Scuba diving in St Barth is by no means the best in the Caribbean, but the corals are worth seeing. The colors are magnificent, largely because of the shallow water (the channel between St Barths and St Martin reaches no deeper than about 100 feet, 30 meters) and the sandy bottom, which reflects the sunlight.
There is a distinct lack of large fish at the dive sites. However, there are plenty of small and colorful reef fish. The wonderful reef biodiversity has several explanations. The first is that the reefs have been left largely untouched by local fishermen due to the local disease ciguatera, a food borne illness caused by eating reef fish whose flesh is contaminated with a tropical toxin known as Gambierdiscus. Secondly, in 1996, St. Barth created a Marine Reserve in order to protect coral and sea life that was heavily damaged by hurricanes in the early 90s as well as careless anchoring. Because of this measure, St. Barth’s coral reefs are today ready to welcome divers wanting to explore the beauty of the underwater world.
In addition to gorgeous reefs, St. Barts also plays host to a wreck dive, The Kaïali. In 100 feet (30 meters) of water, this site contains two entrances and is suitable for advanced divers. There are also several large caverns scattered around the island’s walls, adding a little diversity to the 22 dive sites scattered around the island.
While St. Barth has lots of great diving with healthy coral and a colorful fish population, it’s real appeal is as a luxury destination. And at that it truly excels. But, for divers visiting this Caribbean paradise, it's good to know there's some enjoyable diving just minutes away.