Villa Margarita St Croix USVI

St Croix Dive Sites USVI

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Best St Croix dive sites in US Virgin Islands

  1. Salt River Canyon
  2. Cane Bay – The Wall
  3. Frederiksted Pier
  4. Butler Bay Shipwrecks
  5. Sandy Point
  6. Davis Bay

St. Croix offers some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean for both amateur and professional divers alike. It might just be the greatest variety of diving on offer. Where else can you dive a reef, shipwreck, pier, and wall. . . all in the same day?

But first, here is a map of St Croix dive sites in the US Virgin Islands to help plan your St. Croix scuba diving adventures.

map of st croix dive sites USVI

Map of best St. Croix dive sites

Salt River Canyon East Wall

The East Wall mooring is in 40 feet of water, the back of the boat usually hangs in 1,000 feet. This is one of the best dive sites, with lots of pelagic and tropical fish.  There are two types of black coral present, the green and pink ones.  Lots of grouper, snapper, eels, conch, lobster and crab are found here, as well as tons of sponges soft and hard corals. Usually there is very clear water.

This is a also a very historical site, as Columbus came here on his second trip to American. He had 17 ships with him and it was the first time that there was recorded bloodshed between Native Americans and Europeans. Columbus took some of the capture Indians back with him to Europe.

This site is also one of the oldest geological areas in the Caribbean. Separated from the West Wall by a chasm several thousand feet deep, the East Wall is usually the “fishiest” dive on the North Shore. You’ll see lots of hogfish, snapper and horse eye jacks swimming off the wall, meanwhile the sponge and coral-encrusted slope is covered with schools of black bar soldier fish and striped grunts at 60 ft. Parrot fish, groupers and large angel fish are visible throughout the dive, and occasionally you’ll see spotted eagle rays or black tip reef shark lurking off the wall.

It’s certainly one of the best St Croix dive sites USVI, where you can “Dive the Wall” and right off the shore from Villa Margarita as well 🙂  What more could you ask for?

scuba diving accommodations in St Croix

Best scuba diving accommodations in St. Croix

Salt River Canyon West Wall

Mooring in 20 feet of water with  sheer drop off wall. There are lots of canyons and groves to go through.  You’ll see many pelagic as well as eel, snapper, jacks and groupers.  There are some really big stingrays in the area. It’s great for novice divers as well as advanced divers, and it’s probably the  most requested boat dive of all St Croix dive sites USVI.  It’s a steep and ruggedly-textured outlining on the western edge of Salt River Canyon. It’s also and an easy way to “Dive the Wall” for St. Croix scuba diving enthusiasts.

Also known as “The Pinnacles”, the geological formation with its maze of swim-throughs, cuts, ledges, overhangs, and recesses suggest that it was once an above ground waterfall.  Schools of creole wrasse and yellowtail snappers can be found off the edge of the wall, while the deeper realms are inhabited by jacks, permits, barracudas, angels, green morays, and rays gliding by the pinnacles.  Simply spectacular!

Salt River Canyon Dive Site

Salt River Canyon Dive Site

Gentle Winds

This dive site is named after a condo complex on the beach there.  It is a gem of St Croix dive sites and marks the beginning of a mile-long stretch of spur-and-groove reef.  The large, thriving coral fingers, separated by narrow sand chutes, bottom out into a sandy plain at 60 feet, making it a perfect second dive and training site for those working to improve their navigational skills. The great diversity and density of hard and soft corals are unmatched anywhere else. Look closely to find scorpion fish, flat worms, lettuce sea slugs, lobsters, and flying gurnards nestled among the breathtaking coral heads or camouflaged on the sand.

It’s right next door to Villa Margarita, so one of the most convenient St Croix scuba dive sites.

The Pinnacle

Sea mount that tops off at 90 feet. You can usually see swimming reef sharks and big jacks, as well as black coral. Recommended for advanced divers only.

