We’ve got the different scuba dive spots listed below, categorized by city. Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are the busiest and most popular dive sites across the island, but there is some very unique and unspoiled areas in the other parts of Jamaica.
Most visitors to Jamaica don’t spend enough time on the island to venture out of the normal tourist areas and explore more, but I’ve had some really great and memorable scuba diving experiences on the East coast, near Port Antonio and the World Famous Blue Lagoon.
In fact, just North of the island, a few miles out in the ocean, the sea floor drops all the way down to 24,714 feet or just about 5 miles down! The Cayman Trench is one of the deepest points in the world’s oceans. This vast area of deep ocean has some amazing marine life that passes through it.
Scroll down our dive site listings page to see and read more details about all the best scuba diving locations around Jamaica, or just click on one of the cities below to see a full listing of scuba dive sites for that specific area of the island.
Scuba Dive Sites in and around Negril
The Throne Room
The entrance is a fairly wide but low cavern, with a crack in the reef about 25ft. long and 8 ft. wide. When using the entrance you need to be really careful not to damage the coral around the opening. The walls on the inside are covered with colorful sponges. The bottom is covered with fine sediments which when disturbed will immediately reduce the visibility. Leaving the throne room, you swim through a large opening forming a window of sorts; coming into the deeper reef at 70 ft. this window provides great photo opportunities.
This site is named for the two caverns, one small and one slightly larger, with a narrow tunnel connecting the two. You can find a variety of sponges here along with soft gorgonians. On the sand flat you will see the usual occupants: furry sea cucumbers, stingrays, jacks and some lane snappers.
Among the elephant ear sponges and yellow tube sponges, you may find Spanish hogfish, smooth and bandtail puffers, and of course the ever-present damselfish. Golden crinoids are tucked in between star and brain coral, and in the surrounding sandy area sand tilefish hover near their burrows. Kingfish, the Jamaican name for ceros, can be seen passing by. These silvery fish are generally solitary and are seen on reefs and drop-offs near deep water.
Middle Shoal Reef (Beginner)
One of the most frequently visited 30′ scuba dive sites. Used mainly for our PADI introductory (Resort) Scuba Course dive #1. Nice coral reef to 30′ sand bed. Very large aggregation of French grunts at cleaning stations on coral heads. Squirrel fish aggregations at other cleaning sites. Turtles often seen on the edge of a sand bed. Many blue chromis, creole wrans, parrots, etc.
Interesting overhangs and ledges. Coral reef with lots of places to explore. Large crabs, turtles, nurse sharks, sting rays, morays, black coral and the occasional Sea Horse are often seen here.
We often combine the shallow plane with this 33′ dive. There are many overhangs and ledges. Nurse sharks and very large sting rays are common. Swim through the arches and notice the purple and yellow fairy bassets. They align themselves to the substratum and are upside down on the ceilings of the arches and caverns. Resort divers stay at the reef around 30ft. 45ft distance to sand bottom.
Booby Cay Island
The island has been almost surrounded with mooring buoys installed by the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society with the help of Reef Relief from Florida, Sandals Negril and many more. Weather dictates which side of the island to use. The North West side has some healthy Elk Horn Coral near the surface and a lot of very large Bloody Bay coral heads.
Wreck dive of a Cessna 152 Airplane resting next to a beautifully overhanging reef. Look for Queen Angelfish, Spotted Drum Fish, and the occasional dolphin at this site. This dive is an extension of Arches reef dive.
The reef has a medium profile and is made up of individual coral heads, soft gorgonians, and purple sea fans. French Grunt, Goatfish and Squirrelfish gather at the base of barrel sponges and yellow and brown tube sponges. Black surgeon and yellow and brown chromis can be seen. Many more cluster of brown tube sponges grow on the wall, which is deeply undercut in many places. These overhang are overgrown with black coral, wire and whip coral and a multitude of sponges. You may discover a spotted drum, or a very shy queen angelfish against the wall. Fairy basslets hang upside down from the ceiling and the encrusting sponges add splashes of color.
