Saba and St Kitts

saba and st. kitts scuba diving
diving in saba and st. kitts
saba and st. kitts diving
scuba diving in saba and st. kitts

SCUBA DIVING IN st Kitts and saba

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saba and st Kitts scuba DIVING HIGHLIGHTS

Year-round diving is available throughout these small but intriguing volcanic dive environments. Divers will encounter an abundance of diverse and thriving marine life across relaxed dive sites in calm clear waters. 

 

Saba and St Kitts scuba DIVing RESORTS/LIVEABOARDS

Scuba diving in St Kitts and Saba is predominantly resort-based although there is one liveaboard, Caribbean Explorer II, that splits its itineraries between St Maarten and Saba & St Kitts.

Scuba diving tends to be via small, independently-owned dive shops.

 

INTRO TO scuba diving in st kitts and saba

Located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, the four islands of Saba, St Eustatius, St Kitts, and Nevis lie in line northwest to southeast and form part of the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. While Saba and St Eustatius belong to the Netherlands and St Kitts and Nevis are a country of the British Commonwealth, the islands are often dived together and share similar geographical and ecological traits.

Saba

Although the smallest island, Saba boasts almost 30 dive sites around its rocky coastline. Volcanic origins make for fascinating underwater topography and far fewer tourists mean often empty dive sites and a pristine dive environment. The waters around Saba are protected within Saba Marine Park which extends 200 feet (60 m) below the surface and covers an area of approximately 1,300 hectares.

St Eustatius

Over 60 dive sites in St Eustatius' crystal clear waters provide access to everything from wrecks and an ancient city wall to turtles, sharks, rays, and an abundance of reef fish. Protected as part of the St Eustatius National Parks system, diving must be with an approved center and is carefully controlled to preserve this treasured environment.

St Kitts

While St Kitts hosts more tourists than Saba or St Eustatius, visitor numbers are still far lower than other Caribbean destinations. Subsurface scenery rivals topside for rich and colorful reefs and some fascinating wrecks to explore. 

Nevis

The least-dived of the four islands, Nevis nonetheless offers access to the beautiful coral atoll, Monkey Shoals, as well as some unique thermal vents.

Saba and St. Kitts Diving

 

WHEN TO GO scuba diving in st kitts and saba

Scuba diving in St Kitts and Saba is great year-round with air and water temperatures remaining fairly constant throughout the seasons.

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saba and st Kitts scuba DIVING INFORMATION

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MARINE LIFE & PHOTOGRAPHY SUBJECTS

Many of the ecosystems around the fours islands consist of stretches of volcanic rock encrusted with hard and soft corals, sponges, and other tunicates. There are few true reefs, although the channel between St Kitts and Nevis is home to a coral atoll. Pinnacles boast large gorgonian sea fans and huge barrel and chimney sponges at deeper sites and elkhorn coral gardens can also be found.

Species of shark commonly found in these waters are Caribbean reef sharks, black-tip reef sharks, and nurse sharks, however, hammerheads, tiger sharks, and bull sharks are also occasional visitors.

Saba and St. Kitts Diving Saba and St. Kitts Diving

 

Marine animals you can expect to spot diving Saba and St Kitts include:

  • Nassau grouper
  • Horse-eye jack
  • Great barracuda
  • Wahoo
  • Tarpon
  • Green turtle
  • Hawksbill turtle
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Wrasse
  • Blue tang
  • Chromis
  • Surgeonfish
  • Parrotfish
  • Triggerfish
  • Angelfish
  • Snapper
  • Lizardfish
  • Garden eel
  • Flying gurnard

 Other rare spots include whale sharks, manta and eagle rays,  longsnout seahorses, and frogfish. 

For another volcanic destination with fascinating underwater topography, check out our Hawaii diving guide. 


DIVING CONDITIONS

  • Water temperature: 79-83oF (26-28oC) throughout the year.
  • Visibility: Up to 100ft (30m).
  • Depth Range: Most sites are shallow, around 60 feet (18m).
  • Diving Difficulty: Suitable for beginners and snorkelers.

 

BEST DIVE SITES

Here are some of the top dive sites in Saba and St Kitts:

Man o' War Shoals, Saba

Off the southwest corner of Saba, Man o' War comprises two shallow pinnacles covered in life. With a maximum depth of 72 feet (21 m), diving here is suitable for all levels, and visitors can discover an abundance of corals and sponges, crabs, lobsters, and other crustaceans, rays and sharks, and even the occasional frogfish.

Tent Reef, Saba

This wide and sprawling site offers a variety of ecosystems to explore including a vertical wall, coral reef system, volcanic boulder fields, and a shallow plateau. Marine life encounters abound with huge turtles and sleeping nurse sharks, a plethora of small reef fish, and a good chance of spotting a Caribbean reef shark.

