Diving in St Lucia
St. Lucia is a goddess in the Caribbean (and the only sovereign nation named after a woman.) With its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, magestic peaks of the Pitons, and it’s colorful reefs full of life, St. Lucia will enchant you.
Dive sites abound on it’s western shore, and swift currents clear the water for picture perfect visibility. It is a favorite dive destination among many, being named in the Top 10 in Scuba Diving Magazine for Best Wreck Diving, Best Shore Diving, Best Wall Diving, Best Macro Life, and Best Overall Dive Destination. St. Lucia offers it all!
Rainfall/month: 100-250mm/3.9-10.5 inches
*the cooler and drier season runs from January to mid-April
Mid-June until November sees a hotter, humid, and wetter season
East Caribbean Dollar
English & Creole
Anse Cochon Dive Sites
Looking at a map of Saint Lucia, you can be forgiven for getting confused since Pigeon Island is actually a peninsula jutting out from the main island. This is due to an artificial causeway constructed in 1972, so it was actually an island at one point. The main dive site of Pigeon Island is just offshore, accessed by a very quick boat ride.
Located on the southern side, as you descend, you’ll start to see a mix of sand and coral patches beginning at 15m. Diving deeper, the coral patches transform into a full reef system with prominent boulders. This undulating topography attracts majestic eagle rays and schooling fish such as jacks and snappers. The maximum depth is around 18-20m, and due to its southerly sheltered location, it is suitable for all levels.
As the name suggests, this little rocky outcrop is a popular meeting place for many birds. Which also explains its local, ruder name (although more appropriate) Bird Sh*t Rock. Just like the birds above water, its popularity is mirrored underwater by scuba divers.
Initially, your dive will start by cruising along its coral-covered sloping walls, reaching a maximum depth of 18m. The sandy bottom has patches of rocks and boulders, attracting rays, big barracudas, and local tropical fish like pufferfish and parrotfish.
Also known as Barrel O’Beef, The Rock (La Roche) is a tiny island southwest of Rodney Bay Marina, a popular tourist hub.
Looking out from the Reduit Beach or the local hillsides, The Rock offers impressive views of dramatic white waves crashing high into the air. And these waves should serve as a warning since approaching the spot is always a little precarious, and guides normally have to check the currents and conditions before okaying a dive.
Dives normally start on the calmer southerly side. With these energetic waters, you’ll drift dive in the direction of the tide. These chaotic currents have carved out swim-throughs, trenches, and overhangs, through which ample nutrients are pushed through, making The Rock a hotspot for coral and fish life. Here soft corals can be enjoyed from the shallower 10ft/3m depth down to deeper spots of 66ft/20m.
Anse La Raye Wall
Named after the nearby fishing village, Anse La Raye translates to Bay of Rays, and it lives up to its name!
Saint Lucia dive sites typically have dramatically sloping walls covered in coral and Anse La Raye does not disappoint. Dives along this wall start at 18m/60ft and descend to 34m/110ft, this is usually reversed for more experienced divers.
Diving with nitrox to extend your dive is popular here as you slowly cruise along the wall face. Protruding from Anse La Raye Wall are magnificent corals such as gorgonian fans, sea whips, and barrel sponges. This colorful coral-encrusted seascape is decorated with tropical fish and, of course, rays and is a perfect spot for underwater photographers.
Virgin Point is an interesting site with a curious backstory to match. Named after a shipwreck that took the lives of a group of nuns originating from Anse La Raye. To commemorate the lost nuns, a cross sits atop the site, making finding this spot very easy (this is especially appreciated when surface swimming in the area).
Being close to the shoreline, you can start a Virgin Point dive at 15ft/5m. Your first views are dotted with sparse patches of coral, but as you follow the semicircular wall, the coral develops into a defined structure, with impressive species of brain coral and barrel sponges.
Here divers can see a range of local reef fish such as spadefish, stingrays, and the always beloved turtles. Residing in the deeper points (a relatively shallow 66ft/20m) are barracuda, snappers, and grunts.
Anse Cochon - North
Accessed from the idyllic Anse Cochon beachfront in front of Ti Kaye Resort, Anse Cochon North is a popular dive site for those in training or the newly qualified.
