Scuba Diving St. Croix (US Virgin Island)
Nowhere else in the Caribbean can you dive a wreck, wall, pier and reef all in one day!
St. Croix is so beautiful that it is practically the backdrop of a Hollywood love story. St. Croix provides gorgeous beaches, world-class recreational activities, fine dining, casino, and golf. Although only 22.7 miles long and 8 miles at it’s widest point, the landscape of St. Croix is surprisingly diverse. Visiting just the two main towns of Saint Croix, Frederiksted and Christiansted, will give you a glimpse of the island’s incredible history—from regal 18th and 19th-century homes in Christiansted to a tropical rain forest in Frederiksted. St. Croix’s Danish influence is perfect for visitors who prefer a laid-back experience. The historic towns offer quaint shops, charming pastel buildings and refreshing cultural diversity.
St. Croix offers the comfort of traveling under the U.S. flag, while still maintaining the feel of a truly international destination. The largest of the three major U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, making it the perfect choice for a romantic getaway, family vacation, or a breathtaking scuba diving trip. It is located 1,100 miles southeast of Miami, on the dividing line between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Since it is part of the territorial United States, the easternmost point in the United States of America is St. Croix’s Point Udall.
SCUBA DIVING St. CROIX
When you think St. Croix diving, you Think shipwrecks, think vibrant ocean life, think endless underwater possibilities. Nowhere else in the Caribbean can you dive a wreck, wall, pier and reef all in one day! Whether you are newly certified or an advanced diver, diving in the U.S. Virgin Islands is easy, accessible and offers an array of experiences for everyone. For divers, The St. Croix East End Marine encompasses approximately 60 square miles of marine habitats and 17 miles of shoreline. St. Croix sits on a narrow shelf platform surrounded by a wall that drops more than 13,000 feet deep in some places!
And because the U.S. Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States, you’ll enjoy the added safety of diving within U.S. waters. This means that all dive boats are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard and captains are USCG certified.
Sea life is abundant in the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than 500 species of fish, 40 types of coral and hundreds of invertebrates inhabit the water. Vibrant blue tang, silvery horse-eye jacks, queen triggerfish, spiny Caribbean lobster, spotted eagle rays, creole wrasses, and cleaner gobies are just a sampling of the marine life populating the underwater terrain. As sun sets, octopus, seahorses and moray eels make their appearance. Hawksbill, green, and leatherback turtles, call the USVI home and can be seen on many a dive. Lucky vacationers may even witness turtles hatching on one of the many turtle nesting grounds.
Most dive operators teach a full range of PADI and NAUI educational courses from Discover Scuba to instructor training. Specialty courses such as underwater photography, peak buoyancy, wreck, drift and boat diving are also available through many operators. Training for those with physical disabilities is available at several dive outlets.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE AREAS
Buck Island Underwater National Monument – is 6,000 feet long and a 1/2 mile wide, is uninhabited, and rises 328 feet above sea level. Dive around mounds of haystack coral, colored coral gardens, angelfish and crustaceans peeking from every hole. Buck Island Underwater National Monument includes the 176-acre island and 18,839 acres of submerged land and coral reef system.
Frederiksted Pier – Macro life abounds at this simple, but diverse beach dive on St. Croix’s western shore. Depths reach 50 feet at the end of the pier, but the pilings in 25 feet or less host an array of hard-to-find critters like seahorses, batfish and frogfish.
Butler Bay Wrecks – These five distinct wrecks clumped together on St. Croix’s northwest tip can be done in one dive–if you move fast. Better yet, take it easy and see them all over two dives. The Rosaomaira is the deepest at 110 feet, and the Northwind tops out at 20 feet.
Salt River Canyon – St. Croix’s north shore is one of the best-kept secrets in wall diving, and this site has two walls facing each other across a quarter mile of blue water. Hordes of reef fish swarm the tops of the walls, deep-water sea fans and black coral cling to the deeper sections, and big animals like hammerheads and black-tips sometimes make appearances.
Cane Bay – Rated one of the top dives in all the Caribbean, Cane Bay is one of the few places in the U.S. Virgin Islands where shore diving is possible. You start on smooth white sand that gradually slopes downward as more coral heads and 19th century anchors appear. There is no doubt that you will find the wall because, after a short swim, the bottom literally drops away. The colorful reef is on one side and the bottomless blue is on the other.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE SITES
Nowhere else in the Caribbean can you dive a wreck, wall, pier and reef all in one day! Whether you are newly certified or an advanced diver, diving in St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands) is easy, accessible and offers an array of experiences for everyone.
