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Watersports

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If you want to put down a table-top, a cheese roll or a 360, you must come to the Caribbean and discover the sea, the wind – and the thrill-seekers who converge from around the world.

Come to where trade winds and coral reefs combine to produce waves up to 15 foot high and create conditions for spectacular double somersaults above a 26C sea. Join those who chase the wind.

Surf riding, with or without sail, is enjoying a boom and there are excellent facilities throughout our countries. From December to April, the north-eastern trade winds build up a powerful swell on the open sea, which is driven west to break on Atlantic-facing coasts.

This warm water swell provides perfect conditions for surfing. In the many reef-sheltered bays, wind-surfing has developed into one of the most popular watersports in the Caribbean. Competitions are widespread, some of them world championships.

These are typical trade wind locations, the wind nearly calm in the morning and building throughout the day to peak between 3pm and 5.30pm. From mid-December through June, the wind will blow in the 15-25 knot range most days, rising to 30 knots in February and March.

Both surfing and windsurfing require superb body control, excellent physical condition and nerves of steel. At most tourist resorts, there are surf boards for hire and expert instructors. If you are learning, you can use a boogie board where the waves are gentler.

On even the smallest of our tropical and subtropical lands and coasts, we usually have at least one beach where you will find all the watersports from windsurfing to waterskiing to parasailing. Jetskis and waterbikes are available for hire at most major centres, along with knee boards, wakeboards, trick skis and tandem parasailing.

The options, like the sun and sea, are endless.

turtle

Dive below the surface of the Caribbean and you dive into paradise.

Diving

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Dive below the surface of the Caribbean and you dive into paradise – a vast unspoiled playground filled with exotic sea creatures, breath-taking vistas and ever-changing colours. It's a silent world teeming with life where mankind is always the visitor, never the master.

Our azure waters are wonderfully clear and warm. In them, divers find treasures shaped and polished by nature for millions of years. We have the world's third largest barrier reef. There are canyons and caves, sand chutes, mountain walls plunging sheer to the ocean floor, warm water springs and coral formations whose textures and colours can never be forgotten. All this is home to a spectacular diversity of sea plants and tropical fish, from sponges and snappers to barracuda, shark and octopus. Explore not only the reefs, but also the wrecks of hundreds of ships, many of them centuries old, sent to the bottom by storms, pirates and enemy fire.

Belize and The Bahamas have the second and third longest barrier reefs in the world, running 175 and 140 miles respectively. Dominica’s reefs are among the healthiest in the Caribbean, where the underwater topography mirrors that of its mountainous landscape with reefs plunging to great depths offshore.

Diving among the St. Eustatius Marine Park, pristine reefs, wrecks, walls and abundant sea life remains a favourite for most visitors to the island. The Charlie Brown and the Stenapa man-made reefs are really divers’ dreams come true.

Fishes

Filled with exotic sea creatures, breathtaking vistas, and ever-changing colours.

The Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Curaçao are renowned for wreck diving. The Turks & Caicos Islands has a large coral reef system with good wall dives, canyons and seamounts and Bonaire has some sponge formations and cup corals worth noting. Grenada has one of the only Underwater Sculpture Parks in the World.

Spectacular walls, cave dives and drop offs are common in St. Vincent; while the Grenadines white sand beaches and crystal clear waters provide for reef diving.

For those who want to explore the deep but do not dive, Antigua has a Subcat Antigua tour offering visitors an underwater voyage in a submarine and there is the Atlantis Submarine tour in Grand Cayman, Barbados, Curaçao and Saint Martin.

For those who want to go beyond snorkelling without the pressure and commitment of a deep dive, snuba diving on Saint Lucia is an alternative option. Or you can join in the fun of the thrill-seeking SUB Underwater Experience in The Bahamas.

There are challenging dives for the experienced and shallows for beginners. Regular visitors to the Caribbean's top diving zones include movie stars, athletes and astronauts. You never know who'll be your dive buddy.

It's no surprise that scuba diving was invented in the Caribbean. What is guaranteed to amaze you is the mysterious world you'll see beneath its blue surface. Dive in and you'll never want to leave.

Fishing

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If you want to sit in the fighting chair immortalized by Ernest Hemingway, the Caribbean is the place. Deep-sea or big-game fishing is popular throughout most of the region, and many of the International Game Fishing Association’s world record catches were registered here.

Your adversary may be a magnificent blue marlin that can weigh up to 1,100lb (500 kg) and measure 10ft (3 m) in length, a giant or bluefin tuna weighing in at up to 1,000lb (450 kg), a swift and tenacious Wahoo, a white marlin, swordfish, shark or a sailfish that can do battle standing on its huge spiny fin. Closer inshore, you’ll find barracuda, bonefish, kingfish, mackerel, tarpon, amberjack, grouper and snapper.

Our licensed operators will charter boats from many ports with crew, state-of-the-art equipment, bait, and a captain who will guide you to the best fishing grounds. Half-day and full-day trips are usually available. Full-day charters give you the best chance for a big catch, because the boat can reach waters that are infrequently fished.

If you want to add the thrill of competition to your deep-sea adventure, you can enter one of our local tournaments, which attract amateurs as well as internationally-famous anglers.

Local tournaments provide an exciting air of competition. Amateurs and professionals are always welcome to join in. 
Events to look for include Blue Marlin Tournaments in the United States Virgin Islands, Curaҫao and Jamaica; The Bahamas Wahoo & Billfish Championship; Billfish Tournaments in Martinique, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago and Saint Martin; Game Fishing Tournaments in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Barbados; as well as the Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament in Cuba among others.

Whether you are fishing professionally or for fun, you can have an angling adventure in waters that are rightly famous. Go fishing – do it Caribbean.

sailing

Sailing Regatta on the island of Saint-Martin. Photo by L. Benoit.

Sailing

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The waters surrounding Caribbean lands shade from azure through turquoise to emerald and move with a gentle swell to the pulse of the Atlantic Ocean. North-eastern trade winds push the waves westward and the murmur of the ocean reaches through the coral reefs to fill some of the best natural harbours in the world.

Our seas are the Spanish Main, sailed by galleons, men-of-war and brigantines, by seaman famous and infamous – Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Lord Nelson, John Paul Jones, Henry Morgan and bands of dastardly pirates. This is where history and romance meet to offer some of the best sailing you will ever find.

Sailing boat

The waters surrounding Caribbean lands shade from azure through turquoise to emerald

Competition sailors come for year-round racing regattas but most of our visitors are content to make an occasional sailing trip the most treasured memory of their holiday. It could be a romantic sunset cruise on a reconstructed galleon or a day’s full sailing on a yacht, dropping anchor in an isolated bay so that you can swim in crystal clear water and enjoy a picnic lunch. On most islands, there will be a beach where you can hire a small sailboat, with or without crew.

If you want to see the deeper corals but do not dive, there are trips in glass-bottomed boats that allow you to watch the underwater life of the reefs in comfort. Kayaks are a recent innovation and are a good way to reach remoter snorkelling areas.

Whether you are looking for a quiet sail around our beautiful coasts, a rum cruise or a sea adventure, the Caribbean is your first port of call.

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