Anse Cochon North starts at 5m/15ft and slopes to a maximum depth of 18m/60ft. The dive site is a generally sandy bottom decorated with large boulders encrusted with Caribbean corals. In the shallower areas, it is common to see a variety of macro life, such as shrimps, seahorses, and anemone crabs, making Anse Cochon North popular with underwater photographers keen for unique close-ups.
Anse Cochon - South
Just south of its northerly sibling, Anse Cochon South is pretty much a twin. Although there is noticeably less coral, there is plenty of life on the sandy bottom, like flying gurnards, pipefish, and flounders. Since the maximum depth is just 12m/36ft, this site is a perfect spot for night diving. And because the entry and exit point is just a stone’s throw from Ti Kaye resort, you can still make it for happy hour!
Lesleen M. Wreck
Lesleen M is a 165ft freighter purposely sunk by the Department of Fisheries in 1986. This was to create an artificial reef and shipwreck lovers won’t be disappointed!
Due to its deliberate sinking, Lesleen M is in pristine condition and, at 20m/65ft, a textbook shipwreck for those thinking about doing their wreck specialty. For those who are already wreck certified, entry is possible through the engine room. Coral covers all surfaces harboring small fish like damselfish, anthias, and other reef fish. And for those dark corners, remember your torch!
The wreck is a nursery for juveniles such as angelfish and butterflies, which attracts larger fish like barracudas and groupers, regularly seen cruising the exterior. Enjoying the shipwreck’s pockets are moray eels, stingrays, and lobsters. There’s a surprise around every corner.
A serious contender for the top dive spot of Saint Lucia, Rosemond’s Trench is a unique site, offering both amazing wildlife and topography.
Varying slightly from the standard wall sites spread along the coast, Rosemond’s offers winding valleys and trenches inhabited by reef fish, seahorses, and even the elusive frogfish. The most memorable landmarks are a Little Mermaid-esque chimney teeming with glassy cardinalfish and large barrel sponges where turtles can be found lounging from time to time.
Since it’s not far from Canaries on the Central Western coast, getting there is a quick 5-10 minute boat ride and accessible to all divers with a maximum depth of 12m/36ft.
Daini Koyomaru Wreck
Deliberately sunk around 1996, Daini Koyamoru is a Japanese minesweeper dredger. The total length of the wreck is 75m; the top sits at approximately 10m underwater and the base at 33m.
Due to its intermediate and advanced depths, Nitrox is recommended, and you will need a wreck diving specialty. For those with the appropriate training, the wreck is in very good condition and the interior is accessible.
The wreck is near a local reef system and many of its lodgers have migrated to this flashier habitat. Daini is a great spot for wreck photography since the ship is still very definable, and impressive patches of gorgonian fans and pipe organ coral have spread across its exterior. Other popular residents seen cruising by are turtles, barracudas, angelfish, and moray eels.
Soufriere Dive Sites
While Turtle Reef may be overshadowed by the spectacular Anse Chastanet just south of it, it is not a dive spot to be overlooked. Although Turtle Reef does not exhibit any cool swim-throughs or outstanding pinnacles, it is a spot with a little bit of everything.
Starting off at 40ft/12m, Turtle Reef is initially a plateau with gravity-defying barrel sponges, pillar, and organ pipe coral. Sea snakes, turtles, parrotfish, and angelfish are all perfect candidates for natural lit photographs. Eventually, the dive dramatically drops to a sheer wall that plunges beyond 150ft/45m, with soft corals full of macro life!
With the right dive guide, Turtle Reef is a never-ending photographer’s heaven, with frogfish, scorpionfish, seahorses, and crustaceans hiding in all the crannies and corners. Be sure to bring your dive light and underwater flashes to truly appreciate the striking sea life in the darker, deeper waters.
Once upon a time, on a faraway island … a local dive instructor was totally bewitched by a dive site’s amazing colors and magical underwater scenes and named it Fairyland.
Situated off the headland of West Pointe south of Anse Chastanet, the site is only accessible by boat from nearby bays. Its outer-bay position does mean it is not protected, and strong currents and drift dives are common here. Don’t let that put you off, as this near-constant flow of water means very few stagnant particles in the water and on the coral, making for great visibility and the soft corals looking extra vibrant!
