The British Virgin Islands is one of the world’s best snorkeling and diving destinations. Excellent underwater visibility and warm water temperatures combined with each site’s unique topography and teeming aquatic life are reason enough to start planning your diving or snorkeling adventure right now. Here are five of the best dive and snorkel sites in the BVI.
1. Wreck of the RMS Rhone. The Rhone is regarded as one of the best dive sites in the world. RMS Rhone was a 300′ ocean steamer that sank off Salt Island during a violent hurricane in 1867. The ship actually broke into 3 parts. The most shallow is at about 30 feet deep, which is great for snorkelers, and the bow section sits at about 80 feet at its deepest point, perfect for even the newest diver. The bow is still pretty much intact, but the wooden decks have rotted away, providing a great “swim through” area for divers. The site was turned into a national park in 1967, and the wreck has been lovingly preserved since. When you snorkel or dive the wreck, you’re treated to a dash of history while marveling at the astonishing beauty of the Caribbean marine life. The undergrowth of colorful sponges and flourishing corals that adorns the ship’s remains is among the highlights of the dive. Because of its proximity to land and shallow depths, the Rhone is considered a relatively safe wreck to dive or snorkel.
2. The Indians. The Indians are four large tooth-like pinnacles that rise from the ocean floor to a height about 90 feet above surface. Considered to be one of the best dive and snorkel spots for macro life in the BVI, its canyons and grottoes are filled with different species of colorful fishes, large fans and corals of all sizes. There’s even a tunnel that snorkelers and divers can pass through underwater to get to the other side of the formation–but be careful here as the tides can be strong.
3. Angelfish Reef. On the edge of Norman Island is where you can find Angelfish Reef. It’s an impressive rocky maze of canyons and ridges that are open to the Caribbean Sea. This area is great for both snorkelers and divers. Depths range from 10-90 feet, and as a result of its location and depth, you’ll find several large and impressive deep water species like eagle rays, southern stingrays. As the canyons give way to the sandy bottom, you’ll find the bottom dwellers–snake and moray eels, turtles, and more.
4. Blonde Rock. Situated between Deadchest and Salt Island, Blonde Rock is a set of two pinnacles that lies between 20 and 60 feet of the surface, making it great for snorkeling and diving. Good visibility exposes its amazing topography that consists of sheer-walled plateaus, rocky tunnels and caves teeming with marine life. You’ll find big fish like barracuda, jacks, occasional sharks; turtles, sponges, cup corals, and coralline algae. Here, you’ll even see conch, crab and lobster!
5. Painted Walls. Located near Deadchest Island is a fabulous dive of parallel passages and vertical walls running perpendicular to the island. The walls of the long gullies, as well as the rocky ridges are encrusted with sponges and corals of different colors, hence the name “Painted Walls.” Visibility is superb, weather permitting with depths from 25 to 80 feet. When the sun is out, brilliant sunshine animates the reef’s color.
There is an amazing underwater world in the British Virgin Islands that’s waiting for you. With over 100 snorkel and dive sites, each offering a unique experience, you’ll find an underwater adventure that you’ll never forget.
5 Favorite Dive & Snorkel Sites in the British Virgin Islands
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