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The Caribbean Sea stretches from the Bahamas in the northeast to southwestern Panama, with thousands of islands scattered in between.

It’s a paradise for scuba divers, with diverse marine life, fantastic visibility, and some of the best dive sites in the world.

Due to the geography of this region, it can be difficult to get all the islands and reefs discovered.

So… how do we dive thousands of islands?

That’s right.

A liveaboard!

Caribbean liveaboards offer a next-level scuba diving experience as you get to explore even the most secluded spots, whilst staying on luxurious vessels.

We’ve come up with the 5 best liveaboards in the Caribbean, to make your life just a little bit easier.

From our research, the best liveaboards in the Caribbean are:

Let’s dive in!

Comparison

avalon-ii-liveaboard
Price Capacity Rating
$$ 20 9.0
cayman-aggressor-liveaboard
Price Capacity Rating
$$$ 18 9.3

 

Why Go On a Caribbean Liveaboard?

The Caribbean Sea has something for everyone, from novice divers to seasoned pros. This is partly due to the massive area covered by the region, which ensures diversity and choice. You can jump on liveaboards to the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands and Belize – to name just a few!

The waters of the Caribbean are incredibly diverse and a liveaboard allows you to cram as much as possible into one trip. Dive sites range from vibrant coral reefs to dramatic caves and pinnacles, exhilarating drifts to eerie shipwrecks! And all populated by a stunning array of marine life.

If you’ve never done a liveaboard before, we recommend checking out our Ultimate Guide to Liveaboards. A liveaboard is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the diving lifestyle. If you’re experienced, you’ll love getting to dive 4 times a day.

But…

It’s also ideal for beginner scuba divers, as diving so much is excellent for building confidence!

people-on-paddleboards-in-the-sunset

A liveaboard offers myriad benefits. Not only do you get to stay in an all-inclusive floating hotel and dive every day, but you will also often end up making awesome diving friendships that last a lifetime.

Best Liveaboards in the Caribbean

Take a ride on one of the world-renowned Aggressor Fleet boats around the gorgeous blue waters of Belize. The M/V Aggressor III is a 33m long luxury liveaboard which can accommodate 18 divers. 

The huge salon is equipped with an entertainment system and air conditioning. The sundeck features chaise lounges and a hot tub, ideal for chilling under the stars. Nine spacious cabins are fully equipped with AC, ensuites and entertainment systems. 

Belize Blue HoleYou will have a choice of two dining rooms, interior and al fresco, where you will enjoy your 3 freshly prepared meals. They are served buffet style and combine local specialties with western classics. Conveniently, all beer and wine with dinner is included in the price. 

The dive deck is fully shaded and each diver is allocated space for their gear. For those with their own dive cameras, there is a high spec camera table and photo editing facilities. Nitrox is available for an extra fee, which might be useful as there are 5 available dives per day. 

Diving Highlights

The diving in Belize is spectacular. It’s known for its impressive sheer walls; Painted Wall, Half Moon Caye, and Quebrada are some of the best. It also boasts the biggest barrier reef in the northern and western hemispheres. Belize is famously home to one of the world’s top dive sites, The Blue Hole, a collapsed freshwater cave. In the right season, you can also join whale sharks as they migrate - a definite bucket-list activity!

Pros
  • Photography facilities
  • Great food
  • Complimentary alcohol
Cons
  • Snorkel gear not included
  • Extra for wifi
  • Extra for nitrox
AC
Yes
# Divers
18
Wifi
Extra
Nitrox
Extra
Drinks
Yes
Price
Low
Visit Website

avalon II liveaboard

Avalon II is one of the most beautiful liveaboards in the Caribbean. She cruises the stunning waters of Cuba and provides her guests with luxury. Recently built, she is modern and roomy. Four decks offer plenty of space for the AvalonII’s 20 guests.

The large saloon, dining room, and bar are great places to socialize. The sundeck has panoramic views and a hot tub. The meals are exceptionally high quality and feature Cuban fusion style cuisine, with lots of fresh seafood dishes.

