over 40 meters (130ft) while the opposite side has a gentle slope reaching down to a depth of 30 meters (100ft). The reef is covered in barrel sponges, large sea fans, coral whips, and plumes. The Muff is famous locally for the bright orange elephant ear sponges that add an extra pop of color.

Things to see

Barracuda are frequently seen here, along with horse-eye jacks, blackjacks, and the occasional shark. There are also plenty of eels and rays to keep divers entertained.


Intermediate reef Boat Slope Our Favorite

Johnsons

An abundance of marine life makes Johnsons one of the most popular dives in Barbados. Stunning soft corals and huge tube and barrel sponges are a haven for small critters; macro photographers should definitely bring their cameras. Large schools of fish hover and dance above and around the reef. Calm conditions and depths of 21 to 24 meters (70-80ft) offer photographers the chance to focus on capturing that perfect shot.

Things to see

Keen-eyed divers can spot a whole host of macro creatures hiding out among the corals. Parrotfish, turtles, and schools of barracuda are just a few of the highlights of Johnsons reef.


Beginner reef Boat Macro Our Favorite

Dottins

This shallow reef dive on Barbados’ west coast lies at 12 to 18 meters (40-60ft), so there’s always plenty of light filtering through. Towards the northern end, the reef is scattered with lush corals and sandy patches, while the south is carpeted in sponges and bright colored corals. Due to its shallow depth and the fact that it’s easily accessible, Dottins is a popular spot for night dives.

Things to see

Creole wrasse blanket the reef while grouper, yellowtail snapper, and grunts are frequent visitors. Look out for stingrays and conch shells hidden in the sandy patches. Resident turtles are often seen swimming around in search of food.


Beginner reef Boat Drift Shallow Night

Great Ledge

Although not as shallow as Dottins, there’s plenty of light and color at Barbados’ Great Ledge dive site. The reef stretches from 17 to 24 meters (55-80ft) and is carpeted in a wide variety of coral and plant life, all of which provide shelter for a multitude of large and small marine creatures.

Things to see

Atlantic spadefish, Mackeral, lizardfish, and scrawled filefish are just some of the creatures that call the Great Ledge their home. Lower down on the reef and hidden amongst the corals, spotted eels poke their heads out on a hunt for food.


Intermediate reef Boat Drift

Bajan Queen

The Bajan Queen, one of Barbados’ most popular wreck dives, began life as a tug boat before becoming a party venue when she was decommissioned. Eventually, she was purposely sunk in 2002 and now lies at 12 meters (40ft) in Carlisle Bay. The old tug is so tall, that she almost breaks through the surface. Now a thriving artificial reef, the Bajan Queen has become hugely popular as it offers novice divers a great introduction to wreck diving. A large engine room is easily penetrable and is a fun way to begin exploring. Off the stern, there’s also a small reef for divers to explore.

Things to see

The lower deck features a school of glassy sweepers who hang out by a spiral staircase. Banded coral shrimp, anemones, and bristle worms are just some of the creatures that live in and around the wreck.


Beginner reef Boat Wreck Macro

Old Fort

Depths of 9 to 28 meters (30-90ft) make Old Fort a shallow dive that is ideal for beginners. The reef heads out from the remains of a historic fort so there’s some history behind the dive site’s name. Small groups of sponges and coral boulders litter the sandy bottom, along with a collection of cannonballs and antique bottles. Photographers will be in their element as the reef at Old Fort is all about the macro life.

Things to see

Sea anemones offer some good photo opportunities with their resident cleaner shrimp. Some of the other fish populating Old Fort include glassy eyes, grunts, yellow goatfish, and spotted drum.


Beginner reef Macro Drift Muck

Bright Ledge

Bright Ledge is one of the most vibrant reefs among all of Barbados’ dive sites. Beginning at 15 meters (50ft) and dropping down to 60 meters (200ft), the reef is alive with colorful corals, sponges, and a medley of marine creatures.

Things to see

The reef attracts barracudas, nurse sharks, and manta rays who come to feed. There’s also the opportunity to see the endangered Hawksbill turtle. Bright Ledge is a great site for spotting shellfish, such as crabs and lobsters, too.


