While Jamaica’s beautiful, pristine waters allure tourists all year round; Jamaica isn't a major dive destination. Nevertheless, you can find a few rich underwater regions, especially off the North Coast. Furthermore, the advantage is that you can find wonderful, almost untouched sites for exploration and discovery. Undoubtedly, Jamaica has some of the best points of entry to the enchanting underwater wonderland. It is for this very reason that the island is such an excellent destination for SCUBA enthusiasts the world over.
As mentioned before, diving sites in Jamaica are well kept secrets. Unless you know the island well or have access to insider information from your travel agent, they may be impossible to find. As such, finding the best spots to explore can be quite difficult unless you have an experienced travel agent.
Still, whether you’re an experienced diver or just starting out you’ll want to check out some sites while vacationing in Jamaica, here is a list of three of the island’s hottest scuba diving spots to send you on your way:
The Throne Room, Negril
Negril is undoubtedly one of the most flocked tourist areas in Jamaica. With its beautiful white sandy beaches and unmatched hospitality, it’s no surprise that this strip on the north coast is vacationed by even the rich and famous.
Negril has many of the best dive sites in Jamaica. From deep dives to wreck and wall dives, Negril has it all and The Throne Room is one of the most popular of the sites.
Image Credit: http://www.negriljamaicavillas.com
The entry is an 8-foot-wide, roughly 25-foot-long crack in the sea floor in 40 feet of water, leading to a 40-foot-wide cave. The slithering walls of the cave are covered with beautiful corals and large yellow sponges that extend from the floor to ceiling, decorated with tube and elephant ear sponges.
Numerous marine lives exist in the abyss as well. This includes shrimp, nurse sharks, delicate black corals, sponge, eels, octopus, turtles, barracuda, a variety of fish, stings rays and snappers. Outside the cave, the local waters are visited by sea turtles and sometimes curious dolphins. Moreover, residents give dive guides and have tamed some of the local stingrays, which divers have been able to pet if approached slowly and carefully.
Devil’s Reef, Ocho Rios
Like Negril, thanks to a marine area protected since 1966, Ocho Rios is another wonderful Jamaican tourist area that features a variety of attractions including various spots for scuba diving. Located only a short boat ride offshore, Devil’s Reef is a popular destination spot in Ocho Rios.
Image Credit: http://islandbuzzjamaica.com
The reef is essentially an underwater ridge gently sloping down to about 65 feet, and from there drops off steeply to a sandy bottom at 130 feet. The upper reaches of the reef are suitable for Open Water divers, while the lower reaches require Advanced Open Water training.
The area is well known for a variety of things including its scorpion fish, lettuce sea slugs, coral with different attractive colours, tunnels, caverns, and the nurse sharks that dwell there. The area is also populated by barracuda, wrasse, spadefish and snapper.
The reef itself encrusted with staghorn corals and black-ball sponges, with moray eels hiding in its cracks and crevices. When you dive, you normally have access to a leader who will lead you through the low profile reef where you can look down to the sandy bottom of the sea.
Port Royal, Kingston
Jamaica boasts some of the richest historical sites in the Caribbean. Possibly, the most guarded and preserved historical site on the island is Port Royal. Port Royal is an area on the outskirts of Kingston that was occupied by pirates and buccaneers during the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. As such, Port Royal is one of Jamaica’s most interesting dive locations due to its incredible history of shipwrecks.
Image Credit: http://www.divercity.on.ca
While the pirates are gone and the treasure with them, there are those who claim that if you search hard enough, you can still find gems beneath the ocean depths. Due to the many ship wrecks that lie beneath ocean, Port Royal is now home to an array of tropical fish.
In addition to ships, you can explore the city which slid into the sea in an earthquake in 1692. The Depth is approximately 50ft, with an outer reef drop-off of about 80ft. Highlights of the area include the “Kim & Trader” lumber ship wreck and the famous pirate city sunken wall.
A point of note is that those wishing to go diving at the sunken city will need to obtain special permission from Jamaican authorities. Such permissions and other arrangements are best taken care of by your travel agency. Indeed, allowing a travel agency to take care of your travel needs is the best way to approach your Jamaican travels. Not only will they contact local diving operators and have the most updated information, but will ensure that all your other travel needs are taken care of. If you’re planning to travel to Jamaica, consult MJ Travel Group, an established and experienced travel agency that will ensure your Jamaican travel is free of hassle and completely enjoyable.
By: Norvan Martin