Rust-op-twist

This dive site is named for a former Danish sugar plantation and a one time home to a shrimp farm on shore. The pipes for the deep water intake are still visible underwater. This area has the deepest water closet to shore in the Caribbean. Two moorings can be found on this wall site. Known for its colorful tube and rope sponges, sea fans and gorgonians, the gradual sloping reef has innumerable ledges and crevices that often shelter orange spotted file fish, juvenile burr fish, clinging crabs, slipper lobsters, and lizard fish. Following the pipeline downward, which makes for an easy navigation tool, you can observe the wonder of sea anemones and purple shrimp interacting, while hovering above the frequent flounder sunning on the top of the coral encrusted pipeline. There are probably more black durgons here than any other area, and it is a good site for encountering turtles. 

The Pavilions

A beautiful wall dive east of Cane Bay with =lots of hard and soft corals, schools of Atlantic spade fish, groupers elephant ear sponges and black coral. A plateau with sand and coral, which is great for beginner and advanced divers. South of the mooring in 35 feet of water is a sandy arena rimmed by coral and decorated with yellow headed Jawfish and spaghetti worms, creating an ideal habitat for nurse sharks and spotted moray eels. The wall itself is decorated with colorful sponges, whips, and sea plumes, typically hosting schools of Creole wrasse, triggerfish and every species of butterfly fish. Watch for the rare pipefish and seahorses. This dive is known for its abundance of marine life. One of the best St Croix dive sites USVI.

Cane Bay – The Wall

Probably the most popular beach dive sites in St. Croix as well as boat dive. It is accessible from North Shore road at Cane Bay Beach.  After a 200-yard swim to the wall, it drops over 2,000 feet. You’ll find beautiful wall dive along with great coral gardens just before the wall in 30 feet of water. Sometimes you may see reef sharks out in the blue, as well as black coral, pelagic and well as tropical fish. It’s one of the best St Croix shore diving experiences.

The Wall is part of the Puerto Rican trench, which is the 2nd-deepest trench in the world.  Pretty amazing!  Here you’ll see lots of stunning corals, including black coral, which create a garden of sorts that which can be viewed at around 30 feet.  This is a great place to see small Caribbean reef sharks, as well as large schools of black durgon, blue tangs and lots of damsels swimming in the waters over the reef.  Teeming with tropical fish and wildlife, there’s also a good chance you’ll spot some of the green sea turtles which rest and eat off the reef.  

The beach here is also a great place to chill out in between and after your dives. If you are shore diving, make sure to enter and exit the water at the boat ramp due to the shallow reefs that run on either side. Swim straight out from the boat ramp, and drop down when you please. This wall starts in about 30 feet of water straight out from the boat ramp. Reaching this ledge is an easy kick-out dive from the beach.  Here you’ll see 2 mooring balls which mark the beginning of sand chutes which direct divers to the wall. 

You can go also east for a deeper profile, or west for a shallower dive.  Don’t miss the carousel horse straight out about 100 yards in 25 feet of water.  

Here are some good Cane Bay St Croix Dive site reviews:

TripAdvisor review of Can Bay dive site in St Croix

TritonsRealm review of Cane Bay shore dive

 

St Croix shore diving at Cane Bay

St Croix shore diving at Cane Bay

cane bay st croix dive site encrusted anchor-min cane bay st croix dive site coral restoration   cane bay st croix dive site old anchor cane bay st croix dive site oil chain cane bay st croix dive site seabiscuit

cane bay st croix dive site video cane bay st croix dive site video 2

Wall at Cane Bay – North Star

This site is named after the sugar plantation on the shore. There is a vertical drop off starting at 25 feet and plunging down to 2,000 feet, with schooling fish everywhere. At 60 feet embedded upside down in the wall rests a large Danish Anchor.  Another anchor lies flat on the shelf itself. The wall takes the form of a sequence of huge coves, which means some part of the wall is always being illuminated by the sun, allowing the diver to see under numerous crevices and overhangs, and highlighting the colorful sponges and gorgonians. All Top Ten St Croix dive sites offer the underwater photographer great opportunities, but the lighting on this site has produced some spectacular shots, macro and wide angle.

cane bay wall diving

The Wall at Cane Bay: 13,000 feet down!

