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Best Diving & Snorkelling in St Lucia

Best Diving & Snorkelling in St Lucia

St Lucia is a glorious place to experience a sailing holiday. The waters are calm and inviting all year round, and the island has plenty of hidden treasures for tourists to discover. The breathtaking sights above water are only the start: St Lucia’s appeal extends beneath the waves, offering some of the Caribbean’s premier dive sites.

From coral reefs flourishing with life to mysterious shipwrecks with secrets to discover, there is a range of fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling options. This blog will cover five of Sunsail’s best places to dive in St Lucia:

These dive sites are suitable for beginners, so get your gear together and set out for the beach!

When to Dive in St Lucia

The best time to dive in St Lucia is from December to May when temperatures are balmy and winds are steady. You’ll also miss the wet season so rest assured you’ll be safe from storms and hurricanes which could upset your sailing and diving experience. 

Learn more about the general conditions in St Lucia with our St Lucia Travel Information and Planning Guide.

1 – Anse Chastanet

Not far off Anse Chastanet beach (on the southwestern side of St Lucia) is a thriving coral reef, perfect for anyone looking for the best St Lucia scuba diving. This site is managed by Scuba St Lucia, a PADI 5-Star Dive Resort, whose expert guides make it a suitable spot for beginners and advanced divers alike.

Anse Chastanet Reef falls within the St Lucia Marine Park – you’ll have to pay a small fee to dive here, but it all goes towards the conservation and protection of the area. Both beach and boat dives are on offer here. Under the surface, you will discover a colourful coral-rich landscape, where sea anemones flutter with the gentle currents and reef fish hide in every crevice. 

There are over 150 species of fish to see here. Whether it’s encountering moray eels, octopuses, pufferfish and seahorses, or simply exploring the scenic underwater park, Anse Chastanet is one of the best places to dive in St Lucia.

2 – Anse Cochon

Otherwise known as the “Bay of Pigs’”, this secluded bay is not to be missed if you’re searching for the best diving in St Lucia. With options for scuba divers and snorkellers, this site is one of the most accessible on the island, whether you want to swim out from the beach or take a boat to the nearby reef.

As you descend, you’ll notice the crystal clear quality of the waters, all the better for admiring this underwater garden. Keep your eyes out for parrotfish and angelfish, as well as the occasional stingray, squid and sea turtle. 

While coming to Anse Cochon in the morning may be the best way to beat the crowds, we recommend trying a night dive here – the great visibility, and a helping hand from bioluminescent plankton, make it possible to spot octopuses and lobsters emerging from their hiding places. This is a delightful place to discover the best snorkelling and scuba diving in St Lucia.

3 – Pigeon Island

In the north of St Lucia, you’ll find Pigeon Island. As mentioned in our Top 7 Things to Do in St Lucia blog, Pigeon Island is steeped in history – this area was an 18th-century military outpost, and it was named for the dozens of pigeons that roosted here. This is a great place for a leisurely dive – just off the coast is a very shallow reef, just 20 feet (6m) from the surface, that is perfect for snorkelers and divers of all levels.

This underwater park features wide expanses carpeted with sea grasses, and dotted with enormous corals. With a professional guide nearby, you can get up close (but not too close) to a variety of marine species. Swimming alongside playful reef fish is a delightful way to travel across the reef. 

Don’t be too surprised if you spot the wreckage of some cars here – these were purposely sunk to help create a varied habitat for the marine life here. Some notable species you may see include stingrays spotted eagle rays and bearded fireworms.

4 – Smugglers Cove

Found at the northernmost point of St Lucia with lush greenery, a white sand beach (one of the Best Beaches in St Lucia), and the Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa nearby, Smugglers Cove is a paradise for sailors, especially sailors in search of the best diving in St Lucia. 

This is another dive site that is easily accessible from the beach and relatively shallow, making it a great option for snorkellers and scuba divers of all skill levels. One unique thing about Smugglers Cove Reef is the varied topography – there are lots of trenches and shelves, which makes it especially rewarding to explore. 

Fish congregate around large boulders encrusted with orange tube corals – common sightings here at Smugglers Cove include flying gurnard, lobster, trumpetfish, and prickly sea urchins.

5 – Wreck of the Lesleen M

Are you fascinated with shipwrecks? St Lucia has some formidable wreck diving sites, one of which is the mysterious Lesleen M Wreck. This former cargo ship sank in 1986 and has now found her final resting place on the seabed near Anse Cochon.

Many wrecks are not safe to penetrate, but this is not true of the Lesleen M. Divers can explore her bow and stern, now just a part of a thriving artificial reef teeming with life. You may notice when you go inside that hundreds of bubbles, blown by divers, sit on the ceiling like pearls.

Every surface of this ship is covered with encrusted and branching kaleidoscopic coral – it is home to hundreds of tropical fish, as well as turtles, lobsters, spider crabs and shrimp. This wreck dive is suitable for scuba divers of every proficiency, which is why it offers some of the best diving in St Lucia.

Discover the best of St Lucia scuba diving with Sunsail

Can you envision yourself in St Lucia? In a St Lucia Sailing Itinerary, you will see yourself discovering the island’s rich colonial history, enjoying the local cuisine and, of course, visiting the best coves and cays for some unmatched diving. Whether you’re looking to sail bareboat – just you, your family and your yacht – or join a flotilla charter and sail as a group, St Lucia is the perfect choice. 

Eager to explore St Lucia’s underwater world? Plan your sailing holiday with Sunsail and dive into an unforgettable experience.

Contributor

hannah

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