Buck Island

Found just a couple miles north of St Croix, Buck Island beckons all travelers looking for a nice slice of paradise. Uninhabited by man, Buck Island is instead a protected National Monument, and it provides a natural haven for a number of endangered species, including Least Terns and sea turtles. That doesn't mean that you can't arrange a Buck Island vacation getaway, however, and more and more visitors to the United States Virgin Islands are choosing to do so. Many come to enjoy the world-class snorkeling, which is just one of the things that makes Buck Island trips so great. But that isn't all there is to do here. Relaxing, rejuvenating, and ready to impress, Buck Island will surely make for an excellent side trip during your next Virgin Islands vacation.

Buck Island is under 2 miles long and it's just a half a mile wide. It might not be a large island, but it surely is a special one. It was first made into a protected area by the U.S. Government in 1948, with the intention of preserving what are dubbed as some of the Caribbean Sea's top marine gardens. In 1961, Buck Island was officially designated a National Monument, and in 2001, the Buck Island Reef National Monument, as it is formally known, was expanded to some 19,000 acres. Buck Island itself accounts for 176 acres of the National Park, and it's a lovely piece of land to explore, that's for sure. Should you be interested in hiking excursions during your Buck Island Virgin Islands trip, there is an excellent trail that circumnavigates the island. It takes about 2 hours to complete the trail, which is rated as moderate. Along the way, tempting white-sand beaches will certainly present some alluring diversions, and you might entertain the idea of hopping on the trail leading further inland, where the island rises some 340 feet above sea level.

While hiking Buck Island is a joy to consider all it's own, it's arguably the snorkeling that brings most visitors in. As one might imagine, a place that is good for snorkeling must also be a place that is ideal for scuba diving. Buck Island is simply hailed as one of the Caribbean's top dive sites, mostly because of the dazzling Buck Island Reef, which is where scores of colorful reef fish like to hang out. What helps to make Buck Island Reef National Monument such a Caribbean diving mecca is the underwater visibility, which is known to average around 100 feet. Not only will you get a clear view of the Buck Island Reef and its fiery coral, but you'll also be able to better spot such marine creatures as stingrays, sea urchins, sea turtles, and barracudas. Experienced divers will surely appreciate the impressive grottoes and labyrinths that lie beneath the surface here, and even beginning snorkelers will find the park's unique underwater trail to reveal a range of delights.

Buck Island Reef National Monument is off limits when it comes to fishing, so anglers will want to leave the rod and reel back at the hotel or resort. Feeding the fish is also prohibited, and you'll want to avoid stepping on or touching either the Buck Island Reef or its coral. Besides hiking and scuba diving, visitors enjoying Buck Island Virgin Islands getaways can enjoy the aforementioned beaches, which are perfect for picnics and sunbathing. Turtle Beach, which is just one of the island's sandy stretches, is especially reputed for its beauty, so you might include it in the agenda. Local boaters like to gather at Turtle Beach, so if you're pioneering a sea worthy craft of your own, you can drift on in to see what's happening. Boats are the ultimate means of transportation between St Croix and Buck Island, and there are a good amount of them that operate daily trips. These trips are generally of the half and full-day variety, so you can plan accordingly. Just make sure to reserve your space on one of the boats ahead of time, as Buck Island's capacity is known to be limited. Other than that, enjoy the Buck Island St Croix scenery, and let all your cares drift away.

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