Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Jamaica
Beautiful wall dive and more. Excellent vis...80+ feet. High coral diversity, many lobsters, and even the rare green eel. Very steep wall, as deep as 100+ feet. Located in Reading, Montego Bay, next to the highway. Drive until you see a pier (there should be 2 piers close by, use the shorter one). Park alongside the highway, walk and enter from the end of the pier. Swim about 20+ metres out, descend to about 60 feet, and dizzive!!!
Pear Tree Bottom
This is a wonderful multi-level dive site with interesting spur and groove formations near to the shore. Start with a deep dive along the astonishing wall come up through the interesting swim throughs and enhance the experience with the safety stop time spent exploring the spurs and groves of the shallows. After the dive drive on to Ultimate Jerk Centre just before of Discovery Bay and satisfy your hunger with good jerk pork and great Red Stripe beers. GPS point is 18 degrees 27.675 minutes North and 77degrees 21.637minutes West. Drive along the North Coast Highway, Less than 1.5km from the west of Runnaway Bay where the road comes very close to the sea just after the bridge. There is a small cove with usually a single fisherman and parking (not formal parking) for up to four cars. Wade out less than a hundred meters and dive!!!
Dive is straightforward swim out of the cove and head down. This is a wall dive with lots to see. Skill level, great easy dive no difficulty so even if you are new it will still be doable. Some fish visible, sharks and turtles a possibility. 18 degrees 28.63 minutes North 77 degrees 27.636 minutes west. If you have a GPS the coordinates above will lead you to it. If you do not then just drive along the north coast (east to west) past Rio Bueno just before Braco you will see a restaurant on the seaward side with a big sign that says "Yow's" drive in and park. Walk to the coast turn right, go to the small cove and dive right in. Buy a RED STRIPE beer when you get and support their kind accommodation of divers.
Runaway Bay Wall
If you are lucky the current will be running and you can spend the next hour (or portions thereof depending on depth) enjoying a relaxing cruise past a wall alive with a myriad of creatures. You will see corals, sponges, whips, fans, feather duster worms, schools of fish, long spined black urchins, common urchins, rays possible, turtles and nurse sharks are also possible. The current facilitates an effortless cruise that will have you flying along side exquisite topographical features and the deep blue below. Driving from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay is small town called Runaway Bay. In this town is a hotel called Franklin D. Resort or FDR. From this hotel you can swim out head east and dive to a beautiful wall and this is the dive site so dive!!
Although this is a dive site hyped by the local resorts, it isn't all that interesting or challenging for the diver. The swim from shore to reef is long; long enough that most recreational divers would consider it a boat dive. There isn't much between the shore and reef, aside from vast swaths of sea-grass. Lots of invertebrates and small fish can be found in the sea-grass area, but they can be hard to find, especially for the inexperienced diver. The seagrass area ranges from 2m/6'to 6m/20' deep. As you approach the barrier reef the water becomes steadily shallower, eventually leaving you in water 2-4m (6-12') deep. The site itself consists of scattered boulders in a mixed sand/rock/seagrass plane. Various sponges and both soft and hard corals - especially fan corals - coat the boulders, which range in size from fist-size to the size of a compact car. Around these 'islands' many small colourful fish can be found, along with various invertebrates such as nudibranchs. The adventurous can continue past the barrier reef itself, although this can be quite dangerous given the extremely shallow water (parts of the reef are exposed at low tide; and water averages less than 1m/3' throughout the top of the reef) and frequent large breaking waves. In addition, the outside of the reef is extremely far from shore, and it is quite easy to follow the bottom (which stays at 9-10m/30-35' for a long ways) to a point where getting back to shore could be a real issue. The sea-side the reef is quite steep, and rapidly drops to 9m/30' in depth. Life here is much more abundant, with the reef consisting of very large boulders (house-sized) covered in all sorts of corals. Many fish circle these reefs, plus the usual Caribbean critters like morays and lobster. Overall this dive presents many dangers. The area between the reef and shore is filled with motor and sail boats from the surrounding resorts - all operated by individuals who most likely do not know what a dive flag is (or, for that matter, know how to run a boat). Additionally, large waves breaking over the reef, and currents on the sea-side of the reef, add additional dangers to divers whom leave the shelter of the shore-side for the more interesting sea-side edge of the reef. Combine all that with a long swim to the site, and the relatively large distance between interesting items, makes this dive quite risky for fairly low return. Although this site can be dived from shore, your best bet is to take one of the free resort dive or snorkel boats instead. The cost is the same, and you can avoid the long - and somewhat dangerous - trip to/from the site. This dive is located on the man-made barrier reef in front of Whitehouse, Jamaica. The barrier reef is easily visible from the town, or local resorts, and is located 200m-500m off-shore (depending on exactly where you enter the water). The closest approach is from the Dutch beach at the Sandals Whitehouse Inn. Simply surface-swim or SCUBA along the bottom due south until you hit the barrier reef.