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Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

Syracuse, New York
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2 posts
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Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

We LOVED Roatan, but the airfare has gotten crazy. Looking for a destination in Caribbean or Central America that's largely "undiscovered" by the masses - with great snorkeling that is not too "built up". No chains, or high rises. We'd like there to be some restaurants and shops...just not TOO much. Sounds spoiled... : )

Bonaire
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for Bonaire
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1. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

I would recommend St. John. The snorkeling is fantastic. It isn't quite "undiscovered', but it isn't overly touristy either. There is also some amazing snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands.

Roatan is beautiful but far too touristy for me. The cruise ship industry has really done a number on that island, which is unfortunate for the reef.

Have you been to Bonaire? That is another option.

Syracuse, New York
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2. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

We have not been to Bonaire, but the flights are about the same as to Roatan. I will look into St Johns and BVI... What do you think of Isla Mujeres or Akumel? Not sure how the snorkeling is at these locations...

Thanks for your input!

Marietta, Georgia
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for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
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3. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

We've been to Boinaire 8 times.. primarily as windsurfers but also snorkelers on low-wind days.

Bonaire is very low-key and relaxed. The island only has 14000 people on it and no large hotels, but lots of small resorts and "boutique" resorts. There are plenty of very good restaurants (check my trip reports with pictures and lots of restaurant comments at www.hammocktree.us/ms/trips.html ) There are over 50 shore accessible, marked and described snorkel spots, mostly on the lee (calm) side of the island. There are really no classic white sand beaches (most "beaches" are ironstone or broken up coral) but this helps keep the water very clear.

it is relatively expensive/difficult to get to Bonaire, but once there it is very reasonable.

Bonaire
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for Bonaire
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4. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

I knew we could count on AmateurGO for good Bonaire information! I agree that the downside is the flight cost, which from NY is usually over $700 (and up).

I've only been to Isla Mujeres one time, and I wasn't impressed. However, my experience there was limited and I did not snorkel.

Marietta, Georgia
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for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
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5. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

Thanks luv (I think.. :-) )

I should mention that Bonaire has recently (last 2 - 3 years) gotten into the cruise ship business. There are probably an average of 2 - 3 ships a week visiting Bonaire these days. On cruise ship days the local snorkel excursion providers are very busy but there are enough snorkel/dive sites that it is no problem finding several that are not impacted by the cruisers. We just watch the cruise ship schedule and avoid downtown area while they are in port.

idaho
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for Sun Valley, Ketchum, Beach Vacations, Idaho
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6. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

bonaire has the best snorkeling in that area. primarily a dive destination, but snorkelers are welcome. they have preservded the reefs with the way that they bouy up the boats, and don' t harm the coral, like in aruba. you would love bonaire. and one side of the island is a huge flock of flamingos...so beautiful.

Edited: 30 June 2011, 22:40
DUS
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7. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

You may want to check out also San Andres, Providencia & Santa Catalina.

If your pref is a perfect mix of "largely undiscovered", but still a reasonable and basic infrastructure for individual tourists amenities, go for Providencia.

www.providenciaespasion.com/eng/map.htm

Given your start point is SYR, the best routing should via either Panama City or Bogota, further from both PTY or BOG there are regular nonstop flights with Copa Air to San Andres (ADZ). Over all fares are similar round 1100 $ RT,

From ADZ to PVA either by a short Satena Flight, or better by Catamaran (2 hrs cruise).

Chicago, IL
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for Cape Cod
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8. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

Your idea of going to Mexico should not be a budget buster at least. St. John would be expensive for accommodations, dining and of course, the flight...but very nice. Only you can decide what's most important.

Kansas City, MO
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for Beach Vacations
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9. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

St Croix is the least touristy and most laid back of the three US Virgin Islands. Lots of great snorkeling spots and good diving. Absolutely no high rises, friendly locals, easy to get around and no passports required. Check out: www.gotostcroix.com for more info.

My profile pic is of Buck Island in St Croix.

Miilwaukee, WI
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10. Re: Not TOO touristy snorkel destination

I would check out Ambergris Caye off the coast of Belize. I haven't been there yet, we're going in February, but I've done plenty of research here on Tripadvisor. It's known for great diving and/or snorkeling since the reef is so close by. There's a town on the island, and although it's becoming more known, there's no high rises and that. There are no cruise ships that come to the island. I believe it will become more "discovered" so go now before that happens. You can also choose to get a hotel/condo further from town if you want to be more remote. Accomodations vary- you can find condos with high end luxuries or you can find a nice, modest hotel. You get around the island via golf carts and water taxis. Hope this helps!

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