WHERE ARE WE GOING?

Today we are going to Bridgetown to go diving in Barbados! An island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the Caribbean region of North America

WHY ARE WE DIVING BARBADOS?

Diving in Barbados is known for its incredible fauna and for its many shipwrecks. You can see a lot of turtles while diving. The island is also putting a real effort toward sea turtle conservation programs.

There’s also often the chance of seeing marine life such as Manta rays, Caribbean reef sharks, white-spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks, southern stingrays, hermit crabs, and differents species of seahorses. It is a playground for divers!

Bright colors when diving in Barbados
Bright colors, bright fish. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Morin

HOW DO WE GET THERE?

To get to Barbados, you can fly to Grantley Adams International Airport. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to get to Bridgetown, the capital city which is a cruise-ship port with colonial buildings. Public transport in Barbados is really safe and the locals are really helpful if you need directional advice.

WHICH DIVE SITES ARE MUST-SEE?

Since Barbados is an island, there are spectacular diving spots all around the island!

SS Stavronikita

Called The Stav, she was a 365 ft Greek freighter built in 1956 and sunk deliberately in 1978 after a fire. Explosives were used to sink the wreck, and it is still possible now to see these explosive holes in the hull. As she was purposely sunk to be dived, the wreck has been cleared to minimize trappings for divers. However, as with any wreck, you should dive it cautiously. She lies in 120 ft/40 m of water. The stern is around 100 ft. You can see a different variety of species here.

Carlisle Bay Marine Park

This park is a must to see if you go to Barbados. The bay is pretty shallow, and you can see 6 different wrecks. You can easily do many dives in this bay.

  • Berwyn: Lies in 20 ft / 6 m of water, Berwyn is a 70 ft / 21 m long World War 1 French Tug boat. 
  • Ce-Trek: A 45 ft / 13 m long cement boat sunk in 1986. The wreck sits at 40 ft / 12 m. 
  • Cornwallis: A 40 ft / 12 m long Canadian freighter sunk by a German U-boat torpedo during WW2. This wreck lies in 15 ft / 4 m of water.
  • Eillon: A 110 ft / 33 m drug boat, this wreck offers an easy and accessible penetration. It lies in 55ft / 16 m of water.
  • Bajan Queen: She’s a 120 ft / 36 m party boat that was cleaned and sunk in 2002. She sits at 40 ft / 12 m.
  • Barge: There is also a Naval landing barge that is now the home of a lot of reef fish. The barge lies in 12ft / 3.6 m of water.
Stunning coral in Barbados
Bright hard and soft corals can be found in Barbados. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Morin

Parmir Wreck

The Pamir wreck is a 155 ft / 47 m freighter that was also intentionally scuttled in 1985 to attract fish. She lies completely intact about 100 yards / 91 m offshore. The Parmir sits at 60 ft / 18 m of water and is a great place to get some wreck diving practice before diving the Stav. It’s also a good spot to observe marine life.

Barracuda Junction

This spot is the place to dive if you want to see barracudas, hence the name!

Maycocks Bay

This is a reef where you can see wonderful coral formations.

TELL ME MORE

Most of the dives are done by boat. The Carlisle Bay marine park is around 600 ft from the shore. The dives shop almost all offer charter services.

During my trip, I was diving with Barbados Blue, and I was more than happy with their services. I was really specific on the dives sites that I wanted to visit, and they made sure that everything was in order for me to dive on those spots. The charter was really nice and well equipped. We had fruit and refreshments on the boat.

DO I NEED ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT?

The water in Barbados is really warm. I was in full body 3mm wetsuit and it was perfect for me. Some people were in shorty and they were doing just fine too. 

Read More: What Thickness Wetsuit Do I Need for Diving?

Sea turtles are in abundance here in Barbados.
Sea turtles are in abundance here in Barbados. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Morin

WHAT LEVEL CERTIFICATION SHOULD I BE?

During my trip I didn’t take any scuba diving class, but I think Barbados can be an amazing place to do your Open Water certification (if you are not already certified) and your Advanced Open Water course. I think it’s also a nice place to do your PADI Wreck Specialty because there is an abundance of wrecks to dive.

Read More: Differences between PADI and NAUI dive agencies, and which one to choose?

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS?

I was there in June, and my dive computer is telling me the average water temperature was around 81°F / 27°C. For a girl who dives mostly in Canada, the visibility was awesome to me. A good 100 ft / 30 m of visibility. The current is pretty low from what I experienced, but there are few drift dives that you can do. 

HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND?

Barbados Blue offers dive packages that are really interesting. 1 dive is 85 USD, but if sign up for 8 dives, it’s 490 USD (so 61.25 USD per dive). They have a discount if you have your own equipment which is 10% off.

Also, I was traveling with my mom, and she’s not a scuba diver. She was able to come on the boat for 20 USD. I think that was cool to offer that, and she really enjoyed it too.

WHERE DID YOU STAY?

I was in an AirBnB few minutes by bus from the city. I was located on the Rockley Golf & Country club. For the price it was nice and clean. 

However, I was not familiar with Barbados’ public transportation when I arrived and the Barbados Blue team were kind enough to come pick me up in the morning before my dives. 

I suggest you book accommodation between Bridgetown and Oistin, since Bridgetown is the capital and Oistin is really a city you must see.

Barbados Island Caribbean
Shore diving and boat diving is available when diving in Barbados. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Morin

The food on the island was really more expensive than I expected. Some stuff cost double or triple the price than in Québec city (where I am from). If you are going to Barbados, food budget is really important to think about. We thought by going grocery shopping it would cost less. But some restaurants offered better food and were less expensive than what you could buy in the grocery. 

On that thought, however, Mojo’s is a really nice restaurant that wasn’t too expensive and had really great food. 

DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Barbados was life changing for me. The island is wonderful, the people are really nice, the fauna is incredible. Scuba diving in Barbados was for me, an amazing experience. 

I would definitely recommend it.

I saw so many sea turtles that I can’t even count. (more than 15 for sure and I was there for 1 week).

WHAT DO WE DO ON SURFACE INTERVALS?

Red-footed Tortoises at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Red-footed Tortoises at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Morin

We went to Barbados Wildlife Reserve. It was a really nice adventure, we saw many land animals, such as the green monkey (the reserve is mostly for them).

We also did the Atlantis Submarine, which I don’t recommend, especially if you are a scuba diver. For the price, it’s not worth it (in my opinion).

A really nice activity is snorkeling in Barbados. You can either take a boat tour or just go from the beach. If you want to see sea turtles, I suggest you take the tour. 

We rented a car and did a tour of the island. We saw pop-star Rihanna’s house, Animal Flower cave, Cove Bay, Bath Beach and Bell Point. These were all nice viewpoints and nice things to see.

Oistin is really a nice place to visit and that is where the night life is. It also has a nice market. 

If I have one ultimate recommendation then it is to see Brownes Beach. It is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. It’s also a really great place to spend a day or two.

I started scuba diving in 2015 when I was 18. I am a PADI Divemaster and a TDI Helitrox CCR, OC deco procedures and cave diver. I like to mentor and advise new divers. Diving is for me, my sweet escape, and I like to share this feeling of calm and joy with others. I work in the Royal Canadian Air Force and volunteer with the St. John Ambulance as an Advanced First Aid Instructor. I dive as much as I can and my favorite fish is the Atlantic Wolffish, but I’m also a huge octopus fan!