This headland is the meeting point for currents coming from both the south and the north, and all the nutrients that collide here attract schooling fish-jacks, snappers, grunts- along with bigger fish-sharks and barracudas– all eager for a taste of the action. Dive depths range from 40ft-100ft/12-30m, the site does go to 200ft/60m, making for an interesting expedition for the highly advanced.
Opposite the famous Caribbean resort of the same name, Anse Chastanet offers the perfect example of St Lucia’s underwater wonders.
Just offshore, the dive site is easily accessible to snorkelers, novice scuba divers, and those wanting to simply try a dive. Starting at 5m/15ft, the reef system is decorated with tall barrel sponges, wide brain coral, and impressive sea stove pipe coral.
Due to its shallow depth and macro life, this site is not only popular with beginners but also photographers wanting more air time to capture close-ups of these critters. At Anse Chastanet, photographers have the opportunity to snap the likes of frogfish, seahorses, and shrimp. But don’t forget to look up from your lens and see lobsters, moray eels, octopi, and turtles.
Despite its sinister name, the Devil’s Hole (Le Trou Diable) is not the extreme, only-for-the-faint-hearted, dive site that you probably initially thought. Actually, rather ironically, it is visually similar to Fairyland with very welcoming depths of 30-100ft/10-30m.
A little different from some of the textbook plateau to wall topography that make up a lot of the sites of St Lucia, Devil’s Hole is a wall with an intricate mix of boulders, overhangs, and channels. This makes it a welcoming hideout for many smaller or juvenile fish, along with sea snakes, moray eels, rays, and the occasional turtle gliding by.
If you’ve gotten this far into our dive guide, you’ve likely realized that wall diving is the predominant style of Saint Lucia. But this dive site, Keyhole Pinnacles does not conform to that norm.
Just like the volcanic heights of the island, Keyhole has 4 volcanic peaks of its own, summiting just a few metres/feet from the surface. These distinctive pinnacles create an environment quite different from others of Saint Lucia. The mild currents encouraged by the water tunneling between the pinnacles mean corals like fans, whips, barrels and organ pipes thrive here.
This spot can be enjoyed by all levels of divers and being Nitrox certified definitely has its advantages. All kinds of critters inhabit this spot, from the undeniably adorable boxfish to the not so pretty frogfish.
Towering over the island are the distinctive landmarks of The Pitons World Heritage Site, consisting of two impressive volcanic spires – Petit Piton and Gros Piton. Both offer equally hard but ultimately rewarding hikes delivering spectacular panoramic views of Saint Lucia and its coastline.
And just as these dramatic green peaks burst out of the ground, so too do they plunge below in the blue. On the southerly side of Petit Piton, Piton Wall falls sharply into the deep, dropping way beyond your torch light!
This seemingly bottomless dive site is not for the faint of heart, and experience with buoyancy is a must! Intermediate divers can enjoy gliding past the gorgonian and fan coral scattered along the wall. Varying depths welcome a variety of life, with smaller reef fish seeking shelter near the cliff side and schools of barracuda hanging out adjacent.
Piton Wall starts right at the surface so you can stay shallow and appreciate all the amazing colors dazzling in the Caribbean sun.
Petit Piton mountain was the setting for a scene from Superman II, and since the dive site is at the base of this cliff face, it was named after the movie. And if you were hoping that it was perhaps a reference to currents simulating superhero powers, well it has that too!
Superman’s Flight is a wall dive, extending 1500ft/450m with moderate currents helping you to effortlessly glide along. Although this site does descend to extreme depths, the wall slopes are gradual, so there isn’t a dark abyss that can be typical for wall dives that sometimes puts off inexperienced divers.
Thanks to these mild angles, Superman’s Flight can be enjoyed by those with moderate experience with wall and drift dives. Typically the visibility is good, allowing divers to admire its dazzling coral formations and the macro life that lives within.
An impressive landmark of Saint Lucia is the peak of Gros Piton, hitting a height of 743m/2438 ft. And its awesomeness is mirrored below the surface, with dramatic sea walls plummeting hundreds of feet.
Often done as a drift dive, Coral Gardens starts relatively shallow at 12-15m and with good buoyancy control, it can be enjoyed by novice divers. However, since the wall is steep and losing track of your depth is easily done, especially with currents, it is generally considered an intermediate and above dive.
As the name suggests, there are plenty of coral such as impressive sea whips and plumes, evoking images of ostrich feather plumes on an exotic dancer.