Snorkelling & diving in St Lucia: best spots for underwater adventures

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Portia Jones

Portia Jones

With a tropical climate, luxurious resorts and sandy shores, St Lucia* is well known as a top honeymoon destination, but did you know it also has an adventurous side?

Diving & snorkelling in St Lucia © Benjamin Amulf - Flickr Creative Commons
Diving & snorkelling in St Lucia © Benjamin Amulf - Flickr Creative Commons

This volcanic Caribbean Island has a range of thrilling adventure activities and water sports, including snorkelling and diving on vibrant reefs. Venture underwater to see exotic fish, coral-encrusted boulders and shipwrecks across a variety of dive sites.

Divers and snorkellers can take full advantage of St Lucia's low currents and excellent visibility to explore a mix of healthy coral and diverse marine life while submerged in balmy waters.

Sea temperatures here range from 26°C in the winter to 29°C in the summer, so you won't need much more than a 3mm shortie to keep warm. While there's no bad time to go snorkelling in St Lucia, the dry season between December and May offers the best conditions.

Turtle-watching on a reef in St Lucia © Neil Andrea
Turtle-watching on a reef in St Lucia © Neil Andrea

Alongside warm waters, the island is home to one of the healthiest reef systems thanks to conservation initiatives by the island's dive association and other agencies. Their eco-efforts certainly pay off as marine reserves and coral restoration projects allow octopuses, sting rays and turtles to thrive.

Sea horses, parrotfish, trumpetfish and flying gurnards are also common sights around the dive spots in St Lucia. They can easily be spotted darting around reefs and wrecks, so keep your eyes peeled and your mask clear. So, grab your fins and get ready to explore these top dive sites in St Lucia.

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Anse Chastanet Reef

Proximity to the shore makes this site an ideal place for diving and snorkelling right off the beach. The Anse Chastanet house reef is just 10 metres from the water's edge and extends out over 20 metres. You'll also find a well-equipped dive shop on-site offering masks and fins, dive trips and PADI courses.

Begin your underwater adventure in Anse Chastanet © Karolin Troubetzkoy
Begin your underwater adventure in Anse Chastanet © Karolin Troubetzkoy

There are over 150 species of fish to discover on the reef as the area surrounding the resort has been carefully vested into a marine reserve (SMMA), to protect the delicate coral and marine life.

Coral nurseries have been planted here as part of St Lucia's ongoing mission to restore and develop fisheries and coral reefs. Divers keen to learn more about the reef ecosystem can now participate in coral planting and maintenance on the reef.

Gear up on shore and seek out peacock flounders, puffers, moray eels, turtles and many more species at this pristine site.

Fairyland

Named after its storybook-like qualities, this scenic dive site is as dreamy as you might imagine. Colourful coral and sponges are plentiful, making Fairyland a perfect spot for underwater photography. Descend and you'll find a kaleidoscope of colour on the sea floor along with curious turtles and stingrays.

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Yellow tube sponge at Fairyland © Karolin Troubetzkoy
Yellow tube sponge at Fairyland © Karolin Troubetzkoy

It's a site best suited to certified divers and strong swimmers as depths range from 12 metres to 50 metres and currents are known to be strong.

If you're new to diving, there are plenty of dive shops and experienced tour operators who can take out for a day of diving, or guide you through a beginner dive course. You can also book snorkel trips and rent masks and fins if you just want to float on the calm surface.

Pigeon Island National Landmark

Combine an active day of hiking and snorkelling at historic Pigeon Island in Gros Islet and spot fish, barracudas and eagle rays. Composed of two green peaks Pigeon Island was fought over by the British and French who both wanted strategic access to its panoramic ocean viewpoints.

You can still see the remnant of 18th-century forts and canons when you traverse the steep paths upwards from the shore.

Hike and snorkel on Pigeon Island © L G Billman - Dreamstime.com
Hike and snorkel on Pigeon Island © L G Billman - Dreamstime.com

Pay a small entrance fee at the front gates and access hiking trails and small sandy bays where you can snorkel off the beach and around a wooden jetty. Swim around schools of fish and keep your eye out for starfish and lobsters. Equipment can be rented on the island, or you can book a guided snorkel day trip.

Keyhole Pinnacles

Widely considered to be one of the most spectacular diving sites in St Lucia, the Keyhole Pinnacles are a favourite among dive pros.

Distinctive seamounts dramatically rise from the deep blue depths here. These pinnacles are also beautifully adorned with black and orange gorgonian sea fans, a soft coral found in warm waters.

Thanks to mild currents a variety of corals thrive here and you'll see a large range on display, including whips, barrels and organ pipes. Fish are also plentiful: snappers, groupers elusive seahorses can all be spotted around the coral.

Anse Cochon

The north and south reefs of Anse Cochon are both excellent dive spots that cater to a mix of experience levels. Expect to find turtles, eels, trumpet fish and squid across the two sites.

Anse Cochon North is known for its sizeable boulders atop a sandy floor, covered with corals. Here you can see crabs, shrimps, and seahorses in the calm, clear waters.

Beautiful Queen Angelfish on a reef in St Lucia © imageBROKER - Alamy Stock Photo
Beautiful Queen Angelfish on a reef in St Lucia © imageBROKER - Alamy Stock Photo

Over at the South Reef, the depths are shallower and more accessible, so it's a popular place for night diving. It's also a breeding ground and is packed with juvenile marine life and flounders.

Superman's Flight

Named after a scene from the movie Superman II, this dive site is found at the sheer west face of Petit Piton.

In the 1980 superhero movie, Superman speeds off on a daring mission needed to save his beloved Lois Lane's life. The man of steel is then seen flying by the face of the iconic Piton; a memorable scene for film fans.

Divers will also feel like a superhero as the strong currents give the sensation of flying and will take you past schools of fish, sea fans and marine crustaceans.

It's a spot for more experienced divers due to the depth and current as you descend the dive wall, so make sure you are fully prepared and suitably qualified.

The Lesleen M Wreck

Near Anse Cochon, pro divers will find the wreck of Lesleen M, a 165-foot cargo vessel that was purposely sunk in 1986 by the Fisheries Department of Saint Lucia.

The upright wreck creates an artificial reef and is easily accessible for certified divers who love exploring eerie fish-filled wrecks by torchlight.

Explore the interior of the ship and take creepy photos of the ghostly hold and engine room. The wreck also provides shelter to a nursery of French angelfish and there are plenty of Moray eels, barracudas and groupers to be found.

Weather in St Lucia

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above guide shows the weather in Castries. Find out more about conditions across the island in our complete guide to the weather in St Lucia.

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Portia Jones

Portia Jones
Posted on Friday 28th October 2022 in: Adventure Caribbean Excursions Nature

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