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Scuba Diving in US Virgin Islands

PADI Scuba Diving in the United States Virgin IslandsUSVI imagesUSVI Green Turtle courtesy of St Croix Ultimate Blue Water Adventures

With rich, clear water that offers some of the Carribean's best visibility, the three United States Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas offer stunning diving in addition to topside attractions to captivate divers and nondivers alike.

St. Croix

Topside Features:

With Danish-inspired pastel buildings and charming shops, St. Croix is rich with culture and is the perfect place to relax or take a leisurely scenic walk. You can also enjoy horseback riding, golfing or visit the world-famous Cruzan Rum Distillery.

St. Croix Diving:

St. Croix is one of the only places in the Caribbean that you could conceivably dive a wreck, pier, reef and wall all in one day. Regardless of which type of diving you choose, St. Croix has something to offer for every skill level.

St. Croix Dive Sites:

  • West end reef: Near Frederiskted, this shallow dive site is less than 20 minutes by boat.USVI Eagle Ray courtesy of St Croix Ultimate Blue Water Adventures
  • Frederiskted Pier: Easily accessible from shore or from the pier itself, this site features squirrel, trumpet and puffer fish along with anemones and cleaner shrimp. It's also an extrordinary night dive.
  • Spratt hole: Perfect for new divers or those looking for serenity, Spratt hole offers calm conditions and more than 40coral species.
  • Cane Bay: Whether you’re looking for tropical fish, beautiful coral or anchors from ancient wrecks, you'll find it in Cane Bay. It's thought of as one of the Caribbean's top dive sites and is great for underwater photography.

St. John:

Topside Features:

St. John is serene and idyllic, but with two-thirds of the island designated as the Virgin Islands National Park, active visitors will find abundant hiking, camping and sightseeing.

St. John Diving:

Because 2286 hectares/5650 acres of the Virgin Islands National Park is underwater, St. John is just as wondrous underwater as it is topside.

St. John Dive Sites:USVI Seahorse courtesy of St Croix Ultimate Blue Water Adventures

  • Eagle Shoal: Suitable for divers of all skill levels, Eagle Shoal has clear water, overhangs, tunnels, arches and a large variety of fish. It's also frequently mentioned, but seldom visited - you can be one of the few to note it in your log book.
  • Leaf Lobster Hut: With patch reefs, spur and grove formations along with varied sea creatures like spotted moray eels, nurse sharks and lemon sharks, divers will find they need multiple dives to take it all in.
  • Dever’s Canyon: Perfect for snorkelers or beginning divers, Dever’s Canyon nearly explodes with life - including stingrays, angelfish, triggerfish and coral.
  • Hurricane Hole: A protected site that is part of the United States National Parks of St. John, Hurricane Hole has great visibility and abundant life.
  • Carvel Rock: A site best for intermediat to advanced divers, Carvel Rock's currents feed a variety of coral and sponges in water from 6-24 metres/20-080 feet deep.

 

St. Thomas:

Top Side Features:

The capital of the United States Virgin Islands - Charlotte Amalie - is on St. Thomas so it offers nightlife, restaurants and more in addition to shopping, golfing, horseback riding along with great diving.

St. Thomas Diving:

When diving off St. Thomas, you'll find wrecks, deep sites and marine life that includes dolphin, angelfish, lobsters and sharks.

St. Thomas Dive Sites:USVI Tug Boat Wreck courtesy of St Croix Ultimate Blue Water Adventures

  • Wit Shoal II: This 100-metre/327-foot former World War II landing craft now lies 27 metres/90 feet below the surface.
  • Flat Cay: Off the west side of St. Thomas, Flat Cay is home to hard corals, jawfish and sponges.
  • Spat Reef: Here you’ll find blue tang, spotted drum, parrotfish and chain moray eels.
  • SS Grainton: For advanced divers, this wreck was built in 1911, now rests at 34 metres/110 feet.
  • Cow and Calf: Sailors commonly mistook these rocks for whales -  a cow and her calf. Underwater, the rocks reveal vibrant coral,  tunnels, archways and canals.

Plan your trip with a PADI Dive Shop or Resort in the United States Virgin Islands.

PADI Dive Shops and Resorts

Find contact information for all the PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in the United States Virgin Islands.

Dive Summary:

Depth: Varies by location 

Visibility: 18 - 30 metres/60 - 100 feet

Current: Varies by location

Water Temperature: Ranges from 26° C/80° F in the winter  to 29° C/82° F in the summer .

Dive Season: Throughout the year, although hurricane season runs from September through November.

Weather: Average temperatures range from 77° F in the winter and 83° F in the summer. The rainy season is September- November which also coincides with the hurricane season.

Access: Shore and boat diving is available.

Skill level: From beginner through advanced.

 

Fast Facts

  • Getting there: Cyril E. King Airport (STT) is the primary international airport in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and has flights directly from the United States mainland as well as Puerto Rico. 
  • Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (UTC/GMT - four hours)
  • Language: English
  • Visa requirements: The United States Virgin Islands are a United States Terrirory and is considered domestic travel for citizens. Citizens of countries other than the United States should check the State Department Visitor Visa page for information on travel to the United States Virgin Islands. Citizens from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program do not need a Visitor Visa under certain conditions.
  • Currency: United States Dollar. Travelers checks and major credit cards are widely accepted.
  • Driving: Driving is on the left.
  • Other transportation: Ferry and seaplane services operate between islands.
  • Medical: The hyperbaric chamber is located on St. Thomas at the Schneider Regional Medical Center
  • Emergency Number: 911
  • Don’t Leave Home Without: Your camera and PADI certification card. Most other common items are widely available.

Related Resources

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