More Information on DIVE SITES
Diving Season: Weather does not vary much throughout the year. High temperatures are in the mid to higher 80s and lows are in the low 70s. Hurricane season runs from July to November and most tourists plan their getaways accordingly since temperatures do not really fluctuate throughout the year.
Visibility: Visibility generally ranges from 60-100 feet, but it can occasionally be higher or lower depending on weather conditions.
Water Temperature: The average water temperature is around 82 F (29 C) in the summer and 80 F (26 C) in the winter.
Weather: There is great diving year round. The weather changes somewhat and the water temperature varies but the diving is always good. Winds tend to be higher in late December and January which leads to higher waves but operators adjust their dive site locations for the most comfortable ones. It’s sunniest from February through April. Beginning in June and running through early November St. Croix gets Tropical Waves (sort of like a front) moving through every four or five days which can mean one cloudy day every week. Water temperatures range from 78 degrees in January through February, warming to 80 for March and April, and 82 by summer. The waters begin to cool in late October. The peak of hurricane season is mid September.
Skill Levels: Dives are available for all diver skill levels. There are several dive shops on St. Croix that teach all levels of certifications. While most diving is done off day boats, Cane Bay offers easy access to shore diving.
What To Expect to See: Vibrant blue tang, silvery horse-eye jacks, queen triggerfish, spiny Caribbean lobster, spotted eagle rays, creole wrasses, and cleaner gobies are just a sampling of the marine life populating the underwater terrain, plus octopus, seahorses, moray eels, as well as hawksbill, green, and leatherback turtles,
CLIMATE: The trade winds blow more or less along the length of the island. The hills of the western part of the island receive a good deal more rain than the east end; annual rainfall is on the whole extremely variable, averaging perhaps forty inches (1,000 mm) a year. The east end of the island is a dry desert range with a substantial amount of cactus, while the west end has lush vegetation and palm trees.
LANGUAGE: English is the most common language. A native English-based creole known on the island as Crucian is also spoken by the majority of the population in informal situations.
ELECTRICITY: The voltage on St. Croix is 110 volts, the same as on the U.S. mainland.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: U.S. Dollars. Credit cards are accepted at most establishments. If you prefer to use cash, there are many ATMs located around the island.
GRATUITIES: People in the service industry make their money mostly from tips as their hourly wage is usually low. 10%-15% of a dining check is standard and tipping other service providers accordingly is appropriate. Always remember to tip the boat crew and dive guides when diving. We suggest 20% of the cost of the individual dive trip is an appropriate amount.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Several cell phone companies have service on the island, although some may include roaming charges. ATT & Sprint definitely will work and offer state-to-state service. We recommend contacting your carrier before you arrive to avoid huge cell phone charges. Most hotels and many villa and condo rentals offer internet connections. There are also several internet cafes on the island.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: Passports for U.S. Citizens are not required for the U.S. Virgin Islands, but you must be prepared to show evidence of citizenship upon leaving (such as a government issued photo ID or your passport). Citizens of countries other than the U.S. should follow U.S. travel regulations. To travel outside the U.S. Virgin Islands requires a valid passport.
CUSTOMS: Every visitor to the U.S.V.I. 21 years of age or older may bring in, free of duty, the following: (1) 1 liter of wine or hard liquor; (2) 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars or 3 pounds of smoking tobacco; and (3) $100 worth of gifts
DEPARTURE TAX: There is no departure tax.
GETTING THERE: The Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport (STX) services St. Croix with regular flights from the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico, and the Eastern Caribbean. St. Croix actually has one of the longest runways in the Caribbean which allows for non-stop jet service from as far away as Copenhagen Denmark (biweekly charter during the winter).
American Airlines has daily jet service to St. Croix from Miami (twice daily 4 days a week). jetBlue Airways flies twice a day from their San Juan hub. US Airways flies to St. Croix from Charlotte on Saturday during winter.
There are also a variety of commuter airlines such as Cape Air (flying as UnitedExpress) and Seaborne Airlines that connect St. Croix to San Juan and St. Thomas.
Seaplanes, operated by Seaborne Airlines, also serve the island, taking off and landing in Christiansted Harbor.
All content provided on this “Scuba Diving Resource” blogs or website is for informational purposes only. Any comments, opinions that may be found here at Scuba Diving Resource are the express opinions and or the property of their individual authors.
Scuba Diving Resource makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Please note that regulations and information can change at any time.