Best Caribbean Islands for Watersports

A Caribbean vacation isn’t a vacation until we get wet in the Caribbean Sea. The sapphire blue waters of the islands are so beautiful and inviting, it would be a shame to miss dipping a toe in the fresh salty sea. While we love enjoying luxury escapes, we also want to make sure to have great adventures.

To help you have the most fun in the water, we’ve rounded up our top 8 Caribbean Watersports that will up the wow factor of your winter vacation.

9 Caribbean Island Watersports

While cruising through the West Indies and Southern Caribbean we marvelled at the ever-changing beautiful blue waters.

From high on the ship, you could watch the colours shift from light and dark as the depth of the sea changed before our eyes.

It took us two days of cruising to make our way to the far southern islands and the minute we docked at port, we set off for a rip-roaring water adventure excursion with The Aquatic Riders in La Romana Dominican. That is just one of the best Caribbean watersports we’ve tried, check out the rest below!

See Also – Top Caribbean Adventures

Best Caribbean Island for Swimming with Whale Sharks – Holbox, Mexico and Utila, Honduras

caribbean water sports swim with whale sharks

There is nothing more magical than plunging into the deep blue waters off the coast of Cancun and coming face to face with the largest fish in the sea.

They may be massive but whale sharks are gentle giants feeding on plankton. Their mouths are huge, but they couldn’t swallow you if they tried.

Whale sharks seem to move at a lumbering pace, but keeping up to them is another story.

Whale sharks actually swim very fast so be prepared to swim hard to keep pace. While taking our dive masters in Utila, Honduras I’ll never forget swimming with whale sharks for the first time. Since then we swam with them again in Mexico, and it still our most memorable experience in the water.

check out our experience of swimming with whale sharks in Mexico. 

Snorkeling Thunderball Grotto in The Exumas Bahamas

caribbean watersports thunderball grotto

It’s where Thunderball of the James Bond series was filmed. Into the Blue was filmed here too!

It’s no wonder Hollywood flocks to the Exuma Cays to film blockbuster movies at Thunderball Grotto. It’s not only paradise, it’s an adventure!

We’ve done a lot of snorkelling around the world, but our favourite snorkelling experience was most definitely diving through the submerged holes of this hollow island.

Once you surface inside the cavern you are treated to a spectacular view of light bursting through the openings above. The cave itself is beautiful but the underwater world is outstanding.

Lit up by the sunbeams, colourful fish swim around the coral reef and you feel as if you are inside one giant fish bowl.

Shark Ray Alley in Belize

If you’ve ever wanted to have a shark and ray encounter, Shark Ray Alley off the coast of Ambergris Cay in Belize is not to be missed.

Belize is famous for scuba diving, and going out to the Blue Hole is an unforgettable experience, but swimming with the nurse sharks and rays is one of the most uplifting and thrilling experiences we’ve had in our lives.

The nurse sharks seem to love human interaction and the rays welcome snorkellers as they swim towards them to touch their incredible wingspan.

Attracted for years by fisherman cleaning their catch, Shark Ray Alley has plenty of sharks and rays still rushing towards boats in search of scraps. 

The reef is filled with not only sharks and rays, but colorful fish from Barracuda to clown fish – all living in balance and harmony beneath the sea. 

As our guide said to us, “Don’t think of fish burgers today, instead meet all my friends and picture sharks and fish in a new way.” It’s true!

When looking at the fish in the sea, we saw they all had little personalities. They seemed playful and full of joy and that is exactly how we felt too.

SUP Grand Cayman Island

what to do in la paz

For calm flat waters, nothing beats Seven Mile Beach. This is the perfect place to hop on a paddle board and check out the crystal clear turquoise waters.

Best Caribbean Islands for Scuba Diving – Cayman Islands, Cozumel Mexico, Bonair

adventures around the world

Truth be told, you can go scuba diving all over Mexico, but there are a few favourites on our list.

The Cayman Islands are famous for scuba diving too! With a perfect plunging wall dives on all the Cayman Islands, (Grand Cayman’s wall drops 1800 metres/6000 feet) you’ll have easy access for shore dives as well.

Cozumel was touted as the most spectacular dive site in the world by Jacques Cousteau, we can attest. With crystal clear waters, beautiful underwater Palancar Gardens filled with swim through arches, colourful fish and coral and endless marinelife. It’s one of the most memorable scuba trips we’ve ever taken.

And we cannot forget Bonair, our professional technical diver friend frequents this island every year and with good reason. With 54 shore dive sites, it’s perfect for divers who love to get out in the water frequently!

Aquatic Riders – Dominican Republic

It’s silly fun when it comes to our list of Caribbean watersports to try.

While on our cruise, one of our stops was La Romana Dominican and it was here that we signed up for what looked like the greatest adventure on the island, The Aquatic Riders Adventure.  

Having the chance to drive your own zodiac on crashing waves is a thrilling experience and it lived up to the hype.

The trip starts off on a quiet river where you enjoy the views of the high-forested cliffs; it’s a relaxing and pleasant time.

But once you get to the mouth of the river at the Caribbean Sea, the adventure begins.

Everyone revs up their engines and faces the pounding waves.

