Scuba Diving in Antigua and the sister island of Barbuda is a wonderful experience. The Most Popular Dive Resorts in Antigua links below contain information about each Scuba Dive Destination. Down below that you will find information about each Antigua Scuba Dive location.
Both Antigua and Barbuda are almost completely surrounded by well-preserved coral reefs, walls, and shipwrecks. The southern and eastern coasts of Antigua and virtually the entire coast of Barbuda are surrounded by shelves, providing excellent conditions for spectacular shallow diving and snorkeling. There is little or no current in most places, and the water temperature averages about 80 F (25 C). Underwater visibility ranges from 50 to 140 feet, and tropical marine plants and animals are diverse and plentiful. Snorkeling is possible at many of both islands' most beautiful beaches; one of Antigua's best-known offshore sites, Cades Reef, is now partly contained in a designated underwater park. Another popular destination is the wreck of the Andes, a triple-mast merchant ship that sank in 1905 and now rests in less than thirty feet of water in (ironically enough) Deep Bay. Antigua's dive facilities are far superior to those available on smaller Barbuda, and so most of the sites that have been established as dive destinations are Antiguan. The southern and eastern coasts are considered to offer the most consistent diving; for more advanced divers, the ledge of Sunken Rock on the south coast is a popular site. Dive depths generally range from 25 to 80 feet and can reach 180 feet; distances from shore to site are in some cases no more than five minutes and at most 40 minutes away.
Barbuda's encircling reefs contain an enormous number of wrecks, most of which are yet to be explored; in fact, the Codrington fortunes on Barbuda were intimately linked to their acquisition of rights to the wreckage in the 17th-century. To dive off Barbuda, it is best to make arrangements with a dive shop on Antigua to have the necessary equipment taken over by air or boat.
Below is a list of the most popular dive resorts in Antigua
These dives are the most frequently visited dive sites in Antigua.
62' dive. Large knoll with rocky ledges on the east. Contains sea fans and soft corals. Minimum amount of hard coral and sponges. Marine life is abundant. Nurse sharks, turtles, barracudas and large schools of small fish. Lobsters are usually abundant and stingrays occasionally.
Old French steam powered freighter sunk in 1817 and sits at a depth of 25'. The wreck is broken up into mainly the bow, the boiler, the engine and the stern. There is coral growth and lots of small fish surrounding it, including parrot fish, grunts, trumpet fish, blue tangs and spanish hogfish. Occasionally a large barracuda puts in an appearance along with a large dog snapper.
Patch reef, dead coral in some areas surrounded by live coral, some damage due to hurricanes. This site is primarily used as a first time diver's site. Parrot fish, snappers, blue tangs, grunts, occasional eel, barracuda and turtle.
John's Cave at Ariadne Shoal
67' dive.Long rocky ledge. Visibility usually 100' - 150'. Barracudas are always present along with the usual parrot fish, trumpet fish, grunts, etc. Occasionally nurse sharks, jacks and other pelagic are seen.
Dive site starts at 40' and gradually descends like stairs to below 80'. There is a hole in the rock face which comes out at the top of the ledge. Blackjacks, angelfish, atlantic spade fish, barracudas are usual. Nurse sharks occasionally rest in the chimney.
Dive site begins at 40' and gradually slopes to 80'. There are several rock ledges and undercuts where numerous amounts of fish and other forms of life reside, puffer fish, black jacks, school master snappers, trumpet fish, and parrot fish are usually spotted. There is also a large green moray that hides in the area.
Pillars of Hercules
70' dive. The site is named from the limestone formation in the cliff above the site. The site is mainly composed of large boulders which have fallen from the cliff above. Sergeant majors, chromis, blue tang snappers and other pelagic cruise around the site.
36' dive. This site was a spur and grove formation resembling fingers. It was named for two large columns of pillar corals. Small fish are in abundance and the occasional nurse shark and eagle ray are spotted.
42' dive. Also a spur and grove site with small ledges and undercuts. Lobsters, barracudas and lots of small fish are usually present. The occasional turtle and stingray put in an appearance.
36' dive. Small knoll of dead coral surrounded by live coral. Many varieties of hard and soft corals. Large schools of small brown chromis swim around the knoll along with blue tangs and bogas. Parrot fish, grunts, and other fish are also present, fish populations come and go on this site.
36' dive. Parallel pile of coral approximately 100' apart. Parrot fish, snappers, blue tangs, bogas and brown chromis, barracudas, eagle rays and moray eels show up every once in a while.
47' dive. Coral knoll with sandy patches at the top and bottom. Parrot fish, trumpet fish, snappers, creole wracks are usually seen. Large numbers of southern stingray are occasionally seen.
Depth 30'. Long pile of coral named for the try spotted at the site. Barracudas are sometimes abundant. Parrot fish, chromis, snappers and blue tangs are permanent residents.
36' dive. Long "road" of sand with reef on both sides leading to a mini wall. Stingrays and barracuda are common along with creole wracks, parrot fish, sergeant majors and grunts.
Sandy Island Barge & Knoll
47' dive. Small round knoll with lots of soft and hard corals on it. There's a sunken barge laying next to it which is home to several different creatures. Stingrays, barracuda, Atlantic spade fish and moray eels show up occasionally. Parrot fish, snappers, grunts, lobsters and chromis are usually present.
Sandy Island Ridge
42' dive. Long coral ridge with sand at the base. There are several large coral heads along the ridge where lobsters, eels, napes, grunts, squirrel fish, and others hide. Nurse sharks are also spotted, but not as often.
Jewel Box at Sandy Island
25' dive. Parallel lines of sand and reef with small ledges for creatures to hide. Lobsters, barracudas and eels are occasionally spotted.
Wreck of Joe Young
40' dive. 90' long tug-boat intentionally sunk. visibility is poor due to the fact that is sits at the edge of the harbour's shipping lane.12' to 15' visibility is normal. On days of dead calm weather, the visibility gets up to 40'. There is no growth on the wreck but queen angels are in abundance. Large fish such as tarpon, cobia and grouper live in the hull.
50' dive. Parallel lines of sand and reef with several undercuts. Large amount of soft corals, sea whip and sea fans. Marine life spotted here includes angel fish, stingrays, nurse sharks plus the usual collection of fish.