There’s a few caverns perfect for hiding of nurse sharks and turtles colorful sponges lots of black durgeon, French grunt Maroon spotted fish and schools of blue chromis, and that’s what makes this reef so surprisingly cool.
This site is perfect for training. Majority of the reef is flat, and consist patches of sand and colorful sponges, corals, goatfish and snapper. At times the current is very strong.
Follow the coral reef and overhangs down to a sandy bottom sloping seaward at 75′. Nurse sharks and large sting rays are seen here often. Note: This dive site is not commonly used.
A dive located directly offshore from Orange River – many ledges. A cave very similar to the Throne Room, known for nurse sharks and the odd hammerhead. Morays, groupers, etc. This site is seldom used.
This wreck was sunk in 1993 to provide the sealife with an artificial reef. Settled on a sandy patch, the reef in this area is worth checking out as well. Look for Barracuda, Scrawled File Fish, and the occasional Eagle Ray passing through the area. Swim in through the boat and out into beautiful coral. The tug boat is 55ft in length.
This is where our Divemasters love to hang. Small plane sunk to provide reef. Frequented by turtles, Barracuda, Spade Fish, and the territorial Ocean Trigger Fish. Drift along the outer edge before the Caribbean drops off to the deep.
This is a great diving site where you can see many different fascinating things. From the numerous brown and black corals to the huge sponges that occupy the reef. Here, there are multiple overhanging ledges which may or may not conceal some of the reef’s beautiful creatures and this will allow for an exciting diving experience.
Middle Shoal Reef (Advanced)
There is a small single engine plane located at this site at a depth of 90′. This dive is known for spade fish and barracuda. Beautiful coral, barrel, sponge, gorgonians, etc. Farther out, there is drop-off up to 200′.
Best Dive Sites in and around Montego Bay
Rose Hall Reef
Named for the famous Rose Hall great house that overlooks the sea just a couple of miles east of Montego Bay, this shallow reef is teaming with marine life. At this scuba dive sites location you’ll discover “Fairy Castle”, a massive colony of pillar coral, and “Fairy Bridge”, a coral formation that connects two sections of reef over a sandy “river”. The reef forms an intricate system of tunnels that are home to squirrelfish, goatfish, porcupinefish, bar jacks and grunts.
The Spanish Anchor
Located on the west side of the marine park, the shallow reef drops to a sandy bottom at 50 ft. A single tank dive, to this site is not enough for hard core diver, there are so much going on, a busy home for parrot fish, sergeant major and grunt. The formation of the sheet carol created some swim through. Wall with cavern and also consists of 2 old Spanish anchors, which are ideal for advanced divers.
Depth Range 40-80 ft., the cave itself is not very large, but while going up through the chimney-like passage to the shallow reef. Schools of glassy sweepers hide in these dark recesses and their bodies create golden accents. Keep your hoses and gauges close to you so you do not get caught in or damage the beautiful carol as this dive site is filled with black coral and other soft corals hanging on the wall. Open water divers may dive at the top, while advanced divers can go deeper.
Ideal for shallow divers (DSD, PSD & OW) with lots of sergeant major fish and is a recommended fish feeding site.
Swim through caverns. This reef is for exploration divers. And some things to see are Southern Stingrays, Mutton Snappers, Basket and Flying Gurnard.
Sting Ray City
There’s a frequent sighting of school of stingrays and is ideal for photography divers to catch a glimpse of some.
Located east of Widow makers Cave, this scuba dive sites unique location provides an opportunity to stay either on the top of the wall, or travel along it depending on the experience of the divers. Lovely basket sponges, gorgonian, school of creed wrasses and yellow tail snappers, especially when the current is flowing northeast. Ideal for Open Water and more advanced scuba certifications.
