5 Best St. Croix Snorkeling Spots [Reviewed + Rated]

by | Last updated Jul 1, 2024 | Best Snorkeling Caribbean, St. Croix

The U.S. Virgin Islands offer some spectacular snorkeling, but you have to know where to go to get the best experience. My husband and I are serious snorkelers and are always searching out the best snorkel spots in the tropical locations we visit. Before our trip, we put together a list of some possible sites and set out on our own adventure of finding the best underwater experiences St. Croix has to offer. Read on to find out our top recommended sites!

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St. Croix Snorkeling Rating System 

If you absolutely love snorkeling and are also visiting neighboring St. John, I also rated all 11 sites we snorkeled in St. John. Don’t miss my article below! 

To help differentiate between the St. Croix snorkeling spots we visited, I created a snorkel rating system to help you choose which sites to check out. Please see the key below.

The symbol used to represent the overall snorkeling experience: 🤿

OVERALL SNORKEL RATING KEY

🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿   =   World-class snorkeling and worth traveling just for the snorkeling alone!

🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿   =   Incredible snorkeling and should be on your list of top things to do!

🤿 🤿 🤿   =   Decent snorkeling and worth the effort!

🤿 🤿   =   Worth consideration if you are running out of things to do!

🤿   =   Not worth it!

Map of St. Croix Snorkeling Sites

We had 1 week to explore the best St. Croix has to offer. Here is a map of all the sites we discovered. Read on for all the nitty-gritty details of each snorkeling spot we visited.

The Top St. Croix USVI Snorkeling Sites

St. Croix Snorkeling Sites

01- Buck Island

Llewellyn's Charter Sailboat at Turtle Beach at Buck Island St Croix

Buck Island snorkeling

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿

PRO TIPIf snorkeling is your main objective, do not go to St. Croix during the Christmas winds. It is near impossible to snorkel during that time except if you stick to the western part of the island.

We were not aware the “Christmas winds” existed when we booked our trip. The winds were just starting to pick up when we snorkeled Buck Island, which made it pretty difficult to navigate the underwater trail. Because of this, I had to give it a snorkel rating of 3/5. However, on a calm day I can see rating this location as a 4/5.

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HOW TO GET THERE

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Only Accessible by Boat

There are only a handful of tour operators that are allowed to take tourists to snorkel off this beautiful island that was designated as a National Monument in 1961. These National Park Service approved companies operate out of Christiansted, Green Cay Marina, and the St. Croix Yacht Club.

  1. Caribbean Sea Adventures: Christiansted Harbor or Green Cay Marina depending on the vessel chosen
  2. Jolly Roger: Christiansted Harbor
  3. Big Beards Adventure Tour: Christiansted Harbor
  4. Teroro & Dragonfly: Green Cay Marina (Captain Carl and Heinz)
  5. Llewellyn’s Charter: St. Croix Yacht Club

All contact information and official websites are listed on the National Park Service’s website.

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How to Get to St. Croix Yacht Club

We chose Llewellyn’s Charter, which operates from St. Croix Yacht Club.

Do not rely completely on Google Maps! It will show you St. Croix Yacht Club is right off Mooring Road, which it is not (unless your car can drive over trees)! Instead, take East End Road and pass the two road signs for “Mooring Road” and you will see a big sign for St. Croix Yacht Club on your left. See the map below, and this will make sense.

Drive to the gated entrance and type in the code on the keypad provided to you by Llewellyn’s Charter. The gate will open, and you are there!

You will then take a rowboat to get to your sailboat to begin your snorkeling excursion. 

Directions to the St Croix USVI Yacht Club

Directions to St. Croix Yacht Club

Entrance to St Croix Yacht Club

St. Croix Yacht Club

Outside of St Croix Yacht Club

Outside of St. Croix Yacht Club

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Where to snorkel at Buck Island in St Croix USVI

Where to snorkel at Buck Island

Our tour operator dropped us off to snorkel the island reef underwater trail at Buck Island.

Afterward, we were transported to Turtle Beach to relax and enjoy the white sand beach and turquoise water. There is no snorkeling at Turtle Beach.

Turtle Beach on Buck Island In St Croix USVI

Swimming in the calm turquoise waters at Turtle Beach on Buck Island in St. Croix

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ENTRY

Entry is off a boat. We happened to go during a time when the Christmas winds were just starting to make their presence known, which made snorkeling very difficult.

On a calm day though, the entry should be fairly easy.

