The Top 10 Dive Sites in Bermuda

The Vixen shipwreck, Bermuda
DoctorJools / Getty Images

Bermuda is famous for many things: pink sand beaches, Goslings rum, aquamarine waters, and its history of sailing, of course. But you may be surprised to learn that Bermuda is also renowned for its world-class scuba diving.

Bermuda is located 900 miles north of the Caribbean (and 650 miles east of North Carolina) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, within the mythic "Bermuda Triangle. The Triangle—roughly bound by Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda—is legendarily the site of plane crashes and shipwrecks. Bermuda was once called the "Devil's Isle" because of the more than 300 ships that sank in its oceanic surroundings. Still, thanks to this unfortunate history, the island boasts many of the most spectacular dive sites in the world today. (That and the ocean's flourishing coral reefs, abundance of tropical fish, and exceptional underwater visibility, of course).

From shipwrecks to deserted islands, read on for the 10 best places to go scuba diving in Bermuda.

01 of 10

The HMS Vixen

The Vixen

DoctorJools / Getty

Among the most iconic dive spots is the landmark shipwreck of the HMS Vixen. The spot is popular for tourists and locals of all stripes—you needn’t be a diver to appreciate the wreckage since the ship's bow still peeks above the surface. A must-visit in Bermuda, the HMS Vixen is probably the most recognizable shipwreck in the entirety of the Bermuda Triangle—a legendary site of nautical catastrophes. Set out for a tour with K.S. Watersports & Jet Ski Tours to see what all the fuss is about.

02 of 10

The Mary Celestia Wreck

The Mary Celestia, also known as Mary Celeste, is one of Bermuda's most iconic dive sites. The 226-foot steamer, an American Civil War blockade-runner, originally sank in 1864 as it was making its way to North Carolina. Nearly 150 years later, a powerful storm disrupted the sand beneath the ship, uncovering antiquities such as wine and perfume bottles that were once aboard. If you want to take a bit of the adventure home with you, head to Lili Bermuda, established in 1928, a perfumery that recreated the scent discovered in the wreckage of the Mary Celestia.

03 of 10

Tarpon Hole

Tarpon Hole is one of the newer dive sites in Bermuda, as it first opened in 2013. But that isn't to say it's not equally enticing for divers. With its honeycomb reef and underwater arches, this 55-foot dive is home to snappers and reef fish. Plus, the location is divine: Just past the Breakers Resort along Elbow Beach in Warwick parish, this dive site is adjacent to one of the island's most gorgeous coastlines.

04 of 10

The Cristóbal Colón

Cristobal Colon

Bermuda Tourism Authority

The HMS Vixen may be the most heavily photographed shipwreck in Bermuda, but the Cristóbal Colón, a luxury liner of Spanish provenance, is the largest. The 499-foot ship set sail in 1923 before crashing into a coral reef a little over a decade later in 1936. In 2021, the wreck extends across 100,000 square feet of the ocean’s bottom and is a veritable treasure trove of fascinating curios for nautical historians and aquatic adventurers alike.

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05 of 10

The King George

King George is the largest, entirely intact wreck in Bermuda. The ship was built for the Bermuda Government, arriving on the island in 1911. Just two decades later, the government decided it no longer had use for the vessel and sank it in 1930, expecting it to fall flat down to the ocean floor. Today, the ship remains eerily upright, creating a haunting and majestic atmosphere for scuba divers to explore.

06 of 10

The Constellation and Montana

The Montana is a very unlucky ship, indeed—she sunk on her maiden voyage. The ship was delivering weapons to the Confederates in the American Civil War when it sank in December of 1863, just five miles off Bermuda's northwest coast. Eighty-one years later, Montana had company when the Constellation, a trading ship delivering cement, perfume (always perfume), and more, sunk in the very same way nearby. The double wrecks inspired the book and movie, "The Deep," written by Peter Benchley. And they will doubtless inspire you too, once you put on your goggles, strap into your oxygen tank, and dive down into the Bermudian waters to explore this haunting coincidence.

07 of 10

The Virginia Merchant

The Virginia Merchant is, unsurprisingly, another shipwreck—what more can you expect in the Bermuda Triangle?—though this ship sank so very long ago that the diving experience today is more akin to exploring a reef. The Virginia Merchant first sunk in 1661 and is now entangled 55 feet beneath the surface in an intricate maze of coral reef. Explore the caves and tunnels of this underwater fantasia that lies deceptively close to the surface.   

08 of 10

The Iristo

While the Montana may have sunk on its maiden voyage, the Iristo is known as the unluckiest ship in Bermuda, given its demise was due to yet another shipwreck in these North Atlantic Waters. The 250-foot freighter of Norwegian origins sank in 1937 when the ship’s captain, alarmed by the sight of the Cristóbal Colón, abruptly ordered his crew to turn the ship away from the wreckage. This abrupt change in steerage caused the Iristo (also known as the Aristo) to collide with an underwater reef and sink to its current position on a seabed of sands and reefs. The story is reminiscent of another famous historical collision of a massive ship and an unexpected oceanic obstacle—the Titanic, of course. The Titanic may have sunk twenty years earlier, but keep their shared fate in mind while you explore the vestiges of early 19th-century life beneath the sea.

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09 of 10

The North Carolina

Finally, head to the North Carolina, a 250-foot English ship that sank on New Year’s Day in 1880. The ship was en route to England from Bermuda, but now the iron hull rests on the ocean floor, remarkably in-tact after more than 140 years underwater. This is a classic example of a sunken ship, and it’s so well-preserved to be almost eerie and haunting—a must-visit on your diving trip to Bermuda.

10 of 10

The Hermes

Hermes shipwreck

Bermuda Tourism Authority

Just one mile off Horseshoe Bay, along the south shores of Bermuda, the Hermes ship lies 69 feet below sea level. The buoy tender was built in 1943 for the US Navy and scuttled in 1984 to create an artificial reef (to the delight of scuba divers and tropical fish alike). This is a perfect spot to visit if you are a novice diver, as the ship’s hatches were removed before she was sunk to provide easier access to the site for beginners. Explore the engine rooms and crew quarters before making your way back through the gorgeous reef surrounding the site.

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