The sheer scale and vast nature of the continents of North America offer a huge array of varying types of scuba diving, catering for both novices and experts alike. Through this rich diversity of types of scuba diving, the Americas are able to cater for all tastes, and as such a huge population of scuba divers can be found throughout the region.
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
One of the premier dives in the world is the famous Kona Manta Ray Night Dive. It is an awesome experience. Each year thousands of divers and snorkelers from all over the world come to Kona to dive with the manta rays. The Kona Coast is one of the best places in the world to get close to and observe manta rays. The best way to interact with these majestic creatures is to dive with them! Their huge 12-foot wingspans and agile movements are truly memorizing. With no teeth, they are quite harmless. Manta rays feast on tiny plankton as they swoop down through the water. Each diver carries an underwater light and shines it up towards the surface. These bright lights attract hordes of plankton which in turn attracts the manta rays, and tons of fish as well. The manta rays swim, turn, and even somersault towards the lights where the plankton is plentiful. Divers that frequent this event can identify the individual mantas by the unique spots on their underside. More than 60 individual mantas have been photographed, identified, cataloged, and even named. As you sit among the other divers on the ocean's sandy bottom, the bright underwater lights shining into the darkness attract clouds of plankton. In perfect harmony and with impressive agility, the mantas glide through the water above, around, and even in between divers. You cannot miss this world-class dive!
Christ of the Deep, Key Largo
The site of the famous "Christ of the Deep" Statue, is one of the Keys' most popular diving and snorkeling locations. The statue is one a three made by an Italian scultor Guido Galletti, and was donated to John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park in 1966. Key Largo Dry Rocks, is a fairly shallow site, and offers close viewing of many types of fish. The statue of Christ of the Abyss resides at this reef. In 24 feet of water, on top of a three tiered concrete pedestal, the statue of Christ keeps constant vigil to the heavens. A patch reef surrounds the statue with very typical spur and groove formation. Its depths range from 30 feet to less than 0, as many parts actually come up out of the water at low tide. Sea rods and sea whips are numerous around the outside edges of this circular reef and very large examples of Brain coral are represented. One of the most requested sites in the National Marine Sanctuary.
Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is the Mexican Caribbean for divers, with consistently clear conditions. Cozumel features legendary sites, like Palancar, Paraiso, Punta Sur, and the airplane wreck. Most of the trips are drift dives, making diving a bit like watching an underwater movie as you drift by the reefs and marine life. Cozumel is an island destination for scuba divers and non scuba divers alike. Although it is a divers mecca, even after decades as a popular vacation resort, it remains a serene, quiet and undiscovered piece of paradise. The climate is subtropical.
Molokini Crater, Maui
Molokini is a partially sunken volcanic crater that can be accessed only by boat. Fantastic visibility provides clear viewing up to 150 feet deep. Two hundred-fifty different species of fish swim these waters, some found nowhere else on earth. Location: Three miles off the coast of Maui. The tiny island of Molokini has excellent scuba diving off the deeper back side with dramatic wall dives to 300 feet and pelagic activity. Being a small island, snorkelling and scuba diving are good whichever way the wind blows.
Channel Islands, California
The Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary is one of the most unique underwater environments in the world. Scuba Diving in kelp forests and with sea lions is a rewarding experience for divers more accustomed to tropical waters. Similar to the tropics, the waters are clear with lavish flora and fauna representing every color imaginable, but unlike tropical diving, the giant kelp and playful sea lions offer another dimension to your diving experience. Diving in kelp is similar to a walk in a lush forest of trees with these plants growing to heights of more than 120 feet. Giant kelp helps support this rare aquatic ecosystem, providing domicile for more than 800 species of marine life.
Barkley Sound, British Columbia
Barkley Sound is a maze of islands, bays and inlets and offers a stunning landscape. Diving in Barkley Sound is excellent, thanks to the rich and diverse marine life, numerous reefs and up to 60 old shipwrecks in the area. This area has been called the Graveyard of the Pacific because many navigators from days past would mistake Barkley Sound for the Juan de Fuca Strait, ending up on the many reefs and islands that dot the sound. In 1972 the Vanlene sank off the east side of Austin Island with a cargo of 300 Japanese cars.
Graveyard of the Atlantic, North Carolina
Because of its deadly history, the Graveyard of the Atlantic has become a popular locale for scuba divers, and adventurous visitors to the Outer Banks can try their hand at wreck diving for treasures hidden and buried in the Graveyard. The list of discoveries one can find diving around the numerous wrecks is endless. Many scuba divers are attracted to the Graveyard of the Atlantic simply for photos of the famous shipwrecks that can only be spotted underwater. Other divers are in search of artifacts from the sunken warships such as the recently recovered USS Monitor relics. Still others are drawn by the possibility of lost and abandoned goods, dating back to the blockade runners of the Civil War. And though seldom discovered, the prospect of long buried Spanish gold and pirate "treasure" draws ambitious scuba divers hoping to strike it rich.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
As if the amazing Caribbean Sea wasn't enough to lure divers to Playa del Carmen, this area also offers a truly unique feature - the cenotes. Diving in a cenote is an other-worldy experience, and it is easy to understand why the Maya held the cenotes sacred. The Yucatan peninsula is basically a giant limestone slab that was once coral reef. For millions of years, rainwater carved the porous stone, creating beautiful caves decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. The peninsula is penetrated with miles and miles of cave systems. After the end of the ice age the water level rose around the world and thus the caves got filled with water. In some places the roof of the cave has collapsed, creating a sinkhole that works as an entrance to the cave. Such a sinkhole is called cenote, which comes from the Mayan word dzonot. The cenotes are filled with fresh water, so amazingly clear it feels like you're floating around in air. 'Like being an astronaut', is what many say. The experience is difficult to describe and photos don't do it justice. It's just one of those things you have to do.
Thousand Islands, Ontario
The crystal clear waters of the St. Lawrence River are home to many shipwrecks, the playgrounds of sport divers and the main destination of SCUBA tours from throughout the world. Scuba diving in the 1000 Islands one cannot help but to appreciate the beauty and the rich history of the St. Lawrence River. The poor visibility of the wrecks in the St. Lawrence River have been lifted since the introduction of the Zebra Mussel, over the past few years divers from all over the world were able to discover the intriguing marine disasters of the great lakes and the St. Lawrence seaway. A recent invasion of zebra mussels and quagga mussels, carried in the bilge water of a freighters from the Baltic Sea and around the world, has been filtering the water to historic levels of clarity. This has created an explosion in the scuba industry, making the 1000 Islands one of the most exciting dive location in Canada. The wrecks laying beneath this body of water present many different levels of diving from novice to advance. Not only can one explore the mysterious history of lost ships but also explore the amazing marine life.
Roca Partida, Mexico
Roca Partida is one of four islands in the Revillagigedos Archipelago, more commonly called the Socorro Islands. This pinnacle rises 115 feet above the ocean's surface, but is only 300 feet wide. Beneath the surface it's a magnet to pelagics and large schools of jacks and tuna. This is a world-class dive site and is on our list of top 10 dive sites world travelers should see before they die. Encounters with the giant Pacific manta rays are common. There are small caves on a ridge at about 30' where you'll often find sleeping whitetip sharks and large lobster. Dolphins, hammerheads, silvertips, Galapagos shark and even whalesharks are seen here. During the months of March and April divers commonly can hear the calls of humpback whales in the area. Topside whale breeches and tails are also observed. Underwater whale encounters have also been happening more recently.