Scuba Diving Near the USVI

Discover the beauty that lies below the surface of the Caribbean Sea on a diving or snorkeling tour

Photo Credit: © SnorkelingDives.com CC BY
 

With dozens of large and small islands making up the U.S. Virgin Islands, you can bet that there are plenty of great diving and snorkeling locales. The waters surrounding each individual island offer divers a unique experience with each dip under the surface of the ocean.

It is important to remember that although the diving and snorkeling are often spoken of in conjunction with one another, they are entirely different. The most obvious difference between diving and snorkeling is the location of the participant when they are underwater. Snorkelers stay close to the surface of the ocean so that they might breath through their snorkel, while divers make use of air tanks in order to explore deeper and more hidden sites. Participants of both activities, however, have the opportunity to swim with colorful tropical fish, and get an up-close look at marine life such as coral reefs. Though it is not always possible to dive and snorkel in the same locations, there are a multitude of sites that allow for both.

...explore deeper and more hidden sites...

 

Novice divers will need to participate in one to two dive courses (usually offered by resorts, and always offered by dive shops), and apply for certification. Dive shops will handle your certification if you take courses with them. When you are ready to dive, you will schedule a time with a dive shop, and one of their dive experts will escort you to a local dive spot and show you the ropes. Courses and certification can range from free (at your resort) to $300 (USD), and you can plan to spend between $75 and $100 (USD) on a one to two tank dive.

There are 9 dive operators, a variety of dive shops, and at least 93 interesting dive sites to choose from.

Dive Operators and Shops

The dive shops you'll be able to find are shown in the following table.

Dive Shops Near the USVI
Name Phone Location Island
Admiralty Dive Center (340) 777-9802 Charlotte Amalie, Northern part of the USVI St. Thomas
Aqua Action Dive and Water Sports Center (340) 775-6258 East End St. Thomas
Blue Island Divers (340) 774-2001 The vicinity of Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Cane Bay Dive Shop (340) 773-4663 0.2 mi. South of Central Cane Bay St. Croix
Cane Bay East (340) 718-9913 Downtown Christiansted St. Croix
Cane Bay Frederiksted (340) 772-0715 0.2 mi. Northwest of Central Frederiksted St. Croix
Coki Beach Dive Club (340) 775-4220 East End St. Thomas
Dive In! (340) 777-5255 0.6 mi. North of Central Red Hook St. Thomas
Dive World (340) 775-2004 1.1 mi. West-Southwest of Central Red Hook St. Thomas
Hi-Tec Water Sports (340) 774-5650 Frenchtown St. Thomas
N2 The Blue (340) 772-3483 0.2 mi. North of Central Frederiksted St. Croix
St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventure (340) 773-5994 Downtown Christiansted St. Croix
St. Thomas Diving Club (340) 776-2381 2.1 mi. South-Southwest of Central Anna's Retreat St. Thomas
Water World Outfitters (340) 774-3737 Charlotte Amalie, Northern part of the USVI St. Thomas

If you're looking forward to diving, you might want to check with Low Key Waterports. Low Key offers both snorkeling and diving equipment, as well as training for the diving. They can certify divers in general diving as well as in night diving. They are located in Cruz Bay, in northern the USVI.

Another good option is Sweet Bottom Dive Center. Scuba diving is one of the most exhilarating experiences that a vacationer on the island could hope for, and Sweet Bottom loves being there to make that happen for their guests. You can reach them at (340) 778-3800.

Still another option is Patagon Dive Center. You'd be hard-pressed to find a dive facility with an owner as experienced as Captain Arnoldo Falcoff of Patagon Dive Center. Making his career as a commercial diver, he eventually settled on St. Thomas to pursue his recreational diving licenses and was soon fully PADI certified. They're located in East End, in northern the USVI.

Be sure to look at the following table to obtain information about dive service operators.

