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Buck Island Reef National Monument, U.S. Virgin Islands

Fast Facts

Location: 9 km from Christiansted in St. Croix
Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Preferred timings: Daytime
How to Reach: Fly to St. Croix, then drive to Christiansted from where you sail to Buck Island
Nearest airport: Henry E. Rohlsen Airport in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.

From a diver's point of view, the Great Blue Hole and the Buck Island Reef National Monument stand on two different poles. While the first can be attempted only the most expert of divers, the second is a haven for amateurs. Here, even children and novices can try their hand at snorkeling. The buck Island Reef, U.S. Virgin Islands was established in the Caribbean Sea as a preserve for one of the splendid marine gardens. It is one of the few places in Virgin Islands which is inhabited by the threatened brown pelican and lest terns. This 176 acre island surrounded by coral reef was set up as a national monument in 1961 by a Presidential Proclamation of John F. Kennedy. An underwater trail in the coral reef is the outstanding feature of Buck Island Reef. Snorkeling and Scuba diving is possible even by children and novices. A full day trip to this island is once is a lifetime experience to be shared with family and friends.
Buck Island Reef National Monument was expanded in 2001 to protect and preserve one of the finest marine islands. More than two-thirds of the island is surrounded by the renowned elk horn coral barrier reef made up of outstanding coral formations. Gorgonians, sea fans, deep grottoes, and spectacular reef fishes characterize the waters surrounding this island and coral reefs. Green, leatherback and hawksbill turtles are the endangered reptile varieties to be seen in this magnificent island.

The tropical climate of this exotic location will inspire you to outdoor activities. The summer extends from May to November with temperatures ranging between 84°F and 96°F, while the winter temperature ranges between 70°F and 87°F. The rainy season in this island is from July to January.

Activities in Buck Island Reef National Monument

Inspired by the balmy climate throughout the year, you can visit this island at your convenience. Summer or winter, spring or fall, you are surely to be motivated by the bracing weather, crystal blue lagoons, and colorful flora and fauna to embark on an expedition to Buck Island. The first thing that attracts you is the safe lagoon waters of the coral reefs. These reefs are so safe that even novices can snorkel without any risk. Discover the underwater trail with the help of a guide who takes six visitors at a time. This underwater trail through haystack formation of corals is a spectacle. The maximum depth of the trail being 12 feet, it poses no dangers. If you are interested in scuba diving, there are two locations of depths varying from 30 to 40 feet within this lagoon.

After spending an hour or so in the water laze on the beach or go for a picnic at West Beach and Diedrich's Point. Charcoal grills, picnic tables, and sun shades make a complete picnic arrangement. Use down and dead wood for you grills and empty cool ashes is trash cans. Never empty the ash on the ground as it may attract biting ants. After your picnic hike along a marked trail to the other end of this island which takes you about 45 minutes. This trek through giant tamarind trees, low-lying beach forests, and guinea grass hillsides takes you to the island's peak. From this peak surrounded by tropical dry forest you get a marvelous view of the surrounding coral reef in its entirety with its ethereal lagoon. Farther, if you are lucky, you view the islands of St. Thomas and St. John across the deeper blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

To reach Buck Island take a chartered boat from Christiansted in St.Croix, which is almost 9 kilometers away. If you travel by vessels of length more than 42 feet, you need to moor at the West Beach and then proceed in a dingy.

Related Links : Check out the great underwater life at the Buck Island Reef National Park in this video! You will tempted to go snorkeling in this virtual paradise on earth, and protect it. For all its attractions, this wonderful biosphere is in danger of rapid environmental pressures. Dolphin spotting at the Buck Island! It is one of the favorite pastimes of the visitors to this destination.


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