St. John Snorkeling and Diving Activities




Surrounding the stunning island of St. John, in the US Virgin Islands, is its white, sandy beaches. One of the more popular activities you may want to consider when you are visiting St. John is snorkeling in the crystal blue waters of St. John. 


In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller bought more than half of the island of St. John. He donated more than 5,000 acres to the federal government to create a national park. The park includes most of the island’s beaches, the remains of sugar plantations, undeveloped tropical forests, and almost 6,000 acres of surrounding waters. 


As a result of volcanic activity millions of years ago, St. John is surrounded by coral reefs. The coral reefs attract coral-eating fish resulting in a marine population that gives divers and snorkelers an underwater experience that is hard to find anywhere else.


Probably the most difficult decision to make, when you are staying at your St. John villa resort rental is where you are going to go snorkeling or dive. You could go to a different dive site every day for months before you begin to repeat your dive site. There are facilities on St. John that offer you everything from lessons to rentals and also operates dive boats that can range from 25 feet and upwards. 


There are numerous protected shallow bays with small reefs for the beginner and areas with stronger currents and deeper reefs for the more experienced snorkeler or diver. 


When you visit the National Park visitor center at Cruz Bay, make sure you pick up the books and maps they have available. The rangers at the center are experienced divers that can provide you with information as to the various diving spots in the park. 


Some of the snorkeling and diving sites in the park are:


  • Henley Cay
  • Mingo Cay
  • Congo Cay
  • Carval Rock
  • Waterlemon Cay
  • Haulover
  • Eagle Shoal
  • Saltpond Bay
  • Tektite
  • Trunk Bay underwater trail


Of course, you should follow the diving rules and regulations, including:


  • Diver-down flag has to be displayed when divers are in the water
  • There is no diving in designated swim areas
  • You may not collect natural or cultural items, including coral or artifacts
  • Observe Virgin Islands territorial rules and regulations regarding the taking of game and fish
  • No spearfishing
  • Do not anchor on coral or seagrass
  • Boats must use park mooring whenever available
  • Do not anchor in South Shore bays or Salt Pond Bay

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