For me and Dave, 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 cruising through the West Indies and Southern Caribbean on our Carnival cruise we marveled 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.
As we patiently wait for our weather at home to turn to summerlike, and we dream of the gin blue waters that keep bringing us back to the Caribbean again and again, we wanted to share what we think are the best water sports in the Caribbean.
Swimming with Whale Sharks – Mexico
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.
Snorkelling Thunderball Grotto – Bahamas
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, it’s not only paradise, it’s 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 – 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 littler personalities. They seemed playful and full of joy and that is exactly how we felt too.
Aquatic Riders – Dominican Republic
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
Our Sailboat Approaching Pirates Cave
Slowing things down a bit, a sailing trip is highly recommended anywhere in the Caribbean. 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
When we signed up for our dive masters course in Honduras, we simply chose the location because the price was right. Accommodation on Utilla 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 star fish 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
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
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.
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. 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?
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.