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“Best coral reef in the Caribbean”
Review of Buck Island Cove

Buck Island Cove
Ranked #21 of 107 things to do in St. Croix
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: About two miles northeast of St. Croix, Buck Island Cove, with its large and spectacular reef, is a snorkeler’s dream.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Best coral reef in the Caribbean”
Reviewed March 22, 2014 via mobile

A hidden gem. Well worth the trip . Coral reef intact thanks to its national park status. My son and I returned twice here during our stay in St. Croix. Loved the Big Beard team that took us there.

Visited March 2014
Thank FedeMarco2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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127 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
142 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“When in St Croix, Buck Island is a must!”
Reviewed February 28, 2014

If you ever visit St Croix, don't miss out on a short trip to Buck Island from Christiansted. The island is beautiful. The reef if a must see for snorkeling. I've been to beaches in Hawaii, Philippines, Mexico and most of the Caribbean. This is one of the best. Get a waterproof camera for underwater photos. If possible, sail to the island. It is a relaxing experience! And as the locals say, " take pictures but leave nothing but footprints." There is nothing on the island but natural resources so bring your own food, drinks and towel.

Visited February 2014
3 Thank Abejo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Enjoyed this Excursion! Buck Island is beautiful!”
Reviewed February 17, 2014

We went on Big Beards 1/2 day morning trip. The morning we went it was pretty calm on the ocean and we had a peaceful ride to Buck Island. The 1st stop is at a gorgeous beach with white sand and very calm, gentle waves lapping up on the beach. There's nothing to see snorkeling here but the crew wants everyone to get acquainted with their snorkeling gear here before bringing them to the other side of the island for snorkeling the reef. The calm side is worth the $90 alone, however, if you just want a beach as beautiful as this on St. Croix make a trip to Sandy Point beach (only open Saturdays and Sundays) and it's JUST as beautiful if not more. Anyway- once we traveled by boat to the other side of the island you are required to just jump right in the water as there's no place to calm walk in the ocean there. If you have never snorkeled before I would personally not recommend this trip unless you are a confident swimmer. You are given life jackets but the water is just a little rougher on this side. I was fine...I've snorkeled probably 15 times in my life and I feel confident in the water. There are lots of neat fish to see and the reef is interesting to see underwater. I think perhaps the Big Beard captain put the fear of God in everyone when he very intensely said DO NOT GO OUTSIDE THE REEF, DO NOT GO OVER THE REEF, DON'T TOUCH THE REEF, IT IS DANGEROUS!!! Etc., Etc. So I think everyone was a little shaken by the seriousness of his tone and we all didn't know what we were in for. I appreciated his safety concerns and understand completely but because of his intense warnings I probably didn't trek out as far on my own as I normally would have because I didn't want to be the one who broke the rules and got in a bad situation in the ocean. Overall, it was cool, we saw nurse sharks, a baracudda and many colorful tropical fish. We snorkeled for about 15-20 minutes total...which doesn't seem like much but we were satisfied with what we saw. I'm glad I did the excursion overall and would have been disappointed without that portion of my trip. Also, I would recommend only doing the 1/2 day trip - there's no point in doing a full day unless you want to eat.

Visited February 2014
2 Thank Eswetmore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Boston, New Hampshire, United States
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Turtle Beach is lovely, but the National Reef Monument was rough”
Reviewed February 8, 2014

Buck Island is stunning to take a boat to. My husband and I took our 3 sons (ages 11, 10 and 8), and could not get over the color of the water, and beauty of the island. We would have paid Big Beard's Tour group just for the boat trip to and from the island alone, never mind for the snorkeling. The captain and helper (Chrissy was her name and for some reason his is escaping me!) were professional and made me feel like it was a well-run operation. The boat was spotless.

The first stop at Turtle Beach was where Chrissy gave us our group snorkel lesson, and we got to try the gear out in the calmer, clear (and coral-less) water. We got to hang there for about an hour. Felt like paradise- just a beautiful spot!

The second stop, over around the island at the reef, is where they drop anchor for guests to hop in the ocean to explore the Monument. The waves and current here were pretty strong, though, on the day we went. Chrissy took one small group out for a "tour" of where to go and how to navigate. She told our family to hang tight and that she'd come back for us. However, the Captain told us to get our gear on and climb in the ocean to wait for her- to hold onto the life ring attached to the back of the boat while waiting for her. This was bad advice. The boat was rocking so hard and the waves so rough that the life ring kept smashing into the boat, allowing my husband and 3 sons to get smashed into the stairs and boat as well. My youngest panicked while waiting, because it was so rough, and we had to attempt to help him get back up the rocking stairs to safety. He was pretty rattled- it scared him a lot. Had we just waited on the boat for Chrissy to return, we wouldn't have been already cold and beat up by the waves, so when she finally did come for us, the rest of us(minus my youngest) snorkeled for less time than we would have. The Captain stood by the back of the boat watching the whole thing, but didn't offer to help in any way, really.
The stuff we saw while navigating (Chrissy pulled my other 2 boys on her ring while they kicked- the current was just pretty strong so this was safer at first) was awesome; pretty coral, clear water to the bottom, lots of blue tang and other fish, and a cool, big barracuda!
When we tired out, we had to use the last bit of strength to climb back up those stairs to get back on the boat. My legs smashed into them several times on my way back up, and I ended up with pretty good bruises for the rest of my vacation.
I say this just so that folks know that it can be a bumpy ride! Maybe not great for younger kids, unless they are experienced snorkelers. One grown man who was new to snorkeling did not even attempt that second location, and one couple did try but went back onto the boat after a very short period, because they said it was also a bit rough for them as well.
The ride back to the pier was beautiful and the sun warmed us all up. We tipped Chrissy well, because it still was a wonderful excursion and experience, and we were glad that we were all safe and sound.

Visited January 2014
4 Thank Jennifer B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leesburg, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Snorkelers Paradise”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

After traveling much of Caribbean, and snorkeling at every beach, key, and cove possible I would have to say Buck Island is probably in the top three of my favorite spots. The underwater trail is neat and I enjoy how much variety of sea life you see. Go out with Tommy.. He's your go to guy.

Visited April 2013
6 Thank Hoovey88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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