Charles Brown Wreck, St Eustatius

Sunk as an artificial reef in 2003, the Charles Brown is a 327 foot (100m) long cable-laying vessel, and one of the island's most popular dives. With depths between 600 and 100 feet (18 and 31 m), she offers both novice and experienced wreck divers a great experience.  The hull and superstructure are covered in gorgonians and sponges while schooling jacks and barracuda create a constantly moving backdrop. The wreck itself is home to many angelfish, yellow-headed jawfish, and turtles, while reef sharks patrol the edges of visibility. 

Barracuda Reef, St Eustatius
 
Famous for large numbers of barracuda, this long reef is made up of vertical walls, many ledges, overhangs, and cracks, perfect for harboring a plethora of marine life. Lobsters and moray eels can also be found here in abundance, along with dense schools of grunt and snapper, queen angelfish, and Caribbean reef sharks. Although current isn't often present, this makes a fantastic drift dive when conditions allow.
  
Hangover, St Eustatius

Showcasing the best of local diving, Hangover offers a little bit of everything, from fascinating lava structures smothered in healthy corals and interspersed with patches of sand, to overhangs that hide all sorts of surprises. Jawfish, peacock flounder, and queen conch occupy the sandiest areas while pillar corals hide yellowtail damselfish and are circled by numerous angelfish. Lobsters, moray eels, and spotted drumfish lurk in the darker crevices and it's not unusual to spot a Caribbean reef shark cruising through.

M/V Talata Wreck, St Kitts

Sunk due to hurricane damage in 1983, this old freighter lies in shallow water between 40 and 60 feet (12 and 15 m) and is great fun to explore. Although the wreck is broken up and spread in a long line, sections of the bow and stern are still recognizable, along with the engine blocks and large parts of the steel superstructure. Marine life is abundant around this artificial reef, in particular numerous moray eels that now call it home.

Monkey Shoals, St Kitts

This shallow coral atoll lies in the channel between St Kitts and Nevis and covers around 1 square mile and several distinct dive sites. Being further from shore, visibility is excellent and marine life is in pristine condition, although current and surface conditions can sometimes be challenging. Shallower areas of the reef are full of juvenille reef fish, while larger areas of pure white sand house rays, reef sharks, and plentiful macro.

Friars Bay Reef, St Kitts

A favorite of local divers, Friars Bay Reef offers easy diving and guarantees excellent marine life. Expect to spot juvenile angelfish, huge lobsters, and plenty of moray eels, as well as stingrays and the usual collection of colorful reef fish.

Booby High Shoal, Nevis
 
Located at Booby Island in the channel between St Kitts and Nevis, this shallow site is full of marine life and an excellent introduction to diving the area. The circular reef is full of lobster, stingrays, grunts, and schooling horse-eye jacks, while hawksbill turtles are often spotted grazing on the sponges and corals. Deeper ledges provide shelter to nurse sharks.

 

BEST TIME TO go scuba DIVing in St Kitts and saba

Saba and St Kitts' tropical climate means there is little variation in air and water temperatures throughout the year. The summer enjoys topside temperatures of around 89oF (32oC) and in the winter months, this can drop to 82oF (28oC). Summer is also the rainy season and brief daily showers are common however, this rarely disrupts diving.

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TRAVEL INFORMATION

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HOW TO GET TO saba and st Kitts

To visit Saba and St Eustatius it is easiest to fly internationally into St Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) from the majority of US east coast cities. Then take an island-hopper flight or join the liveaboard that visits Saba and St Kitts.

To reach St Kitts, fly into Robert L. Bradshaw international AIrport (SKB) and Nevis is a 45-minute ferry journey from St Kitts.

 

HOW TO DIVE St Kitts and saba

Scuba diving and snorkeling within the protected waters of Saba and St Eustatius must be done with a locally approved guide and there are a couple of local dive operators on each island who can facilitate day trips. Dives tend to be from small boats or straight from the shore and operators offer anything up to four days per day.

 

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN saba and st Kitts

Being volcanic in origin there are no proper beaches to relax at, rather the majority of the coastline is cliff and rocky shore.  With that said, the beauty of the islands isn't lost, thanks to their mountainous terrain, fascinating flora, and unique panoramic views.  Take a day to hike in the national park areas around volcanic craters and discover many bird and reptile species. 

Underwater and Topside Views of Saba

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OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

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Practical INFORMATION

  • Currency: Saba and St Eustatius use US Dollars (USD), St Kitts and Nevis use Eastern Caribbean Dollars (XCD), but US Dollars are widely accepted.
  • Language: English, although Dutch is the official language of Saba.
  • Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
  • Electricity: Saba and St Eustatius 110V, St Kitts and Nevis 230V110V. 
 

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