The shaded dive deck has rinse hoses and dive tenders to get you easily to the dive sites. There are nitrox capabilities, for an added fee.

hot-tub-avalon-ii-liveaboardDiving Highlights

 Cuba has one of the third-largest reefs in the world. You can visit the popular dive site, Jardines de la Reina (roughly translated – The Gardens of the Queen). Additionally, it is only accessible to liveaboards, so a Caribbean liveaboard is your only chance.

The marine life is exceptional, with enormous schools of tarpon, jacks and a barracuda, as well as Caribbean Reef sharks. Unusually, you can also dive with saltwater crocodiles!

Pros
  • Modern & luxurious
  • Jacuzzi
  • Great for beginners
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Extra for nitrox
  • No wifi
AC
Yes
# Divers
20
Wifi
No
Nitrox
Extra
Drinks
Yes
Price
Avg
Visit Website

Turks and caicos explorer liveaboard

Unsurprisingly, this Caribbean liveaboard explores the waters around Turks and Caicos!

She can accommodate up to 20 passengers in 10 luxury staterooms. Each room is fully equipped with ensuites, AC and sea view windows. 

The salon and entertainment area offer air-conditioned places to chill. Meanwhile, the sundeck is ideal for sunbathing in between dives. A full bar is onboard, and drinks are complimentary. 

sundeck-turks-and-caicos-explorer-liveaboardMeals can be eaten in the dining room or the al-fresco dining area, where you can enjoy the ocean breeze. The food is freshly prepared and features both local and international cuisine. Different dietary options including vegan are available.

The dive deck is shaded, with individual gear bins and a fully equipped camera table.  Nitrox is also available for an extra fee. There are lots of thoughtful touches on the Turks and Caicos Explorer, such as the warm towels you are greeted with post-night dive. 

Diving Highlights

Turks and Caicos features flourishing coral reefs which are teeming with life. Some of the most famous sites you can dive are Shark Hotel, Black Coral Forest, Double D, and G-Spot.

Pros
  • Great value
  • Lots of dives
  • Amazing macro
Cons
  • Less big wildlife
  • No wifi
  • Extra for nitrox
AC
Yes
# Divers
20
Wifi
No
Nitrox
Extra
Drinks
Yes
Price
Avg
Visit Website

cayman aggressor iv liveaboard

The Cayman Aggressor IV is a 33m long, luxury Caribbean liveaboard. It dives around the Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. 

Nine modern staterooms can accommodate up to eighteen guests. Each features a private ensuite, storage space, AC, entertainment system and Seaview window. 

There is an air-conditioned salon with an entertainment system. The sundeck boasts loungers, ideal for sunbathing between dives, as well as a hot tub for relaxing under the stars. 

hot-tub-cayman-aggressor-liveaboardThere are both al-fresco and internal, restaurant-style dining areas where you can enjoy your freshly prepared meals. A full bar service is on offer, for an additional fee. 

The spacious dive deck individual gear bins, warm showers, rinse tanks and a camera table. There is an additional dry camera room for photo editing. Dive tenders are on hand to get you safely to dive sites and nitrox is available for a small fee. 

Diving Highlights

This liveaboard is a great choice if you want to encounter stingrays and turtles. Reef sharks, groupers and schools of barracuda and tarpon are also common. Stingray City is a world-renowned spot for sharing the water with southern rays. It is also a great location for wreck lovers and you should check out Russian Destroyer, Kittiwake, and Doc Polson.

Pros
  • Hot tub
  • Wreck dives
  • Luxurious
Cons
  • Extra for nitrox
  • Extra for wifi
  • Extra for drinks
AC
Yes
# Divers
18
Wifi
Extra
Nitrox
Extra
Drinks
Extra
Price
High

Visit Website


caribbean explorer II liveaboard

The Caribbean Explorer is a gorgeous 35m liveaboard that ventures through the best dive sites of St.Kitts, St Maarten and Saba.

It has space for 19 divers in nine staterooms, all fully equipped with AC and ensuites. 