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MARINE LIFE WE SAW

The highlight was seeing a huge school of Jacks. We also saw a barracuda, blue tangs, parrot fish, elkhorn, and brain coral.  Most of the coral is dead, but there were still several nice sections. 

Brain coral at Buck Island St Croix

Brain coral at Buck Island, St. Croix

Close up of School of Jack Fish at Buck Island in St Croix

School of Jacks at Buck Island … this was definitely the highlight! Although it is hard to tell from the photos, these fish were QUITE BIG.

If you want to know more about our Buck Island tour, don’t miss my article below!

02- Cane Bay

Cane Bay Beach in St Croix USVI

Cane Bay Beach in St. Croix USVI

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿

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HOW TO GET THERE

This St. Croix snorkeling spot is super easy to access. It is located on the northern end of the island, right off the appropriately named Cane Bay Road. We booked our holiday rental in Cane Bay, so it took us only minutes to get there.

If it is busy, parking can be a little tight. We arrived early and easily found parking right next to the beach.

Cane Bay sign in St Croix USVI

Cane Bay sign right next to the parking

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Where to snorkel at Cane Bay in St Croix USVI

Where to snorkel at Cane Bay in St. Croix USVI

Enter the water at the concrete boat ramp in the middle of the beach. Swim straight out from the boat ramp through the shallow gap in the reef.

You can snorkel to the left or right, but we chose to snorkel to the right. If you snorkel to the left, make sure you are a strong swimmer.

It can get choppy, so be careful on windy days. As I had stated earlier, we came to St. Croix right before the Christmas winds picked up, and the visibility was not great. I would love to come back on a calm day because I heard it’s like swimming in an aquarium.

Cane Bay is famous for its world-class dive site, known as the “Wall.” If you are a diver, it can be accessed by swimming 200 yards out from the beach.

The dramatic vertical “Wall” drops off like a steep cliff and offers beautiful coral, Caribbean fish, turtles, stingrays, and even the passing reef shark.

Sweet Bottom Dive Center located across from the beach can provide both snorkeling and dive gear.

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ENTRY

Entry was easy as long as you enter at the boat ramp. If you do not enter here, you risk stepping on coral and sea urchins.

The snorkeling conditions were a little tough on the day we went because of the wind.

Enter at the boat ramp to snorkel at Cane Bay St Croix USVI

Enter at the boat ramp and snorkel straight out and then to the right. You can see the divers in the distance making their way out. 

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MARINE LIFE WE SAW

The reef in front of Cane Bay Beach is patchy. We saw beautiful coral, sea fans, turtles, and schools of various Caribbean fish.

Snorkeling with Blue Tang at Cane Bay St Croix USVI

Snorkeling with Blue Tang at Cane Bay, St. Croix USVI

Snorkeling with a baby turtle at Cane Bay St Croix USVI

Snorkeling with a baby turtle at Cane Bay]

03- Frederiksted Pier

Snorkeling with sergeant majors under Frederiksted Pier in St Croix USVI

Snorkeling with sergeant majors under Frederiksted Pier in St. Croix USVI

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿

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HOW TO GET THERE

The Pier is located right in the town of Frederiksted just off Strandt Street on the western side of the island.

There is plenty of parking spots lining the road. We parked near Polly’s At the Pier and made the short walk out to the pier.

Use common sense, and never leave anything valuable in the car. Car break-ins can occur.

Parking at Frederiksted Pier in St Croix USVI

There are plenty of parking spaces along the boardwalk next to Frederiksted Pier. 

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Where to snorkel at Frederiksted Pier in St Croix USVI

Where to snorkel at Frederiksted Pier 

The 1,526 foot Frederiksted Pier was one of the most unique places we have ever snorkeled!

This site was definitely my favorite out of all the St. Croix snorkeling spots we visited!

Where to snorkel is pretty straightforward. Just follow the length of the pier snorkeling in between the pylons.

Also, if you have extra time, snorkel on the left side along the rocks (as you are facing the Frederiksted Pier). See the map above.

We came across a huge school of squid (called a shoal), a bait ball, and a school of blue tang, which was a pleasant surprise.

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ENTRY

When we went, entry was a little tricky because the entrance to Frederiksted Pier was closed. If the entrance is open, it is advised to enter the water via the small sandy beach to the left of the Pier.

There are a set of stairs just off the sidewalk to access this area.

Since it was closed, we walked to the right of the Pier and entered from the rocks. This is not ideal. The rocks were slippery and a little challenging to navigate! Always watch out for sea urchins.    