You rarely see better coral on a reef close to the shore. The arches start at 40 ft and drops to 60 ft with a 10 ft cavity. The curves of the arch are wide and swimming through will seem effortless. Sloping swim through areas where open water divers may dive at the top, while advanced divers can dive on the wall.
Fuselage of old DC3 plane lying at 80 ft with soft corals, Black Durgons and ideal for Advanced divers.
The beautiful chub reef is located 200m from the Holiday Inn Resort. It features a 15 ft reef with beautiful corals. This reef drops off to 40 ft making it perfect for scuba divers. The variety of marine life is overwhelming. The 70 member chub family swims this reef constantly. The sand bed often has turtles feeding so the whole reef can be explored. No need to drop an anchor, a float will be provided.
Filled with nice soft corral basket sponges where there’s sighting of reef sharks, turtles, and eagle rays. With a depth of 80-110 ft moderate to strong advanced diver, near very deep water. This site has the benefit of the ocean currents, the visibility therefore is nearly always excellent and the plankton in the water attracts many fish, creating the ultimate wall dive. Open water divers may dive at the top, while advanced divers can go deeper.
Jamaica Dive Sites in and around Ocho Rios
This medium-profile reef has finger coral, brain coral, star coral, an occasional elkhorn coral on the shallower end, and a variety of sponges. Drifting with the current you pass over a section of reef, followed by a sand chute, another reef section and another sand gully and so on. Nurse sharks frequent the area and can often be found napping in the sand.
Top of the Mountain
Near Dunn’s River Falls, a massive underwater mountain plateau rises up from the sandy ocean floor to 60 ft below the surface. The top of the reef is covered with many different species of soft gorgonians and small coral heads, consisting of sea rods, sea plumes, sea fans, brain coral, star coral, and clusters of smooth flower coral. Look out for golden hamlets that frequent this area and the rare yellowcheck wrasse. Hiding in the coral heads are glasseye snappers, graysbys, and squirrelfish.
Staghorn coral, star coral, brain coral, sea fans and many more coral fish. Mountainous coral extending up to 10-15 ft.
Close to Sandals resort. This is a flat reef system and a shallow dive for beginners. You will also find Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans.
Just less than 5 minutes from the Sandals resort. Some things you might see are Green Moray Eel, Eagle Ray, Puffer Fish (Porcupine Fish), Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans.
This is another flat reef just 5 minutes from the Sandals resort. Some things you might see are Scorpion Fish, Sting Ray, Lobster, Eagle Ray, Star Fish, Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans.
Just 3 minutes from the Sandals resort in Ocho Rios and this reef is filled with Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans.
Ship Wreck (The Catherine or The Kathryn-Caverns)
Just 10 minutes from Ocho Rios this is an old minesweeper, which was sunk in 50 ft. of water some time in the 1980s along a cavernous reef system. The ship is approximately 120 ft. in length. From the surface to the upper most part of the ship, it is 20 ft. Filled with Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans. Some things you might see: Sting Ray, Sergeant Major, Flaming Scallop, Nurse Shark, Caverns, Lobster, Eel, Sea Snake, Hamlets, Snapper.
Ocho Rios Wall
A wall dive in nature. Boasts a variety of corals and marine life. However, due to the presence of fresh water in the vicinity, there are a number of seaports in this area. Snappers, butterfish, etc along an occasional sea horse are a small amount of the different varieties found here. Other things to see: eels, turtles, sea fans, barrel sponges and gorgonians.
Things to See: barracudas, eels, nurse sharks, snappers, lobsters, crabs, barrel sponges, sea fans.
A French-like reef at 60 ft. Things to See: Atlantic spade fish, chubs, turtles, sharks, barrel sponges, sea fans, gorgonians.
This reef is relatively flat, however it tapers off very gently down to 60 ft. Things to See: barracuda, lionfish, sting rays, crabs, lobsters, parrotfish, butterfly fish, chromis, damsels, barrel sponges, sea fans. Good for night dives.
