Diving for Shipwrecks in the Caribbean


A treasure trove of coral-coated shipwrecks awaits divers in the Caribbean’s aquamarine waters, captivating history buffs and nature lovers alike. Whether sunken intentionally or under more fateful circumstances, each of these submerged time capsules offers a thought-provoking glimpse into the past.

Sapona wreck site - The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation


Bimini, The Bahamas

Run aground during a 1926 hurricane, the Sapona was infamous for smuggling hooch during Prohibition. Originally built during World War I as a cargo ship, she eventually made her claim to fame as a rum-running vessel in the 1920s, transporting contraband liquor between The Bahamas and United States. While en route to Florida — and loaded to the gills with booze — Sapona met her demise in the shallow reefs along the coast of South Bimini just a few miles off Bennett’s Harbour. Regrettably, most of the ship’s potent potables were lost when its stern was ripped off in the storm. A popular destination for beginner scuba divers and snorkelers, she rests in just 15 feet of water and towers 40 feet above sea level. Years of relentless weathering have stripped Sapona down to an easy-to-explore skeletal form packed with marine life.


Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

One of the best-known wreck sites in the Caribbean, the Kittiwake was an iconic Navy rescue ship that toured the globe for 50 years. She was scuttled in 2011 to create an artificial reef just off Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman and has since become one of the Caribbean’s best-known wreck dives. Easily accessible for divers and snorkelers of all levels, the Kittiwake offers clear visibility under typically calm conditions. The top of the sunken vessel can be viewed at just 16 feet deep, while the bottom rests on a 60-foot-deep seafloor. Divers can explore Kittiwake’s exterior and interior to get a fascinating look into naval history. She’s adorned with colorful marine life, including a goliath grouper known to hang around the propellor.



Known as the “Titanic of the Caribbean,” Bianca C. is a 600-foot-long Italian luxury cruise ship that met her fate in 1961. One of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean and one of Grenada’s most famous dives, the cruise liner tragically caught fire while anchored in the harbor of St. George’s. After roughly 700 passengers and crew scrambled to abandon ship, she was towed out to sea and sunk about a mile off scenic Grand Anse Beach. Exploring Bianca C. is for experienced divers only, as she sits upright in 160 feet of water with her topmost section at 90 feet deep. From her fully intact bow down to her massive on-deck swimming pool, divers enjoy awe-inspiring views of the ship’s elegant past, encrusted with vibrant corals and sponges from over half a century of slumber on the sea floor. The nearby Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park (also a worthwhile diving adventure) was installed in 2006 to mark the 50th anniversary of Bianca C.’s sinking.

Pablo Escobar's sunken plane in Exumas, The Bahamas - Sail Cloudy Bay


Exuma, The Bahamas

Although not technically a shipwreck, notorious Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s sunken plane provides an intimate glimpse into a clandestine narco-trafficking ring and makes for an unforgettable offbeat diving experience. Located just off Norman’s Cay in the turquoise Bahamian waters of Exuma, the plane can be found jutting above water atop a picturesque sandbar in roughly 10-foot-deep water, depending on the tides. Although in a remote section of The Bahamas, Escobar’s sunken plane is also one of the most accessible underwater plane wrecks in the world — easily viewed from the deck of a ship or enjoyed while snorkeling or free diving amid schools of tropical fish. And no, there’s no threat of foul play here. The site is perfectly safe for tourists.



One of Barbados’ oldest wrecks, the Berwyn was a World War I French tugboat whose crew took shelter in placid Carlisle Bay shortly after the war ended in 1919. Legend has it that the crew enjoyed their time in Barbados so much that they no longer wished to return to post-war Europe, but the skipper refused their request. So, after tying one on with Barbadian rum, the crew intentionally foundered the ship onto the bay’s shallow seabed. Having rested in seven to 10 feet of extremely calm water for over a century, she is now blanketed in brilliant coral, brimming with sponges and swirling with prismatic fish. Due to its tame waters and ease of access, the Berwyn wreck site is often used for dive training by local scuba operators and resorts.


Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

One of just five ships to survive the Pearl Harbor attack, the Kodiak Queen was a World War II Navy barge later converted into a commercial fishing trawler out of Kodiak, Alaska. After gathering countless crab and salmon for decades, she was ultimately abandoned in the British Virgin Islands. Historian Mike Cochran, not wanting to see the emblematic vessel stripped apart for scrap metal, collaborated with Owen Buggy, photographer and friend of Sir Richard Branson, to convert the ship into an artificial reef and art exhibit. A giant mesh sculpture of a Kraken was built atop her deck before the Kodiak Queen was sunk just offshore of Long Bay on Virgin Gorda in 2017. Although her onboard art gallery endured two major hurricanes with no damage, a massive battery of swells in 2018 damaged the head of the Kraken sculpture. Still an extraordinary dive, the Queen is your best opportunity to see a WWII wreck underwater (scuba-diving in Pearl Harbor is prohibited), and a few Kraken tentacles remain jutting off the ship.


The Bahamas are home to the world’s highest concentration of blue holes — colossal underwater sinkholes believed to have formed during the last ice age roughly 20,000 years ago. From above, blue holes appear as large dark blue circles punched into the land and seascape, contrasting sharply with the surrounding turquoise water. They serve as diverse ecosystems teeming with marine life. Stunning geological formations such as stalagmites, sheer limestone walls and mineral formations make blue holes an absolute delight for divers. The Bahamas claims more of these natural wonders than anywhere else in the world, with more than 200 found off the island of Andros alone. But not all blue holes are safe to explore. For those cruising in and about the Bahamian archipelago, consider these three established diving and snorkeling hot spots.

Dean's Blue Hole - The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation

Dean’s Blue Hole

Long Island

One of the deepest blue holes on earth, Dean’s Blue Hole plunges 663 feet beneath the water’s surface. Located in the bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island, the blue hole is framed by cliffs on one side and the Atlantic on the other. This natural alcove prevents prevailing winds from penetrating the hole’s perimeter, keeping the water inside calm and ideal for exploring.

The Crater


Found off Small Hope Bay on the largest Bahamian island of Andros, the Crater is renowned as a refuge for local sea life. Moray eels and rays regularly make their way along its coral walls, and turtles are spotted frequently. Less experienced divers should stick to the Crater’s shallow outer rim. It’s recommended that only expert divers venture down past the blue hole’s outer rim to spelunk its dark and mysterious cave system below.

Lost Blue Hole

New Providence

Located just a few miles from Nassau, the Lost Blue Hole sports a 100-foot diameter and a depth of 200 feet. Its sheltered walls shield the hole from waves and outside currents, providing crystal-clear visibility and a stable habitat for fish such as amberjacks, angelfish, snappers and yellowtails. Nurse sharks, reef sharks, rays, eels and sea turtles are also known to inhabit this tranquil pool.

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