Dive Operators Near the USVI
Name Phone Location Island
Aqua Marine (340) 642-8701 1.8 mi. Southeast of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Cruz Bay Watersports Diving (888) 756-0631 Downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Dive Experience (340) 773-3307 Downtown Christiansted St. Croix
Low Key Waterports (340) 693-8999 Cruz Bay, Northern part of the USVI St. John
Patagon Dive Center (340) 775-3333 0.7 mi. Southeast of Central Red Hook St. Croix
Red Hook Dive Center (340) 777-3483 1.6 mi. East of Central Maroon Town St. Thomas
St. Thomas Scuba Snorkel Adventures Diving (340) 474-9332 2.5 mi. Northwest of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Sweet Bottom Dive Center (340) 778-3800 1.6 mi. South West of Central Cane Bay St. Croix
Underwater Safaris (340) 774-1350 St. Thomas St. Thomas

Dive Services

The following chart provides you with the approximate cost of dive services in this area.

Dive Services
Offering Type Low Rate High Rate
Discover Scuba $ 75.0 $ 160.0
Double Tank Dive $ 70.0 $ 130.0
Night Dive $ 60.0 $ 110.0
Open Water Certification $ 350.0 $ 600.0
Single Tank Dive $ 50.0 $ 95.0

Dive Sites

The chart directly below provides you with a few details regarding some of the area's better-known dive sites.

Dive Sites Near the USVI
Name Latitude Longitude
Aaron's Barge 18.3235659339 -64.9740460703
Andre's Reef 18.2786810445 -64.8949795961
Arena Dive 18.3546349966 -65.0637415051
Armageddon Plain 17.7520381812 -64.8956555128
Armando's Paradise 18.3091185717 -64.8987454176
Aron's Barge Dive 18.3261736761 -64.9717283249
Blackbeard's Eye Dive 18.3036054771 -64.9994060397
Blinders Rocks 18.344515895 -64.6813321137
Blue Chute 17.761918697 -64.7247934341
Booby Rock Dive 18.3025333953 -64.7094941139
Bovocap Point 18.3095729685 -64.7810983605
Buck Island Dive Site 17.7852639724 -64.6354007721
Buck Island Point Dive 18.2799799437 -64.8942661285
Buck Island Reef National Monument 17.7982174962 -64.6135139465
Carval Rock Dive 18.3691731817 -64.7948527336
Castle Reef 18.3100618798 -64.8557090753
Cessna Dive Site 18.2937018377 -64.9903535843
Clairborn Dive Site 18.2976134482 -64.9931430817
Cocoloba Dive 18.3159428522 -64.7567439079
Columbus Bay Wall Dives 17.7818006865 -64.7564381361
Congo Cay Dive 18.3680480498 -64.7988331318
Coral Bowl Dive 18.277300635 -64.8882526159
Cow and Calf Rocks 18.3038397553 -64.8462894559
Creaking Rock Dive 18.3391484849 -65.0847029686
Davis Bay Dive 17.763650541 -64.8316687346
Dittlif Point 18.3095825871 -64.7659611673
Dive Tank 18.2861279347 -64.9254602194
Eagle Ray 17.7572697115 -64.7038936615
Eagle Shoal 18.3051919421 -64.6893453598
First Cay 18.3194919484 -64.983487446
Flat Cay 18.3164775792 -64.987885952
Francis Bay 18.3662175272 -64.7504615772
Frederiksted Pier Dive 17.7143681838 -64.8852485418
Gentle Winds Dive 17.7811570597 -64.7607564926
Grainton Dive 18.302561407 -64.9980729818
Grass Cay Dive 18.3561395302 -64.8384869099
Grass Key 18.3545250874 -64.8312238047
Hams Bluff Dive Site 17.7704398205 -64.8746216297
Hawks Nest Bay 18.351880191 -64.7817897785
Henley Cay 18.3522702586 -64.7932970524
Jason's Anchors 17.7776119621 -64.7426408529
Kennedy Dive 18.3088995791 -64.9399709702
King's Reef Dive Site 17.7019375194 -64.8920720816
Ledges of Little St. James 18.2945982562 -64.8185420036
Limestone 18.3113436897 -64.9640897104
Limestone Dive Site 18.3100811171 -64.9627590179
Lind Point Dive 18.3378143854 -64.7974383831
Little Cozumel Dive 17.7818773086 -64.7465193272