Alternatively, you could jump off the Pier at designated areas that have ladders to climb back up. My preference was to slip into the water.

Do not snorkel when there are cruise ships or a bunch of boats. They may not see you. Safety first!

Frederiksted Pier Snorkeling Entry Point

We walked to the right of the pier along the path.

Snorkeling Entry Point at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

And then walked along the rocks until we found the best entry point. 

Ladder up Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

You could jump off the pier and climb back up the ladders. As you can see though, with all the slippery barnacles, those ladders would be tough to climb back up with snorkeling gear. I passed on this option.

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MARINE LIFE WE SAW

We saw plenty of colorful Caribbean fish, mostly Sergeant Majors. The concrete pylons are coated with brightly-colored red, orange, and yellow corals, sponges, and brittle stars.

The Pier is also home to seahorses, but unfortunately, we did not see any.

Other highlights included spotting a turtle, a barracuda, and a huge shoal of squid. The squid were spotted to the left of the Pier as you are facing the water.

If you dive the Pier, you may also see an octopus, batfish, scorpion fish, eels, and lobster. Night dives are apparently pretty spectacular.

Snorkeling with Sergeant Majors at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

Snorkeling with Sergeant Majors at Frederiksted Pier 

Beautifully coral coated pylon at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

Beautifully coral coated pylon at Frederiksted Pier 

Snorkeling with blue tang at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

Snorkeling with a school of blue tang at Frederiksted Pier 

Bait ball at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

Bait ball at Frederiksted Pier 

Decorator Crab at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

The pylons along the pier are covered with little different creatures like this decorator crab my husband spotted. These crabs “decorate” themselves like their environment to hide from predators. 

Snorkeling with multiple squid at Frederiksted Pier St Croix USVI

Snorkeling with multiple squid at Frederiksted Pier

04- Isaac Bay

Isaac Bay Beach in St Croix USVI

Isaac Bay Beach in St. Croix USVI

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RATING: 🤿 🤿

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HOW TO GET THERE

It takes a little effort to reach Isaac Bay, but it is well worth the adventure! This bay is protected by the Nature Conservancy and is absolutely beautiful.

Right before you reach Point Udall, which is the easternmost part of the island and in the United States, you will see a small strip of parking spaces on the right-hand side. Get there early because the spaces do fill up quickly!

This parking strip marks the trailhead of the hike to Isaac Bay. It took us about 20 minutes to hike the trail.

Please note there is basically no shade on this trail, and it is HOT. I would strongly advise wearing tennis shoes, a wide-brimmed hat, and bringing plenty of water.

Parking area for Isaac Bay in St Croix USVI

Parking area for Isaac Bay in St. Croix USVI

Beginning of the Isaac Bay trailhead in St Croix USVI

Beginning of the Isaac Bay trailhead

PRO TIPIsaac Bay is isolated. Car break-ins do occur. We left nothing in our car, kept the doors unlocked, and left the windows cracked.

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Where to snorkel at the Isaac Bay in St Croix USVI

Where to snorkel at Isaac Bay

Once you reach Isaac Bay, you will reach a set of wooden stairs. Go down the stairs and walk to the left.

We found a nice little spot with some tree cover and shade. The current will push you right, so we started our snorkeling adventure on the left side of the beach as you face the water and snorkeled to the right.

Wooden stairs down to Isaac Bay in St Croix USVI

Wooden stairs leading down to Isaac Bay

Shaded spot on Isaac Bay St Croix USVI to put your gear

Once we walked down the wooden stairs, we walked to the left along the beach and found this shaded spot to put our gear. 

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ENTRY

Isaac Bay has a sandy bottom, so entry was fairly easy. When we were there, the winds were up which made snorkeling a little challenging.

Definitely pick a calm day to maximize your experience, and do not underestimate your swimming ability in this area. I always bring my snorkel vest, which gives me peace of mind.

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MARINE LIFE WE SAW

Although this was not the most spectacular snorkeling we have ever done, we did see some beautifully soft and hard coral, sea fans, and some tropical fish. The reef is patchy, so you will be snorkeling from patch to patch. The highlight was spotting a lobster!

Although the snorkeling was average at best likely due to the windy conditions when we went, the hike is still beautiful and well worth the effort alone.

If you are fairly fit and adequately hydrated, you can even continue on and hike another 20 minutes to the next bay over which is called Jack Bay. That’s what we did but only because we had prepared and brought plenty of water and sun-protective clothing.

