Scuba Diving Saba and St Kitts
The best diving in the Caribbean is quoted as the lesser Dutch Antilles, namely Saba and St Kitts, where marine park protection ensures a huge quantity of marine life.
The lesser Dutch Antilles, Saba and St Kitts, offer some of the best places to dive in the Caribbean. From Saba’s famous deep water pinnacles to St Kitts wrecks and finger reefs.
The North Caribbean, especially Saba and St Kitts, has some unique features. On Saba, the geothermal energy from the volcano can be seen and felt underwater. The sulphur colours the sand in some areas and you can bury your hands here. The geothermal energy will give divers a free hand warming session during the dives a diving experience you are not likely to ever forget..
Above water, in St Kitts, you can see the old colonial fortresses and underwater the wrecks and cannons carry on the military theme. Diving in St Kitts from a dive boat, onto beautiful fringing reefs with long finger ridges and some beautiful shipwrecks to be explored.
Caribbean diving is easy with little to no currents, and dive sites are open to all levels of certified divers, a padi instructor is available for con ed. The shallow reefs are ideal for snorkelling, meaning non-diving partners can easily enjoy the cruises with snorkelling and other land activities.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Scuba Diving Saba and St Kitts - 2 LIVEABOARDS
Helia 44 liveaboard is in Caribbean a newly purpose-built catamaran from 2018 that tours around the Caribbean islands of Guadalupe, Dominique, Martinique, Grenade, St Lucia and the Grenadines on request for private charters for up to 8 guests. She has four en suite cabins with double beds on the lower deck, along with a relaxation area and galley. The deck area has comfortable seating and relaxation areas for sunbathing, and there is a trampoline between the hulls.Book Now
Caribbean Explorer II
Caribbean Explorer II Liveaboard in Saba and St. Kitts is a 35-metre long vessel taking divers on 7 night trips departing from St. Maarten or St. Kitts on Saturdays. Her itineraries include 5 1/2 days diving within Saba Marine Park and at St. Kitts and Nevis. She comfortably carries up to 18 guests in 9 double staterooms, all air-conditioned with en-suite bathrooms. Guests can enjoy up to four dives a day plus a night dive. Nitrox is available on board.Book Now
To gain the most diversity, the boat travels one way with embarkation at one port and disembarkation at another. This allows guests onboard not to backtrack along the route but experiences the best places to dive in the Caribbean. Local flights are easy to arrange for a return to St Maarten for the international airport in the region.
Best Places to Dive in The Lesser Antilles
There are two main dive areas covered within the liveaboard cruise, Saba Island and St Kitts Island.
The highest point of the Netherlands this dormant volcano has some hidden wonders. Hiking and scuba diving are the two main activities on the island known as the ‘Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean’.
Saba islands underwater area is under the jurisdiction of the Saba Marine Park, no vessels are allowed to drop anchor in the area. This marine park has been running many years and used as a model for many other marine parks developed subsequently due to its zoning and designated area uses.
The diving is on the windward and leeward sides and offers walls, reefs, and pinnacles. Most dives due to the exposed nature of the island, being only 5 miles in diameter are on the leeward side. The Tent, Ladder bay and deep water pinnacles offer a huge diversity over this small area.
Ladder Bay has a maze of finger reefs and the geothermal sands, and one site is even called Ladder Labyrinth due to its winding reefs. Nurse sharks, giant green morays and seahorses can be found there. Torrens Bay at the end of this area is a shallow nursery for most of the marine life found around this island.
The Tent area offers walls reefs and drop-offs, home to hawksbill turtles and a multitude of frogfish it is a photographer’s paradise.
For many divers, Saba diving is famous for the volcanic pinnacles on the outer edge of the park. Due to the depths, this one large pinnacle is divided into six dive sites including the infamous Eye of the Needle.
There are also two shallower pinnacles that break the surface descending to around 25m.
The topography of St Kitts Island here differs significantly to Saba with spurs, drop-offs and finger reefs along with archaeological sites.
Dives will include Paradise Reef, with dive sites including as Anchors Away that has historical and archaeological interest.
Photographers will be able to capture the drum fish, flying gurnards and wonderful sponge life of the area in clear water. Night dives are also impressive with the octopus and shrimp life.
Best Dive Sites in The Lesser Antilles
St Kitts Island
There are many wreck dive sites that include MV River Taw, MV Corintian (the Tug) and MV Talata.
The MV River Taw
is one of the most popular sites in the area. “The Taw” is a cargo ship that sank in 1985, initially sat upright until a hurricane in 1989 broke it into two parts.
Located between Nevis and St Kitts about 3 miles. There are limestone shelves covered in hard and soft corals and lobsters are found all over the area as well as nurse sharks.
Green Point Drift
This is a great shallow reef with abundant tube and barrel sponges along with sea fans and black coral. It is a volcanic substrate with mainly soft corals. Look out for angelfish, grouper and snappers along with lobster.
Saba has the famous deep water pinnacle that is split into six sites to optimise bottom time and explore this unique area.
Eye of the Needle
This is the most famous of the deep seamount dives with a narrow column that rises majestically up from the deep to reach 28m below the surface. It formed as a result of volcanic action followed by erosion to leave the needle standing alone in the deep water.
A landmark in Saba due to its shape and colouration. It is near the edge of the cove and home to many of the local birds who nest there and give the distinctive white colour from their droppings. Bait balls can form here, and the sandy bottom has southern stingrays and flying gurnards as well as the many sharks patrolling the area.
A liveaboard to the Caribbean islands of Saba and St Kitts in the Lesser Antilles will not only offer shark diving but great macro life sightings. For more information about Saba and St Kitts Dive Sites, please click on the photo.
The Lesser Antilles Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common sightings - Reef sharks, moray eels, drums, stingrays, tarpon
- Special sightings - Whale sharks, manta rays, seahorses, frogfish
- Topography - Reefs, pinnacles, walls, wrecks
- Visibility - 20m+
- General Information - Diving is open to all levels of divers
- Onboard options - Hiking and beach visits
Best Time to Go
This is a year-round destination with the low season being classed as (15 August - 15 October and 1 December to 31 January).
Water temperature year around is 25 to 27C and a shorty 3mm long wetsuit is sufficient for most divers. If you feel the cold, then a 5mm long would work be adequate.
How to Get There
There are two ports normally used, so you need to confirm which one you start and end with and plan accordingly.
Direct flights from Europe are with Air France and KLM to St Maarten.
From the US, Delta, Jet Blue and American Airlines fly into St Maarten.
Local flights are via Windward Island Airways that operates flights between St. Maarten and St. Kitts.
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
USD widely accepted
On entry for most nationalities
- 5 hours
Dutch and English is spoken widely
St Maarten (SXM)
Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel
29 - 31 C daytime, 23 - 25 C evenings
American and Caribbean