5 Best Places For Scuba Diving With Big Animals In The Caribbean & Atlantic — 2017 Readers Choice Awards | Scuba Diving

5 Best Places For Scuba Diving With Big Animals In The Caribbean & Atlantic — 2017 Readers Choice Awards

Our annual Top 100 Readers Choice Awards are based on your real-world dives, and they let us take that journey right along with you. Since 1994, we’ve been presenting our ­readers’ picks for the best scuba diving in the world in our annual Top 100 Readers Choice Awards. It’s a feature that we love to put together, because we consider the results of our annual Top 100 survey a way for magazine readers, fans and online followers to share their most ­remarkable moments ­underwater. Below you'll find the winning destinations for scuba diving with big animals in the Caribbean and Atlantic.

How the Winners are Chosen:

Thousands of Scuba ­Diving subscribers and online users rated their experiences at dive destinations in a ­variety of categories on a scale from 1 to 5. Final scores are an average of the numerical scores awarded. A minimum number of ­responses was required for a destination to be included in these ratings.


Best scuba diving with big animals in Caribbean and Atlantic dolphins Bahamas

The Bahamas took the #1 spot in our Top 100 Readers Choice Awards for the best destination for scuba diving with big animals in the Caribbean and Atlantic.

Rodney Bursiel

1. Bahamas

Best Destinations For Scuba Diving With Big Animals In The Caribbean & Atlantic

The guests of honor always show. When the engine hums into earshot, as many as 50 Caribbean reef sharks gather for the feeding dive about to commence. For many scuba divers, this is their first time seeing sharks in the wild. And it's not just sharks, but also goliath grouper and dolphins that make the Bahamas such a standout destination. At some sights, such as the Ray of Hope wreck, one can see all three on the same tank — certainly a dive worth celebrating.

2. Turks and Caicos

Best Destinations For Scuba Diving With Big Animals In The Caribbean & Atlantic

The islands of Turks and Caicos — especially Grand Turk, Salt Cay and Providenciales — offer scuba divers the opportunity to encounter many large animals underwater. Sightings of stingrays, hawksbill sea turtles, grouper, and Caribbean reef sharks are common. Between January and April around 2,500 North Atlantic humpback whales migrate to the Silver Bank and the Mouchoir Bank southeast of Turks and Caicos and operators offer snorkeling encounters with these gentle giants.

3. Belize

Best Destinations For Scuba Diving With Big Animals In The Caribbean & Atlantic

If you're lucky, you can find hammerhead and bull sharks in the depths of the Great Blue Hole. Big animal encounters are common elsewhere in Belize's waters too including blacktip sharks, lemon sharks, dolphins and of course, the mighty whale shark.

4. Cayman Islands

Best Destinations For Scuba Diving With Big Animals In The Caribbean & Atlantic

You'll likely encounter sea turtles, Caribbean reef sharks and grouper while scuba diving in the Cayman Islands. For an unforgettable big animal encounter be sure to dive Grand Cayman's Stingray City, where you'll be able to get up close and personal with the island's southern stingrays. The shallow depth and unlimited bottom-time ensure you'll have plenty of quality time with these amazing creatures.

5. Mexico

Best Destinations For Scuba Diving With Big Animals In The Caribbean & Atlantic

There's no shortage of big animal diving in Mexico. Bullsharks and hammerheads are known to roam these waters as well as sailfish and whale sharks. If you prefer something a little out of the ordinary you can also go scuba diving with crocodiles.