Just 10 minutes in front of Dunns River. And you’ll find Barrel Sponges, Sea Fans and Gorgonians.
Just 3 minutes from the resort. Some things to see are Turtles, Atlantic Spades, Eels, Jacks, Nurse Sharks. Barrel Sponges, Sea Fans and Gorgonians.
A more advanced portion of the Dunns dive. This one is about 10 minutes in front of Dunn’s River filled with Barrel Sponges, Sea Fans and Gorgonians. Deep dive, over 100 ft.
Scuba Diving Sites in and around Runaway Bay
The “Reggae Queen”, a 100-ft tugboat with a wooden hull, was sunk here in early 1993. The wreck lies upright in the sand in between two reef areas. Hovering over the wreck is a large school of blue chromis, bogas and creole wrasse. Southern stingrays have also been reported cruising the adjacent areas. In the reef you can see clusters of yellow tube sponges and green rope sponges covered with tiny zoanthids.
A wall at 80 ft dropping down to over 200 ft adorned with clusters of bright azure vase sponges, elephant ear sponges and large red sea fans. Large schools of fish go back and forth, and ceros and bar jacks pass overhead. Rainbow jacks are seen regularly and sometimes you may encounter an ocean triggerfish. A shallower reef plateau at 50 ft is home to grunts, goatfish and blackbar soldierfish.
The Canyon is made up of two steep vertical walls that eventually become less than 20 ft apart. The top of the walls are at 35 ft and drop down to over 130 ft. Watch for schooling Bermuda Chubb. Best for divers doing Deep Diver Specialty and Enriched Air Nitrox (90 ft for 40 min on 36% o2).
As the story goes, these were originally two airplanes used to transport marijuana in the 1970’s. They sit in a sand bed at 75 ft next to a wall that drops to over 150 ft. Look out for turtles and barracuda. Preferred site for Advanced Wreck dive.
This dives begins at 70 ft along a wall that drops to over 120 ft. Look for lots of creole wrasse and barracuda. Best for Drift dive as a quick current can usually be found along this portion of the wall.
A shallow 30 ft dive just in front of Hedonism 3. An excellent site for divers preferring to stay shallow and as a second dive. Lot of marine life, with hard and soft corals. Great site for doing Night, Video and Photography Specialties.
An ancient anchor rests at 50 ft on top of a beautiful wall. The anchor chain still hangs over the wall and goes down past 150 ft. This site has lots of sponges.
Cool Dive Sites in and around Port Antonio
A reef scuba dive site that begins at 60 ft and drops as a wall to over 120 ft. The wall is approximately 250 ft long and then the site levels out to outcroppings of corrals and reefs. Plenty of barrel and vase sponge, black coral and numerous snapper varieties and small juvenile fish. Good visibility and minimal current.
A shallow dive with coral outcroppings and minimal current and this makes it ideal for training or novice divers scuba dive sites.
The beginning of a long defined reef starting at approximately 50 ft with a coral floor and extending north into a forming of a wall on the outside, the top at about 60 ft and the floor drops to 160 ft. Lots of plant life with sea fans, underwater gorgornia, barrels, giant tubes and vase sponges in florescent like colors, orange tubes and large flower coral. Plenty of grouper, snapper, trigger fish, jacks, barracuda and numerous juveniles.
The continuation of Alligator head but becoming more defined on the wall and areas dropping off to over 160 ft in depth. Same plant and fish life, but the drop-off with excellent visibility is amazing to observe.
The farthest point of Alligator reefs. A nicely defined ridge that extends for a comfortable dive at twenty minutes at 80 ft to 90 ft. We have cultivated this reef for fish life and it is abundant. You are surrounded by all the area fish to include a large school of adult spade angel fish that will allow you to tag along with their precision formation drills.
