Guide To Top Snorkeling And Dive Spots In St John, US Virgin Islands


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St John is one of the four islands that form a group of islands known as Virgin Islands, owned by the United States government. This little paradise, as it is referred to, is the second smallest of the four islands that make up this group. More than half of the land area is occupied by the Virgin Islands National Park, home to most of the world’s exotic animals and water organisms. Like most islands, it is surrounded by a large volume of water as such making it a premium destination for divers, swimmers, snorkelers, and water sports enthusiasts. A large number of the population of St John are blacks, and tourism is a significant part of the St John community. It affords divers and tourists, in general, the opportunity to enjoy and relish nature at its best, beginning from the natural hiking trails, perfect dive spots to the white sandy beaches, a true testimony of nature’s beauty. Life on the island is slow-paced. St John is home to over five hundred different species of fish and forty types of corals. The capital of this beautiful island is Cruz Bay.

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Top Snorkeling And Dive Spots in St John

St John boasts of several snorkeling locations and dives sites which have different appeals to scuba-divers, snorkelers, and divers in general. These snorkeling spots include the following;

Waterlemon Cay

It is arguably the most popular snorkeling haven on St John. This snorkeling hotspot opens up with a parking area for the Annaberg plantation to a one-mile flat hike along Leinster Bay which eventually leads you to your destination. Entry to this area is pretty rocky and full of sea urchins, which snorkelers and divers should be aware of. Waterlemon Cay offers an underwater view of orange and yellow starfishes. It is also home to soft and beautiful corals and large schools of Caribbean tropical fish. The outer edge of the Cat can be dangerous for amateur snorkelers as the currents in that area are always very strong. Moreover, it is always advisable to snorkel alongside a partner or buddy with some level of experience and also to be mindful of the physical abilities of each other. Underwater experiences in this cay are usually breathtaking and beautiful.

Henley Cay

This excellent snorkeling spot is located right off Caneel Bay Resort on an eleven acre cay which is most times visited by a kayak tour or boat charter. An underwater photographer will have a field day and be totally enthralled with the sights of forests of gorgonians, sea fans, and brain corals. There is also a large presence of healthy populations of reef fish. Sometimes nurse sharks, which are non-threatening, can be sighted. Divers and snorkelers touring this cay should exercise caution as there are powerful currents at the edge of the area. The snorkeling experience on this dive spot is usually shallow, as with most snorkeling sites in St John. It can also be a challenging destination for amateur snorkelers with little experience. Guided kayak tours and boat charter commute from Cruz Bay and Caneel Bay to this exciting snorkeling location.

Haulover North

Snorkelers who visit this site are always met with the most dramatic below the surface and underwater structure and corals on St John. This snorkeling and diving location sits on the East End of St John, at the very edge of Virgin Islands National Park. The beach at Haulover North is riddled mostly with coral rubble. The underwater view is quite similar to other snorkeling destinations in St John. However, Haulover North is home to a large variety of fish like the Atlantic blue tangs and Sargeant majors. The water condition of the area is dependent on biotic factors like wind and waves. This enchanting site is a perfect spot for underwater photography; there are stunning sights of interesting water patch reef structure, healthy coral and reef population, and a wide variety of marine species. The western side of the cay is best for snorkeling as it’s where corals and sea fans grow in abundance.

Carvel Rock

This popular and perfect dive site which is a beehive of water activities, is situated on the western corner of St John. Its well-suited spot affords the diver views of tropical fishes and sharks. Its steep rock formations in up to eighty feet of water are indeed a sight to behold. The heavy currents at Carvel Rock can be dangerous and fatal to beginners, and it’s wise if they stay away from the dive spot. This pretty site is home to lots of fire coral, attendant jewelfish, and schools of frenchgunts that lurk in shadows. This dive spot is ideal for divers with experience as the terrain can be tricky.

Congo Cay

It is a long, narrow cay which lies on the north of Lovango Cay, also on St John. There’s a large presence of soft corals, and the area is abundant in reef fish. One beautiful aspect of the Congo Cay is that it has shallow areas suitable for beginners as well as deeper areas. It also gives the diver clear views of sharks, turtles, and a variety of tropical fish. The surrounding sand channel of the cay is a sweet spot for dolphins to cruise and glide.

Grass Cay

The Grass Cay is a beautiful spot to experience diving on the island of St John. For divers with a desire to learn and go through the experience of night diving, this location is a hotspot for just that. Sunset at this site is a special moment for divers as lobsters, crabs, and octopuses make appearances that are very rare in the day time. This dive spot is relatively shallow and is ideal for amateurs and beginners. It also enjoys temperate weather conditions making it an instant attraction to divers, both beginners, and professionals.


St John is arguably a favorite location for divers and snorkelers who cherish moments spent underwater, and a visit to this Caribbean island as a diver will surely change one’s life and leave lasting imprints.

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