Advanced reef Boat Drift Our Favorite

Clarke’s Bank

At 18 to 28 meters (60-90ft) and encrusted with life, Clarke’s Bank is a beautiful and vibrant reef. The dive site’s mixture of soft and hard corals and large, red gorgonian sea fans means that photographers will be in their element. The site is often frequented by the locally-based Atlantis Submarine, which circles the reef and the divers. It’s a strange experience to observe people who are watching you and a must-do Barbados experience!

Things to see

Horse-eye jacks, creole wrasse, and yellowtail snapper are some of the highlights of Clarke’s Bank.


Intermediate reef Boat Drift

Caribbee

Caribbee consists of a dome-shaped reef at 18 meters (60ft) that drops off on either side to 46 meters (150ft). Heading in a westerly direction, the topography is dominated by an abundance of purple sea fans, deep-red gorgonian fans, and sea whips that appear to line the reef in near-perfect formation. Most divers stay on top of the reef to maximize their bottom time.

Things to see

Barracuda, eagle rays, and turtles are often spotted around the area. Caribbee is an excellent dive site to see the huge variety of reef fish the Caribbean has to offer.


Advanced reef Boat Drift Slope Our Favorite

Bell Buoy

As the name suggests, Bell Buoy is a bell-shaped reef. Thanks to is size, it offers something for divers of all levels. The massive reef is located 9 to 21 meters (30-70ft) below the surface and is covered in a forest of corals that play host to all manner of creatures. When the bright sunlight shines on the shallow reef, the setting is ideal for photographers.

Things to see

Bell Buoy is a reef literally teeming with marine life including gorgonian corals, angelfish, parrotfish, and Chromises.


Beginner reef Boat

More about Diving in Barbados

Barbados is the perfect destination for a memorable scuba diving experience, surrounded by barrier reefs and strewn with numerous shipwrecks.
It is an island in the western area of the North Atlantic and is located 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the Caribbean Sea.

Diving in Barbados
The vast coastline and ideal weather and water conditions makes Barbados one of the world’s leading dive destinations.

With an incredible assortment of underwater species, Barbados clearly is a magnificent setting full of marine wonders and exciting dive opportunities.

  • Collections of surrounding vibrant coral reefs create many scuba attractions.
  • Two barrier reefs provide a number of dive sites taking you to a different dimension.
  • Hundreds of shipwrecks exists with several located in the northern part of Barbados & are easily accessible, even to beginner divers.
  • Encounters with numerous hawksbill and leatherback turtles are likely to occur diving along Barbados’ inshore reefs.
  • Divers can explore Barbados’ calm seas and appreciate the beauty of the underwater world all they want, day and night, with fluorescence night diving in the Eastern Caribbean.
  • Divers can dive Barbados year round with an excellent water visibility of up to 25 meters (80 feet) and consistent water temperatures between 21-27°C (70-80°F).

Knowing More About Barbados:

Barbados is definitely a paradise island from sunrise to sundown.

Check out and enjoy:

  • Barbados Wildlife Reserve
  • Andromeda Botanic Gardens
  • The sports bar, nightclubs, and theaters

Barbados also greets its visitors with its distilled spirits and lighthearted nightlife. In addition, there are numerous other tourist activities making it the perfect vacation destination. As the moon takes over, the atmosphere of absolute pleasure will definitely begin to spread making you feel like you are living life to the fullest in Barbados.

Scuba divers around the world agree that diving in Barbados is a pleasure. Did we miss your favorite dive site in Barbados? Drop us a line below and tell us about it!

3 Comments

  1. Anna

    Hi everyone!
    That is really a good article!
    I am an Open Water Scuba Instructor currently located in Lanzarote in the Canary islands. I am European citizen and looking for a way to move to the Caribbean to work there. Do you have any recommendations???
    Anything you can tell me would be really helpfull!

    Thank you!

  2. Russell Bowyer

    Love Barbados – although never seen any sharks when diving there (I love seeing sharks), which I don’t fully understand why they’re not there. Having said that, there’s plenty of other creatures to see and of course Barbados itself is beautiful and the people are lovely.

  3. Torben Lonne

    Hi Anna,

    Barbados is the perfect place for you to go. Although, you need to make sure you can get a work visa before you go.

    Have a great time wherever you end up.

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