Diving and Snorkeling
You'll find on-site dive shops at several resorts, including The Body Holiday, Sandals Grande. Royal by Rex, and Rendezvous in the north; Ti Kaye farther south; and Anse Chastanet and Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, in Soufrière. Nearly all dive operators, regardless of their own location, provide transportation from Rodney Bay, Castries, Marigot Bay, or Soufrière. Depending on the season and the particular trip, prices range from about $35 for a one-tank shore dive or $65 for a one-tank boat dive to $175 to $250 for a six-dive package over three days and $350 to $400 for a 10-dive package over five days—plus a Marine Reserve permit fee of $6 per day. Dive shops provide instruction for all levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). For beginners, a resort course (pool training), followed by one open-water dive, runs from about $100 to $130, depending on the number of days and dives included. Snorkelers are generally welcome on dive trips and usually pay $50 to $70. All prices generally include taxi/boat transfers, lunch, and equipment.
Anse Chastanet, near the Pitons on the southwest coast, is the best beach-entry dive site. The underwater reef drops from 20 feet to nearly 140 feet in a stunning coral wall.
A 165-foot freighter, Lesleen M, was deliberately sunk in 60 feet of water near Anse Cochon to create an artificial reef; divers can explore the ship in its entirety and view huge gorgonians, black coral trees, gigantic barrel sponges, lace corals, schooling fish, angelfish, sea horses, spotted eels, stingrays, nurse sharks, and sea turtles.
Anse La Raye, midway up the west coast, is one of St. Lucia's finest wall and drift dives and a great place for snorkeling.
At the Pinnacles, four coral-encrusted stone piers rise to within 10 feet of the surface.
Superman's Flight is a dramatic drift dive along the steep walls beneath the Pitons. At the base of Petit Piton a spectacular wall drops to 200 feet, where you can view an impressive collection of huge barrel sponges and black coral trees; strong currents ensure good visibility.
Dive Fair Helen. In operation since 1992 and owned by a St. Lucian environmentalist, this PADI center offers half- and full-day excursions on two custom-built dive boats to wreck, wall, and marine reserve areas, as well as night dives and instruction. Marina Village, Marigot Bay, Castries Quarter. 758/451–7716; www.divefairhelen.com.
Island Divers. At the edge of the National Marine Park at Soufrière, with two reefs and an offshore wreck accessible from shore, this dive shop at Ti Kaye Resort & Spa offers shore dives, boat dives, PADI certification, equipment rental, and an extensive list of specialty courses. Hotel transfers available. Ti Kaye Resort & Spa, off West Coast Rd., between Anse la Raye and Canaries, Anse La Raye, Anse-la-Raye. 758/456–8110; www.tikaye.com/diving.
Scuba St. Lucia. Daily beach and boat dives and resort and certification courses are available from this PADI 5-star facility located on Anse Chastanet Beach, and so is underwater photography and snorkeling equipment. Transportation from the north of the island can be arranged. Anse Chastanet Resort, Anse Chastanet Rd., Soufrière, Soufrière. 758/459–7755; 800/223–1108; www.scubastlucia.com.