Best Scuba Diving Central America: Where to Go

best scuba diving central america
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It’s no wonder that many people enjoy going to Central America. There are countless things to do in the area, and you can have a lot of fun. However, for those who want to scuba dive, the question is whether or not you can.

You can find the best scuba diving Central America, as there are a variety of small islands. The Caribbean Sea borders it toward the east and the Pacific Ocean toward the west. Therefore, you can find biologically diverse habitats, and we have created a list to help you.

Facts About the Area and Diving

Central America is considered a narrow isthmus of North America in the south. It extends from Panama to Mexico.

People who want larger animals should visit Socorro’s Island in Mexico, Malpelo Island in Colombia, or Cocos Island in Costa Rica. Of course, these are just some of the iconic areas; there are plenty of other ones.

Remember, you can only get to some sites by a liveaboard, so you will have to plan accordingly. Others are just steps away from the beach if you’re staying at the right resort. You’ll also experience friendly natives and a rich culture, which will add substance to your diving trip.

Best Scuba Diving Central America

1. Belize

If you want to head to Belize, a laidback place, Caye Caulker should be on your stop. When you see it for the first time, you will think you’re stepping into a postcard. This location is right on top of a large barrier reef.

It’s the second-largest throughout the world, so it is a great place to dive. You can either head out into the Great Blue Hole or stay close to the reef. This will depend on your skill level and the how big of a challenge you are looking for.

That’s not the only place to go to in Belize. You’ll also find the Belize Barrier Reef, Shark Ray Alley, and the Southern Coast. These areas are home to nurse sharks, turtles, reef sharks, and a variety of other animals.

2. Honduras

Those who want to visit Honduras will find a small island named Utila. It has built a reputation as the diving Mecca because it has some of the least expensive requirements in the world. Though it’s one of the smallest of the Bay Islands, it features more than 80 dive sites!

Guanaja isn’t as well-known as the Bay Islands, and it isn’t visited as often. However, this will allow you to explore something that most people haven’t seen. You’ll find crustaceans, nudibranchs, and seahorses.

3. Panama

Almost everyone has heard of Panama, and most people desire to go. If you’re looking for the best place to scuba dive, the Boca del Toro islands may be ideal. They have all-year-round diving options with Coral Cay and Hospital Point, to name a few.

Experts have said that the soft and hard coral here is well-preserved. Plus, you can also turtle-watch and go surfing.

There is both a Caribbean and Pacific side, and each offers some of the best diving. For example, Coiba National Park and the Pearl Islands are both on the Pacific side of the Gulf. Portobelo National Park is on the Caribbean side.

best scuba diving central america

4. Costa Rica

If you’re looking for something with a bit of history, Isla del Coco is right up your alley. This was where Jurassic Park was set, which will make you feel like you might just see a dinosaur crash out of the brush. This isn’t likely, though, because you’ll probably see hammerhead sharks, spot rays, and dolphins.

You shouldn’t stop in Costa Rica without visiting the Catalina Islands. It’s a favorite dive site among its visitors because of the shark cave. There’s also coral growth on the volcanic formations and a variety of arches.

There’s also a 12km reef out in the Caribbean Sea off the coast. You can swim with angors, eels, rays, sharks, and more.

5. Guatemala

This beautiful location features Lake Atitlan, which is ringed with volcanoes. Therefore, it is a natural attraction to visitors, regardless of the activity. Those who like to dive will find it to be intriguing.

Though Guatemala isn’t famous for scuba diving as some other Central American locations, it is still something to consider. If you plan to be in the area anyway and want to go underwater, Lake Atitlan has a lot to explore.

You will need to take on special procedures to visit Lake Atitlan and will require dive certification. The legend is that the lake was part of a Mayan village, which is now hidden under the water. This was proven to be true in 1997.

Though it’s a secret, divers can look for the village, as well as see a warm fault line. Since the waters around the area have risen over the years, you can also view homes and hotels underwater.

6. Nicaragua

The Corn Islands are a popular diving spot in Nicaragua. To get there, you’ll have to take a flight from Managua to the remote island chain. You’ll stop in Big Corn before heading out to Little Corn.

Consider going to Blowing Rock, which is a famous spot. You’ll find barracuda, as well as a variety of other marine life.

For those who want freshwater diving, you can go to Xiloa or Apoyo, which are volcanic crater lakes. Generally, these are designed for experienced divers. Also, these locations are home to biological research.

If you can go, you may see one of the more-than-10 unidentified fish species. Often, the water temperatures are warm throughout the year, so you can go when it best suits you.


When you’re looking for the best scuba diving Central America, you now have a list of options. Of course, it depends on where you want to travel, but you will find many amazing things. The best thing to do is to decide where you’d like to go first and then determine what diving spots are ideal.

We understand that you want this trip to be a success. Therefore, it can help to research products, get advice and tips, and read reviews. This will ultimately help you be more prepared for your scuba diving trip.

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