The Best Scuba and Diving Spots in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

St Croix throws up myriad opportunities for fans of scuba
St Croix throws up myriad opportunities for fans of scuba | © Steve Woron / Alamy Stock Photo

Scuba diving in St Thomas is an adventure for beginners, as well as seasoned divers visiting the US Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean. Multiple dive sites among marine ecosystems rich with corals, remarkable natural tunnels and explore wrecks are mostly reached by boat. Follow our guide to the best scuba and diving in St Thomas.

Explore the best scuba and diving spots in St Thomas for a day.

Cartanza Senora

Sailing from St Thomas to the western side of Buck Island, this large freighter sank in 1979. Hurricanes split the World War II transport ship into three pieces where beginners to advanced divers can see sponges, turtles, sergeant majors, parrotfish, southern stingrays, barracuda and nurse sharks. The engine room middle section is perfect for swim-throughs. This site is only accessible by boat.

Navy Barges

Once used as temporary housing for soldiers during World War II, the Navy Barges were demolished and sunk in 1961, creating a handy habitat for schools of fish and intricate corals. This wreck dive rewards all levels with sightings of trumpetfish, feather dusters, bigeyes, and angelfish. The sandy bottom and eelgrass between the barges are prime spots for southern stingrays and green sea turtles. This site is only accessible by boat.

WIT Shoal II

This monster-sized wreck sits on the south side of St Thomas and offers intermediate to advanced divers deep exploration. The former tank-landing ship and freighter sank by Tropical Storm Klaus in 1984 while on its way to Puerto Rico was later towed to its current resting spot. Encrusted by orange cup corals and sponges, five decks means multiple hallways to swim through spotting Goliath grouper, reef sharks, and the occasional green sea turtle.

Tunnels of Thatch

This intermediate dive site comes with a caveat, check the conditions. These lava tubes and black arches are only safe to dive in calm conditions. On the northern side of Thatch Cay, these tunnels reveal the volcanic origins of this island, where divers can spot butterflyfish, parrotfish, and trumpetfish. It’s said the rhythmic sea swell that passes through the crevices sounds like a sea monster snoring. Depth ranges from 25-40ft (8-12m), and brightly-colored cup corals and sponges encrust the structures.

Cow and Calf

Just off the southeast coast of St Thomas, two large rocks appear like whales – a cow and her calf. At a depth of 40ft (12m), this shallow dive through a labyrinth of tunnels, archways and caves is popular with new snorkelers spotting green moray eels, crabs and lobsters. The so-called Champagne Cork at Cow Rock pops you out of the tunnel into the coral-encrusted reef. Keep an eye out for gray reef sharks around the perimeter.

French Cap

When the weather is good, boats sail out to this small uninhabited cay south of St Thomas. There are two chief dive sites, the pinnacle and the ledge, where intermediate to advanced divers will find rich biodiversity. Both sites have some of the best visibility anywhere on St Thomas for spotting barracuda, green moray eels and octopi, and depths as staggering as 120ft (36m), though 75ft (23m) is the average dive depth. From January to May, you might get lucky and spot a humpback whale.

Ledges of Little St James

The sheltered dive site just off the southern coast of St Thomas is perfect for beginners looking for clear, calm waters to dive in. Made up of ledges and overhangs from Little St James Island, the vibrant coral ridges and rocky outcroppings are home to French grunt, Spanish lobster, spotted eagle rays and the occasional nurse shark. Turtles, stingrays and other tropical fish are very often spotted here, as well as octopus, moray eels and lobsters.

Miss Opportunity

This wreck has worn a couple of hats over the years, starting as a World War II US Navy hospital barge and later converted to office space in Charlotte Amalie. Then she was towed into the ocean, becoming an incredible dive site with easy swim-throughs and exits from every room. It also contains the longest penetration diving on St Thomas, from stern to bow, in 90ft (27m) of water. Each deck reveals vibrant marine life from horse-eye jacks to barracuda, southern stingrays, nurse sharks and hawksbill turtles.

Spend a day discovering the best scuba and diving spots in St Thomas.

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