The Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) is the undisputed arbiter of great dive shops and dive centers around the world. PADI certification is a must for any worthwhile dive instructor or facility. But while most dive programs are PADI-certified, only a few are singled out for special recognition as PADI Gold Palm Resorts, PADI Five-Star Resorts, and/or National Geographic Dive Resorts. Dive programs receiving this recognition truly are the best of the best, and the Bahamas has a number of resorts and programs that have been thus honored by PADI.
Located on the sand at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach resort in Freeport, the Viva Diving center offers free introductory scuba lessons to guests of the all-inclusive resort, plus one- and two-day scuba courses and a three-day open-water course. Dive wrecks, caves, reefs, and other sites along the Port Lucaya coast.
This PADI Gold Palm 5-Star dive resort is located in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, at the Island Seas Resort on Williams Town Beach. In business for more than 20 years, Sunn Odyssey limits dive boats to 10 divers maximum and features a special Shark Encounter program.
This Nassau-based dive operator has been in business since 1978. In addition to scuba dives to New Providence Island's reefs, wrecks and coral walls, Stuart Cove's offers a Wall Flying trip using an underwater scooter, snorkel packages and a "SUB (Scenic Underwater Bubble)" aquanauts program that allows novices to experience the thrill of scuba diving without having to get PADI-certified. Stuart, by the way, helped coordinate the underwater sequences on two James Bond movies filmed in the Bahamas: "For Your Eyes Only" and "Never Say Never Again."