Buck Island Reef National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument was established by Presidential proclamation in 1961, and expanded in 2001, in order to preserve "one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea." The park is now one of only a few fully marine protected areas in the National Park System. The 176-acre island and surrounding coral reef ecosystem support a large variety of native flora and fauna, including several endangered and threatened species such as hawksbill turtles and brown pelicans. The elkhorn coral barrier reef that surrounds two-thirds of the island has extraordinary coral formations, deep grottoes, abundant reef fishes, sea fans and gorgonians. At the eastern most point of the reef is the famous underwater trail; both novice and expert snorkelers will enjoy the passages through the reef. The island has an overland nature trail and white coral sand beaches. Visitors can take daily trips to the park for half or full day. Once there they can enjoy a leisurely swim in the crystal clear waters, or snorkeling or SCUBA diving through the fantastic reef to witness tropical marine life, or hike over the island enjoying native flora and fauna while getting a birds-eye view of the reef and sea below.
Seasonality / Weather
Buck Island Reef National Monument is open year-round. There is no overnight camping on the island; the park is closed from sunset to sunrise to protect nesting sea turtles that come ashore at night.
Travel by car or taxi van to downtown Christiansted or to Green Cay Marina east of Christiansted. There are six concession companies that provide transport by boat to Buck Island Reef NM from these locations. REMEMBER YOU MUST DRIVE DRIVE ON THE LEFT IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS!
Public Transportation - Buck Island Reef National Monument is accessible by park licensed concessionaires or private boat and is a 5.5 mile (8.8 km) sail from Christiansted on St. Croix. Concession boats are available at Christiansted Wharf or Green Cay Marina. Privately operated boat must abide by park regulations and maneuvered slowly through Monument waters and watch out for snorkelers at all times.