British Virgin Islands scuba diving travel guide, best dive resorts, liveaboards, best time to dive - Bluewater Dive Travel

British Virgin Islands

british virign islands diving

Scuba diving in British Virgin Islands

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British Virgin Islands diving highlights

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially the Virgin Islands, are a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. BVI are a collection of 60 unspoiled islands that pack the best of the Caribbean into one convenient destination. From the culture and history of BVI’s four largest islands to the pristine natural splendor of more than 50 smaller isles, every place offers its own special magic.


Dive Overview

The diving is predominantly wreck and reef-based diving, within recreational depth limits. The British Virgin Islands are known for some of the best shipwreck dives in the world including the shipwreck RMS Rhone and the shipwreck Chikuzen.  

Watch this awesome video to give you a great feel for what it would be like to dive in the BVI!


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Diving Information 

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Marine Life & Environment

The waters around the Virgin Islands are home to an abundance of corals, fishes, sharks, dolphins, turtles, crustaceans and a multitude of other marine life. Some megafauna that are popular with divers are turtles, sharks (particularly nurse sharks), barracuda, moray eels, eagle rays, southern stingrays, grouper (including Goliath grouper), spiny lobster and tarpon.  


Diving Conditions

  • Water Temperature: 78-82°F (25-28°C)
  • Visibility: Ranging from 60’ (18m) to around 100’ (30m)
  • Weather: Between 80°F and 90°F year-round


Top Dive Sites

Here are some of the most popular dive sites around the BVI!

  • 1. RMS RHONE - 10-65 feet (3-20 M). Considered one of the world’s best ship wreck dives, the Rhone, a commissioned Royal mail steamship, sunk during a hurricane way back in 1867. She broke into two parts when the boiler was washed over by cold ocean water and exploded. The stern sank in just 35 feet while the bow drifted and sank a bit deeper in 80 feet. She rests on the bottom off Salt Island within the RMS Rhone Marine Park. We dedicate a day of diving this amazing wreck as there is so much to see. There are areas that are penetrable where you can still see parts of the boat clearly- even silverware!
  • 2. Angelfish Reef - 20-45 feet (6-14 M). This site is great for both macro and wide-angle photographs. There is a maze of rocky canyons and ridges for you to explore. You’ll typically see turtles, sharks, eels and huge lobsters! On the smaller side, keep your eyes peeled for shrimp, anemones and many crustaceans.
  • 3. The Aquarium - 15-30 feet (5-9 M). Near the Baths is a reef in shallow water that boasts pillar coral formations surrounded by schools of French grunts, eels tucked under ledges and a lot of sea life in a small area. Take your time and use your full tank to enjoy the underwater network of grottos and dens filled with fish!
  • 4. Brown Pants - 10-40 feet (3-12 M). Many years ago, when Annie and Duncan Muirhead were running Misty Law, the first live-aboard in the BVI, they were exploring this point as a possible dive site. Several large bull sharks rounded a corner and chased them back to their boat, and the site was named. There is a point that rises from the flat, barren seafloor and the water is extremely clear here. Look for turtles and eagle rays on your way down out in the blue, then head towards the cliffs where you will find lots of fish in each of the canyons. One canyon has a large open cave for you to explore- the light shines down to reveal all the bright colors of the sponges that grow here.
  • 5. Wreck of the Chikuzen BVI - 40-75 feet (12-23 M). The Chikuzen was a refrigerator vessel from Korea that was based in St Maarten and was there to service the Japanese fishing fleets. Another hurricane came thru in 1981 and since the ship was decrepit, the owners thought it was a good way to scuttle it and get rid of the old junk pile. So they set it on fire and let it go adrift! Unfortunately, she floated towards the Marina Cay area and fearing the safety of both people and the boats, they called in help from neighboring islands to tow it out to sea. The flaming vessel was towed awhile before the line broke. It finally sunk 7 miles off Tortola to the northwest. The shipwreck is too far for landbased dive operators to visit, but the Cuan Law can visit it regularly. She rests in 75 feet of water far from any reef and attracts a great variety of pelagic and reef fish. Her starboard rail reaches to 50 feet and can be entered through open hatches.
  • 6. Kodiak Queen - The Kodiak Queen was one of 5 ships to survive the attack on Pearl Harbour. It was prepared as a dive site with a kraken above deck by Richard Branson and sunk in April 2016.

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Travel Information 

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How to Get There

There are no direct flights from the USA, Canada, Europe, or South America to the British Virgin Islands' main airport, the Terrence B. Lettsome Airport (EIS). All flights must connect through another Caribbean airport on islands such as Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Antigua, or St. Maarten. The most direct way to arrive to the BVI from North America is via San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU).  


How to Dive the BVI

Most dive operators in the area are land-based, but they have two liveaboard dive boats: Cuan Law & Promenade.  

Best Time to Dive

The wettest months on average are from September to November and the driest months on average are February and March. The hurricane season runs from June to November.


Topside & Non-Diving Activities

  • Water activities: beaches, boardsports, fishing, jet skis, kayaking, snorkeling
  • Boats & charters: dinghy rental, island hopping, long-term charters, power boating, sailing
  • Yacht charters
  • Adventure: parasailing, skydiving, zip lining
  • Sports: bikes & cycling, golf, horse racing, tennis, running/walking, swimming, competitions & races
  • Arts & culture
  • Tours
  • Wildlife: birdwatching, dolphin & whales, farms & farmers markets, gardens, hiking, horse riding, stargazing
  • Other activities: casino gaming, geocaching, shopping, yoga, spa & massage

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Please contact us for the availability of the Cuan Law Liveaboard

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Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: United States Dollar
  • Language: English & Spanish
  • Time Zone: UTC-4
  • Electricity: 110/220v

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