Snorkeling Around St. Croix

As St. Croix continues to grow as a major tourist destination, word is getting out about just how good the snorkeling opportunities are here.  Some even say that they've experienced the best snorkeling of their lives here and international magazines are taking note as well, awarding the island with accolades like the “Best Visibility in the Caribbean.”

The great thing about St. Croix is that there are spots great for beginners that experienced snorkelers will enjoy as well, but also a few out-of-the-way sites that provide a bit of a challenge.  This means no matter what your skill level is, you'll be able to find enjoyment, tranquility, and stunning sights underneath the surface of the sea. 

Most of the island's beaches offer great snorkeling conditions.  Water temperatures hardly ever go below 78 degrees, the surf is generally calm thanks to a barrier reef that protects three-quarters of the island, and as you read above, the visibility is unmatched.  It is a rare occasion when you can't see directly to the bottom, even when you participate in some deeper water snorkeling excursions.  

Where should you snorkel?  That is really up to you thanks to the fact that most beaches offer a little something for snorkelers.  If you're short on time and want the best of the best, the Frederiksted Pier Dive is great for beginners and night snorkelers, Buck Island Underwater Trail is a great spot thanks to the underwater snorkeling trail, and beaches like Cane Bay Snorkel Site, Jack's Bay Snorkeling, and Isaac Bay Snorkeling are all great spots.  There are also a few wreck dives, mostly those that were purposely sunk to create an artificial reef.  

Snorkeling Sites

If you'd like to explore what's below the surface you might enjoy Buck Island Reef National Monument. Explore the natural wonder of Buck Island from under the water. While there are many tour groups that will take you here, they are not necessary, at Buck Island the main snorkeling site actually comes complete with underwater signs to help you find your way along an underwater trail. This snorkeling site is located in the eastern part of St. Croix.

Cane Bay is another place you might enjoy. Although this wall features a significant drop into the water, snorkelers will have plenty to explore near the surface. Elkhorn and brain coral are especially prominent.

A third site to consider is Isaac Bay Beach. A 20 minute hike through the St. Croix East End Marine Park will bring you to this site, which is home to an extremely healthy coral reef that hosts over 400 species of fish.

A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Annaly Bay. After a hour long hike from the Carambola Beach Resort, snorkelers will be rewarded with a bay featuring some of the lesser-seen sea life of the area that includes spiny Caribbean lobsters and southern stingrays. If you want to experience it for yourself, you'll find this site found in western St. Croix.

North Star Dive is a fifth location to consider. The westernmost snorkel site along the north shore, there is a wall and a cavern to be explored here.

Be sure to look at the table below for summary info concerning 33 of the most popular locations to enjoy snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near St. Croix
Site Location
Buck Island Reef National Monument 7.0 mi. East-Northeast of Central downtown Christiansted
Cane Bay 0.1 mi. South-Southwest of Central Cane Bay
Isaac Bay Beach 8.7 mi. East of Central downtown Christiansted
Annaly Bay 2.7 mi. West of Central Cane Bay
North Star Dive 0.8 mi. West-Southwest of Central Cane Bay
La Vallee 1.0 mi. Northeast of Central Cane Bay
Baron Bluff 1.6 mi. Northeast of Central Belvedere
Ann E. Abramson Pier 0.2 mi. Northwest of Central Frederiksted
La Grange 0.5 mi. North of Central Frederiksted
Butler Bay 2.7 mi. North of Central Frederiksted
Rustoptwist Dive 1.3 mi. Northeast of Central Belvedere
Butler Bay 2.6 mi. North-Northwest of Central Frederiksted
Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge 2.8 mi. East-Northeast of Central downtown Christiansted
Jack's Bay Beach 7.9 mi. East of Central downtown Christiansted
Gallows Bay 0.2 mi. Northeast of Downtown Christiansted
Mermaid Beach 1.6 mi. East-Northeast of Downtown Christiansted
Punnett Bay 1.9 mi. East-Northeast of Central Christiansted
Chenay Bay 2.8 mi. East-Northeast of Central downtown Christiansted
Teague Bay 1.0 mi. East of Central Cotton Valley
Aitken Point 3.1 mi. East of Central Cane Bay
Cormorant Beach Judith's Fancy, Central St. Croix
Hibiscus Beach Central St. Croix
Sugar Beach 1.1 mi. West-Northwest of Downtown Christiansted
Tamarind Reef 2.6 mi. East-Northeast of Central downtown Christiansted
Surlaine Point 3.0 mi. South-Southeast of Central downtown Christiansted
Turner Hole 1.3 mi. East-Southeast of Central Cotton Valley
Rod Bay 1.4 mi. South of Central Cotton Valley
Prune Bay 3.9 mi. East-Northeast of Central Christiansted
Cramer Park 0.8 mi. North-Northeast of Central Knight
Vagthus Point 3.4 mi. South of Central downtown Christiansted
East End Bay 1.8 mi. East of Central Knight
Sandy Point Beach 0.8 mi. South-Southwest of Central Frederiksted
Hams Bluff Cove 4.0 mi. North of Central Frederiksted

