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Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

West Virginia
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Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Two questions please:

1. Have read on several web sites that Antigua has some of the best "from the beach" snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Is this true?

We are pretty experienced snorkelers (Bonaire, Roatan, and Belize being some of our fav spots to date).

2. Is there anywhere to stay that has great snorkeling right off the beach at the hotel/condo/whatever?

Prefer this but am willing to drive to great snorkel places.

Besides great snorkeling, here is my wish list (but will give up some wishes for the right place):

Staying somewhere like a Sandals is a big NO for us - especially since we are taking our 24 year old son with us. (Sandals is for couples only, correct?)

Do not care if it is an AI or not.

Not looking for budget.

Prefer to walk out of my room onto the beach - not wander through a huge hotel to get to the beach.

Would really prefer a 2 bedroom suite/cottage but that is not a must have - will go for 2 rooms instead.

Looking for calm water (and hopefully the gorgeous caribbean blue color - you don't always find that right off the beach at islands).

Do NOT want a place where I have to dress for dinner - looking for a relaxing vacation which includes wearing shorts to dinner.

We are going to Antigua (or somewhere) the second week of January.

We were looking at the Long Beach Hotel. Read reviews that warn of beach crowding near the hotel. That may be OK?????

How is the evening socializing at the Long Beach Hotel? OK to keep my son entertained at least somewhat in the PM (especially since there is no TV at the hotel)?

Is there air conditioning? If not, is that a problem in January?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Tried to be pretty specific.

UK/Antigua
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for St. John's, Antigua
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1. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Long Beach hotel would answer all of your criteria, except for the snorkelling. It has amongst the best off beach snorkelling on the island, but it's not in the same league as some of the other places you've been to.

It's not terrible, but not amazing either.

Best to be honest about it now, rather than disappoint you :)

West Virginia
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2. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

I appreciate the honesty. Thank you.

One other question about Long Beach Hotel - it is on the East side of the island -- as a rule, does the water get rough in January?

I know it depends on a lot of factors, but how is it in general at that time of year?

Went to Anegada one year - water was so rough in January on the Atlantic Side (where all the snorkeling spots were) that just playing in the water was out. Regulars told us in summer it is smooth as glass. Since then I have been very sheepish about staying on the Atlantic side of an island.

Would any other hotel on the island have great snorkeling?

Also, willing to drive to at least good snorkeling.

Any place on the island have snorkeling comparable to Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Aruba, etc. ?

West Virginia
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3. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Sorry, just reread what you wrote and see that the hotel does have some of the best on the island.

But how is the water for snorkeling in January?

Bonaire
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4. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

LVsun, I cannot recommend this island if you are an avid snorkeler and want snorkeling off the beach. Truly, this is a beach destination. To snorkel you need to go in a boat.

West Virginia
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5. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Thank you.

Lake District, UK
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6. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Where did you read that Antigua has 'some of the best "from the beach" snorkeling' ?

Perhaps someone should visit those sites and correct the misinformation before someone is disappointed when they get to Antigua and find it's not so.

There are many good reasons for visiting the island, but great off beach snorkelling is not one of them.

West Virginia
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7. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Got the info from sites that are competitior sites so probably can't link here.

One says: ......some of the world’s best scuba and snorkeling off beautiful sandy beaches, calm waters, abundant coral reefs, and large numbers of colorful tropical fish. Good sites include Cades Reef, Sunken rock, Dickenson Bay, Pineapple Beach areas.

Another says: This is a snorkeler's dream. Most of its lovely beaches open onto clear, calm waters populated by rainbow-hued tropical fish....

Another says: The self-appointed capital for snorkeling in the Caribbean is Antigua.

Another says: Its gorgeous beaches surround warm, clear waters full of rainbow colored fish......

Perhaps we misread them, but it sure sounded like it was snorkeling from the beach.

West Virginia
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8. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

How is the water off the East (Atlantic) side of the island in January?

Is it normally pretty calm at that time of year or pretty/fairly rough?

West Virginia
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9. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Also, since it looks like the snorkeling from the beach isn't great - how is snorkeling in general via boat?

UK/Antigua
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for St. John's, Antigua
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10. Re: Where stay with great snorkeling off the beach?

Oh dear. I so wish these misleading guides weren't published. Probably written by someone sitting behind a desk in the snow and imagining a tropical paradise! I can't tell you how wrong some of these are.

Please don't think there's nothing at all to see. There are still some good areas of undamaged reef (the reefs were hit hard by a series of hurricanes in the late 90s, and have also been horribly underprotected by the Government), and these can all easily be reached by boat. There's some nice spots only a very short boat ride from Long Bay, as well as directly in front of the Long Bay Hotel. There's some nice areas up in the North Sound, and also down near the entrance to English Harbour.

The sea in January can feel cool. But that's coming from someone who likes really very warm water! No guarantee of calm though. The winter swells can affect both sides of the island - as they can the whole of the Eastern Caribbean - and can make conditions less easy. However, although it's on the Atlantic Side, Long Bay is very protected, and you'll rarely see any waves. You're unlikely to get millpond smooth water, but you certainly won't be surfing!

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