This is one of the most dramatic walls dives on the island which can also be a shore dive when conditions are calm. This site is known for hawks-bill turtles, and an occasional reef shark moving along the wall. Large schools of Horse-eye Jacks can also be seen. On top, you will run into your schools of Blue Tangs, along with many other species of tropical fish.  Villa Margarita guests seem to really enjoy this as one of their favorite St Croix dive sites.

When people say “St. Croix diving Wall“, this is what they mean.

Davis Bay

A great wall dive where you often see larger sharks, such as tiger and black tip. The shallows have been ruined by hotel construction and hurricanes. This wall dive is an easy kick-out one that can be done by shore from Carambola Beach, but it requires one to hike from the parking lot to the water with gear. Davis Bay makes for a easy boat dive since the mooring sits right on the edge of the wall in 25′ of water. There are lots of cuts and mini canyons on this site, and after about 65′ the wall turns to sand and slopes out to the deep blue. The cuts on this wall make for great homes for spotted lobsters and an occasional nurse shark. This site is also a good area to see Southern Stingrays on top of the wall moving along the sand.

Davis Bay

WAPA

This dive site is located on Long Reef across from the Water and Power Authority plant (WAPA). It has sloping coral with sand chutes between them, and is a good place to see lobster and nurse sharks.

Eagle Ray

Located just outside of Christiansted harbor entrance, with mooring in 28 feet, it features gentle slope big coral heads in sand. You can usually spot some eagle rays feeding here. It’s a great dive site for beginners as well as advanced divers.

Scotch Banks

Here you’ll find a flat sandy submerged mountain top east of Christiansted harbor.  Mooring is in 25 feet of water, and the wall is 15 yards east and starts at 40 feet and drops to over 1,000 feet. On the top of the wall there are lots of pillar coral surrounded with barred soldier fish and grunts. Off the wall you’ll spot barracuda, angel fish, elephant ear sponge, horse eye jacks and once in a while eagle rays, manta rays and even whale sharks.

Fredricksted Pier

Fredericksted Pier is a classic St. Croix shore dive, as well as a terrific beginning night dive! The old pier was chosen as one of the best macro dives in the world. Although torn down after suffering severe hurricane damage, several structures from the original pier are still standing. Called Dolphins, these huge pillars are bathed in spectacular corals and sponges. The new pier structure is a beautiful spot to see coral beginning its new life. This is the best place on St Croix to see Sea Horses!  You’ll find lots of unusual fish and sea life such as bat fish, frog fish, various eels, living shells, and Caribbean lobster call this spot home. Huge schools of tang are a common sights, as well as sea turtles. This is an exciting photo dive, and unquestionably one of the Best St Croix dive sites USVI you should not miss!

Important note: when Cruise Ships are in port, DHS (Deptartment of Homeland Security) does not allow diving on the Pier until the ship departs.  Luckily not many cruise ships go to St. Croix, but it’s still worth taking account for in if you plan to dive the Pier. 

The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) also warns everyone to stay at least 400 feet away when swimming or diving near the cruise ship pier.  Keep in mind these vessels in port routinely test their engines and this could be dangerous to anyone swimming or diving nearby.  

Here you can read professional scuba diving reviews of Diving the Fredericksted Pier in St Croix.  

And here is PADI’s review of Fredericksted Pier dive site.

Divernet’s Fredericksted St. Croix dive site review.

Learn more of Frederiksted Pier history and specs.

fredericksted pier coral

Fredericksted pier coral

 

Fredericksted Pier St Croix dive site video

Fredericksted Pier St Croix dive site video

Butler Bay Shipwrecks

A fantastic dive site with 5 shipwrecks within a quarter-mile of each other located in Butler Bay.  These five distinct wrecks clumped together on St. Croix’s northwest tip can be done in one dive — if you move fast, but it’s probably better to take it easy and see them over two dives. The Rosaomaira is the deepest at 110 feet, the Wreck of the Coakley Bay sits in about 60 feet, and the Northwind—once used as a prop in the 1980s television movie Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story— is in about 20 feet.  These wrecks are located a couple hundred feet from each other.

