"Pitons of St. Lucia" by Ron Kroetz via Flickr Creative Commons

Swaying palm trees and mega resorts are not the only thing in the Caribbean. The reefs here, within a stone’s throw of many of the world’s population centers, have long attracted a diverse group of divers and snorkelers can fulfill their vacation fantasies. There’s and island for every budget and a reef to match. Not far away, the United States has its own share of aquatic highlights, from the islands if Hawaii to the Florida Keys.

  1. Dominica Well preserved and protected dive sites such as Champagne, a bubbling underwater hot spring, and many others are among the reasons why Dominica is voted again and again as one of the world’s best. Reefs are well known for hard and soft coral, seahorses, frogfish, and small critters.
  2. Turks & Caicos Shipwrecks and legends of buried treasure, tiny cays surrounded by untouched coral, great wall and reef diving, and the chance to see Humpback whales and large fish are more than enough reason to visit.
  3. Key West, Florida The only living reef in the United States is made even better by loads of sunken ships and easily accessible sites for both divers and snorkelers. The National Marine Preserve enhances your chances of seeing dolphins, gorgonians, seafans, sponges, and pelagic fish.
  4. St. Lucia The reef, just 10 yards from the beach, is calm and clear housing seahorses, parrotfish, octopuses, sea turtles, moray eels, and some of the best macro-photography possible in the Caribbean.
  5. Grenada The 600 foot sunken cruise ship Bianca C and an underwater volcano, what more could you ask for?
  6. Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles Bonaire’s waters have been designated a marine reserve, so it has fared far better than other Caribbean dive sites.
  7. The Bahamas Dolphin encounters, sunken Spanish galleons, blue holes, caves, and shark diving highlight the 25 different dive locations of this island nation.
  8. Grand Cayman Snorkeling or diving with hundreds of sting rays at sting ray city is perhaps the world’s most famous 12 foot dive.
  9. US Virgin Islands Visibility reaches 120 feet at some points along the reef in the varied locations off of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. Good for beginner’s, great for night dives, and more resort/dive combination packages than you could ever want.
  10. Maui, Hawaii From groups of dozens of green sea turtles to the Molokini Crater, Maui has a number of world-class options for both diving and snorkeling.

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