Diving San Salvador

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San Salvador, Bahamas


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Country: Bahamas  Area: Bahamas

Water Temp: 24 - 31°C (75 - 88°F)

Visibility: 20 - 50m (66 - 164 ft)

Lobster March

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World class wall diving, frequent visits by hammerheads and striking topography, San Salvador is a must for divers visiting the Bahamas.

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The Bahamas means “Shallow Seas” and consists of a group of 700 breathtaking islands at the top of the Caribbean above Cuba and starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida.  This tropical archipelago has 16 main islands from which you can base yourself on to explore the rest of the area. 

San Salvador is originally thought to be the first land seen by Christopher Columbus, but recently it’s now thought to be another cay. Commonly called San Sal, the island has a lot of offer with amazing wall diving, shallow reefs for snorkelers, many white sandy beaches and even a fossil reef in the town of Cockburn!

Climate & Sea Conditions

The islands all have a warm agreeable climate which hardly varies all year round, but they are more susceptible to weather during the hurricane season which runs from June to November.  Even so this doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t visit at this time as with fewer tourists you can get the dive sites all to yourself. 

The water is very warm and settled throughout the year, and ranges from 24C in the winter months of December to March to 31C in the summer months of June to August.  The dive season is year round and even in the rainy season the water is still very clear.  This amazing visibility is due to virtually no runoff from the land, nearly all the rain water is absorbed into the porous limestone of the islands.

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The Bahamas offers a huge array of different scuba diving experiences for all levels of diver, ranging from diving colourful coral reefs teeming with life, underwater caves, sunken ships, spectacular blue holes and exhilarating Shark Feeding Dives. 

San Sal has published more underwater photos than any other location in the world. Its vertical walls really are world class are home to many friendly groupers and visited by sharks. There is also a wreck and many shallow reefs plentiful with fish species.

Diving the Bahamas you are likely to see many different Shark species, Nurse, Black tip, Bull, Tiger, Great Hammerhead and Caribbean Reef sharks all inhibit the crystal blue waters.  They can best be found near the coasts near the “Tongue of the Ocean”.  Shark Feeds are a huge attraction as The Bahamas is one of the only places in the world to take part in this activity.  The opportunity to watch these fascinating creatures feeding at close range will be a thrilling underwater experience that any diver will remember for a long time.  Most areas will have Shark Feeding dives available and most liveaboards will do at least one in the week.

A famous event of the Bahamas is “The March of the Spiny Lobster” which is a widespread Phenomenon occurring on the Great and Little Bahamas Banks near Abacos, Grand Bahama and Andros.  The lobsters are usually found solitary on the reef like the groupers but again gather in huge numbers for this event.  The march is usually triggered by the first autumnal storms that arrive from the north and west in late October or early November.  The lobsters agitated by the storms leave their ledges and overhangs and begin to march to deeper water.  Chains of lobsters can then be seen marching in single file, each lobsters vulnerable parts protected by the lobster behind.  This makes them become fearless and as a diver you can get very close and they will even march over you if you lie down in their way.

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How to get there

San Salvador has an international airport receiving flights from Florida and elsewhere in the Bahamas.  The other option is by ferry from most of the other islands in the Bahamas.

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Rating 9/10

San Salvador Diving Overall in the summer

San Salvador17 Jul 2015 - 8 Aug 2015

San Sal is a beautiful untouched island in the Bahamas. It is the most westward island and also closest to the Atlantic waters. San Sal offers great diving; from shallow reef diving to drop-offs and wall diving. I personally did not encounter any hammerheads when I was there but grey reefs were common visitors. The main attraction is the wall diving, but there still are rich reefs on top of the walls. Turtles and stingrays are also very plentiful. The island itself is great for holiday and diving overall, it is very remote and undeveloped which is nice.


Rich Ward

I have been considering San Salvador for an extended diving trip - I like that it is still not very developed.. is it fairly cheap to stay there?

Martin Deacon

Hi Rich, yes San Sal is quite inexpensive but I would definitely then book with Riding Rock Resort and Lodge because Club Med is a lot more expensive, given it is very high class but Riding Rock has great dive packages.

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