The “Shallow Shipwrecks” include the Suffolk Maid, Virgin Islander, Agiers Habitat, and Northwind wreck. This dive will take you to depths of 40-65 feet. Armageddon is the wreckage from the previous Frederiksted Pier that was destroyed in hurricane Hugo in 1987.  Its remains were loaded on a barge and deposited here, sunk in 100 feet of water just south of the other shipwreck sites in Butler Bay. 

The mooring for this site is at Truck Lagoon, which was created by the Hess Oil Company dropping a number of old trucks into the Caribbean.  Mostly all that remains now are their chasses. 

These is some great St. Croix wreck diving not to be missed, and the site also make for nice night dives.

Butler Bay wreck diving site

Butler Bay wreck diving site

Chubbs Hole

Chubbs Hole dive site is a sharp 15-foot ledge that is located in 30 feet of water a short boat ride north of the Frederiksted Pier. This ledge offers many small caves and holes for lobster, nurse sharks, eels, and turtles to hang around.  Starting on the edge of Butler Bay, the ledge extends south around Mill Point and towards shore close to Cowboy Beach on the west end.  You can be the St. Croix Dive Guy on this dive.

Swirling Reef of Death

Don’t be fooled by this dive site’s name.  This reef site is just minutes south of the Frederiksted Pier and offers some of the calmest water on St. Croix. The mooring area presents some great photo opportunities because of the nice coral reef patches surrounded by white sand.  Very picturesque! 

If you head west, you will hit a drop off that will take you down to about 100 feet before turning back to sand. This is a great area for healthy corals and sponges along with a great variety of tropical fish and turtles.

Swirling Reefs of Death

Sandy Point

Sandy Point is a federally-protected turtle nesting beach, so you can probably figure out what you might see on the reefs a quarter-mile off shore. With this area being left undeveloped, the Sandy Point reefs are some of the healthiest reefs on St. Croix.  

Little Cozumel

Discovered by Dive Experience, this dive site has a small wall starting at 40 feet and is vertical to 72 feet. On top you’ll find lots of soft and hard coral, as well as seahorses. There are nice sloping reefs with a large abundance of lobster.  Both green and spotted eels live here, and around the  50 foot range you’ll witness very beautiful corals with tons of fish life.

Craigs Canyon

This site has a deep canyon with a 40-foot sand bottom about 20 feet across. There are lots of over hangs and lobster, file fish, Durgons and eels. You’ll find soft and hard corals in abundance here.  A nice dive.

Sleeping Shark Hole

This dive site boasts a large coral overhang where one to four big nurse sharks hang out.  A beautiful sloping reef down to sand shoots.

Love Shack

Perhaps named after the B-52 song?  In any event, here you can discover big sand shoots and large coral heads. There are lots of lobsters, crab and small nurse sharks, making it a very nice dive.

Cormorant

Very nice sloping coral formations can be found here, and it’s also good for viewing small tropicals.

Twin Anchors

Here you can can enjoy in about 45 feet a very large 200-year-old anchor from the old Danish days of St. Croix, probably from the sugar plantation days. It’s over 8 feet in length.  In addition, another anchor in 55 feet is lodged in the corals and covered in coral.  There is plenty of healthy corals and lots of tropical fish to be observed here.

White Horse Reef

This site boasts two small reefs nearly breaking the surface, causing many boats to sink here over the years.  Consequently, you can find a broken cannon, pieces of old wood, nail and chain from very old boat.  New boats have also hit this reef, so you might find their remnants as well.  A nice shallow dive.

St. Croix dive resorts

Looking for a good St. Croix scuba diving resort?  Unfortunately there are none.  Villa Margarita is a great option because we are literally just 3 minutes from where scuba diving boats leave at Salt River Marina for the most popular boat dives.   And we’re only 7 minutes from some great Cane Bay shore diving, or 20 minutes to dive the Fredricksted pier.   

Probably the closest thing to a dive resort in St. Croix is the Carambola hotel on the north shore.  Your scuba dive shop can usually help arrange  accommodation, so give them a try.  