These aquatic riders were made for wave running and you bounce around exploring the coast with a huge smile on your face as you enjoy a great ride on the open ocean.

Sailing – Jamaica

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Our Sailboat Approaching Pirates Cave

Slowing things down a bit, a sailing trip is highly recommended anywhere in the Caribbean.

It’s also one of the Caribbean watersports where you don’t have to do a thing .

I just love stepping onto a catamaran, taking my seat at the front of the boat and letting the waves crash through the mesh trampoline cooling my hot skin.

Jamaica was particularly beautiful with its rocky coastline, crystal blue waters and Reggae music playing.

There are pirates’ caves and coral reefs and we even stopped for a bit to watch the famous cliff divers at Rick’s Café.

At the end of our day, our inner child had a chance to shine through as we played on a water park with bouncy bridges, trampolines and waterslides in front of Negril Beach.

Scuba Diving – Honduras

Yes, we mentioned other scuba diving in the Caribbean, but Utila is one of the most affordable dive sites in the Caribbean.

When we signed up for our dive masters course in Honduras, we simply chose the location because the price was right.

Accommodation on Utila was cheap and the scuba dive shops offered affordable prices.

Little did we know that it also offers some of the best diving in the world. We saw everything in the waters of Honduras from sharks to starfish and sea horses to turtles.

But it was here that we also swam with a pod of wild bottlenose dolphins and had our first whale shark encounter.

Everything we ever wanted to see in the ocean was witnessed with our own eyes in the islands of Honduras.

The sea is warm, clear and filled with marine life.

Power Snorkeling – Grand Turk

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If you want to add an extra zip in your snorkeling experience, and you’re cruising with Carnival, check out the power snorkel adventure in Grand Turk.

Grand Turk is renowned for its incredible snorkeling and scuba diving and that is because just a few hundred yards from shore, you will witness a jaw dropping 7000-foot drop off the continental shelf.

The propulsion device helps you soar through the clear waters of this underwater wonderland.

We’re always seeking new water adventures and this is one that is tops on our list to try!

Kite Surfing – Aruba

dave beach

Aruba is a destination that is very popular for beach lovers. Partially because a lot of the beaches are very shallow and great for swimming.

The water is warm and has the usual beautiful gin blue hue that can only be found in the Caribbean and the uninterrupted beach goes on and on.

A popular sport in Aruba is kite surfing. You’ll see the bay filled with kite surfers zipping back and forth along the coast.

With flat, warm, waist deep water and year round trade winds, Aruba offers the perfect conditions for kite surfing year round.

Stingray City Cayman Islands

caribbean watersports

Stingray City is a place where tourists can interact with almost tame stingrays.

For years fisherman have lured the stingrays here as they cleaned their fish in the quiet waters of a sandbar just off the coast of Grand Cayman Island.

They are so used to people, that the stingrays will swim right up to you and eat out of your hand or rest in your arms.

Best Kayaking – Key West

While not technically in the Caribbean, we wanted to give a shout out to kayaking in Key West.

Heading out with Honest Eco Tours  through the Key West Wildlife Refuge was a treat. This is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the country established by Teddy Roosevelt in 1908.

We paddled through mangrove forests into the center of islands and along the coast spotting birds, stingrays, nurse sharks and jellyfish.

So the next time you go to the Caribbean, make sure you pull yourself away from the pool bar and casino and enjoy the beautiful sea trying one of these Caribbean watersports.

The colours, the clarity and the captivating underwater scene will amaze you.

The Caribbean Sea is definitely a place for fun in the sun! What’s your favourite water adventure in the Caribbean or around the world?

Read Next: The Very Best Things to do on Grand Cayman

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

12 thoughts on “Best Caribbean Islands for Watersports”

  1. BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE, CARIBBEAN IS A AWESOME PLACE FOR WATERSPORTS IN SOME WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIND ALL WATERSPORTS IN ONE PLACE BUT HERE WE CAN ENJOY PLENTY OF WATER SPORTS ACTIVITIES… THAT WARM WATER IN CARIBBEAN MAKES US FEEL GREAT…THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS AWESOME ARTICLE…

    Reply
  2. Hi, Dave / Deb

    Absolutely fantastic pictures. I specially love the Jamaica one. Cristal colored water, caves, sun, and houses… It reminds some places of Spain. It is so similar to the coast of Mallorca, Balearic Islands.

    Don’t you think?

    Congratulations and Regards,

    Eli

    Reply
  3. I am very excited to know about this sports.Next time I must enjoy my travel. Thanks for best advertising

    Reply
  4. Go to the Caribbean a lot and definitely want to try that power snorkel – first time I’ve heard of it too!

    Reply
    • I know eh. Anything with a motor is a good thing. Snorkeling is fun, but add propulsion to it and it’s a grand adventure!

      Reply
  5. This sports is really so amazing, i love diving in water and swimming also. These 8 dive sport really awesome specially power snorkeling very attractive and adventuring.

    Reply
  6. Some really exciting water spots… I have never been to Caribbean…. but I would love to check out most of these water spots, If I ever visit the beautiful Caribbean…
    Swimming with Whale Sharks, is that safe? maybe it is one most adventurous one in this list…

    Reply