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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.