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Snorkeling in St. John

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Snorkeling in St. John

Would appreciate suggestions for hotels readers liked best for on-site or easy access to snorkeling on St. John. Will be vacationing with my 14 year old daughter. Thank you!

Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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1. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

There are only two hotel/resorts on St John on the water. The Westin, which is on a man-made beach, has a lot of boat traffic & jet skis, so the snorkeling is nill. Caneel Bay is on 7 beautiful beaches with good snorkeling. Another option would be Gallows Point, which is condo type accommendations on a beautiful property. Good snorkeling, but only a small broken coral beach area.

Most visitors rent private villas or condos. Very few of are on a beach and they carry a high price tag. A vehicle is required to truly get the most of your vacation. Check out a couple of different beaches each day and snorkel each of them. You can go to 2 or 3 a day for a week and still not see all of them! Check out www.stjohnusvi.com for lots of info. Also the book, St John: Feet, Fins and 4WD by Pam Gaffin. Another is St John Off The Beaten Path.

Edited: 05 October 2012, 18:54
Parker, CO
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2. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

The best place to stay on St. John for "on site" snorkeling is Caneel Bay and Gallows Point.

They are both awesome. However, keep in mind that St. John is all about exploring many, many beaches with lots of different snorkeling. For example, if you want to see lots of sea turtles and rays, you'll want to go to Maho and Francis. But if you want Coral Reefs, you will like Hawksnest and Cinnamon (and many others). It's not unusal to go to 2 to 3 beaches a day for awesome snorkeling all day long!

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3. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

If you can get a reservation between now and May 15, 2013, Maho Bay Camps. Little Maho is an awesome snorkeling beach with easy access and tons of fish. It's right on the premises, although there are a lot of wooden steps involved. Unfortunately, Maho Bay Camps is closing in May and may be sold out for the months remaining to it. Worth checking, though. If you can handle the steps, it's a really fun place to stay.

Pretty much all the north side beaches are sandy, shallow and welcoming to beginners. If you can afford to stay at Caneel, you're all set. Otherwise you will probably be driving or taxi-ing to your first beach. I'd recommend starting with Cinnamon Bay. It has full park facilities (changing rooms, showers, bathrooms, snack bar) which gives it a lively atmosphere and a familiar, welcoming look to beginners. The beach is shallow and sandy, and you don't have to go very far before you start seeing fish. Cinnamon was my first snorkel ever, and I found it instantly magical.

Elk Grove Village...
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4. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

Almost every beach on the island has snorkeling right off the beach. It really is a snorkelers paradise. Almost anywhere on the island you choose to stay will be withing a short drive of excellent snorkeling opportunities.

While I know that island regulars will argue that there are more interesting places, I would still say that Trunk Bay is not to be missed, especially for someone visiting the island for the first time. It is busy on cruise ship days, but if you go on a day with no cruise ships (or only one or two) in St. Thomas, or if you go early or late on a cruise ship day, the beach isn't all that crowded. And there is a "trail" of underwater plates that explain what you are seeing.

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for Bonaire
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5. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

Gallows Point has really good on site snorkeling. We just stayed there for the first time, and I was really impressed. It's also a very short walk to town and can't be beat for all around convenience, IMO.

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6. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

I have had the very good fortune of going to several Caribbean islands and a couple of other spots that say they have "good snorkling" and without a doubt, St John has the best so far! Why? Because you can wade in from shore (no boat needed), and you can see not just some fish over sand but wonderful coral formations. Some people think they have done some great snorkling because they saw nice fish but the coral formations are the genuine thing! You must treat the coral with caution and care and that being said, many beaches on St John will offer you that opp!

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7. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

Thank you to all who replied, what great information!

Marietta, Georgia
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8. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

Caneel Bay, definatly. However, if you really want good, easy, snorkels, explore beaches like Hawksnest, Maho, and Francis. They are all nice beaches too.

NY metro
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9. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

saw a massive goliath grouper on the right side of cinnamon (facing the water) many years ago. The snorkeling off the extreme right side of that beach was stunning.

I don't know if it still is what with coral degradation and all.

Troy, New York
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10. Re: Snorkeling in St. John

you can get to any north side beach from whereever you stay and the northside is all great snorkeling world class In my opinion.

i havent been to lameshur yet, but i seen a nurse shark at cinnamon cay, i seen turtles at maho bay and honeymoon beach and hawksnest, great coral at waterlemon and honeymoon, saw an octopus inbetween trunk and gumby bay.saw alot of squid at hawksnest they are all great and beautiful beaches with great snorkeling.

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