Experience some of the best diving and snorkelling the world has to offer. Here we share with you some of the best islands for scuba diving and snorkelling in South America. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean on the east, Central and South America has an incredibly biologically diverse habitat.
The Turneffe Islands, Belize
The Cayes are the best islands for diving and snorkelling in Belize. The islands in the Cayes vary in their atmosphere and facilities enormously. The Turneffe islands are very remote and ideal for those looking for tranquillity. They are located inside an atoll off the east coast of Belize and offer some of the best snorkelling, diving and fishing you’ll ever experience. Most of the small islands are inhabitable and there are only two lodges located inside the atoll; Turneffe Island Lodge & the Blackbird Caye Resort. Both of these islands sit on sublime white sandy beaches and offer extensive excursions onto the reef.
Ambergis Caye (San Pedro), Belize
While Turneffe Island is very remote, Ambergis Caye – known locally as San Pedro – is easily accessible. There is an appealingly laid back atmosphere – you will often see signs saying ‘No shoes, no problem’. As well as superb diving and snorkelling. At the Hol Chan Marine Park you can swim with sharks and sting rays at ‘Sting ray alley’. There is also a wide selection of outstanding restaurants where the emphasis is always on seafood. The best hotel in the far north of the island is Mata Chica.
The Bay Islands, Honduras
In Honduras the best islands for diving and snorkelling are The Bay Islands. They are made up of two main islands; Roatan & Utila, as well as several other smaller ones. Roatan and Utila offer incredible diving opportunities (and some of the cheapest) although they are more touristy than the others. They are ideal for snorkelers too because the reef literally sits off the island, allowing you to snorkel from the beach. The hundreds of dive sites (literally!) offers huge variety – drift dives, night diving, wreck diving and deep diving. Both islands offer a range of accommodation with the pick on Utila being Utopia Village and on Roatan it is Palmetto Bay Plantation.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Another one of the best islands for diving and snorkelling is Fernando de Noronha. This is a national park island located approximately 500 km off Brazil’s north east coast. It is still completely unspoilt as the number of visitors is restricted to only 460 per day! The island is a small paradise, with lots of things to see and do. It contains some of the best beaches in Brazil, some of which are again restricted to just 20 people at any one time. There are small peaks to walk up and viewing the spinner dolphins is a must. The best accommodation on the island is the Pousada Maravilha.
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are one of the most unique destinations in the world. Nowhere else allows you to get so close to the wildlife. On arrival you are told you may not touch the wildlife, but the wildlife may touch you! The Galapagos is made up of 19 islands, 13 major and 6 smaller. Each originates from undersea volcanoes that erupted over 600 million years ago.
Several oceanic currents meet in the island group. As a result, there is an abundance of marine life including large schools of rays and sharks, numerous species of turtle, and marine iguanas. Divers often experience friendly seals and penguins performing acrobatic displays in the water around them. Darwin & Wolf is one of the most renowned diving spots.
The best way to see the islands is by boat and the best cruises are with the Ocean Spray & the Athala II.