St. Croix Scuba Diving Resources

Diving in Buck Island Reef National Monument:  an amazing dive experience, complete with an underwater trail.  Find out more on the official Buck Island National Park Service website here.  Meanwhile, here is a dive site map for Buck Island:

scuba dive site map Buck Island St Croix

scuba dive site map Buck Island St Croix

PADI:  Here is the official PADI website, full of lots of useful information about scuba diving in St Croix.   You can earn PADI certifications of all levels while on St Croix from Beginner through Open Water Advanced Diver and Deep Diver.  Here’s a listing of available PADI scuba diving courses in St. Croix .

butler bay wrecks dive map

St. Croix Scuba Dive Sites FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Where is the best diving in the Virgin Islands? Which USVI is best for diving?

St. Croix.

What are the best dive sites in St. Croix?

  1. Salt River Canyon
  2. Cane Bay – The Wall
  3. Frederiksted Pier
  4. Butler Bay Shipwrecks
  5. Sandy Point
  6. Davis Bay

St. Croix offers a wide variety of dive site types, and they are close enough together that you can do a few in a day.  Try to experience a variety of dives sites, like:

  • a Wall
  • a Reef
  • a Wreck
  • a Pier
  • and an underwater national monument (Buck Island)

How many dives sites are there in St. Croix?

There are 72 moored dive sites in St Croix US Virgin Islands, the largest collection in the USVI.  There are also many other possible shore dive sites.

Is St. Croix good for diving?

Absolutely.  With over 100 dive sites, St. Croix ranks top in number and variety of diving. 

What’s the best month to dive in St. Croix?

December through March are the best months.  Summer is also great but visibility may drop a bit, while autumn is the rainy season so you will often get overcast on some days but still good diving. 

Is there any night diving in St. Croix?

Yes, the most popular night dives in St. Croix are:  The Canyon at Salt River, The Wall at Cane Bay, Frederiksted Pier, Butler Bay shipwrecks, and Davis Bay.

How long are boat rides to dive site?

Boat trips to most St. Croix dive sites take 15-20 minutes, while the longest may be 30-40 minutes if you boat is leaving from the other side of the island (ie. from Frederiksted to the North shore sites).  

How is the visibility?

Visibility can vary throughout the year. It is clearest in the winter / spring (>100 feet).  In the summer the water gets warmer and visibility is 70-80 feet due to some plankton (but this also brings in the Manta Rays!)

Are there any PADI certified scuba diving courses in St. Croix?

Yes, a number of St. Croix dive shops offer PADI courses and certifications.

Can I dive without certification?

Yes, dive shops her offer introductory doves for beginners and people without certification.

scuba diving St Croix USVI scuba rescue

Scubadiving.com – Best Scuba Diving in The USVI

St Croix Dive Resorts

Dive Logs

Books on Diving in St Croix and USVI

Diving and Snorkeling Guide to U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John (Amazon, 1992)

1992 diving guide USVI

Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling US Virgin Islands

lonely planet scuba guide st croix

Dive Into a Romantic Escape (romantic novel, 2021)

 

Videos on Dive Sites in St Croix

2021 TRAVEL | Diving the St. Croix Wall 😮

Explore The Shallow Wrecks In Butler Bay (Part 2 of 3: Shipwreck Scuba Diving St. Croix)

Scuba Diving St. Croix (US Virgin Islands)

Pushing the Limits of Scuba Diving… (St. Croix Wall)

Scuba Diving St. Croix’s Most Diverse Site! (Frederiksted Pier Underwater Family Travel Vlog)

Why St. Croix Must Be Your Next Scuba Diving Destination

 

Now you know the best dive sites in St Croix USVI, go diving!

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Photos of the Best St. Croix Dive Sites

salt-river-canyon-us-virgin-islands

Salt River Canyon Dive Sites

sea turtles st croix

Sea turtles at Salt River dive site in St. Croix USVI

 

st croix cane bay scuba

Underwater carousel horse at Cane Bay shore diving site

st croix wedding

Getting Married Underwater in St. Croix US Virgin Islands!

st croix wreck diving

Good wreck diving in St Croix USVI at Butler Bay site.