Shore dive

Sta. Cruz beach is a large beach near the plantation house of Santa Cruz. It is hardly visited by tourists but well know by the local people. The beach is wide and in front of the beach is a large area with palm trees and small and large huts. The large ones can easily harbor a large group of people.
For divers the location is not a very good one mainly because of the long swim out.

The drop-off is about 15 minutes swimming from shore, which is a large distance especially when you come back from the dive. The bay itself is mainly sand which means that it is not very interesting to swim underwater till the shore although it is one of the few places where I have seen Sea whips.

The dive site itself is also not the most interesting one. The slope is gradual and the coral density is low. There are a lot of nice sponges, but there are also spots with old dead coral, probably from a past tropical storm or hurricane. Because of this all I would advise against it unless you have seen most of the other dive locations.

One reason to dive here is that you can dive from here in the direction of Santu Pretu (black sand). The dive location is most of the time closed for diving from shore. Swimming out of the bay you can see the dark sand to the East. In front of Santu Pretu you see almost guaranteed Garden Eels. You can reach that location by heading East from Santa Cruz. On the return leg of your dive you come to sandy patches at a depth between 10 and 15 meters. There is where you can see the Garden Eels if you approach silently.

How to get there

santa_cruz_beach_htgtComing from the Eastern part of the island you take the road to Westpunt. That is the only road from the Eastern part toward the Western part of the island. Follow this road untill you see a roadsign with Soto on it. There you go left in the direction of Soto. You stay on that road for a long time. You pass the village of Soto. Going on you pass the plantation house of Santa Cruz on you right hand side and drive on till you see a road sign Sta. Cruz (see picture). Take the first road to the left and follow that winding road till you reach the beach. You can park anywhere along the beach.