Long Reef Dive 17.7575149358 -64.7102022171
Lovango Cay Dive Site 18.3596576948 -64.8057317734
Love Shack Dive 17.7633133691 -64.7299432755
Major General Rogers Wreck 18.3468219029 -64.858083129
Mango Cay 18.355828509 -64.8150876352
Maple Leaf Dive 18.3137682786 -64.7310912609
Maria Bluff 18.3135088337 -64.7886252402
Miss Opportunity 18.3400238585 -65.0023701975
Miss Opportunity Dive 18.3360729118 -65.0059747696
Mist Dive Site 18.2983468653 -65.0328397751
Navy Barges Dive 18.3132407404 -64.9148443529
Nineteenth Hole Dive 17.7620515234 -64.6956110001
North Star Dive 17.7685292442 -64.8215031624
Pavilions Dive Site 17.7788890226 -64.8097980022
Pinnacle Dive Site 17.7821378235 -64.8040366173
Rays Rise 18.3012612645 -64.8319768952
Red Point 18.3255840969 -64.6726322221
Rough Point Dive 18.4024198061 -64.9761271477
Rustoptwist Dive 17.7837315533 -64.7858297825
SS Grainton 18.2810292434 -64.9863624573
Santa Monica Rock 18.2997666667 -64.63875
Scotch Bank Dive 17.7736172577 -64.6830797195
Shark Point 18.3288666667 -64.5641666667
Sprat Dive 18.3144400732 -64.9391988108
Sprat Hole Dive 17.7386112493 -64.8972272873
Straggler's 18.3041948526 -64.8364830064
Submarine Alley Dive 18.2801021925 -64.8923671246
Swirling Reef of Death Dive 17.7001437533 -64.8916268349
T Table 18.3065772224 -64.9051880836
The Fence Dive 18.3034628727 -64.9993282557
The Indians 18.3312 -64.629
The Wall Dive 17.7754153966 -64.812104702
Tunnels at Thatch Cay 18.3630077763 -64.8712098598
Vertigo Dive Site 17.7643912951 -64.8429232836
WIT Concrete Dive 18.2879564998 -64.9824142456
WIT Crane Dive 18.3103663147 -65.0503063202
WIT Power Dive 18.2948019871 -65.0290203094
WIT Service Dive 18.298183884 -65.0143432617
WIT Shoal Dive 18.3078810055 -65.0345993042
Wapa Garden Dive 17.7625470671 -64.7267594934
West End Point 18.3888166667 -64.71835
Western Cities Dive 18.2980616479 -64.9706554413
Witch's Hut Dive 18.3283480938 -64.8073491454
Wreck of Cartanser Senior 18.2750236995 -64.8977583647
Wye Reef Dive 18.2763684704 -64.8994159698

For more information concerning snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for both experienced divers and beginners, check out this exhaustive Caribbean scuba diving article.

Tips

Both divers and snorkelers should be aware that they are intruding upon the habitats of creatures that live in the Virgin Island's waters. Always be respectful, and adhere to the following tips to make your diving or snorkeling trip a great one.

  • Be aware of your location at all times. As you explore you may find that you've wandered away from your snorkeling or dive site. Return as soon as possible.
  • Wear a watch to avoid losing track of time.
  • Wear waterproof sun block to avoid sunburn.
  • Do not wear jewelry or other shiny objects. Jewelry attracts unfriendly Caribbean fish.
  • Use a dive flag to let other boaters and divers know you are under water.
  • Do not feed or touch the fish.
  • Do not stand on or handle any coral.
  • Do not reach into holes, as they may be the home of unknown sea creatures.
  • Do not take anything from reefs or dive sites.
  • Keep calm if you spot a shark. If you feel it is necessary to do so, move slowly to your boat without causing a commotion.

A day spent diving in the Caribbean Sea is an experience unlike anything else in the world. If you have the time and the inclination, get off the land and into the sea. The memories you make underwater are sure to last you a lifetime.

 

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