Elkhorn coral at Isaac Bay St Croix USVI

Elkhorn coral at Isaac Bay St. Croix USVI

Lobster spotting while snorkeling at Isaac Bay in St Croix USVI

Lobster spotting while snorkeling at Isaac Bay 

Sergeant major at Isaac Bay St Croix USVI

Lone Sergeant Major at Isaac Bay 

If you love hiking, don’t miss my Isaac Bay + Jack Bay hiking guide below.

05- Sand Castle

Sand Castle Beach at St Croix USVI

Sand Castle Beach at St. Croix USVI

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿

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HOW TO GET THERE

Located on the calmer eastern side of the island, Sand Castle is an easy snorkeling location to access.

Put the hotel called Sand Castle on the Beach in Google Maps. Drive just a few minutes north of the hotel as if you are going towards Frederiksted.

You will find plenty of parking right on the beach.

Sand Castle parking in St Croix USVI-2

Sand Castle parking

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Where to snorkel at Sand Castle in St Croix USVI

Where to snorkel at Sand Castle

Snorkel straight out from the beach and then to the right towards the abandoned stone shack.

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ENTRY

Sand Castle Beach offers a sandy bottom, so the entry is pretty easy.

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MARINE LIFE WE SAW

When we first snorkeled straight out from the beach, we saw some beautiful starfish in several different colors.

As we snorkeled to the right towards the old abandoned stone shack, we saw plenty of barrel sponges.

In front of the shack, we came across some old machinery that was dumped years ago. It is now home to some beautiful coral and tropical fish including Sergeant Majors and French Grunt fish.

Starfish at Sand Castle St Croix USVI

Gorgeous starfish at Sand Castle 

French grunt fish swimming around old machinery at Sand Castle in St Croix USVI

Not my best photo but it shows all the yellow French grunt fish swimming around old machinery 

Snorkeling with Sergeant Major at St Croix USVI

Snorkeling with a Sergeant Major at Sand Castle 

Snorkeling Gear 

Your snorkeling gear will make or break your experience! After snorkeling at quite a few destinations around the world from Bonaire to Bora Bora, I have invested in good quality gear. I will never rent again.  

I have written a detailed article on all of the snorkeling gear I bring to our “snorkations.”

Snorkeling Gear Isaacs Bay St. Croix

My snorkeling gear. Photo taken at Isaac Bay

Top 10 Snorkel Tips

→     01- Diluted baby shampoo works wonders to clear your snorkel mask.

→     02- The shape of your face will dictate what snorkel mask is best for you. Get fitted!

→     03- Avoid windy overcast days because it will be difficult to see anything. Sunny calm days are the best.

→     04- Wear a sun shirt (love Coolibar!) and use reef-safe sunscreen like the super sheer Colorscience Total Protection Mineral Sunscreen.

→     05- Snorkel with a buddy for safety.

→     06- Do not feed the fish or step on the coral!

→     07- Consider a snorkel vest if you are not a strong swimmer like myself. It will give you peace of mind.

→     08- Be aware of your surroundings, so you don’t get in trouble (winds, current, etc).

→     09- I hate when another snorkeler smacks you in the face with their fins because they have no awareness. Be respectful of others’ space.

→     10- We started filling empty gallons of water with the hose from our rental and bringing them along. They work great for rinsing off sandy feet.

Gallons of water to rinse off after snorkeling

A few gallons of water work great for rinsing off all that sand. 

Final Thoughts 

Although the St. Croix snorkeling was not as spectacular as St. John, it still offered some unique experiences that are worth checking out.

If you only have time for one snorkeling adventure, then definitely pick the Frederiksted Pier! Incredibly unique and unlike any other snorkeling experience we have done so far.

Also, try not to go during the Christmas winds if snorkeling is your top priority.

If you are still figuring out what to do in St. Croix, check out my article on the Top 13 Things to Do in St Croix! I have also laid out my personal St. Croix itinerary.

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Questions about our experiences at these top St Croix snorkeling sites?

Let me know in the comments below!

2 Comments
  1. Michele

    Thank you so much for your perspective! I am blessed to live on St. Croix and just started snorkeling recently. I am hooked! I have only snorkeled around Sandcastles beach area, but I am really looking forward to checking out the pier as soon as I find a snorkel buddy. I will definitely check out all your suggestions. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Nichole

      Thank you for sharing that kind feedback. Wow, lucky you. St. Croix is such a beautiful island. Snorkeling around Frederiksted Pier is so much fun! Hope you get to experience it soon. 😊

      Reply

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