Scuba Diving in Key Largo
Scuba diving in Key Largo on the reef is one of the most amazing things you'll ever see as a diver. It's a dive destination known throughout the world, and it's waiting for you.
In fact, the Keys reef is the third largest barrier reef in the world!
And not only is there an awesome reef offshore, but plenty of Key Largo dive resorts, charters and shops. This town was made for scuba and snorkeling.
Here's a know before you go fact about the weather, though. The calmest weather, and therefore the best visibility underwater, is during the summer. Winter can whip up the seas and reduce the clarity. For more information, you can check out he best weather in Key Largo.
Scuba Diving in Key Largo: Getting to the Reef
The biggest draw for diving is in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. You can get out to the reef in any number of ways.
One way is to book a spot on the Pennekamp dive boat Reef Adventures, which holds up to 35 people. This is very convenient is you happen to be camping at Pennekamp, but is open to everyone.
Another way, and usually with smaller groups, is to book a spot on a dive boat. These tend to hold no more than 10 to 15 people, although it can vary from outfit to outfit.
The most expensive way for scuba diving in Key Largo is to book a private dive charter. While it costs more, you will also get much more of a personalized experience. The charter boat can take you to the areas that you most want to see, and spend the time that you want in each location..
Areas of the Reef
The reef has many areas, with different names and things to see while scuba diving. Some of the reefs and wrecks off Key Largo are:
Benwood Wreck: Depth ranges from 25 to 45 feet. This is a nice shallow wreck, although there isn't much left of the original ship, as it was used for bombing practice by the military! The bow is mostly intact, though. Lots of corals and fish live here now, so it's a great "showy" reef.
French Reef: Depth ranges from 20 to 55 feet. This reef area is know for swim-thoughs, as well as the underwater caves, which include Christmas Tree Cave, Five Caves and 40-Foot Cave.
Snapper Ledge: Depth ranges from 20 to 25 feet. Just off this small ledge is something called the fish bowl by locals. As you might guess -- lots and lots of fish in here. Sometimes sharks appear, but they tend to be harmless nurse sharks.
Key Largo Dry Rocks: Depth 0 to 25 feet. If you want to see the famous Christ of the Abyss statue, here's where you go to see it. The reef is very shallow, and can break the surface at times; hence "dry rocks".
Pillar Corals: Depth 15 to 25 feet. A reef area that supposedly has one of the largest pillar coral patches in the whole Caribbean area. These are corals that instead of spreading out horizontally, tend to grow in vertical colonies..
Key Largo Dive Resorts
When scuba diving in Key Largo, you need a place to stay afterwayrds. There are quite a few Key Largo dive resorts for you, all of them just a short drive from Pennekamp, which is at MM 102.5. Just a few include.
Holiday Inn: Located at MM 100, it's just a couple miles away from Pennekamp.
Marina del Mar Resort and Marina: Also located at MM 100, more resort-y and full service and therefore more expensive. But if you're looking for confort and location, it's great!
Ramada Limited: Again, MM 100. Somewhere between the Holiday Inn and Marina del Mar as far as accommodations and price.
For more information about these resorts, along with quite a few others in Key Largo, check out places to stay in Key Largo. You'll also be able to check & compare rates and see availability.
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