A beautiful dive approximately 50 ft to 70 ft with rolling hills, long sandy bottoms , and some nice canyons. All covered with sponges, sea whips, sea fans, pillar coral, brain coral. Fished out by the locals but the scenery offsets this. Porpoise and giant sea turtles often come by for a visit through here and Fisherman’s Reef.
A continuation of Courtney’s reef as it comes into shallower depths. A lot of deep canyons, swim throughs, and a defined marking of the reef dropping into a long sandy desert floor.
A shallow dive just north of Blue Lagoon. A thermocline and mineral accumulation just at the surface from the fresh water spring makes for some beautiful color in this area. On good days, the visibility is forever, and there are a rainbow of colors in the coral, sponge, and plants due to the mineral deposits. Usually our friendly spotted eagle ray will swim by. A lot of overhangs of sheet coral that makes for great swim throughs with dozens of finger like canyons running perpendicular to the coast.
Right at the entrance of Dragon Bay. Very shallow with mostly sandy floor and no current to make for an excellent training or beginner site.
A sloping plateau of rough starlet, pillar, and mountainous star coral with a lot of various barrel sponges and sea fans. The depth runs 60 ft to 80 ft and follows a defined rim. Good visibility and little or no current.
A 50 ft ridge drop-off, drifting on over to a beautiful solitary pinnacle that rises from a floor of 120 ft to a peak of 60 ft. The pinnacle is almost cylindrical with an average diameter of 60 ft. It is teeming with coral, plant color, and many juvenile tropical fish. The dive tour is completed by going back to the ridge and continuing along a defined reef varying from 50 ft to 70 ft. Slight current, usually in the direction of the dive.
A deep 70 ft to 110 ft, long sweeping defined corral ridge with a few dead end canyons and a sandy floor. A nice sightseeing tour with brain coral, elliptical star and green cactus coral, again, plenty of barrel and giant tube sponge in all different colors.
A nice deep dive with outcroppings of coral, sandy bottoms, and no defined ridge. But it offers an array of different coral, plant, and fish life. A serene place to do a leisurely comfortable deep dive with little or no current and good visibility.
Dive Sites in and around Treasure Beach
Just west of the Sandals Whitehouse resort filled with lots of fish and very colorful reef.
On the shallow side of maize it is flat, the depth range does not give very much but the deep side is very interesting as you can navigate in and out and around the reef hence, giving it the name Maize not meaning corn but instead spiral.
West-northwest from the Sandals Whitehouse all-inclusive resort.
This reef is similar to coral gardens on the 60ft side this reef is divided into two; a deep cottage and a shallow cottage.
West of the Sandals Whitehouse resort.
This reef is exactly in front of the Sandals Whitehouse hotel. This is indeed a very beautiful reef with a maximum depth of 35ft.
This reef is very colorful and filled with lobster, snapper and caver.
Located south of the Sandals resort on the Southwest coast of Jamaica, the highlights of this area are the caverns (swim through) and Sting Rays are frequently seen.
There is an ever present school of Bermuda Chubb, hence its’ name. Nurse sharks are frequently seen at this site as well.
The coral life is good with the colors very pronounced. There is also a variety of fish life.
This reef is directly in front of the house where the Reggae icon Peter Tosh grew up; the corals are in excellent condition and Eagle Rays are frequently seen.
There are a few ocean trenches where Nurse Sharks are generally seen.
Good coral and fish life; very close to the fish sanctuary, so the fish life is getting better all the time.
This reef is on the shallow end portion of the English reef, this reef looks like a long mountainous terrain.
This is a fantastic deep diving reef, covering a very wide range from 65 ft up to 100 ft. The formation of the reef at this site is very huge. This site is very breath-taking especially the visibility up to about 80 ft.
You rarely see better coral on a reef close to the shore. The arches start at 40ft and drops to 60ft with a 10ft cavity. The curves of the arch are wide and swimming through will seem effortless.
South of Sandals resort.
South Sea Park
The Spade fish dominates this site as well as a few swim through spots.