Saint Lucia offers some of the best diving in the Caribbean
Snorkeling is one of the most popular visitor activities. A number of colorful coral reef sites teeming with a great variety of fish are found within the island’s protected marine park, the Soufriere Marine Management Association (SMMA). Enthusiasts can choose from formal snorkeling excursions or from one of the many tours to popular attractions in Soufriére that include snorkeling during the boat transportation. Snorkeling can also be enjoyed directly from the beach at some of the resorts, particularly those located within the SMMA.
Found in the scuba section below are brief descriptions of dive sites located within the island’s marine park. While a few are too deep, have dangerous currents or are located in areas with excessive boat traffic making snorkeling dangerous, many are excellent sites that can be enjoyed. While a few are accessible from nearby beaches, most would require snorkeling from a chartered boat, which can easily be arranged.
Saint Lucia has earned a reputation as one of the very best dive destinations in the Caribbean. A majority of the most popular dive sites are located on the west coast within the island’s protected marine park, the Soufriere Marine Management Association (SMMA), which comprises the entire near-shore environment from Marigot Bay to Gros Piton. There are numerous designated dive sites within the marine park that provide a variety of scuba experiences including, drift, wall and wreck dives. There are also a few dive sites in the north of the island that are regularly visited.
While Saint Lucia does possess some excellent coral reef environments off of the east coast and the extreme north and south ends of the island, they are rarely used for diving as the conditions are normally unsuitable. The leeward west coast offers shelter from the prevailing easterly trade winds and the potentially dangerous wave and current conditions they produce.
The island has a number of experienced dive operators to choose from with many being conveniently located at major resorts. Saint Lucia is also an excellent locale for beginner and certification courses.
Divers should also know that Saint Lucia does have a hyperbaric chamber located at Tapion Hospital in Castries. The chamber is staffed by fully qualified and trained individuals and is overseen by hospital physicians certified in Hyperbaric Medicine.
Below is a listing and brief descriptions of some of the dive sites found within Saint Lucia’s marine park:
1. Anse La Raye Wall
A dramatic wall falls from the surface, covered in sea whips, gorgonians and soft coral. Delicate soft corals and large feather duster worms can be found in this site.
2. Wreck of the “Lesleen M”
A 165 foot freighter that was sunk in 1986. It is covered in soft corals and sponges with a variety of reef fish.
3. Anse Cochon
A steep slope with large boulders covered in sponges and gorgonians in the shallower part.
4. Turtle Reef
A crescent-shaped reef that drops quickly from a plateau area starting at 40 feet to over 150 feet. Spectacular pillar coral and barrel sponges can be seen.
5. Anse Chastanet Reef
This reef is just off the Anse Chastanet Beach. A plateau between 5-25 feet that drops away to 140 feet. The reef is covered in gorgonians, soft corals and sponges.
With excellent visibility due to persistent currents this reef sparkles with vibrant colors of many varieties of coral and sponges. The plateau area slopes gently from 40 to 60 feet. Turtles are often seen on this site.
7. Grand Caille
Patois for “Big Rock”, Grand Caille is known as a very dramatic dive site with deep water gorgonians and sea whips.
8. Trou Diable
Patois for “Devil’s Hole”, Trou Diable is a fascinating location with large barrel sponges and well developed coral heads with schools of chromis and grunts in profusion.
Our most visually stunning dive site with four spectacular seamounts that rise dramatically from the depths to within a few feet from the surface. These structures provide shelter for trumpet fish, filefish and sometimes seahorses.
10. Superman’s Flight
Situated at the base of the Petit Piton where the cliff face was used in the filming of Superman II. The steep slope is covered by many soft corals and there is a great profusion of fish life.
11. Piton Wall
Also at the base of Petit Piton with a dramatic wall that drops many hundreds of feet below.
Situated at the base of Gros Piton with lots of schooling fish, Creole wrasse, bar jack and occasionally the southern sennet. A great range of different corals and sponges can be seen.
13. Coral Gardens
A steep slope with many different species of corals and large barrel sponges. The unusual sargassum trigger fish can be spotted in the deeper areas along with the odd barracuda.