Diving in Antigua

by Female Abroad

When you think of the Caribbean, most people think of clear blue and/or green waters with lots of tropical fish. Antigua is no different but it is one of the more overlooked locations and I'm not sure why. Between Barbuda and Antigua there is a lot to explore from coral canyons and sea caves to 200 wrecks (the easiest one to get to being the 1890's Andes near Deep Bay).

If you are heading there to dive and to see turtles, stingrays, and barracudas or if you are just going to see 17th century treasures scattered throughout natural basalt walls then make sure to check out Green Island, Cades Reef, and Bird Island.

Green Island

This privately owned island has belong to the Mill Reef club since 1947 and has secluded beaches as well as snorkeling offshore. If you are wanting to visit an undisturbed area this island is well worth it! There are tours and charter boats that will take you out here but there are no public restrooms so check what boat is being used before heading over. On the island itself you can rent or purchase snorkeling gear. Don't forget to check out Betty's Hope which is an old sugar plantation that has been turned into a museum; great to escape the heat of the day.

Cades Reef

Antigua's most popular diving and snorkeling spot has a part designated as an underwater park that containers more than a dozen dive spots. Make sure to check out The Chimney where huge pillars of coral create a staircase 40 - 80 feet deep which sometimes will hide sleeping nurse sharks. If you are wanting to spot parrotfish, trumpet fish, or barracuda then this is where you need to be.

Bird Island

This "desert island" is considered a dream by the 20,000 annual tourists. Named in part due to the number of birds found here the white sane beaches are the real attraction. This is the only place you can ass the Antiguan Racer in the wild as this is where the entire snake population lives. Besides the snake you can also see the red-billed trop bird, brown pelican, rare lizards, West Indian whistling ducks, frigate/man o war bird.

Deep Bay

With soft sand and calm waters, this beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, and hiking. There isn't a lot of shade so wear lots of sun screen. What makes this area worth visiting is the old shipwreck that lies in the middle of the bay. This is a touristy area and there are no bathrooms so keep this in mind.

Cape Shirley

The southern most point of Antigua is known for its coral reefs, ledges, and overhangs with depths of 110ft. Here you can find rays, turtles, tiger groupers, and random sharks as you swim around giant boulders while checking out a variety of valleys and fissures.

Sunken Rock

This deep cleft of this rook reaches depths of 120 ft and has trails that lead to a mostly vertical dive with coral overhangs while you swim with larger fish, barracuda, sting rays and occasionally turtle and dolphins.

Are you like me and not able to dive? Well due to the clear water you can snorkel without any problems at most of these sites....