Diving and Snorkeling

Where you go snorkeling and what company you pick depends on where you're staying. Many hotels have on-site dive outfitters, but if yours doesn't, one won't be far away. If your hotel does have a dive operation, just stroll down to the dock and hop aboard—no need to drive anywhere. The dive companies are all certified by PADI. Costs vary, but count on paying about $75 for a one-tank dive and $110 for a two-tank dive. All dive operators offer introductory courses as well as certification and advanced courses. Should you get an attack of the bends, which can happen when you ascend too rapidly, the nearest decompression chamber is at Schneider Regional Medical Center in St. Thomas.

There are some terrific snorkel and dive sites off Virgin Gorda, including areas around The Baths, the North Sound, and the Dogs. The Chimney at Great Dog Island has a coral archway and canyon covered with a wide variety of sponges. At Joe's Cave, an underwater cavern on West Dog Island, huge groupers, eagle rays, and other colorful fish accompany divers as they swim. At some sites you can see 100 feet down, but snorkelers and divers who don't want to go that deep will find plenty to look at just below the surface.

Bitter End Yacht Club. The BEYC schedules two snorkeling trips a day. North Sound, Virgin Gorda, VG1150. 284/494–2746; www.beyc.com. From $15 for resort guests.

Dive BVI. In addition to day trips, Dive BVI also offers expert instruction and certification. Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Lee Rd., Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, VG1150. 284/495–5513; 800/848–7078; www.divebvi.com.

Dive BVI. Leverick Bay Marina, Leverick Bay Rd., Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda. 284/495–7328; 800/848–7078; www.divebvi.com.

Sunchaser Scuba. Resort, advanced, and rescue courses are all available here. Bitter End Yacht Club, North Sound, Virgin Gorda, VG1150. 284/495–9638; 800/932–4286; www.sunchaserscuba.com.