Best Dive Sites in the US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands are home to an incredible bounty of diverse marine life. The clear waters make it possible to become acquainted with over 500 species of tropical fish, hundreds of invertebrates and 40 types of colorful coral. It’s no wonder that divers – from absolute beginners, to seasoned professionals – wax lyrical about the variety and quality of the dive experiences to be found in this corner of paradise.
We’ve compiled a guide to the ultimate diving spots in the USVI – we’ll be honest, it was difficult to choose! Read on for the best dive sites in the USVI.
Frederiksted Pier – St. Croix
Frederiksted Pier is ideal for beginner divers, with depths of 25-45ft. It’s one of the best macro photography locations in the Caribbean, with abundant and diverse inhabitants. From the Island’s western shore, you can encounter frogfish, batfish and seahorses.
The Wall – St. Croix
AKA Salt River Canyon East and West Walls – this is an ancient river bed located off the north shore, and one of the best wall diving spots you’ll come across. The reefs start shallow, ideal for new divers, before dropping off into a 5000-foot deep trench. The two walls face each other, across a quarter of a mile of clear water. Deep sea fans, sponges and black coral line the walls. An incredible variety of fish swarm around the shallows, whilst hammerheads and black-tips lurk below.
Cow and Calf – St. Thomas
So named for the two largest rocks that break the surface – resembling whales. These sites can be accessed from St John or St Thomas, and both offer wide canyons, arches, ledges and caves. The Champagne Cork is a vertical swim-through, where the surge will deliver you to the nearby staghorn coral reef. This underwater playground is suitable for all levels of diver.
Eagle Shoals – St. John
Off the east end of the island, between Leduck Island and Ram Head, this site is best known for ‘The Cathedral’. This is an open cave with several entry points, lined by orange cup coral and vibrant sponges. Silversides, porkfish and black durgeons have made their homes here. In calm conditions, this is perfect for beginners – but surface conditions can make it tricky at times. Be sure to look up when you surface, and take in the sunlight streaming in from above.
Carvel Rock – St. John
This is a unique and interesting dive site with diverse seascapes and abundant lifeforms. Many nooks and crannies shelter squid, octopus and nurse sharks.
This site is often done as a slow drift – start by dropping down on the south side before kicking hard against the current through ‘The Cut’ – a passageway around the rock formation. From here, the current will guide you around the rock – displaying coral gardens, incredible formations and a sheer 80ft wall.
Tunnels of Thatch – St. Thomas
These tunnels are under the north side of Thatch Cay. Be aware, these are only safe to dive in calm conditions, due to strong surges. Black arches, lava tubes and a sloping hillside await – at depths of 25-40ft. Tarpon and baitfish will join you on your journey.
Butler Bay Wrecks – St. Croix
What is a dive trip without a few shipwrecks? These five vessels are located together and can potentially be done in a single dive if you’re a fast mover. The Northwind is 20 below, whilst The Rosaomaira is the deepest, at 110 feet.
WIT Shoal II – St. Thomas
Off of Krum Bay, to the south of the Island, you’ll find this 330 foot wreck. A former tank-landing and freighter ship, she was sunk by a hurricane in 1984. She sits upright and is encrusted by vibrant sponges and corals, as well as offering sanctuary to barracuda and grouper.
Congo Cay – St. John
With depths between 25-80 feet, your dive guide will take you through rock spires to a coral-covered wall. Stingrays and dolphins are regularly spotted here – resting and foraging. This is suitable for beginners to intermediate, and perfect for those who want to see some larger marine life.
What have we missed?
These are just some of the incredible dive opportunities awaiting you on your USVI Crewed Charter. The more experienced divers amongst you may already have a favorite – we’d love to know! Get in touch to talk through your dive vacation experiences and future plans.