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Big Beard's Adventure Tours

For some people, the best snorkeling is located off shore.

If you're hoping to snorkel during a boat trip, you should consider Big Beard's Adventure Tours. While there is a lot to do on St. Croix, half the adventure can be found off the coast in the waters surrounding the island. With Big Beard's Adventure Tours, you will be able to explore the coast, reefs, and remote beaches of Buck Island.

Another option to investigate is Bilinda Charters. Luncheon day sails, half day cruises, and sunset cruises are the excursions offered by Captain Dee. However, she also offers a Discover Sailing course in which she teaches basic sailing facts and theory. They're situated in downtown Christiansted.

A third option is Jolly Roger Charters. Explore the vast waters surrounding St. Croix and see the lively ecosystem and thriving marine life that calls the reefs and uninhabited islands home. Jolly Roger Charters can take you on private excursions to some of the most remote spots for a day of adventure diving, snorkeling, and hiking, or a day of relaxing while gently rocking on the boat.

Take a moment to look through the following table to see boat operators that provide snorkeling.

Day Sails and Boat Trips On St. Croix
Name Phone Location
Big Beard's Adventure Tours (340) 773-4482 Downtown Christiansted
Bilinda Charters (340) 514-2270 Downtown Christiansted
Jolly Roger Charters (340) 513-2508 Downtown Christiansted

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for someone offering snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you can check with Sweet Bottom Dive Center. Although there have been some talks of offering snorkeling tours, for the time being, this shop specializes only in dive excursions. They do, however, rent out gear for those who want to take to the sea on their own. They are located on St. Croix.

A second place catering to snorkelers is St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventure. They call their snorkelers Bubble Watchers, and allow them to come along when they go out for dive. Snorkelers should know that they typically moor in waters that are 25 or more feet deep.

A third option is N2 The Blue. Since 2002 this boutique dive shop has been specializing in small group trips out for both scuba diving and snorkeling. They know the area very well and can take you to the best sites, meanwhile making each person that snorkels with them feel like family. They're situated in Frederiksted, in the western part of St. Croix.

The following table provides information regarding 7 firms that provide snorkeling services.

Snorkeling Services On St. Croix
Name Type Phone Location
Cane Bay Christiansted Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (340) 718-9913 Downtown Christiansted
Cane Bay Frederiksted Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (340) 772-0715 0.2 mi. North-Northwest of Central Frederiksted
Caribbean Sea Adventures Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 773-2628 Downtown Christiansted
Caribbean Sea Adventures Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 773-2628 Downtown Christiansted
N2 The Blue Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 772-3483 0.2 mi. North-Northwest of Central Frederiksted
St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventure Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (340) 773-5994 Downtown Christiansted
Sweet Bottom Dive Center Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 773-3483 1.7 mi. South West of Central Cane Bay

For more information about snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read our detailed Caribbean snorkeling article.

From trails to shipwrecks and everything in between, the snorkeling possibilities on St. Croix are not only varied, but superb at each and every turn.

 

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