Scuba diving in St Lucia is an amazing experience that offers dive sites in pristine condition, impressive underwater flora and healthy coral reefs that teem with life. The reefs around St Lucia are well-known for their impressively sized gorgonians, sea fans and barrel sponges.
The beautiful scenery of the volcanic Pitons can be seen underwater, where divers can see steep and dramatic walls, magnificent sea mounts that rise up from far below and sloping reefs strewn with boulders. St Lucia is also home to a few purposefully sunk shipwrecks which form artificial reefs that have been highly successful in promoting a healthy marine environment.
The western side of the St Lucia island is a marine park that is managed by the Soufriere Marine Management Area. Through charging a daily entry fee and promoting the conservation of the natural underwater environment, the SMMA & CAMMA ensure that the 5 designated zones of the island are developed in a sustainable way.
The dive sites around St Lucia are an absolute wonder to behold, with sloping reefs covered in coral, colorful soft corals that sway in the current and giant sea fans. Divers will likely encounter eels, lobsters and small, well-hidden creatures such as seahorses and frogfish.
St Lucia forms part of the Lesser Antilles island chain which lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Originally formed through volcanic activity, these islands have much to offer both below and above the water. The island of St Lucia is home to more than 19,000 acres of lush rainforest, densely packed in the interior of the island and interspersed with more than 29 miles of beautiful hiking trails. A great hike that is not too strenuous is that of the Barre De L’isle Trail, while another pleasant hike is the Tet Paul Nature Trail located in Soufriere. This trail will take hikers to visit the beautiful fauna and flora of the region surrounding 2 UNESCO World Heritage Pitons.
The water temperature ranges between 75°F to 85°F with the lower air temperatures occurring between November and February as a result of cooler trade winds that blow during these months. St Lucia’s dry season occurs in the first 5 months of the year between January and May, and this is also the peak season for the island. Although not peak tourist season, May to August are also suitable months for scuba diving. Beyond the month of August is hurricane season and visitors can expect heavy rainfall and temperamental winds, storms and weather in the months following August. Divers can make use of a long 3mm wetsuit or a 5mm wetsuit, which is likely a better choice for deep dives.
St Lucia is a popular diving destination located between Martinique, St Vincent and the Grenadines. St Lucia boasts shore dives and house reefs like Anse Chastanet as well as boat dives like the Keyhole Pinnacles and Superman’s Flight which are better suited for experienced divers.
Marine creatures that are most prevalent in this region include eels, turtles, seahorses, rays and frogfish. There is also a famous mystery creature that has been seen during night dives at Anse Chastanet, inspiring sea monster stories for many years.
Anse Chastanet is a stunning house reef that is easily accessed from the beach and offers dramatic underwater beauty. This reef gently slopes from 25 to 140 feet along a coral wall that extends from the bay at Anse Chastanet to the Grand Caille headland.
The wall of Anse La Raye is one of St Lucia’s best wall dives that combines with a drift dive to form an interesting dive with giant volcanic boulder sightings along the way. Located in the north near the base area of Pigeon Island, the Anse La Raye dive site begins with patch coral at a mere 15 feet and extends down to 60 feet where massive boulders form a boundary around the outer edges of the reef. Barracuda, green morays and eagle rays are often seen at this site and this site is a firm favorite amongst underwater photographers due to the sloping reef plateaus and soft and hard corals.
The Pinnacles is likely St Lucia’s most famous dive site, with 4 massive sea mounts that rise up vast distances to near the surface. The sea mounts are covered in corals, fans and gorgonians that offer great solace for resident seahorses.
A famous wreck around the waters of St Lucia is the Lesleen M, a freighter that was purposefully sunk in 1986 and has since become a hugely successful artificial reef within the Marine Park. The Lesleen M lies in just 65 feet of water, and divers can hope to see morays, lobsters and Caribbean fish.
The Lesleen M is a great drift dive along a dramatic wall that drops to around 1600 feet. There are strong currents in this area, however the visibility is generally excellent for encounters with barracuda, jacks and turtles.
St Lucia has a number of dive centers and resorts which offer guided diving and snorkeling excursions, boat trips, training and certification. For those travelling by cruise ship, some dive operators will offer collection services from the main ship dock of Castries.
St Lucia has 2 major airports – George F.L. Charles airport and the Hewanorra Inernational. These airports are served by numerous airlines including JetBlue, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, BA, US Airways, Condor, Delta, Air Canada and LIAT. For internal flights to nearby islands such as the Netherlands Antilles, Martinique and Guadeloupe, visitors are best to travel via Air Antilles Express, WinAir, Air Caraibas and LIAT.