A spacious air-conditioned salon is the perfect place to chill out with a book. Meanwhile, the sundeck has loungers for catching a tan in between dives. There is also a BBQ to enjoy. 

The dining area is alfresco, with stunning panoramic views. Meals are served fresh three times a day with plenty of snacks and a full, complimentary bar. 

dive-deck-caribbean-explorer-liveaboardThe dive deck is spacious, with individual gear storage and rinse hoses. The large camera table is ideal for maintaining all your diving gear, especially your camera. There is also a specific camera room for maintenance and photo editing. Dive tenders make it super easy to get to dive sites. Nitrox is included in the price. 

Diving highlights

 The Caribbean Explorer II ventures to some off-the-beaten-path itineraries, creating a spirit of adventure. The waters bustle with marine life, from tiny macro critters to big nurse sharks and turtles amidst pristine coral reefs.

Pros
  • Great value
  • Land excursions available
  • Drinks included
Cons
  • Snorkel gear not included
  • Older style boat
  • No wifi
AC
Yes
# Divers
18
Wifi
No
Nitrox
Yes
Drinks
Yes
Price
Low
Visit Website

When To Dive in the Caribbean

The best time of year to head out for a Caribbean Liveaboard is from late November to May.

The majority of dive sites and countries in the region have beautiful diving all year, but outside of these times, there’s a chance of hurricanes and fewer liveaboards operate. As always, having the best diving insurance is essential. If you get seasick – avoid this time of year as it can get a little rough…

scuba-diver-with-turtleThe average water temperature in the Caribbean Sea ranges from 26-30°C. It’s warmest from November to May and varies from island to island. During the colder months,  you won’t need more than a 5mm exposure suit. In waters nearer 30°C, you might be alright in just a swimsuit!

Visibility varies throughout the year and depends on the dive sites. Liveaboards visit the most remote sites which tend to have the best visibility – sometimes exceeding 30m. Choppy conditions can reduce the viz to around 15m.

Conditions can be challenging, especially at the dive sites accessible by liveaboard only. Whilst many liveaboards encourage beginner divers, it’s always worth checking the required skill level before you book.

Whilst you’re there, why not get a certification? Learning how to use nitrox can be helpful for extending your bottom time at depth. It can be especially useful on liveaboards as there is evidence that it reduces tiredness over multiple dives.

Caribbean Diving Guide

The Caribbean is one of the most sought after destinations in the world for scuba divers, and it’s easy to see why.

The marine life you can encounter is amazing. There are thousands of tropical fishes and an abundance of untouched coral reefs. You can encounter many endangered species such as Hawksbill sea turtles and Leatherback sea turtles.

lemon-sharkThere are many types of rays including southern rays, whiptail rays, eagle rays and manta rays. Liveaboards in the Caribbean almost guarantee shark encounters. There are reef sharks at most sites, as well as big lemon, bull, hammerhead and nurse sharks. At certain sites, you can also see the biggest fish in the ocean, the gentle whale shark.

Not many locations offer the opportunity to encounter whales, but the Caribbean is one of them. Humpback whales, false orcas, pilot whales and even blue whales have all been sighted. One incredibly rare opportunity is the chance to see pods of sperm whales, sleeping vertically in the water. Check out the video below.

In the Silver Bank region between Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic, there is the opportunity to swim with humpback whale calves. It is important to only attempt this with an experienced and qualified guide.

Other species on show include ever-present dolphins, who love following dive boats, and myriad reef fish. Hundreds of different types of macro critters can be seen hiding amidst the rocks and corals.

Conclusion

Jumping on a Caribbean liveaboard is an excellent choice for any scuba diver. The Caribbean Sea has something for everyone beneath its shimmering turquoise waves.

Whether you like shark encounters, world-class wrecks or gentle reef diving, you can find it in the Caribbean. And with so many locations to choose from, it’ll keep drawing you back!

So…

What are you waiting for?

Austin Tuwiner Administrator

Austin is the website owner, and began scuba diving at just 16 years old. After traveling and diving all over the world, he is dedicated to bringing the hobby to more people.

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