BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS The four main islands — Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost (pronounced "yoast") Van Dyke — and 50 smaller islands that comprise this British territory are easily reachable from one another via ferry. Stay on just one during a vacation or island-hop to several. Regardless of which you choose, diving here is as smooth and easy-going as the Jimmy Buffett tunes wafting from the yachts at Soper's Hole and the many beachside bars, like Rhymer's at Cane Garden Bay rumored to be the inspiration for "Cheeseburger in Paradise." Most dives are no deeper than 60 feet. Wind around pinnacles at sites like the Invisibles near Virgin Gorda or weave through spur-and-groove corals at sites like Alice in Wonderland near Ginger Island. Eagle ray sightings are common, as are sightings of turtles, stingrays and nurse sharks.
A few wreck dives are deep enough to count toward the deep specialty. The HMS Rhone, easily the most visited site in the BVI, starts at 80 feet. The day you visit, ask for that egg and cheese on a johnnycake to go because you'll want to be among the first to arrive for the day. Venture out farther and the adventures get wilder — like at the MV Chikuzen, a 246-foot-long Asian refrigeration ship sitting in 80 feet of water. Because of its distance from Virgin Gorda, few shops visit the site regularly. Either round up a few friends or book a berth aboard the Cuan Law, a live-aboard trimaran that visits the wreck regularly.
Average Water Temp: 76-85°F What to Wear: Shorty to 3 mm fullsuit When to Go: Year-round